Your feet support you every day, and you should show them some love. Your family general practice can probably handle most of the less severe issues you may encounter with your feet and ankles, but there are several situations that may force you to seek a podiatry specialist.
Chronic pain in the feet or ankles
Pain may be caused by many things, including injury or trauma, dietary or nutrition concerns (including weight), or existing issues. Over-the-counter pain medications will sometimes ease this pain, but for chronic sufferers, a trip to the podiatrist might be necessary. Unexplained pain, such as mobility-hindering heel pain should definitely be checked by a specialist. Severe pain from a strain or broken bone should also be examined.
Bunions, callouses, and corns
While a common callous isn't usually anything to worry about, they can sometimes become very troublesome if not treated properly. Painful bunions and corns should be treated similarly. In any case, callouses, corns, and bunions can (and likely will) become worse over time until they are treated. A family doctor can sometimes make recommendations for easing pain and basic corrections, but a specialist will be able to investigate further and offer more permanent solutions.
Ingrown toenails are very common and have many causes, including too-tight shoes, poor nail grooming habits, and physical trauma. They can cause significant pain and inflammation and pose a significant risk of infection if left untreated. Treatment for ingrown toenails, which generally includes cutting out the deformed nail tissue, is not pretty, but this is the only way to fix a toenail that is already ingrown. Ingrown nails require a visit to a podiatrist and at-home treatments are not recommended due to the risk of infection or further injury.
Skin and fungal conditions
Stubborn athlete's foot or toenail fungus may require a trip to the podiatrist. If over-the-counter remedies aren't providing any relief, a prescription-strength medication may help more. A podiatrist can prescribe topical or oral medications that should help with most fungal infections.
If you plan to start running or engaging in other high-impact athletics, a trip to a podiatry specialist may be a good idea, especially if you already suffer from foot and ankle pain or have a history of injury. A podiatrist will be able to help to examine and evaluate your step and stride, making it easier to choose appropriate equipment to ensure the safety and health of your feet, preventing injury and making your exercise even more enjoyable.
Feet are important. Keep yours healthy by visiting a podiatrist when necessary. Many common foot and ankle issues can require visiting a podiatrist like Family Foot Center Podiatry Group Inc, and neglecting treatment can cause very serious issues down the road.