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A podiatrist, also called a doctor of podiatric medicine, is a specialist who provides medical diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems, such as bunions, heel pain, spurs, hammertoes, neuromas, ingrown toenails, warts, corns and calluses. A podiatrist also renders care of sprains, fractures, infections, and injuries of the foot, ankle and heel. In addition to undergraduate medical school training, podiatrists also attend graduate school for a doctorate degree in podiatry. Podiatrists are required to take state and national exams, as well as be licensed by the state in which they practice.
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, there are an estimated 15,000 practicing podiatrists in the United States.
Podiatrists are in demand more than ever today because of a rapidly aging population. In addition, according to the association, foot disorders are among the most widespread and neglected health problems affecting people in this country.
Consult with patients and other physicians on how to prevent foot problems.
Diagnose and treat tumors, ulcers, fractures, skin and nail diseases, and deformities.
Perform surgeries to correct or remedy such problems as bunions, clawtoes, fractures, hammertoes, infections, ruptured Achilles, and other ligaments and tendons.
Prescribe therapies and perform diagnostic procedures such as ultrasound and lab tests.
Prescribe or fits patients with inserts called orthotics that correct walking patterns.
Treat conditions such as: bone disorders, bunions, corns, calluses, cysts, heel spurs, infections, ingrown nails, and plantar fasciitis.
People call a doctor of podiatry for help diagnosing and treating a wide array of foot and ankle problems. Please contact our office if you experience one of the following:
Persistent pain in your feet or ankles.
Changes in the nails or skin on your foot.
Severe cracking, scaling, or peeling on the heel or foot.
Blisters on your feet.
There are signs of bacterial infection, including:
Increased pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, or heat.
Red streaks extending from the affected area.
Discharge or pus from an area on the foot.
Foot or ankle symptoms that do not improve after two weeks of treatment with a nonprescription product.
Spreading of an infection from one area of the foot to another, such as under the nail bed, skin under the nail, the nail itself, or the surrounding skin.
Thickening toenails that cause discomfort.
Heel pain accompanied by a fever, redness (sometimes warmth), or numbness.
Tingling in the heel; persistent heel pain without putting any weight or pressure on your heel
Pain that is not alleviated by ice or over-the-counter painkillers (such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen).
Diabetics with poor circulation who develop Athlete's Foot.
The foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and numerous tendons. Complex biomechanics keep all these parts in the right position and moving together. Given these intricacies, it is not surprising that most people will experience some problem with their feet at some time in their lives.
Within each foot, the essential structure can be summed up as follows:
Seven short tarsal bones make up the heel and back of the instep.
Five metatarsal bones spread from the back of the foot toward front and make up the structure for the ball of the foot. Each metatarsal is associated with one of the toes.
Fourteen phalanges, small bones, form the toe structure.
Tarsal and metatarsal bones provide the structure for the arch of the foot.
Bands of ligaments connect and hold all the bones in place.
A thick layer of fatty tissue under the sole helps absorb the pressure and shock that comes from walking and everyday movements.