Becoming a podiatrist isn’t easy and takes considerable time. Estimates vary, but there are about 15,000 doctors of podiatric medicine operating today. And each of these physicians will have taken years to become fully qualified.
According to Hospital Careers, becoming a podiatrist requires about 7 to 8 years of study including gaining a bachelor’s degree. Once that has been achieved, the MCAT test follows so that the student can study at an accredited podiatric medical college. If the student successfully completes their podiatric medicine studies they will receive a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine Degree.
A three-year residency will need to be completed after the student gains their degree. The lengthy period to become podiatrists results in doctors who can significantly improve patients’ health and their quality of life.
What Do Podiatrists Generally Deal With?
A podiatrist will deal with several foot and ankle related issues. They deal with preventative medicine as well as tackling health issues that have already manifested.
By looking at the CE Foot and Ankle website, it is clear that podiatrists help with a number of foot health concerns including these.
- Heel pain
- Ingrown toenails
- Nail infection
- Cracked or bleeding heels
- Flat feet
- Diabetes-related foot problems
Podiatrists can give lifestyle advice to help improve the patient’s health as well as treat problems. Healthy living improves diabetes symptoms, and podiatrists can help patients with this disease care for their feet.
How Do Podiatrists Help Improve Patients’ Health?
A podiatrist is a specialist. They provide support primarily for feet and ankles. Their studies lead them to become experts in foot and ankle health, but they also provide advice and assistance for people with long-term conditions in some cases.
As previously mentioned, podiatrists give lifestyle advice surrounding diabetes as this can impact foot health. But, other illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and arthritis also have adverse effects on feet.
Instead of only treating problems after they have manifested, podiatrists try to prevent injury from ever happening. Podiatrists will treat swollen ankles and help patients to improve their nail health with topical treatments. Yet, these doctors also play a key role in spotting foot problems early on.
Joint damage or arthropathy can occur in some diabetes patients and this can become a chronic and destructive condition. Detecting arthropathy and neuropathy early can prevent further damage and injury.
What Benefits Will You Get From Seeing A Podiatrist?
The majority of people probably wait until they have a foot or ankle problem before they visit a podiatrist. However, podiatrists practice preventative care. This means that the specialist will look at feet and ankles and try to spot issues early on. They will also give advice on nutrition and on how to keep feet healthy and ankles strong.
Benefits of visiting a podiatrist include:
- Healthy feet and ankles
- Pain relief
- Advice on footwear
- Nutritional and lifestyle advice
- Preventative care
- Detection of the cause of problems
- Treatment of many foot conditions
Podiatrists are trained to deal with everything from verrucas to medial tibial stress syndrome. While this condition sounds serious you probably know it better as shin splints. Many children suffer from shin splints as they grow, and normally they will disappear on their own accord, but patients can still benefit from a visit to a podiatrist.
Many people avoid going to doctors because they are embarrassed about their symptoms. Many foot conditions look unpleasant, but podiatrists have seen them all, so there is no reason to avoid making an appointment.
When Should Someone See A Podiatrist?
Foot or ankle pain that doesn’t clear up in a few days is a sign that you should see a podiatrist. Long-lasting pain shouldn’t be ignored, but some symptoms make it clear that it’s time to see a podiatrist such as nail fungus.
If toenails are turning yellow-brown or becoming whitish then this can be a sign of nail fungus. If this is left untreated then nails can become brittle and ragged.
Bunions, verrucas, corns, swollen ankles, and sores, are all very visible. If there are obvious signs that feet and ankles are not in perfect health then individuals should see a podiatrist.
Symptoms such as swollen ankles could be a sign of an underlying problem. Podiatrists will look for the root cause of any symptoms, and recommend treatment.
Podiatrists don’t just treat foot and ankle problems. These doctors use preventative care to improve a patient’s health and quality of life. People with serious conditions such as diabetes can find their foot health vastly improved by following advice from podiatrists.
Visiting a podiatrist can result in healthier and stronger feet and ankles, and avoid future injuries. Podiatrists are qualified to treat many conditions and help to relieve chronic pain and return a patient’s foot health to normal.