Your feet work hard to take you where you need to go and support you while standing. So, if issues on your feet occur from health problems or even hard use, a foot doctor may be able to help ease the discomfort. A foot and ankle doctor, also known as a podiatrist, is a doctor devoted to diagnosing and treating medical conditions that involve the foot and ankle. Problems with your feet or ankles may be an indication of a more serious medical condition, so it is important to address the issue as soon as possible. Here are five common foot and ankle issues that may require a visit to the foot doctor.
If you have a painful bulge located at the base of your big toe, it may be a bunion. Bunions occur because tissue or bone has moved out of place. When you have a bunion, movement of the toe causes it bend in unnatural angle, which causes significant pain. If left untreated, bunions become larger, more irritating and more painful, oftentimes making it difficult to wear shoes, and it may lead to more serious injury.
Ingrown toenails are caused by the nail growing into the skin. This is sometimes due to improperly cutting toenails or wearing tight shoes. An ingrown toenail can easily become infected, causing more pain and possibly an infection spreading to different parts of your body. The symptoms of an ingrown toenail typically include pain in the toe and the surrounding area, a bright red color on the inflicted toe and fluid drainage.
Corns and Calluses
A corn is hardened skin in a concentrated area of your foot. A callus refers to a more widespread, less concentrated area of hardened skin on the foot. People who are on their feet for long hours everyday may get sections of calluses, but they aren't usually painful because the feet have adapted to the hardening. However, a corn on the side of a toe or the bottom of the foot can be extremely painful, especially when wearing tight shoes. If you experience pain from a corn or callus, you should seek an evaluation from a podiatrist to determine if the hardened skin should be professionally removed.
Heel pain, also known as plantar fasciitis, is caused by a variety of things, including bone spurs, arthritis, injury or gout crystals. Plantar fasciitis can be extremely painful, especially if you stand for long periods of time. If it is left untreated, the pain will continue to worsen and it may lead to other injuries.
Numbness and Swelling
Numbness, swelling and pain in the feet is a cause for concern. Edema, the medical term for swelling in the tissues, is a symptom of more serious conditions, such as infection. Tendinitis in the toes can also cause a numbing or tingling feeling in the feet and toes. Tendinitis is often painful, and it places undue strain on the surrounding tissues and joints, which can worsen without treatment. If you experience any sort of persistent foot or ankle pain, it is best to schedule an appointment with your podiatrist as soon as possible. In many situations, treatment may be as simple as using padded insoles, but the issue may be related to a more serious problem.