Our feet are important to us, and given how complex they are, it’s no wonder! Our feet contain a combination of 26 bones, 33 joints, and 126 muscles, nerves, and ligaments. Without those we wouldn’t be able to use our feet for a variety of activities, from walking and running, to dancing and playing sports. Sometimes we just like to kick up our feet and relax with loved ones. Experiencing foot pain, however, can take a lot out of us, even if we have no place to go.
If you’ve ever dealt with foot problems such as pain, swelling, infection, or broken bones, you know how debilitating these issues can be. If you’re dealing with any foot problems right now, it may be time to ask a podiatrist, or foot doctor, about what treatments are right for you.
Not sure if you’re having foot problems that require medical attention? Use this guide to find out if you need to visit a podiatrist for treatment. You may need to see a podiatrist if…
… You have any skin condition on your feet: This can include rashes, corns, warts, fungal infections, or athlete’s foot, which is characterized by dry, flaking skin. While these problems may seem harmless at best or mildly irritating at worst, they can spread and worsen over time. See a doctor for treatment of these issues, especially if over-the-counter solutions haven’t worked.
… You have problems with the bones in your feet: Bone problems in feet can manifest in many ways — most commonly through bone spurs and bunions. Bone spurs are sharp projections on the joints in feet, and bunions are a lateral deviation of the big toe. Both conditions can make it extremely difficult and painful to walk or participate in other activities.
… You are diabetic: Because diabetes can affect blood circulation in the lower extremities, it is especially important to pay attention to any pain or discomfort in the feet. Diabetics are at risk for foot infections, which can lead to amputation of toes, or part or all of the foot if left untreated. Adding a podiatrist to your medical care can reduce the risk of hospitalization from diabetes complications by at least 24%.
… You have had any broken or fractured bones in your feet: To make sure that your feet heal properly, it is wise to visit a podiatrist to make sure that the bones in your feet mend correctly.
… You have any other kind of foot pain: Foot cramps and foot pain are big problems. These could be due to a muscle tear, a sprain, or another issue. Sometimes wearing poor fitting shoes or high heels frequently can cause these issues, and poor posture can also contribute to foot pain as well, especially if you spend a lot of time on your feet. Even something as minor as swelling or an ingrown toenail can cause larger issues down the road. Any foot pain you experience should be taken seriously, and visiting a podiatrist is a wise decision to diagnose and treat your pain as soon soon as possible.
This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any foot problems, so if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to a podiatrist about how you can get help. You don’t have to live with foot pain, so be sure to see a professional about any pain or discomfort you have immediately.