Overall health depends on the level of care given to every organ in your body. A problem with any body part can quickly diminish a person’s quality of life; this includes the lower legs. A podiatrist is a specialist that solves any medical problems of the lower legs and feet. Podiatrists deal with several complications involving the feet, toes, ankles, or knees.
Regular doctors lack the additional training that podiatrists receive in podiatry school, so they are incompetent in caring for the lower legs. After graduating from medical school, podiatrists get further education and knowledge on how structures in the lower legs help the overall function of the legs, the conditions that can affect the area, and how to treat them. The training takes four years, making podiatrists the right doctors to see for any problems of the lower legs.
Podiatrists are not to be confused with orthopedics. This is because orthopedic doctors specialize in dealing with internal problems that affect the bones, muscles, joints, and ligaments in the whole body. On the other hand, podiatrists are only specialized in problems of the lower legs.
When to see a podiatrist.
We usually advise people to see podiatrists whenever they have any problem affecting any part of the lower legs. There are hundreds of conditions that affect this region that podiatrists can solve. However, there are general symptoms of the lower legs that indicate it is time to see one. They include:
1. An open wound.
2. Persistent pain.
3. Tingling sensation or numbness of the lower leg.
4. An infection of the lower legs that causes redness or swelling.
These symptoms can persist for two or more days and reduce movement of the lower legs. When this happens, we suggest you visit a podiatry clinic for a checkup. Patients that often walk into such clinics are those with conditions like gout, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases that limit blood flow to the extremities.
Conditions affecting the feet.
We recommend most patients to visit a podiatry clinic when they have feet issues like:
1. Diabetic foot.
This occurs when nerves innervating the feet get damaged, causing the loss of sensation to heat or cold and poor blood circulation. Proper care of this condition involves regulating diet to avoid steep rises in blood sugar levels and exercising.
Wounds of the feet are common in patients of every category because they can occur when someone slips while walking, playing, or running. Lack of proper care of the wounds can cause secondary infections leading to general body symptoms like fever.
The feet are prone to infections like athlete’s feet, plantar fasciitis, and warts. Warts are small bumps caused by the human papilloma virus. Fungi cause athlete’s feet. The condition causes dry, itchy, and scaly skin between the toes and the soles. The plantar fascia is a thick weblike band that runs across the length of the foot. When it becomes inflamed, the condition is known as plantar fasciitis.
4. Flat foot.
This is a congenital deformity in which a patient’s feet lack the arch present between the back and front of the feet. This makes a patient easily get tired from walking.
Sprains of the ligament on the feet are common in patients who play contact sports. They can cause swelling and limit movement.
6. Corns, bunions, blisters, and calluses.
These are painful, swollen, and raised bumps on the skin of the feet. Depending on the type, they can burst to form an open ulcer if proper care is not given.
Conditions affecting the legs.
The problems that affect the legs that need podiatry care are:
1. Fractures and sprains
These commonly affect people who play sports. Contact sports like soccer and American football are known to cause frequent sprains and fractures. Fractures involve the breaking of bones, while sprains involve a tear or stretch of the ligaments.
This is a risk factor for many problems affecting the lower legs. It can cause ulcers, tingling sensation, and make walking painful due to damage to the nerves innervating the region. Diabetes also causes slow healing of wounds. It can, therefore, cause wounds on the legs to persist. This is because it restricts the flow of blood to the legs, which deprives wounds of nutrients and oxygen needed for healing.
Conditions affecting the ankle.
Gout attacks also affect the ankle since it is a joint. It presents like arthritis, causing pain, redness, and swelling of the area. Gout restricts movement and interferes with the ability of the patient to carry out daily activities.
Arthritis refers to the inflammation of joints like the ankles. It causes redness, swelling, and pain in the joint that can be chronic when the patient fails to seek medical attention in due time.
3. Ankle instability
This gradually occurs over time after repeated sprains and injuries of the area. When they fail to heal appropriately, the ligaments supporting the region weaken with every sprain or injury, leading to overall instability. The condition is common in athletes that play sports like American football, soccer, and running.
Conditions affecting the toe.
1. Toenail ingrowth
This is a common problem of the big toe. It happens when the corners of the toenails poke the soft tissue located at the nails’ groove. This causes inflammation and irritation of the groove. It can also cause an infection of the nail groove if the nails are dirty.
A common infection of the toes is fungal infections. The infections can affect the toenails or nail bed. They can cause the toenail to darken in color or the nails to come off. Lack of proper care of these infections can also lead to a secondary bacterial infection.
Our podiatry clinics are located in Miami and Hollywood. We tend to any problems of the lower legs to improve the quality of life of our patients. Our podiatrist is highly qualified with years of training and experience to give our patients the results they seek.