Feet…not something we often think about, and often overlooked in the healthcare arena. They are the foundation of our body and keep us mobile and active for the majority of our waking lives. Foot pain is often linked to increased rates of obesity, foot deformities, increased falls risks, reduced activity levels and decreased quality of life. That’s’ why it is so important to address problems when they arise (or prevent them in the first place!). That’s where podiatrists come in. Podiatrists are allied health professionals who will assess and treat your foot and ankle problems, as well as prevent problems before they arise.
Unfortunately, many people delay seeking help from their podiatrist when it comes to persistent and nagging foot problems. This is often because many people simply don’t recognize the signs and symptoms.They assume that aches or pains are to be expected. While, in some cases this may be true, it is often a diagnosable and treatable condition. If you are feeling persistent discomfort or pain, you should see your local podiatrist.
“The wellbeing and function of our feet is as important to our health (and movement) as just about anything else”
To help you better understand when you should see a podiatrist, here are the most common foot issues and their associated symptoms:
- Foot swelling or numbness – While the occasional swollen or numb foot is not typically a huge cause for concern, if the swelling or numbness is recurring, you should seek help. Without assessment and review by a podiatrist, it will be difficult to know the true source of the discomfort. These sorts of symptoms can arise from any number of causes including, but not limited to, arterial or venous insufficiency, a soft tissue injury, or other nerve-related issues and can be very serious if left untreated.
- Thick calluses or corns – Although corns and calluses are not serious issues, the underlying cause of them might be. Foot calluses and corns often indicate underlying problems with the structure of your foot and its joints.
- Bunions – The family heirloom, bunions have a strong genetic link. Certain footwear can exacerbate the symptoms. Bunions are linked to increased forefoot pain and increase your falls risk, it is a good idea to have yours assessed as there are endless ways to reduce pain and in some cases -decrease rate of progression of the bunion.
- Pain when walking – Any number of structures in your foot can be damaged, and because it is difficult to get off our feet for extended periods, healing can be delayed. Without proper treatment, your injury could get worse, not only making it more painful to move about, but doing more damage to the foot, which may be harder to treat down the line.
- Cracked or bleeding heels – Normally, dry heels can be cared for with a good pumice stone and moisturiser. However, the longer you allow the dryness to persist, the more issues you will likely experience, including the increased risk and susceptibility to cracking and infections. If you have diabetes, it is critical that you see your podiatrist immediately with these symptoms.
- Ingrown toenails – Many people attempt to treat ingrown toenails on their own however, without proper treatment, you can damage your toenail as well as the surrounding tissue predisposing it to recurrence. To avoid aggravating a minor problem and risking infection, you should see a podiatrist. More often than not they will be able to provide a permanent fix!
If you are experiencing any of the above issues, get in contact with our friendly and experienced podiatrists at Optimum Allied Health on 1300 871 249 for a chat or an appointment.