Thursday, 27 March 2014

When Should You See a Podiatrist - Part 1

Foot injuries are common and everyone suffers from the occasional bout of foot and ankle pain, soreness and sprains. In most cases time, rest, icing or warm foot baths and a pair of new shoes will take care of the problems. But once in a while the conditions might lead you to see a podiatrist. Many people think that it is silly to go to a specialist for a seemingly minor problem. But a minor issue could be the first stage of a problem. And the earlier it is diagnosed and treatment begun, the faster the recovery. Also there are medical conditions that affect the other parts of the body first show up in the feet. Here are a few of the many conditions which should make you think seriously about consulting a podiatrist.
  • A wound or sore that will not go away. Any wound or sore that does not begin to show signs of healing quickly is a cause for concern. This is especially true if you are suffering from diabetes because this condition will slow down the healing process. A wound or sore that remains open for a long time increases your chances of getting a skin or even a bone infection – Osteomyelitis. When this happens the infection can be carried by the blood to other parts of the body, resulting in a variety of serious medical conditions. These are conditions that could incapacitate you for an extended period of time.
  • A discolored foot. Your feet are supposed to be the same color. If you find that one foot has changed its color, there could be a problem. If the foot is pale or unusually white in color, it could be a sign of low blood circulation. Blue or purple could be a sign of a vein problem. And redness may be a sign of gout (a common and usually very painful form of arthritis) or an infection. The earlier the foot is examined by a specialist the better.
  • Numb feet. Numbness and/or burning or a tingling sensation could be an indication of neuropathy which is a condition resulting in decreased sensation in the feet. This can be a symptom of diabetes. Neuropathy is a condition that increases the chances of developing ulcers of the feet.
  • Activity related pain. If you suffer from repeated pain that increases in severity after any kind of activity that puts stress on the feet, it could be a sign of a stress fracture. This happens when the foot is overused and the muscles become so fatigued or overstressed that they can no longer absorb the stress and shock caused by the activity. Because the muscles cannot absorb the stress it is transferred to the nearby bone or bones which are not meant to handle this pressure. The result is a small fracture that will normally result in a degree of pain that increases as the stress on the bone grows. If not detected and treated early, the condition can worsen resulting in problems with the movement of the foot and overall mobility.
Pain and/or swelling in one foot. Having pain and/or swelling in one foot while the other has no such problems are not normal. This could be a sign of an infection of the foot, tendon damage, tendonitis or a broken bone. This is a condition that calls for a visit to the podiatrist.

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