You have injured your foot or ankle and need to seek treatment. Who should you turn to for help? Is a podiatrist the right one to see for an ankle or foot injury? What do podiatrists really do?
A podiatrist specializes in treating foot and ankle issues. You may hear reference to a podiatric surgeon or podiatric physician; these are the same as a podiatrist, just different terms. Depending upon your state, a podiatrist may be able to treat both foot and ankle or be restricted just to the foot. Make sure to check what is allowed in your state if you have an ankle issue or injury.
Non-surgical Podiatric Procedures
There are many different types of procedures and corrections that a podiatrist can perform. Not all recommendations involve surgery, either, since the podiatrist looks at you as a whole to treat any particular issues. Some common, non-surgical or minimally invasive corrections include:
- Orthotics - these are inserts that go into your shoes to correct problems with your gait; just using orthotics can correct foot, ankle, knee, hip, and back pain
- Splints and braces for foot and ankle sprains
- Wart, corn, and callus treatment and removal
- Foot and ankle wound treatment, especially for those with diabetes
- Fungal issues, such as athlete's foot
- Ingrown toenails — this is where the side of the toenail curls down and digs into your skin, causing soreness, swelling, and sometimes even infection
Surgical Podiatric Procedures
There are also surgical procedures that a podiatrist performs to correct more severe issues. Some examples of surgical procedures include:
- Fixing broken bones in the foot and ankle with pins
- Bunion removal and correction — this is where the big toe joint becomes deformed. The only way to correct this condition is to have surgery
- Clubfoot correction — this involves a series of surgeries to bring the bones of the foot and ankle back into alignment
- Anthroplasty — this is a procedure to correct a hammertoe, which is a deformity of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th toes in which the toes curl or buckle; the surgery involves addressing the tendon and, sometimes, attaching surgical hardware to maintain alignment while the toe is healing
Then, there are the procedures that are done by the podiatrist that are not standard procedures. These can include:
- Removing glass or other fragments embedded in a foot
- Treating aggressive insect bites that are not responding to over-the-counter treatments
As you can see, a podiatrist can treat a lot of different ailments! If you have a foot or ankle issue, a podiatrist is a good person to see for treatment.
To get professional treatment, contact a company such as Laurel Podiatry Associates, LLC.