Podiatrists are medical specialists who help with problems that affect your feet or lower legs. They can treat injuries as well as ongoing health issues like diabetes.
Podiatrists treat people of any age for many reasons. Some of those include:
Fractures or sprains: Podiatrists regularly treat common injuries when they happen in a foot or ankle. They also work in sports medicine, treating foot problems athletes have and recommending ways to avoid them.
Bunions, hammertoes, or heel spurs: These are problems with the bones in your feet. A bunion happens when the joint at the base of your big toe gets bigger for some reason or knocked out of place. That makes the toe bend toward the others. A hammertoe is one that doesn’t bend the right way. A heel spur is a buildup of calcium at the bottom of your heel bone.
Nail disorders: These include issues like an infection in your nail caused by a fungus or an ingrown toenail. That’s when a corner or side of a nail grows into your toe instead of straight out.
Diabetes: This is a condition in which your body either doesn’t make a hormone called insulin or doesn’t use it the way it should. Insulin helps you digest sugars. Diabetes can damage the nerves in your feet or legs, and you might have trouble getting enough blood to your feet.
Arthritis: This is caused by inflammation, swelling, and wear and tear on your joints. Each foot has 33 joints. A podiatrist might recommend physical therapy, drugs, or special shoes or inserts to help with your arthritis. Surgery also might be an option if other treatments don’t work well for you.
Growing pains: If your child’s feet are pointing inward or look flat or his toes don’t line up right, a podiatrist might be able to help. Exercises, insoles, or braces may be recommended. Or possibly surgery to fix the problem.