A podiatrist is a medical professional who primarily diagnoses and treats illnesses and injuries affecting the foot. Depending on where they practise, they can also occasionally diagnose and treat ankle and lower limb issues.
Before beginning to treat patients, podiatrists require significant study and training.
Doctoral degrees are awarded to podiatrists by authorised schools of podiatric medicine. Although they comprehensively understand human anatomy and physiology, their training focuses on treating the lower extremities, particularly the feet.
Throughout residency training in hospitals and health clinics, podiatrists get practical experience. They must pass a series of board certification examinations after finishing this course. The letters DPM, which stands for Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, follow the name of a fully licensed podiatrist.
If a person experiences foot discomfort, numbness, or swelling, they may want to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist.
Podiatrists can diagnose and treat a variety of ailments, such as:
- Foot injuries, such as fractured or broken bones, sprains and strains.
- Foot pain and inflammation due to arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout.
- Diabetic foot disorders, such as infections, chronic ulcers, and nerve damage or neuropathy.
- Structural foot abnormalities, such as hammertoe, flat feet, and high arches
- Skin conditions, such as warts, corns, plantar dermatitis, and athlete’s foot
- Nail conditions, such as ingrown toenails
- Heel pains, such as plantar fasciitis
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Similar to primary care physicians, podiatrists treat a number of common foot ailments. Others specialise in specific subspecialties of podiatric medicine, such as sports medicine or wound care.
Additional podiatric specialisations include the following:
- paediatric care
- geriatric care
- neurological foot conditions
- food circulation conditions
- inflammatory and autoimmune disorders
- general or reconstructive surgery
Typically, podiatrists begin the diagnostic procedure by assessing the patient’s medical history and present symptoms.
First, they do a fundamental physical examination of the foot. During this examination, they search for evidence of skin discolouration and oedema. They may request that you walk around or move your feet and toes in various ways.
Before providing a definitive diagnosis, they may request more testing based on their first results.
After making a diagnosis, a podiatrist might offer therapy. Depending on the kind and severity of the problem, a podiatrist may collaborate alongside another expert or a whole healthcare team.
Podiatrists are able to provide the following treatments:
- Prescription medicine, such as pain relievers, antibiotics, antifungals, corticosteroids, or joint injections
- Joint aspiration, or the removal of fluid from the area around a joint
- Corrective footwear
- Orthotic devices, such as insoles and braces
Podiatric doctors execute many surgical treatments to:
- Treat tendons and ligaments that are swollen or ruptured
- Set broken bones
- Removing hammertoes, bone spurs, and malignancies
- Removing damaged, sick, or dead tissue corrects structural defects such as hammertoes and flat feet