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What Does A Podiatrist Do?

Many individuals have ailments of the lower legs, ankles, and the feet that often need the attention of a doctor. This type of doctor is a podiatrist often termed a chiropodist and known to many as a “foot doctor”. Their specialty is studying, diagnosing, and treating problems and conditions of these types of ailments. Prevention is another area of their specialty.

Certain Health Issues

There are many different health issues that a podiatrist attends to. They aim to correct any issues such as deformities if possible and prevent certain conditions from worsening or occurring as well as attempt to aid individuals in maintaining as normal an amount of functioning and mobility as possible. Other issues and conditions that a podiatrist deals with are some of the following:
• Any type of pain involving the bones of the lower legs, ankles, or feet.
• Any discomfort or condition of the connective tissues or soft tissues.
• Different types of arthritic problems.
• Deformities such as hammertoe.
• Formation of corns, plantar warts, and bunions.
• Evaluation and removal of ingrown toenails.
• Care and treatment of toenail fungus.
Diabetic foot care such as toenail trimming and filing.
• Any type of skin issue of the feet.
• Advisement as to proper footwear.
• Orthotic prescription if necessary.

Anyone suffering with any of these conditions as well as those who may experience cramping and/or numbness in the lower extremities should seek medical advice from a podiatrist or their family doctor who may in turn refer the individual to a podiatrist. Podiatrists need to be alerted of all medical diagnoses or illnesses that a person may have along with the type and dose of medication one is currently prescribed. They may also ask if an individual smokes or consumes alcohol as this may contribute to some of the conditions that a person may be suffering from.

Surgical Procedures

Often when a person has a fractured bone or a ligament that may be torn, a podiatrist will suggest that surgery be performed in order to repair the damage. Various podiatrists may be licensed to do such tasks as surgery and some may send the individual to an orthopedic surgeon. However, no matter who performs the surgery, the podiatrist will want to see the person for follow-up appointments to monitor the progression of the healing process. Sometimes following surgery, a person may need certain things such as shoe inserts or other orthotic supplies as well as pain medication and the podiatrist can see that all of these needs are met. Many times they must also refer an individual to go for physical therapy as part of their recovery.

Podiatrists Practice

The vast amount of podiatrists work in their own offices also known as private practice. Some may find it beneficial in many ways to work with another or several other podiatrists in one office. This is a joint practice. However, there are those that practice their area of medicine as a member of a team in some of the larger hospitals. No matter where they work, a podiatrist is usually in charge of assuring that a person’s medical records are maintained confidential as well as other administrative duties. Those alone in a private practice often perform such tasks as employee hiring, bill paying, and service advertisement. In choosing a podiatrist, one may simply ask their own family physician who they would recommend.
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