Your feet help support your body every day as you walk, run, and stand. Each foot contains a complex network of bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons that must work in tandem. Sometimes a foot-related ailment needs the help of a trained specialist like a podiatrist. Here are three surprising medical conditions a podiatrist can help with.
1. Morton's Neuroma
A podiatrist can help if you develop Morton's neuroma. Hardening of the tissue around the digital nerve leading to the third and fourth toes characterizes this condition. You may feel like there's a tiny pebble stuck in your shoe around the ball of the foot. As a result, you feel pain, burning, numbness, and discomfort when you stand or walk.
Morton's neuroma likely occurs due to trauma, constant irritation, or excessive pressure on the area. Compression on the nerve prompts the swelling and growth of abnormal tissue around the nerve.
A podiatrist can examine your feet and recommend shoes or shoe inserts to alleviate pressure on the nerve. You may also receive corticosteroid injections to reduce swelling or to intercept pain signals in that nerve. Finally, they may recommend surgery to remove the diseased nerve portion or to free the tissue around the nerve.
2. Achilles Tendinitis
You may develop Achilles tendinitis if you run, sprint, or climb stairs. The repetitive or intense strain of running stresses the thick band of tissue, or tendon, between your heel bone and calf muscles. You might initially feel a mild ache at the back of the leg or right above the heel after exercise. Morning stiffness and tenderness disappear as the day progresses.
Achilles tendinitis is a condition that a podiatrist should examine. The weakened tendon inherent in Achilles tendinitis places it at risk for a painful tear only surgery can remedy.
Your podiatrist can recommend ways to treat a sore tendon as well as prevent future bouts of tendinitis. Rest, ice, compression, and leg elevations are all great remedies. However, a good podiatrist will recommend the right heel lift to protect your tendon from over-stretching. Finally, they should model the best stretches and strengthening exercises to help you continue to heal.
Surprisingly, a podiatrist can help with foot conditions that relate to diabetes. Nerves in extremities like your feet and hands are at risk of damage when your body cannot digest sugar due to a lack of insulin. Serious complications can occur when sufficient blood quantities cannot reach those important areas.
A podiatrist will watch for abnormalities and injuries to your feet you can't feel due to loss of sensation. They can screen for peripheral arterial disease. Due to the heightened risk of infections in your feet, your podiatrist is better skilled at trimming toenails and can also remove calluses or corns.