Podiatric medicine is an important medical specialty that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and ankles. The reality is that podiatry, the shorter term for this type of practice, is actually a key component of your overall health and wellbeing. Our feet and ankles are the foundation of our body, they bear all the weight and they have lots of moving parts. Understanding why it’s important to care for them can help you enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Before you go to see a Podiatrist in Columbus or anywhere else, you’ll benefit from knowing the following.
What is podiatry?
Podiatric doctors are trained health care professionals who specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating disorders and diseases of the feet. These specialized practitioners can be licensed to perform surgery, prescribe medication, and order and interpret diagnostic imaging and laboratory tests. Most podiatrists choose to specialize in specific areas, which means that you might need to see a specialist if you require surgery or custom orthotics.
Podiatry and your overall health
The feet and ankles are the foundation of the body, carrying 70% of the body’s weight and supporting the spine, pelvis and legs. Despite this fact, many people do not consider the feet and ankles to be an important part of their overall health. According to a recent survey conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association, almost two-thirds of Americans are not getting the foot care they need, which can lead to a myriad of varying health problems later on in life. The same study finds that more than 80% of patients find their immediate issues resolved within a few visits to the podiatrist.
Common podiatry treatments
A podiatrist provides common foot care services, such as removing calluses and corns, to treating foot pain as well as offering non-surgical and surgical treatment options. But did you know that most of these doctors also help create custom foot orthotics? Foot orthotics are a type of specialized type of supportive or corrective footwear designed to correct foot abnormalities. Specially trained podiatrists use modern foot scanning technology to design and fit customized orthotics for patients who require foot and ankle support. This gives these patients an immediate improvement in their quality of life, and for many, it can enable them to enjoy doing more things because of the freedom of movement they gain.
When to see a podiatrist
If you have pain or other symptoms in your feet or ankles, such as redness, swelling, or numbness, caused by an injury or for an unknown reason, you should see your podiatrist as soon as possible. These may be signs of some serious foot and ankle disorders that may require prompt treatment.
Podiatrists can also help manage diabetic foot conditions by performing routine foot examinations, monitoring your feet for signs of infection, and providing foot hygiene instructions as well as skin care recommendations. Of course, podiatrists are specialists in rehabilitating sports injuries, slip and fall injuries and even have specialized treatment modalities for ongoing, and quite often debilitating conditions, like chronic heel pain.
So if you happen to be one of the estimated 66% of Americans who are not receiving the proper foot and ankle care they need, consider scheduling a routine appointment with your podiatrist. And keep in mind along the way that poor foot and ankle health can also be a contributing factor to ailments such as lower back pain, hip flexor pain and other chronic conditions.