By Ankle and Foot Institute
December 05, 2014
Category: Foot Care
If you're having problems with your foot or ankle, you may need to see a doctor who works only with those parts of the body: a podiatrist. This may seem like such a small portion of your body, but there are a lot of issues that can affect your feet, and you may need to see a podiatrist for one of a dozen reasons — just think about how often you walk around and how many things your feet do each day.
A quarter of the bones in your body are in your feet. Add that to the 33 joints, 42 muscles and at least 50 ligaments and tendons in a single foot, and it's easy to imagine the potential for problems down there. Your feet are hotbeds for infection, too.
Those are two general groups of things podiatrists treat: injuries and infections. There are common issues like ankle sprains, ingrown toenails, heel pain and athlete's foot, but podiatrists have specialties, as well. For example, Richard F. Wittock, a podiatrist in St. Louis, is an expert in external fixation, a surgery that stabilizes and aligns fractured bones; athletic injuries; Extra Corporeal Shockwave Therapy, a procedure that uses sound waves to treat heel pain; and ankle implants, which is used to relieve ankle pain, particularly that stemming from arthritis.
Podiatrists can help you with all aspects of foot care. They can treat issues that stem from regular wear and tear or ill-fitting shoes, like blisters, calluses, hammer toes, toenail fungus, corns, bunions and warts, and your podiatrist can help you understand basic care that will help you avoid needing treatment for such ailments in the future.
If your needs go as far as foot or ankle surgery, your podiatrist can do that. You may have a chronic condition that requires a podiatrist's attention, as well, like diabetes, plantar fasciitis or a congenital deformity (i.e. a club foot). Whether you're suffering from a one-time injury or need ongoing therapy, seeing a podiatrist will guarantee your feet get the specialized treatment they need to keep you moving comfortably for many years.