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When we typically consider our overall health and well-being, we tend to ignore the foundation upon which our entire structure stands: feet.
Feet not only aid us in mobility but are crucial for other functions that we take for granted: balance, for example. Good balance helps us in preventing many injuries such as falls. It enables us to stand erect, and maintain good gait as we walk.
Ignoring regular foot care results in foot and ankle issues that can travel up the chain and reach your knees, thighs, and hips causing issues that can be difficult to manage and very expensive to treat.
In this article, we’ll talk about the benefits of regular foot checkups, common foot problems that can be treated with early intervention, and how you can find the perfect podiatrist to treat your foot issues.
Benefits of Regular Foot Checkups
• Pain Relief
Pain in the foot can affect the quality of your life severely. While it’s perfectly normal to experience some pain after a day full of physical activities, any recurring or sustained pain in the foot or ankle region is bad news.
With the help of an experienced podiatric doctor in Springfield Gardens, NY, typical causes of the pain can be treated in no time. For deeper and more complex issues, your podiatrist can discuss with you long-term treatment plans and pain management options.
• Early Intervention
So much pain, hurt, and medical expenses can be prevented if you just decide to go see your podiatrist every six months.
Early intervention helps detects small issues that can potentially become bigger problems if left untreated. This also ensures that your medical bills remain more manageable and that any risk of more invasive procedures further down the line can be minimized as much as possible.
• Preventive Care
The one thing that regular foot checkups focus on is preventive care. We talked about early detection earlier, and you can only achieve that with professional foot care that’s focused on prevention.
Through physical exams and diagnostic tests to investigate issues that your podiatrist isn’t one hundred percent happy about, you can detect problematic areas early and fix them with little damage and risk.
• Managing Chronic Conditions
If you suffer from chronic conditions such as arthritis or diabetes, regular foot checkups are a MUST. Any blister, cut, or sprain in your foot and ankle can get worsen really quickly if you suffer from chronic health conditions, especially diabetes.
Regular checkups in these cases can be extremely helpful and may even help salvage a limb.
So, do not take any of these issues lightly and think they’ll get better on their own. They won’t. Instead, they can get much worse and, in some cases, may result in amputations.
• Improved Mobility
The feet are one of the most sensitive parts of our bodies and are interconnected with other critical parts such as the knees and hips. Together, they help us control our movements and improve our quality of life.
With regular foot checkups, you can maintain high levels of mobility by addressing gait abnormalities, structural issues, or other balancing problems.
• Customized Foot Care
Podiatrists can provide personalized foot care education and help. They can give advice on appropriate orthotics and other footwear, guide you about stretching and other foot exercises, and overall give you a one-on-one consultation where you can ask them specific questions and get personalized help.
Common Foot Problems and Their Causes
Your feet do the heavy lifting for you all your life. It’s time you show them the same care and schedule a visit with your podiatrist in Springfield Gardens, NY as soon as you experience any of these issues.
- Foot pain: It can happen due to several reasons including injury, aging, foot deformity, poorly fit shoes, being overweight, being on your feet for too long, and others.
- Bunions: Bunions are a type of foot deformity where a bony lump starts developing on the side of your big toe. It can be extremely painful and requires professional podiatric care.
- Athlete’s foot: It refers to the fungal growth on any part of the foot. Separate from eczema and psoriasis, it’s highly contagious and requires treatment from a specialist podiatrist.
- Flat feet: While you can develop flat feet as you age, it usually happens when the arch of your foot collapses and falls on the soles of your feet. It’s not always painful but can cause issues in your shins, thighs, and knees.
- Heel pain: The heel bone is the largest in the foot. The most common causes of pain in the heel include plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, Achilles tendinitis, and others.
- Corns: Corns are a type of callus that grows on toes mostly due to the friction caused by tightly-fitted shoes. Corns are usually harmless but need professional treatment if they become painful or acquire excessive skin thickness.
- Sprains: Ankle or foot sprains are caused by sudden pulls or twists. Excessive sporting activities can also cause them. If a sprain isn’t going away with some light stretching and exercise, we recommend visiting with a podiatrist at your earliest.
How to Choose the Right Podiatrist
This is a list of essential factors to consider when choosing a podiatric doctor in Springfield Gardens, NY.
Professional Qualifications and Certifications:
In addition to their basic medical schooling from a reputable school, be sure to choose a doctor who has gained further certifications to indicate their continuous education and up-to-date knowledge about advancements in the podiatry world.
