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Podiatry Frequently Asked Questions

What is a podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a physician or surgeon who diagnoses and treats conditions of the foot, ankle, and supporting structures. Podiatrists can treat everything from general foot and ankle injuries to ongoing complications from health conditions such as arthritis, tendinitis, and diabetes. There are several areas of specialization in podiatry, including:

  • diabetes
  • pediatrics
  • sports medicine
  • surgery
  • wound care

What conditions do podiatrists treat?

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Podiatrists treat many common foot-related conditions, including:

  • arthritis: the wear and tear of your joints that causes inflammation and pain
  • bunions: an enlargement of your big toes’ joints that causes them to bend out of place
  • corns and calluses: rough and firm patches of skin that can form on your feet
  • diabetes: a condition that can damage the nerves in your legs and feet
  • fractures, sprains, and broken bones: includes other damage to the bones, ligaments, and tendons of your foot, ankle, and supporting structures
  • gout: various painful feet conditions caused by a buildup of uric acid
  • growing pains: a common aching and throbbing pain experienced by children
  • skin diseases and nail infections: several conditions that lead to infection, inflammation, and pain in your feet and legs

You can contact your podiatrist for a complete list of the conditions they treat.

What procedures do podiatrists perform?

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Podiatrists can perform various procedures to help treat foot-related conditions and injuries, including:

You may contact your podiatrist for a complete list of the procedures they perform.

When should I go to a podiatrist?

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There are many reasons you might consider a visit to a foot doctor. Because feet are so important to your overall health, a regular visit to a podiatrist is not uncommon, especially if you work on your feet.

You may want to visit a podiatrist if you have or are experiencing:

  • a chronic condition such as diabetes
  • difficulty walking or moving around
  • flat feet that require a foot brace or arch support
  • pain in your feet, ankles, or knees
  • scaling or peeling calluses on your soles
  • toe infections or discolored toenails
  • warts or other growths

What should I expect from my first podiatrist appointment?

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You can expect your first visit to a podiatrist to include questions about your medical history. They’ll want to know about the reason for your visit, any medications you take, and past surgeries you’ve had. Your podiatrist will also watch how you stand and walk, check to see how your shoes fit, and test your leg joints’ range of motion.

At this point, your podiatrist may recommend a combination of treatments, including orthotics, shoe inserts or padding, and physical therapy. Some conditions, such as ingrown toenails and calluses, can also be treated by your podiatrist during your first appointment.

What questions should I ask my podiatrist?

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It’s important to show up to your podiatrist appointment prepared. To help you get started, we’ve created a good list of questions for you to ask:

  • What’s causing my foot pain?
  • What are my foot treatment options?
  • Are there any lifestyle changes I can make with my foot condition?
  • What can I do to protect my feet from future strains and injuries?
  • Do you recommend any shoes or shoe inserts to help with my foot pain?
  • If I require surgery, who will perform it?
  • How often do you perform this surgery?

You may use these questions as a starting point, but feel free to add your own. A good practice is to also ask for additional information and take notes during your appointment.