You may not realize that your overall health affects your foot health a lot. Many medical conditions that affect circulation (blood flow), nerves (feeling), or joints may cause damage to your feet first.
You should see your podiatrist regularly, especially if you have a medical condition such as diabetes, poor circulation, gout or arthritis. A podiatrist does not treat the underlying medical condition, but they will work closely with your primary physician to provide care and catch problems early.
Feet seem to be especially susceptible to skin problems. This is possibly due to the amount of time they spend in dark, moist places, and can be compounded by the lack of attention we often give them. Whatever the cause, a podiatrist can help provide a solution. Some of the conditions a podiatrist can treat include:
- Warts: small bumps caused by a virus. Plantar warts, the most painful, appear on the bottom of your feet.
- Fungal Infections: moist spots between the toes are prime spots for fungal infections to develop.
- Corns & Calluses: corns & calluses are dead skin cells that pile up, often where shoes rub feet.
- Cracks & Sores: cracks, sores & ulcers on the skin can be slow to heal and can easily become infected.
If you have a painful or unsightly nail problem, don’t ignore it. It probably won’t go away by itself. Nail problems are common complaints, and your podiatrist can treat them effectively with medication, surgical procedures and general podiatric care. Some common nail problems are:
- Ingrown Nails: nails can grow into the skin, causing pain. This is often the result of heredity, or improper nail care.
- Thick Nails: nails can thicken as a result of a fungal infection or injury.
- Black & Blue nails: injury to a toe can cause bleeding and swelling under the nail. The nail will appear black & blue.
If you suffer from sharp pain, numbness, or a burning feeling in your toes, a nerve condition might be the cause. This is usually the result of wearing tight shoes, being on your feet too long, or a general medical condition. Nerve conditions can be hard to detect, but your podiatrist is trained to identify them, relieve any pain they cause, and when possible, correct them. Some typical nerve conditions include:
- Neuromas: a thickening of nerves – usually between toes – causes foot pain, numbness, burning or tingling.
- Neuropathy: diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, and other medical conditions can lead to loss of feeling, pain, or strange sensations in the feet.