Experience and Specialization:
Many foot and ankle issues require specialist knowledge and experience. Since every podiatrist graduate with expertise in a different area of study, choose one that has expert knowledge in the area that you are most concerned about. For example, a podiatrist with expertise in treating difficult wounds associated with chronic conditions versus one with expertise in microbiology for bacterial infections.
Location and Accessibility:
While you should not finalize a podiatric specialist based on location alone, there are benefits to having your foot doctor’s practice nearby. Also, pay attention to how accessible that location is. Most podiatrist conduct their clinics in more than one location so you may have ample choice there.
Accepted Insurance Plans and Payment Options:
Another huge concern is how affordable your favorite podiatrist is and whether or not they accept your insurance plan. When you are doing your research, visit their website to look for more information regarding their payment options, and whether they offer any low monthly payment plans like so many podiatrists in Springfield Gardens, NY, do.
Availability of Advanced Technologies and Treatment Options:
If you are suffering from complicated foot or ankle issues, you want a podiatrist who has extensive knowledge and experience treating those conditions with the best possible technological assistance.
Chronic conditions such as diabetes where your entire limb could be at risk for amputation need the help of a podiatric doctor who has plenty of experience and proficiency in treating those problems and preventing worst-case scenarios.
The First Foot Checkup: What to Expect?
If this is going to be your first visit to a podiatrist, it’s natural to have a lot of questions. Here are some of the answers.
- Medical History Review: We’ll start your visit by asking you a lot of questions relevant to your medical history, specifically about any past surgeries, injuries, underlying conditions, or medical issues. We may also ask you about your lifestyle, activity level, the footwear you use, and similar. We do this to gain a full context of the problem.
- Symptom Assessment: In this next step, we’ll talk to you in detail about the concern that has brought you here. We’ll ask you to describe your foot or ankle problem, the location of the pain or injury, the pain or stress level, its severity, and any factors that worsen or alleviate the symptoms.
- Physical Examination: Armed with all that knowledge, our doctor will perform a thorough physical examination of your foot or ankle. They’ll examine the area for any redness, swelling, growth, or bruising. We may ask you to move your foot for us or walk a little so we can gauge the range of motion in your foot.
- Diagnostic Tests: If the physical exam and your symptom evaluation indicate the need for further investigation, your podiatrist may recommend further tests such as X-rays, ultrasound, MRI, or blood tests.
- Treatment Plans: Based on test reports, physical examination, and your symptoms, the podiatrist will explain your condition and its possible causes, discuss all the available treatment options with you, and recommend the best possible one.
- Education and Prevention: We’ll follow it up with a detailed session with you on ensuring that you follow through with the treatment plan. We’ll share preventive care tips with you so you can avoid future foot problems.
- Questions and Concerns: When you are preparing for your first visit, we recommend preparing a list of all the questions you have about the problem you are facing. Having a list down will help you remember all the important things to ask in case you forget some during discussions.
- Follow-Up: Depending on your treatment plan and diagnosis, your doctor may schedule your follow-up visit in that same consultation. If that doesn’t happen, our office will call you when you’re due for the next checkup.
Establishing a Foot Care Routine
- Wash and dry your feet daily.
- After drying, apply a moisturizer to hydrate the skin and avoid drying and cracking of feet.
- Air-dry your socks inside out and put them in the sun.
- Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, color changes in the foot or the nails, any swelling, redness, or sores.
- Do not go barefoot in public spaces where water may be accumulated on the floor like shower stalls or the pool area.
- Air your shoes in the sun.
- Do not share footwear with other people.
- When trimming your toenails, cut them straight, and do not try to round the corners. Avoid cutting them too short as well.
- Rotate your footwear so you don’t wear the same pair daily and give it time to get fully dried.
- Wear appropriate footwear for sports and physical activities.
Most types of pain and similar issues in the foot or ankle usually go away either on their own or with some adjustments to the lifestyle. Yet, some persist and become chronic issues that need extensive treatments and, in some cases, surgery and other invasive procedures.
To avoid all of that from happening and to maintain proper foot and ankle health at all times, regular visits to a podiatrist are extremely important. There, you can learn to take control of your foot health more proactively, manage pain more efficiently, and make lifestyle adjustments that prevent foot health issues from escalating.
Armed with the knowledge on how to choose the most professional podiatrist near you, you can schedule a visit at our clinic by calling 718-341-5313 and book same-day appointments for instant relief and care.