what is a foot doctor

 

What is a Foot Doctor?

Many people have heard of the term Foot Doctor, but they do not exactly understand what these health care professionals do. A Foot Doctor is called a Podiatrist in the medical field and they treat a wide variety of foot and lower extremity conditions, through nonsurgical and surgical approaches.

By definition, a Podiatrist is a foot doctor who specializes in the assessment, treatment, and prevention of diseases and disorders of the foot by therapeutic, orthotic, surgical, or palliative means. These foot doctors are specialized in many different fields including surgery, sports medicine, wound care, pediatrics (children), diabetic care, arthritic conditions, pharmacology, biomechanical & gait analysis, custom foot orthotics, orthopedic footwear, and nail and skin pathologies, to name a few.

Podiatrists or Foot Doctors play a role by dealing with foot conditions resulting from bone and joint disorders, such as arthritis and soft-tissue and muscular pathologies, as well as neurological and circulatory diseases such as diabetes. Podiatrists are in demand more than ever today because of a rapidly aging baby-boomer population and increased prevalence of diabetes. Podiatrists are also able to diagnose and treat any complications which affect the lower limb, including skin and nail disorders such as corns, calluses and ingrown toenails. Foot injuries gained through sport or other activities are also diagnosed and treated by podiatrists like plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, ankle sprains, Achilles tendon injuries, and fractures. Podiatrist can also identify and treat bacterial, viral, and fungal infections of the foot such as Athlete’s foot, tinea pedis, fungal nails, plantar warts, and infected ingrown toe nails or diabetic foot ulcers, by prescribing anti-biotics, and anti-fungal medications.

Podiatrists provide care to all people young and old, in all walks of life. Infants can be born with clubbed foot, or metatarsus adductus. Children may walk very pigeon-toed, walk on their toes, or are flat footed. Teens and adolescents commonly get ingrown toe nails and plantar warts. Basketball and soccer players commonly deal with ankle sprains and ankle instability. People who broke their foot, or severely sprained a ligament, or just had foot surgery, may see a Podiatrist to be fitted for an air boot walker, or post-operative shoe to allow for healing. Seniors may seek care from a Podiatrist if they are having trouble bending and reaching to care for their feet. They may have poor vision, lack proper coordination, have painful arthritis, in a wheelchair, they are hospitalized, on blood-thinners, or may be prone to infection. Podiatrists will help cut, file, and maintain your toe nails, and remove any problem callus or corns.

Podiatrists perform safe and professional level foot care to all patients and especially for those living with Diabetes. We use sterilized stainless steel tools and equipment and have high infection control standards when dealing with our patients. Podiatrists use evidence-based research to implement the most effective, up-to-date treatment plan in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients.

After reading this article, one should have the general understanding of what Podiatrists or a foot doctor is and what we treat as health care professionals.

If you’re in need of a podiatrist, then please contact the Arthritis and Injury Care Centre. If you have already seen a podiatrist and are in need of custom orthotics or orthopaedic footwear then please click here to learn more about buying orthotics in Halifax and buying orthotics in Dartmouth, NS.

By: Dr. Jason Ju, BHSc, D.Ch

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