Who is a podiatrist?
A doctor who specializes in the treatment of feet is referred to as a podiatrist. These doctors specialize in the treatment of ankle problems, and surrounding parts linked to the legs and feet. The initial term used to refer to these doctors was chiropodists but the term is not used anymore.
In order to qualify as a practicing podiatrist in New York, one has to study for four years at a podiatric medical institution. The schooling has to be accompanied by practical training in health institutions for a period of no less than three years. Additionally, the American Board of Podiatric Medicine has to certify that the individual has successfully completed their studies and training. The body responsible for licensing doctors specializing in foot surgery is the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.
Typical Ailments Affecting Feet
There is a wide variety of infirmities that affect the feet. A qualified New York podiatrist is fully capable and well-equipped to diagnose these ailments, and provide proper solutions on how to treat them. Feet ailments occur in different individuals of different ages, races, occupations, backgrounds and lifestyles. Thus, podiatrists will often find themselves operating like general physicians or family physicians. However, some may decide to specialize in specific areas such as sports medicine, or pediatric care.
Significance of Seeing a Podiatrist
In case a person’s feet are wounded or in pain, it’s essential that they visit a qualified podiatrist. Experienced podiatrist’s recommend regular check-ups even for individuals who might not be experiencing any pain. The physician will also recommend regular hygienic practices such as proper toenail trimming, and hard skin removal. They will give general health guidelines and advice on the type of footwear to be worn in order to prevent the disease, and in the case that one has it, how it should be managed moving forward.
According to research, sports injuries or occupational falls can also trigger arthritis. The type of arthritis caused specifically by sports, and related activities is referred to as osteoarthritis. The effect of sport’s injuries extend beyond the body as it can threaten one’s career, and therefore source of income. There is also a higher possibility of a sport’s injury leading to depression.
Injuries should be given sufficient time to heal, otherwise, they may deteriorate further and worsen. In extreme cases, ignored injuries may cause severe pain to the individual, limiting mobility, and increasing the chances of loss of limb through amputation. After an injury occurs, it takes a while for osteoarthritis to manifest. It might even take up to a decade.
Managing The Pain
Patients with osteoarthritis usually experience pain in only one joint. Individuals with normal arthritis, (the one not related to sports injuries) more often than not experience pain in both joints. The pain can be relieved by the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, cold press, hot press or physiotherapy. Moreover, physiotherapy can also help in strengthening and stabilizing the injured joints, muscles and/or cartilage.
It might also be necessary for the patient to lose some weight in order to decrease the pressure applied to the affected area. If these non-aggressive treatments do not work, the podiatrist will have to employ advanced treatments that are more invasive, such as debriding or reconstruction of the affected joints and/or replacement.