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It has been claimed by many scientists that true human development began when our ancestors began to walk upright. It allowed for faster locomotion and enabled them to travel vast distances. However, an upright stance also had its drawbacks. It meant that changes to the pelvic structure had to back place – meaning more painful childbirth and it placed great strain the back – to this day many people suffer from near constant back pain.
It also places great strain on the feet and ankles. Problems with these parts of the body have led to the specialization of podiatry – or treatments by a foot doctor.
For those with foot or ankle issues the most important decision to make is just when it is the right time to see a foot doctor. Often issues revolving around the foot or ankle will resolve themselves. However, given the strain that is placed on these parts of the body, it is sometimes better to be safe than sorry. An appointment with a podiatrist when the problem first presents itself may prevent more serious problems from developing.
So why would you want to see a specialist like this?
Firstly a podiatrist can perform surgery and also can take care of post-operative care, as well as prescribing antibiotics in cases where they are called for. The specialization of podiatry is one where a unique set of skills is called for. Where surgery on the foot or ankle is required it can be complex and delicate due to the fact that the skin is very close to the bone – unlike other parts of the body.
This can be of great concern, especially where surgery is required for people who may have circulatory issues. this is often the case with diabetics who suffer from infections around the area of the feet. These infections can spread rapidly and affect the bones. Diabetics with infections need to see a foot doctor as a matter of urgency should infection be detected.
Podiatrists are fully trained doctors with the skills to help those who might require aids while walking, including specialized shoe inserts. As part of their skill set, they are highly skilled at biomechanics and also on how the load-bearing systems of the body operate – and how to correct imbalances and problems that may occur with the load bearing structures including the ankles and feet.
The fact that a podiatrist can provide both advice and medication is tremendously important when there is an injury to the foot. One of the first tasks is diagnosis of the nature of the problem. A foot doctor can order a battery of tests using highly specialized equipment such as MRI scanners. He or she will also be able to recommend X-rays should they be required. They will then be able to interpret the results of these types of tests and recommend the optimal treatment and way forward to both rectify the problem and ensure that no longer-term damage will occur.
Although many people who are experiencing pain in their feet or who have injured their feet or ankles will first seek the opinion of a general practitioner it is important to seek the help of a podiatrist as soon as possible. Due to the fact that they are specialists who focus exclusively on a single part of the body their knowledge is far more in-depth than that of a GP. They are able to perform procedures that address problems in skin structure, nerves, bone and all the interrelated parts of the feet and ankles.
In an emergency situation taking the time to see a general practitioner might not be the optimum path to take. If the injury is to the feet or the ankles getting to see a podiatrist immediately is the best course of action. In cases like this time is of the essence and seeing a specialist right away can often mean the difference between full recovery and permanent damage to the structures of the foot or ankle.
In summary – if you are experiencing pain in your feet – or your ankle a visit to a podiatrist is a matter of urgency. Ignoring the problem might have extremely serious long-term consequences.