While primary care physicians can handle some foot and ankle issues, there are a handful of common conditions that are best treated by a podiatrist. Foot and ankle specialists are better aware of the short and long-term complications that can arise when a problem isn't addressed in a timely fashion or treated with the right course of action. Below is a list of the four most common complaints that are best suited for care by a podiatrist:
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that bunions, also referred to as hallux valgus, can cause a deformity that can make walking and wearing shoes extremely painful. A podiatrist can recommend a new type of footwear, special orthotics, and medications to keep the bunion from getting worse. If traditional measures are unsuccessful, the doctor will recommend a corrective surgery.
Most frequently seen in athletes, Achilles tendonitis is a result of participating in excessive activities, like walking, running, and exercising. It causes painful inflammation and sometimes swelling in the tendon nearest your heel. Minor cases can be treated at home with rest and ice, however, any time symptoms do not disappear in a timely manner, it is important to make an appointment with a food and ankle specialist. Achilles tendons can tear if allowed to get progressively worse and that may mean surgery.
The Foot and Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic warn that anyone can get a toenail fungal infection, however, this condition is mostly seen in adults and individuals who are immunocompromised. A podiatrist has an additional option available to treat toenail fungus when medications and topical creams aren't doing the trick. Laser treatments are more expensive, but they don't cause any pain and the sessions can quickly be performed right in the comfort of the doctor's office.
According to the Mayo Clinic, plantar warts are the result of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Although plantar warts are small, they can be very painful when located on the bottom of your feet. Foot and ankle specialists are able to implement better courses of treatment than you'd find over-the-counter, and that means you'll receive relief much sooner. The doctor may start a patient off with a prescription strength salicylic acid medication before moving on to cryotherapy. Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart. Patients will need to return to the office a few more times before treatment is complete and the wart has been successfully removed.
Contact a medical center like Affiliated Ankle & Foot Care Center for more information and assistance.