Our feet play a critical role in our lives. They allow us to stand upright and support our body weight while we perform activities such as walking, running, jumping, dancing, and more.
Our feet contain a quarter of the bones in our entire bodies as well as several ligaments, muscles, and joints. With the multitude of components and such a pivotal role in anything we do while standing, our feet are vulnerable to injuries, diseases, and disorders.
What is a Podiatrist?
Podiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the health of the foot, ankle, and lower extremities. They are trained to provide care and offer both preventive measures and treatment plans for all types of problems. They fully understand the structure and movement of the foot and lower limbs which enables them to diagnose foot conditions and identify systemic health conditions that occur.
Podiatrists examine feet, ankles, and the lower leg to diagnose a variety of injuries, infections, disorders, and conditions. They are experts in pinpointing signs and symptoms for many conditions affecting the feet, including:
- Foot injuries
- Plantar fasciitis
- Sprains and strains
- Bunions, warts, corns, calluses, and blisters
- Toe deformities such as hammertoe, claw toe and mallet toe
- Flat foot
- Ingrown toenails
- Nail and foot infections
- Heel pain and heel spurs
- Pain in foot arches and calves
- Skin or nail diseases
- Dry, peeling or cracked skin
- Foot ligament or muscle pain
- Foot odor
- Thickened or discolored toenails
Not only do podiatrists diagnose and treat these issues, they also treat complications from ongoing health problems such as diabetes.
Podiatry for Diabetes
Individuals with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing foot problems. High levels of blood glucose over long periods of time can lead to nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) and poor blood circulation (peripheral vascular disease). Either of these can cause foot complications such as infections, ulcers or sores, and toe deformities.
With diabetes, minor skin problems on the feet can quickly worsen and take very long to heal. If left untreated, these problems may lead to hospitalizations and possibly amputations of the foot or leg, so it’s very important to have regular visits with a podiatrist if you have diabetes.
Responsibilities of a Podiatrist
The first meeting with a podiatrist is similar to the initial meeting with any health provider. They will review your medical history, assess signs and symptoms you may be experiencing, and perform a physical examination. Depending on the condition, this may involve examining how you stand and walk, checking the range of motion in the joints as well as checking the structure of your toes. The podiatrist may also check circulation in the feet, especially if you have diabetes.
Treatment will depend on the condition you have, the severity of the condition, your overall health, and other factors. Common treatments for foot, ankle, and lower limb ailments include:
- Prescription medications
- Orthotics (tailor-made shoe inserts to realign the foot and take the pressure off vulnerable areas), padding, and arch supports
- Physical therapy
- Foot care, such as cutting toenails, removing corns, calluses, warts, and ingrown toenails
- Advice and instruction on foot, ankle, and lower limb care and general wellness techniques
- Preventive care for injuries and conditions
- Advice and guidance on footwear
- Surgery, such as removing bone spurs and correction of foot and ankle deformities
- Referrals to appropriate specialist physicians, if necessary
Podiatry in Baltimore, Maryland
At Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland, we take foot and leg health very seriously. We have a team of board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, and physiatrists, with expertise in advanced orthopedic techniques to help keep you in peak condition and help you resume your favorite activities as quickly as possible.
Baltimore is a very fast-paced place to live and work. We understand the needs of our community and how the environment and lifestyles local to this area affect our feet. This is why we are Baltimore’s experts in podiatry.
For comprehensive orthopedic care and rehabilitation, visit Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland in any of our four locations.
To make an appointment, please call (410) 644-1880 or (855) 4MD-BONE. You can also request an appointment online.