A podiatrist is a type of medical doctor that specializes in foot care, foot and ankle surgery, and treating ailments that cause foot pain. Foot pain is one of the most debilitating types of pain that can affect your quality of life. Sports injury care, foot disease diagnosis and rehabilitation recommendations are only a few of the needs podiatrists help to treat. In addition to common foot complaints, a few of the less well-known problems foot and ankle doctors take care of are listed below.
Peripheral Vascular Disease is a disease of the arteries in the feet and legs. It leads to pain when walking and sometimes resting, ulceration of the skin on the legs and feet and possible amputation. Loss of leg hair, thinning skin, cold skin, and pain that reaches the buttocks are other possible symptoms. Patients with Peripheral Vascular Disease are advised to quit smoking, exercise more often, and to practice a healthy diet. In some cases, blood thinners must be administered, or angioplasties must be performed. Angioplasty is the unblocking of an artery by inflating a tiny balloon inside of it. A stent could also be inserted to hold the artery open. A doctor who practices podiatry would offer the best treatment recommendations on a case by case basis.
Flat feet, also known as pes planus, a painful condition in which the foot does not have an arch or has a very low arch and the foot touches the floor when standing is a condition commonly treated by a foot and ankle doctor. According to the Institute for Preventative Foot Health (https://www.ipfh.org/), around 8% of people in the United States have flat feet, and 4% have fallen arches. Fallen arches are flat feet that occur in older people when the arches gradually decline over time. Flat feet are often treated by arch supports worn in the shoes, supportive shoes designed for the condition, stretching exercises and possibly braces depending on the severity.
Overpronation, a condition similar, but not the same, as flat feet which occurs when a person’s arch rolls inward when they are walking that causes foot and ankle pain. This can be caused by poor posture, incorrect musculoskeletal alignment, weak foot and leg muscles or habit. Orthotic insoles and physical therapy may help strengthen weak muscles and train the foot to align correctly when in use.
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body processes blood sugar incorrectly, and too much sugar remains in the blood. Poorly controlled diabetes may lead to nerve damage in the legs and feet. It could cause ulcers and poor circulation, leading to pain, unusual sensations or even amputation. A podiatrist should provide regular examinations to help control foot damage due to diabetes.
These are only a few in a long list of conditions that could cause foot and ankle pain, weakness or functionality problems. If you have concerns regarding your feet and ankles, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in our office to learn more about your treatment options so you can get back on your feet sooner.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with Leonard Greenwald, D.P.M., request an appointment in our San Jose office here: http://footdoctorinsanjose.com. Or call us at (408) 827-9483.