77% of Americans say they have experienced foot pain. However, only a third of those would seek expert care from a podiatrist.
Leaving yourself to suffer through foot pain can have a major impact on your quality of life. In fact, it can restrict your activities, such as walking, playing, working, or exercising. 83% of people with chronic foot pain have a difficult time enjoying these activities.
Don’t leave yourself to suffer! Instead, know when to see a podiatrist. Requesting expert care can ensure you start healing—and living your best life.
Tell your pain to heel with these 10 smart reasons to see a podiatry specialist.
1. Regular Runners
If you start running regularly, you’ll likely experience a number of new aches and pains. These can include shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome. This syndrome develops when there’s too much stress on the shinbone and the tissues that attach muscles to your bones.
You might develop shin splints for a number of reasons, such as:
- Flat feet
- Your shoes don’t fit properly or don’t provide enough support
- You’re running or working out without properly warming up or cooling down
- You have weak ankles, hips, or core muscles
If you’re already active, you might also develop shin splints if you’ve made your workout longer, more intense, or more frequent.
You’ll know when to see a podiatrist if your shins ache and throb the next time you head out running.
Your podiatrist will first assess your body and feet. Then, they’ll flag any potential problem areas. Your podiatrist can make recommendations, such as:
- Icing your shin to reduce swelling
- Adding insoles or orthotics to your shoes
- Taking anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as aspirin
They might also suggest a better athletic shoe you can wear the next time you go running.
2. Joint Pain
You might also need to see a foot specialist if you feel joint pain in your feet or ankles. Arthritis is common among Americans and can cause joints in your feet to:
- Become stiff
- Feel tender
If left untreated, arthritis can change how your feet function, leading to disability. Instead of ignoring the problem, visit a podiatrist. They’ll suggest treatments that will allow you to preserve your joint health.
Then, you can carry out your day without stress and pain wearing you down.
Several studies have shown foot pain increases due to:
- A higher body mass index
- Foot pathologies
- Footwear habits
- Other musculoskeletal pain
- Medical conditions (including mental health/depression)
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Heart disease
Another possible cause of your foot problems is diabetes. Symptoms range from dry skin to serious infections. If you have diabetes, you should schedule a foot exam with a foot doctor annually.
Knowing when to see a podiatrist can help lower your risk of amputation due to diabetes.
4. Pain Limits Your Activities
Your heel pain could make it difficult for you to perform everyday activities. Some of the causes of heel pain include:
- A bony growth on your heel (a heel spur)
- An inflamed tendon
If your heel pain persists, know when to see a podiatrist. They can perform a foot exam, take X-rays, and provide you with a proper diagnosis.
Once you know the specific cause of the problem, your foot doctor can start you on a treatment plan.
5. Ingrown Toenails
Sometimes, toenails grow into the skin, causing an ingrown toenail. Often affecting the big toe, an ingrown toenail could cause you to develop an infection.
You’ll know when to see a podiatrist if your toenail is very red or has a lot of drainage.
Your podiatrist might need to remove part of the nail. If it’s infected, they’ll also prescribe medication as part of your treatment.
6. Strains, Sprains, or Broken Bones
Worried you might have a strain, sprain, or broken bone? Head to your foot specialist doctor. They can diagnose your injury and suggest appropriate treatment. If needed, your podiatrist can also create a flexible cast, which will help the injury heal.
You’ll know when to see a podiatrist if you experience swelling, issues walking, redness, or increased pain after the injury.
7. You Need Foot Surgery
Your podiatrist will likely wait to recommend foot surgery as the last option for treatment. If you need it, however, your foot doctor can perform surgery on your foot or ankle.
Conditions that require surgery include recurring ingrown toenails, broken bones, and bunions.
8. A Bothersome Corn or Callus
One of the main reasons people visit a podiatrist is to treat corns and calluses. These are areas where your skin builds up over time. When they become too thick, these areas can swell and become inflamed.
For treatment, your podiatrist might recommend cortisone injections to ease your pain.
They might also have to use a surgical blade to reduce the size of the corn of callus. However, this procedure usually isn’t painful, since the skin is already dead.
9. A Painful Bunion
Have you noticed a bump at the base of your big toe? That bump is called a bunion and occurs when the big toe joint or bone is out of place. A bunion will only get worse without proper treatment.
Instead of ignoring the problem, visit a foot doctor. They can suggest different treatment options, such as padding, taping, or medication. In worst-case scenarios, they might also suggest surgery to treat the bunion.
10. Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that can cause the skin between your toes to appear scaly and feel itchy. Most of the time, over-the-counter antifungal cream can treat the problem.
However, your infection might not heal on its own.
If the infection doesn’t improve after a few weeks, make sure to visit your foot doctor. They can prescribe stronger medications or creams that are more effective. During your appointment, your foot doctor will also check for signs of a bacterial infection, which will require antibiotics.
Let’s Go Toe-to-Toe: When to See a Podiatrist
Now that you know when to see a podiatrist, keep an eye out for these problems! Make sure to visit your foot doctor as soon as possible to ease your pain away.
Request an appointment with our team today!