When people think about doctors, they generally think about heart surgeons and brain surgeons. They might even think about general practitioners who diagnose things such as common colds. However, podiatrists do a very important job as well. If you are having a problem with your feet, this can affect the way you walk and many other aspects of your life. This is why as soon as you have issues with your feet, it is important to be able to go to a podiatrist.
If you have never worked with a podiatrist and don’t understand much about the field, it is possible that you have many questions. For example, you might wonder, are there doctors who provide pediatric foot treatment exclusively? Is there an on call podiatrist in my area? If I am dealing with chronic pain in my foot, can a podiatrist prescribe pain medication? Can a podiatrist treat knee pain? Who is the closest podiatrist to my location? The answers to these questions are likely going to be dependent on where you live, so you should make your research location-specific. It might also be a good idea to contact podiatrists in your area and see what they have to offer.
Foot problems are extremely common. In fact, very few people will go through life without experiencing at least a few ankle and foot injuries. But when can you let these heal on their own, and when is it time to make an appointment with a local podiatrist (ankle and foot doctor)? Here are five signs you need to find a podiatrist as quickly as possible:
- If You Are Diabetic or Pre-Diabetic
Because of the way diabetes affects blood flow and the nerves, it both causes foot problems and makes it difficult for you to self-assess how serious they are. A simple ingrown toenail can quickly turn into an issue requiring surgery or even amputation, so it’s best not to delay in seeking help.
- If You See Any Signs of Infection
Any sign of infection in the feet should be promptly treated by a medical professional. Those signs include swelling, redness, heat, foul odor, and pus draining from an open sore or wound.
- If You Feel Numbness or Tingling
Both numbness and tingling can indicate problems with the nervous system, which is something that needs to be addressed immediately. This is a problem that is very unlikely to go away on its own.
- If You’re Seeing Lumps and Bumps
Although many lumps in or on the feet are just harmless cysts or callous buildups, there’s always a chance that a growth is a tumor. It’s simply not worth taking the risk that it’s the latter, and you’ll get peace of mind by having it assessed.
- If Your Symptoms Don’t Go Away
In general, you shouldn’t be waiting more than a week or so for foot injury symptoms to dissipate. Keep in mind that what you think is just a bruise or stubbed toe could be something more serious (like a stress fracture) if it isn’t healing quickly on its own.
What are some other symptoms that indicate it’s best to find a podiatrist, rather than trying at-home treatments? Join the discussion in the comments.