person with severe toot and heel pain

Wichita Podiatrist Explains When to See a Foot Doctor

Foot and ankle pain can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know the cause or how to treat it. If you suffer from foot or ankle pain, you may have wondered if you should go to a podiatrist but aren’t sure if that’s the right thing for you to do.

Whether you have chronic foot or ankle pain, visible redness and swelling, or a wound that won’t heal, a podiatrist can help. If you’re in the Wichita area, schedule an appointment with Dr. Benjamin Weaver of Central Kansas Podiatry Associates for an individualized examination and treatment plan.

Signs That You Need to See a Podiatrist

Podiatrists can diagnose and treat a wide variety of foot and ankle issues, most of which start with pain, swelling, mobility limitations, or a visual indication that something is not right. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s in your best interest to make an appointment with a podiatrist immediately.

  • Difficulty walking. If foot or ankle pain is making it difficult for you to walk or participate in your typical activities, it’s important to get checked by a podiatrist.
  • Swelling or redness. Prolonged swelling and redness of the feet or ankles could indicate inflammation or infection. These symptoms require medical attention to prevent them from getting worse.
  • Visible deformities. If your feet develop visual protrusions, such as bunions, heel spurs, corns, or calluses that alter the shape of the foot, these should be evaluated by a foot doctor in order to determine the cause and identify an appropriate course of treatment.
  • Numbness or tingling. Numbness or tingling in the lower extremities can indicate nerve damage and can lead to severe injuries. It’s important to see a podiatrist so that the cause of this symptom can be diagnosed and treated promptly.
  • Difficulty fitting into shoes. If your feet no longer fit into the shoes that you usually wear, this can be a sign of swelling or abnormal growths on your feet. A podiatrist can identify the cause and prescribe proper footwear to prevent recurrence.
  • Wound or injury won’t heal. If a cut, surgical wound, or other foot or ankle injury isn’t healing on its own, you should seek medical attention. A podiatrist can diagnose the reason for this and treat the wound or injury properly.
  • Unexplained pain. Unexplained feelings of pain in your feet or ankles can be indicators of serious medical issues. If you experience lower extremity pain with no obvious cause, it’s time to see a podiatrist.

Other Reasons to Make a Podiatry Appointment

The above are indicators of serious foot and ankle issues that require medical treatment from a podiatrist, but they aren’t the only reasons you may need to go to a foot doctor. Other reasons to see a podiatrist include:

  • Referral from primary care doctor. If your primary care doctor has referred you to see a podiatrist, it’s important for you to follow through with the appointment so you can get properly diagnosed and receive effective care.
  • Fitting for therapeutic shoes. If you need orthotics or specialized shoes, such as diabetic footwear, it’s a good idea to visit a podiatrist first to find out exactly what you need and to get properly fitted.  
  • Starting an intense athletic regimen. If you are starting an intense athletic regimen, it’s a good idea to see a podiatrist regularly to assess the condition of your feet and ankles and to help prevent injury. This is especially important if you are new to this type of activity.

Examples of Conditions That Podiatrists Help With

Symptoms that involve your feet or ankles can be indicators of a wide variety of conditions. There’s no way to know for sure what treatment you may need until you go to a podiatrist for evaluation and diagnosis. Examples of foot and ankle conditions podiatrists typically treat include:

  • Arthritis. Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation in one or more joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced motion.
  • Bunions. A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe.
  • Hammer toe. Hammer toe is a deformity in which one of the toes (usually the second toe) becomes bent at the middle joint to resemble a hammer.
  • Heel spurs. A heel spur is a calcium deposit that can cause a bony protrusion on the underside of the heel bone.
  • Morton’s neuroma. Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition affecting the ball of your foot, usually in the area between the third and fourth toes. It involves thickening of the tissue around a nerve that leads to the toes.
  • Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes.
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome. Tarsal tunnel syndrome involves compression of the tibial nerve as it travels through the tarsal tunnel, a narrow space inside the ankle next to the ankle bones. It can cause pain, numbness, and tingling along the nerve path into the foot.

These are just a few examples of the many conditions a podiatrist can diagnose and treat. Foot doctors offer a wide range of podiatric services and products to help their patients. Don't keep suffering in silence if you're experiencing foot or ankle pain. Schedule an appointment with an experienced podiatrist today. 

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