When To See a Podiatrist

Making an appointment with any specialist can be intimidating. You want to be sure that you are not wasting your time and money on an issue that could be solved at home or with your regular doctor. However, never delay taking care of your feet and ankles. These are some reasons that you may need to visit a podiatrist.

If Your Doctor Refers You to a Podiatrist

Most people will visit their regular doctor before making an appointment with a specialist. Your insurance company may require you to get a referral from your doctor before they will cover this kind of treatment. Either way, if your doctor refers you to a podiatrist, it is best to listen to their recommendation.

Your general practitioner will refer you to a podiatrist if you need their specialized training to treat your feet and ankles. They will make recommendations to keep you comfortable until your appointment. This might include over-the-counter treatments or orthotics.

If You Have Pain in Your Feet and Ankles

You should not ignore pain signals from your body. If you have new or unusual pain in your feet and ankles, a podiatrist can provide a diagnoses and recommend a course of treatment. Here are some common reasons you may experience pain in your feet, from ingrown toenails to athletic injuries.

Painful Growths

You may be experiencing foot growths. They are either benign and hard to notice, or painful and impossible to ignore. A podiatrist can diagnose and recommend treatment based on the kind of growth and the potential reasons for its appearance.

Bone spurs are a type of growth that forms at your joints and are caused by inflammation. They often form on your heel as a result of plantar fasciitis. There are several treatments available for bone spurs, ranging from physical therapy and orthotics to surgery.

Foot corns and calluses are another type of growth that may form on your foot. Both are generally caused by friction. Corns generally form on non-weight-bearing parts of your feet, like the tops and toes. Calluses are thicker and usually form on the bottom of your feet, especially the bottom of your heel. Usually, calluses are not painful. If these types of growths become painful or interfere with your daily activities, it is time to call a podiatrist.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are inflamed, tender, and painful. They are caused by the edge of your toenail growing into your skin instead of out. Some people have a genetic predisposition to getting ingrown toenails. For others, an ingrown nail can start after an injury, or if your toenail is cut at an angle instead of straight.

Visit your doctor or podiatrist before your ingrown toenail becomes infected. There are many non-invasive methods for healing ingrown toenails, so always seek treatment before it becomes serious.

If You Are an Athlete

Most athletes use their feet extensively for their sport. It is their point of contact with the ground, and athletes may rely on their feet to be quick and precise. No matter how careful you may be, injuries will happen.

Sports podiatrists specialize in treating injuries that happen to your feet and ankles that result from sports. Minor injuries can be treated at home, but for serious injuries, you should seek the help of a specialist. If you have swelling, pain, tingling, or numbness, you should visit a sports podiatrist. They will explain the extent of your injury and make a plan for recovery.

Persistent Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is very common. It will appear in your nail beds as discoloration or damage, sometimes causing thick or brittle nails. Nail fungus may go away on its own. However, it is generally treated with over-the-counter ointments.

Some people struggle with nail fungus that persists or keeps coming back. Your podiatrist will recommend a course of treatment. You may be prescribed an oral anti-fungal medication to treat the fungus from the inside out. This kind of medication can have adverse side effects, so it is not for everyone.

You podiastrist may also recommend that you apply a topical cream to your nails and the surrounding skin. A special kind of polish is also used as a long-term treatment for nail fungus.

What Should I Look For in a Podiatrist?

Your podiatrist will work with you to diagnose and treat your foot pain or injury. Focus on finding a podiatrist that will work with your regular doctor to make a plan for treatment. The right kind of treatment is the one that helps you do the things you enjoy. Horizon Foot & Ankle Institute has a wide range of expertise, and we prioritize non-invasive treatments to get you back on your feet doing what you love. Schedule an appointment with us today to start addressing your foot and ankle concerns.