A podiatrist specializes in the diagnosis of problems related specifically to the feet and ankles. They study the care and and medical, surgical, mechanical, and physical treatment of the diseases, injuries, and defects of the human feet and ankles. Podiatrists are trained at teaching hospitals like Maimonides in Brooklyn, NY. Although they treat patients with all medical conditions, the teaching hospital also has subspecialty programs like podiatry. Maimonides trains more four hundred medical students a year and is one of the largest independent teaching hospitals in the United States.
When should you consider an appointment with a podiatrist?
While some foot pain can be treated with res, ice, or over the counter pain relief meds other more serious conditions need the attention of a specialist. When foot pain or problems continue or begin to interfere with daily activities and walking then it may be time to see a podiatrist.
- If one foot seems flatter than the other you may have a tendon problem. If not treated these tendon problems can lead to joint problems or even arthritis.
- An open sore or wound that is not healing needs to be treated immediately. Diabetes patients especially need to have open sores treated because diabetes tends to hinder the patient’s ability to heal properly. If not treated it can lead to skin or bone infection.
- If one foot suddenly has a significant change in color it can signal a bigger problem. Redness can show infection or gout. A blue or purple color can be signs of a vein problem. Whiteness or paleness can be a symptom of decreased blood flow to the foot.
- Pain that increases with activity can be a sign of a stress fracture. If untreated a stress fracture can lead to an actual broken bone in the foot.
Podiatrists like the ones trained at Maimonides in Brooklyn, NY can also assist in other common foot ailments. They are helpful when dealing with heel pain, heel spurs, and ingrown toenails. A heel spur is a bony outgrowth from the heel bone of the foot. They can be extremely painful and prevent normal activity. Ingrown toenails usually occur in the big toe when the nail grows into the soft skin around it. Ingrown nails can become infected if not removed.
Podiatrists can also treat ganglion cysts, non-cancerous lumps that form along tendons or near joints and are usually round and filled with a jelly-like fluid. Specialists can also aid in removal of bunions, warts, corns, and calluses. All types of problems related to the human feet and ankles can be treated by a specially trained podiatrist.