A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in foot problems. They are sometimes known as a doctor of podiatric medicine and will usually have the initials DPM after their name. You can consult with the best podiatrist in Houston, TX if you are having any problems with your legs. A podiatrist can be a physician or a surgeon who mainly deals with foot and ankles as well as connecting different parts of the legs. They were initially referred to as chiropodists, a name that is occasionally used in modern medicine.
Medical Training of a Podiatrist
Podiatrist in Houston TX usually undergoes rigorous medical training, just like any other physician or surgeon. First, they have to complete their four years of study and training in any podiatric medical school. Once they are through, they are required to gain relevant experience by completing a minimum of three years of a residency program in either hospitals or clinics. After completing the residency program and passing all relevant exams, the American Board of Podiatric Medicine will certify the podiatrist. Some choose to specialize further by undertaking fellowship training that focuses on specific areas.
Who is a Podiatric Surgeon?
A podiatric surgeon is a podiatrist or medical doctor who specializes in foot surgery. They operate under the mandate of the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. They are required to pass a special examination, especially in general foot health, as well as surgery for foot conditions and injuries before the board certifies them. Furthermore, they have to be licensed in the states they operate in for them to practice. The license is renewable every few years, and they are also required to keep up to date with what is happening in their field of interest by attending special training programs and seminars.
Main Areas of Foot Medicine
A podiatrist will usually interact with people of all ages. This is because their typical areas of specialization affect people of all ages. Their work may be similar to that of a general care physician or family doctor. Other podiatrists can specialize in different areas of foot medicine, which may include but not limited to:
- Wound care
- Sports medicine
- Other types of foot care
It is advisable to see a podiatrist if your feet hurt, and it is usually an excellent practice to get your feet checked once in a while, even if they don’t hurt. The best thing about visiting a podiatrist is that they will safely remove hard or dead skin on your feet and clip the toenails correctly. They can also offer valuable advice on different types of shoes that are best for your feet.
Common Foot-related Problems
Some of the most common foot issues include but not limited to:
- Heel spurs
- Smelly feet
- Heel pain
- Ingrown toenails
- Foot and nail infections
- Foot injuries
- Flat feet
Some podiatrists choose to focus on particular feet problems such as:
- Removal of bunions
- Nail and skin diseases
- Fractured and broken bones
- Foot prosthetics
- Walking patterns
Risk Factors that Can Trigger Foot Problems
Certain medical or health conditions make a person susceptible to foot problems. Some of the health conditions include:
- High cholesterol levels
- Poor blood circulation
- Stroke and heart diseases
Diabetic individuals are at a higher risk of developing foot problems. It is, therefore, important that they pay attention to any changes that occur in their feet. They should also write down any signs and symptoms that they are experiencing in their legs. Treating underlying conditions such as diabetes can help ease some common foot problems.
Why is it Necessary to See a Podiatrist?
It is essential to see both the family doctor and a podiatrist if you are experiencing any problems in your foot. Sometimes it is even necessary to consult with other specialized doctors as physical therapy can help manage the symptoms. The podiatrist or family doctor will carry out some tests to ascertain the cause of pain in your foot. Some of the tests the doctor will carry out include:
- Nail swab
- MRI scan
- Blood test
Some of the reasons why you will be required to see a medical doctor include:
- You might have diabetes, which can damage the nerves in your feet. This can often lead to pain, ulcers, or numbness in your legs.
- Sometimes you can have a nail infection which can be treated by anti-fungal medication prescribed by a general health physician
- You might have flat feet and therefore need to wear orthotics necessary for foot support. A podiatrist can customize your foot support braces using molds of your feet.
- You can experience pain in your feet due to arthritis and gout. Your family doctor or any general health practitioner can treat such conditions effectively.