According to a study conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association, almost 80% of Americans admit to experiencing foot pain at some point in their lives. The same survey found that about half of all American adults have struggled to take part in everyday activities as a result of their foot pain.
But unfortunately, only about one-third of the people who have dealt with foot pain at one time or another have gone to see a podiatrist about it. With more than 15,000 podiatrists operating throughout the country, people have plenty of options when it comes to treating foot problems. But they don’t always take advantage of the medical care that is available to them.
Have you been putting off seeing a podiatrist about foot pain? If so, you should make an appointment with one right away to address your foot issues. A podiatrist can also provide you with the proper treatment for ailments involving other parts of your lower legs like your ankles.
Here are some of the most common instances in which people should arrange to see a podiatrist in 2020.
You Feel Persistent Pain, Swelling, and/or Numbness in One of Your Feet
As we mentioned a moment ago, almost everyone suffers from foot pain every now and then. It’s not uncommon at all for people to experience foot pain after taking part in a race or standing all day long while at work.
You don’t usually have to be too concerned about foot pain when there is a clear explanation for it and, maybe more importantly, when you’re suffering from pain in both of your feet. This will often be an indication that your feet are simply worn-out after an activity that you took part in.
But you should be concerned about foot pain if only one of your feet is bothering you. You could have something like a stress fracture causing pain in your foot. You could also have a condition like plantar fasciitis that is making it difficult for you to get around like normal.
Whatever the case might be, you shouldn’t ever ignore any persistent pain, swelling, and/or numbness in one of your feet. This is a clear-cut sign that you need to see a podiatrist as soon as you can for treatment.
You Suffer From Ongoing Joint Pain in Your Feet and/or Ankles
Do the joints in your feet and/or ankles ache almost all the time?
You might be able to make this pain go away—temporarily, at least—by taking ibuprofen or aspirin. They’ll help to reduce the inflammation that often causes joint pain in the feet and ankles.
But you shouldn’t continue to rely on over-the-counter medications to treat joint pain in your feet and/or ankles for an extended period of time. Instead, you should arrange to see a podiatrist and ask them to get to the root cause of your pain.
Often times, joint pain in the feet and ankles is caused by arthritis. Arthritis is a condition that affects almost 25% of the American population at this time.
The good news is that you and your podiatrist can work out a treatment plan that should eliminate some, if not all, of the joint pain that you feel in your feet and/or ankles. But you’ll only be able to do it by putting the OTC medications down and giving a podiatrist’s office a call.
You Struggle With Heel Pain That Won’t Go Away
When people think about foot pain, they tend to think about pain that occurs in the front of the foot. But there are also a lot of people out there who suffer from pain in their heels that just won’t seem to go away.
Heel pain can be caused by a variety of things. In some cases, ill-fitting sneakers or shoes can lead to people developing painful friction blisters. In others, bony growths called heel spurs can grow on a person’s heel and cause a tremendous amount of pain. And then, there are those who struggle with pain tied to the inflamed tendons that connect their heels to the rest of their feet.
A podiatrist can perform an examination of your heel and take X-rays of it to find out what’s causing you so much pain. They can then outline a treatment plan that will help ease the pain and heal your heel problems over time.
You Suspect You Might Have a Broken Foot or Ankle
If you have reason to believe that you might have a broken bone in your foot, take the time to see a podiatrist right away. Whether you injured your foot taking part in a sport or dropped something on it that caused a great deal of pain, you shouldn’t shrug off the possibility of a broken bone in one of your feet since ignoring it could lead to further problems down the line.
You also shouldn’t ignore any pain that you might feel in and around one of your ankles, especially if you injured it while taking part in an activity. Your ankle could be broken or you could have an ankle sprain that will need to be treated to avoid additional issues with it.
You Deal With Foot Problems Caused by Diabetes
There are more than 34 million Americans living with diabetes at this time. And that number seems to go up with every passing year.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you obviously need to take regular trips to your primary doctor to get your condition under control. But you also need to be on a first-name basis with a podiatrist who can examine your feet at least once every year.
There is a long list of foot problems that those with diabetes can experience if they’re not careful. Diabetics often deal with everything from poor circulation in their feet to infections in them.
You might not be able to steer clear of these foot issues completely. But you can limit the damage that diabetes is able to do to your feet by seeking the services of a podiatrist once every year, if not more often than that.
You Spot Fungus Growing Under Your Toenails
There are more people visiting nail salons than ever before. As a whole, Americans are spending more than $8 billion every year to get their nails done.
As a result of this, the number of fungal infections involving toenails is also on the rise. Following trips to the nail salon, there are many people left with more than just nice nails. They’re also left with fungus growing under their toenails, which can often lead to fungal infections that will spread.
If your toenails have started to thicken and become discolored after a recent trip to the nail salon, you could very well have a fungal infection. That infection could put your other toenails at risk if you’re not careful.
A podiatrist visit will help you knock out the fungal infection in no time. It can also help you learn about what steps you should take to prevent fungal infections from popping back up again following future nail salon appointments.
You Keep Developing New Cases of Athlete’s Foot
At any given moment, anywhere from 15 to 25% of the American population is dealing with athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that starts in between a person’s toes before spreading to other parts of their foot and eventually other parts of their body if they don’t do something about it.
Athlete’s foot is very common and can often be treated with an over-the-counter spray or cream. But some people will continue to develop new cases of athlete’s foot over and over again, regardless of how hard they work to get rid of it.
A podiatrist can talk to you about changing the way in which you’re wearing your shoes and socks to reduce the chances of athlete’s foot coming back. They can also prescribe you more advanced medications to stop athlete’s foot in its tracks.
You Experience Pain Associated With Bunions, Corns, and/or Calluses
Is there a bony bump that’s growing on the outside of your big toe joint? You have what’s called a bunion, and it can begin to become very painful as it increases in size over time.
A podiatrist can take an X-ray of your foot to see what’s causing this bunion to grow. Once they know why it’s growing, they can begin to treat it by using a variety of different treatment methods. From suggesting padding that you can place in your shoes to recommending surgery, there are a lot of ways in which bunions can be treated.
A podiatrist can also assist those suffering from corns and calluses, which are thick patches of dead skin that grow on the outside of a person’s foot. To treat corns and calluses, they’ll often suggest either having the dead skin removed or using a topical medication to treat it.
Schedule an Appointment With a Trusted Podiatrist Today
If your feet and/or ankles are bothering you day in and day out, there’s a good chance that you’re not living your best life at this time. You’re likely being forced to either manage your pain as best you can while going about your business or skip out on doing the things that you want to do in life because of it.
Stop suffering by calling on a trusted podiatrist today. We can help you get a grip on all the different ailments listed here and provide you with the pain relief you’re looking for.
Dr. Engel has been providing outstanding care to his patients in the Southeastern Wisconsin Community for the past decade and a half specializing in foot and ankle lower extremity disorders.