Have you ever thought about seeing a podiatrist? Most people take their feet for granted, even though our feet contain 25% of the bones in our body as well as almost 20% of the joints. Foot health is often overlooked, even though foot problems and pain can have a significant impact on a person’s wellbeing and lifestyle. Here are five reasons you should see a podiatrist — and when.
Mobility Issues Can Be Devastating
For most people, feet are vital for everyday mobility, since the average person walks over 200,000 kilometres in their lifetime. When foot problems result in a loss of mobility, not only is there a physical impact but a psychological one as well. Mobility for many is the basis of their independence and connected to their ability to maintain employment or fulfill other roles, such as parenting. Loss of mobility can also lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Foot Conditions Affect Other Parts of the Body
Foot disorders or injuries, such as plantar fasciitis or fractures, can result in pain in the back, knees, and throughout the legs. “Flat feet” that do not have enough of an arch to absorb shock put more pressure on joints and can cause joint pain and muscle strain. Infections, such as athlete’s foot, can actually spread to other areas of the body and cause skin conditions.
Foot Issues May Be Connected to Other Health Concerns
When someone develops pain or a problem with their feet, it could also be an indication of some other more serious health condition. Swollen feet can signal diabetes or hypertension. Cold feet can actually be an indication of a thyroid problem. Foot cramps may be the result of dehydration. Tingling felt in a foot could even be the result of a pinched nerve somewhere else in the body.
Foot Problems Can Increase the Chance of Injury
When someone changes the way they walk to avoid exacerbating foot pain, it can affect their posture and balance — in turn making one more prone to accidental falls and further injury. Improper posture and balance can cause complications and pressure on the back and spine.
It Makes Sense to See a Specialist
Just as one would see or be referred to an optometrist for eye health, it is good to see a podiatrist for any foot issues. As specialists in conditions of the foot and ankle, podiatrists can provide timely and proper treatment for foot disorders and conditions. The alternative for many is undertaking “hit or miss” over-the-counter treatment because they do not understand the nature of their foot problems.
When You Should See a Podiatrist
As we have seen, foot health is an integral part of one’s overall health and well-being and should be taken seriously. You should make an appointment to see a podiatrist if or when:
- you are suffering from foot, ankle, knee, or leg pain;
- the shape of your feet change — get wider, arches fall, bunions or hammertoes form;
- you have injured your foot; or
- you need treatment for in-grown toenails, wart removal, or fungal toenail infections.
Not only can a podiatrist diagnose and treat your foot problem, but can ascertain whether it is connected to a major health problem. Contact us with your questions or to book an appointment today.