Your feet are complex structures with many bones, ligaments, and tendons that work together to support your body and keep you moving. With so many intricate parts, it’s no wonder that one in five of Americans experiences a foot problem each year. Unfortunately, many people avoid seeing a doctor because they don’t know where to go for care. Board-certified podiatrists are trained to take care of your feet, treat ankle injuries, and help you stay active.

If you experience foot or ankle pain—or have symptoms that make it difficult to stand or walk—it may be time to make an appointment with a podiatrist. Here are some common reasons to seek medical care.

1. Foot or ankle injuries

Exercising and walking on uneven surfaces puts you at risk of straining, spraining, or fracturing your foot or ankle. Rather than going to the emergency department, seeing a podiatrist ensures that your health care provider has experience treating foot and ankle injuries. A podiatrist can diagnose your injury, provide appropriate treatment, and administer physical therapy if you need it.

2. A bump on your big toe

When the joint at the base of your big toe grows or becomes displaced, it can result in a bunion that forces the toe to bend toward the others. The bony bump that develops on the outside of the big toe may become painful and make it difficult to wear shoes.

A podiatrist can diagnose the cause, provide footwear recommendations, and create custom orthotics to help manage your pain. In severe cases, patients may require a surgical procedure called a bunionectomy.

A related condition, hammer toe, occurs when a toe bends downward at the middle joint. While it’s most common in the second toe, it can also occur in the other toes.

3. Pain on the bottom of your foot

Flatfeet is a common condition in which the arch of your foot collapses, causing the entire bottom of your foot to touch the ground. It can result in pain and lead to other foot and ankle conditions. Podiatrists are trained to treat flatfeet and relieve arch pain in your foot.

In addition, running, wearing shoes that don’t fit your feet, or being overweight can cause heel spurs, a buildup of calcium at the bottom of your heel bone that causes pain. Be sure to make an appointment with a podiatrist if you experience these symptoms.

4. Common toenail conditions

When the edge of a toenail grows into the skin—a condition called ingrown toenail—it can be very painful. A podiatrist can treat the issue and provide tips on how to prevent ingrown toenails.

Never try to remove an ingrown toenail on your own. If the nail has become infected, a podiatrist can provide medication and numb the area during the removal process so you will feel little or no pain.

If your toenails become thick, discolored, or brittle, you may have a fungal infection. Left untreated, it could spread to the other toenails. A podiatrist can prescribe medication to treat toenail fungus or recommend other treatment options.

5. Hardened skin on the bottom of your foot

While thick areas of hardened skin on the foot are common, corns and calluses can become painful over time. A podiatrist can safely remove excess skin to alleviate the pain or prescribe a topical medication.

A small, painful growth on the sole of your foot may be a plantar wart. In some cases, a podiatrist will use laser therapy to remove the growth.

6. Itchy, scaly rash between your toes

Athlete’s foot is a common skin infection caused by a fungus that thrives in damp, warm, and humid conditions. You can usually treat the condition with an over-the-counter cream or spray. However, if athlete’s foot persists, a podiatrist can prescribe a more effective medication and provide tips to help prevent athlete’s foot.

7. Ankle or knee pain

You may not pay much attention to the way you walk, but an improper gait can cause pain in your ankles, knees, or lower back. A podiatrist can evaluate your movements to identify and treat issues that cause discomfort. In some cases, you may need custom orthotics or physical therapy.

Schedule an appointment with a podiatrist

As a medical professional who specializes in foot and ankle care, a podiatrist can treat everything from sports injuries and joint pain to skin problems and arthritis. If you experience a foot problem, schedule an appointment with one of the board-certified professionals at Metro Tulsa Foot & Ankle Specialists today. Detecting and treating foot problems as early as possible can lead to faster recovery and prevent complications.

The information, text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read on this website.

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