The Rural

When is it time to see a podiatrist?

Discover the five telltale signs that mean it's time to consult a podiatrist. Picture Shutterstock
Discover the five telltale signs that mean it's time to consult a podiatrist. Picture Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with The Feet People.

A podiatrist: the expert who understands your feet like no other! From ankle sprains to ingrown toenails, they've got you covered. And when those unmistakable signs of a bunion start appearing, it's time to seek their skilled assistance. Let's dive in and discover the five telltale signs that mean it's time to consult a podiatrist.

Acute injury-induced pain and swelling

Sudden foot or ankle injuries can happen in a split second - a twisted ankle, a heavy object falling on the foot, or physical trauma from an accident or sports. When this occurs, a visit to a podiatrist might be necessary.

Pain and swelling may indicate serious tissue damage like a fracture or tear. Don't underestimate the impact of an injury - self-diagnosis can be tricky and even harmful.

Remember, the intensity of the pain doesn't always match the severity of the injury. What seems like a minor sprain due to moderate pain could actually be a fracture requiring professional treatment. So, if you experience a sudden injury, it's wise to consult a podiatrist for a thorough evaluation and proper care.

This advice rings especially true for those with pre-existing conditions like arthritis or diabetes, as their healing abilities may be compromised.

Sensations of numbness or tingling in your feet

Individuals grappling with diabetes and peripheral circulatory issues require regular care from an experienced podiatrist to prevent the escalation of complications such as neuropathy, ulcerations, and Charcot foot, among others.

If you experience tingling, burning, or numbness in your feet, it is crucial to consult a podiatrist to determine the underlying cause. These sensations may indicate nerve damage that, if left untreated, could impair movement and sensation. With early diagnosis and timely intervention from a foot doctor, symptoms associated with neuropathy can be effectively managed.

Problems with balance or walking patterns

Certain conditions, such as arthritis, as well as overuse injuries from intense sports training, or foot deformities like hammertoes, can significantly affect an individual's balance and walking patterns. These issues not only restrict mobility but can also lead to more severe complications if not promptly addressed.

A podiatrist possesses the expertise to diagnose and treat these conditions, often using custom orthotics-shoe inserts tailored precisely to the individual's foot structure and condition-and supportive devices like splints and walking boots. These interventions aim to correct posture, enhance balance, and facilitate optimal ambulation.

The Feet People is one of the best podiatry clinics offering such services to patients. Their team of skilled and compassionate podiatrists strive to provide comprehensive care solutions that meet individual needs and goals.

Never settle for pain or discomfort in your feet and ankles; seek help from a qualified podiatrist who can help you regain optimal foot health. Consultations may involve diagnostic imaging tests, physical exams, and on-site treatments such as cortisone injections or wound care.

Fungal infections and nail disorders

Athlete's foot, a common fungal infection, affects thousands of Australians each year. It can strike dedicated sports enthusiasts or unsuspecting individuals who pick up the fungus from public places or suffer from sweaty footwear. This condition brings discomfort, causing itching, peeling, and redness of the skin. It can even hinder daily activities.

Moreover, fungal infections can extend to the nails, resulting in onychomycosis. This condition is characterised by thickened, yellowish, and deformed nails. Not only does it impact the appearance of the nails, but it also causes discomfort and difficulty in walking.

To address these concerns, it is beneficial to visit a podiatrist who can conduct a comprehensive examination of your feet and nails. They can prescribe effective topical or oral antifungal medications. Such treatments, supervised by a foot doctor, typically yield higher success rates than over-the-counter methods, which may not be potent enough to eliminate the fungal infection entirely.

While these issues may seem minor, untreated fungal infections can lead to persistent discomfort, spread to other areas, or even develop into more severe complications. Therefore, early detection and proper treatment under the guidance of a podiatrist are crucial in managing these conditions, maintaining clear and healthy skin and nails, and ensuring comfortable mobility.

Pain in the foot or heel

Persistent foot or heel pain is a clear indication that it's time to see a podiatrist. Heel discomfort is often associated with plantar fasciitis, a condition characterised by inflammation and pain in the heel, especially in the morning or after standing for long periods. On the other hand, foot pain can have various causes, including overuse, improper footwear, and other factors.

If you're experiencing constant foot or heel pain, it's crucial to schedule a consultation with a podiatrist. Ignoring the pain can worsen the condition and significantly impact your daily activities. Instead of tolerating unbearable pain, take prompt action and make an appointment with a foot doctor to alleviate your discomfort and regain your normal routine.