Did you know that 77 percent of Americans have experienced foot pain at some point in their lives? And, 83 percent say they experience chronic foot pain?
Are you part of either of these groups? Do you feel that your foot pain is holding you back from exercising and living the kind of life you want to live?
If so, a podiatrist might be able to help.
Not sure if a podiatrist is right for you? Keep reading to learn about some common signs that you might be able to benefit from seeing a podiatrist.
What Does a Podiatrist Do?
A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions related to the feet and the lower limbs.
In addition to diagnosing and treating these conditions, podiatrists can provide patients with supplies like special insoles and arch supports that can correct deformities and poor movement patterns.
They may also provide advice on the best types of footwear for those who struggle with foot pain and other issues.
Signs You Need to See a Podiatrist
Okay, you know more about what a podiatrist does. But, how do you know whether or not you need to pay a visit to the podiatrist like Dr. Mina Azarian?
Listed below are eight signs that you might need a podiatrist’s care:
1. Persistent Foot Numbness or Swelling
Occasional swelling or numbness is not a huge deal. But, if your feet are swollen or numb on a consistent basis, this could be a sign of a more serious issue.
There are a lot of conditions that could cause swelling and numbness, including the following:
- Sprained ankles
- Broken bones in the foot or ankle
- Underlying infections
The numbness and swelling could be caused by nerve damage, too, especially if you also experience burning or tingling.
2. Very Thick Calluses and Corns
By themselves, corns and calluses (thick and hardened layers of skin) are not necessarily a cause for concern. But, if they are very thick, they might be a symptom of a more serious issue.
For example, people who struggle with foot structure issues or gait issues like bunions or hammertoes, corns and calluses could show up as a result.
Visiting a podiatrist can help you get to the bottom of the issue and figure out what is causing your calluses or corns.
3. Pain While Performing Daily Activities
Is it hard for you to perform daily activities like walking or climbing the stairs?
If you can’t move around without experiencing pain, there’s something wrong with your feet and you need to take it seriously.
If you have an undiagnosed stress fracture or another foot injury, you’re probably making it worse by continuing to walk around and pushing through the pain.
You could even cause permanent damage to your feet and walking patterns if you’re not careful.
4. Heels that are Cracked and Bleeding
Do you have severely dry, cracked heels? Do they bleed on a frequent basis?
If your feet are dry and cracked, no matter how much cream you apply and exfoliating you do, the more likely you are to deal with other foot problems.
For example, if you have severe bleeding and open wounds, you are more prone to infections. It’s especially important to visit a podiatrist if you have dry, cracked heels and also suffer from diabetes.
5. Ingrown Toenails
An ingrown toenail might seem like a minor issue. But, it can quickly become a more serious problem if you don’t get it treated right away.
Ingrown toenails are often quite painful, and they can easily become infected. If you try to treat an ingrown toenail by yourself, you could end up making it worse and increasing your chance of experiencing an infection.
It’s best to work with a professional to make sure your toenail and/or the surrounding tissue doesn’t get damaged.
6. Flat Feet
You don’t just have to accept your flat feet.
This is especially true if they seem to be a recent development, or if one foot seems to be flatter than the other. This can be a sign of tendon dysfunction or tendon rupture.
If you don’t address the problem, you could end up with arthritis or joint damage in the feet later on.
7. Foot Discoloration
Have you noticed changes in the color of your feet recently? Does one foot look different from the other? Have you noticed redness or a blue or purple hue?
Redness can be a sign of infection or a condition like gout. Blue and purple often indicate problems with the veins. If your foot is very pale, you could also be dealing with poor circulation and decreased blood flow.
8. Pain When the Legs are Elevated
Do you experience pain in your feet when your legs are elevated?
If your feet need to be lower than your heart to be pain-free, you could be dealing with poor blood circulation or even peripheral artery disease.
A podiatrist can help you determine whether or not a more serious issue is causing your symptoms.
How to Find the Best Podiatrist Near You
Not all those who work in the healthcare industry are created equal. Here are some tips that will help you find the right podiatrist for you:
- Ask for recommendations from your primary care physician
- Call your insurance provider to make sure the podiatrist you’re considering is covered by your insurance plan
- Check the databases from the American Board of Podiatric Medicine and the American Podiatric Medical Association to find licensed professionals in your area
- Make sure their practice is located close to your home and/or office
- Make sure their office hours align with your schedule
- Find out whether you’ll need to go off-site for x-rays or other tests
As long as you keep these guidelines in mind, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a qualified podiatrist to help you get to the root of your issues.
Looking for More Health Tips?
After reading this information, do you think you need to see a podiatrist? Are you experiencing any problems with your feet?
If you are and you want to work with a podiatrist, be sure to keep these tips in mind to make sure you find the right one for your needs.
Do you want to learn more tips to stay on top of your health and well-being? If so, be sure to check out the Health section of our website today.
You’ll find all kinds of informative articles here on everything from the best supplements to try to the warning signs of low testosterone.