FOOT CARE: HOW PODIATRY AND PODIATRIST PROTECT YOUR FEET
WHAT IS PODIATRY?
Authored by Dr. Burton S. Schuler, Google+
Podiatry is a branch of medicine that is dedicated to foot care by dealing with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and ankles. The aim of podiatry is to improve the health and well-being of the public. Podiatrist earn the degree of Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) and are physicians and surgeons of the feet and ankles. Podiatrists are also called foot doctors, foot care specialist or podiatric surgeons. Podiatrists are the only health care group who specialize solely in foot care.
Education of a Podiatrist
The normal course of education for Doctors of Podiatric Medicine includes four years of undergraduate work, followed by four years in an accredited podiatric medical school. The new podiatrist then performes a residency of 1-3 years.
DPMs are licensed in all 50 states, to diagnose and treat the foot and ankle. In order to get a state license to practice podiatric medicine the new doctor must pass written and oral examinations in the state they want to practice in.
Over the past 60 years the U.S. government has spent hundreds of millions of our dollars to train an army of foot specialist to give us good foot care. This is vital in the light of the massive outbreak of Diabetsis in the population. The treatment of Diabetsis is in this writer’s opinion is the single most important task the profession of podiatry does on a daily basis.
FOOT CARE: Some of the Foot Ailments Podiatrists Treat
Loss of Sensation (Neuropathy)
FOOT CARE FOR CHILDREN
Treating children is also an important part of providing foot care to the public. Their unique foot problems are often missed, causing lifelong problems for them. They have structural imbalances of the feet that often cause great pains that are misdiagnosed for other problems. They can be unrecognized causing other deformities and problems within their body. The podiatrist is the best health care professional suited for treating these problems.
The other special group seen by the Doctors of Podiatric Medicine are seniors. They have their own special need of foot care. This can be ongoing palliative treatment for toenails care and for trimming of corns and calluses; and diabetic ulcerations. Circulatory problem are also common at this point in life among seniors as well as forms of arthritis’s. Again it is the foot doctor who is best qualified to treat these problems in the older patient.
As stated above the treatment of diabetics especially the preventive treatment is very important.
On the Job Foot Care.
On a daily basis podiatrists treat foot care problems which are due directly to people jobs. Such people as waiters, hairdressers, factory workers and nurses are examples of those who are more likely to develop long-term foot problems unless preventative measures are taken. Podiatrists are best suited to treat these problems by evaluation the patient feet for biomechanics l problems that can appear with time..
The fabrication of orthotics as already stated are a main stay of the modern podiatric practice. Orthoses are custom-made inserts for shoes made to control the patient’s abnormal foot pathology There are two classes of orthotics.– functional orthoses or palliative orthoses.
Palliative orthoses are designed specifically to treat pin point area on the bottom of the feet. Most often to treat painful area on the balls of the feet, or areas with ulcers. They are made of softer materials than functional orthotics are, normally from foam, leather or rubber They are often used for patients with severe arthritis.
Podiatrist use both non surgical and surgical techniques in the treatment of their patients. In aid of making proper diagnosis they now use X-rays and Sonography and other tests . Non surgical treatments such as ultrasound, injections , taping, and paddings are used by a podiatrist on a daily basis for many podiatric problems. Surgery on an out-patient basis may involve the use of traditional orthopedic foot surgery or minimal incision surgical techniques first devolved over 40 years ago by the Academy of Ambulatory Foot Surgery. Custom orthotics are always an important part of any treatment to address the underlining biomechanical imbalances causing most foot problems.
WHY YOUR FEET HURT
To get a true feeling for foot care you must understand why your feet really hurt. Heredity is the major causes for having foot problems. When someone says that you look like your mom or dad, bear in mind that the resemblances can also extend to how your feet look and act. It is not unusual to see three generations of one family only to see the same problems.
Most people think the reason(s) their feet are hurting are because of a bad pair of shoes, having the wrong job or just standing too much. I don’t believe so. Don’t misunderstand, those things (job, shoes, standing) can definitely aggravate a foot already susceptible to having problems, but by themselves, they are rarely the real underlying causes of the foot problems. They are simply the external stresses that finally push your feet over the edge in mid-life, causing you to have pain. When I tell patients for the first time that their foot problems are NOT likely due to their job, shoes, and/or standing on their feet too much, but rather due to Ma, Pa, or Uncle Louie, they look at me dumbfounded. Think about it. Does everyone you work with, who has the same job as you, stand on the same floor for as long as you do, or wear the same exact style shoe as you, have foot problems? Of course not! Then why do you and not they? It is because in the great lottery of life, you were born with the tendency to have a Morton’s Toe or some other foot problem. Of course, if you knowingly wear shoes that are wrong for your feet, they will hurt. In regard to shoes, don’t forget that famous age old saying, “You cannot fit a salami into a hot dog bun.”
Patients ask me all the time, “Dr. Schuler, what can I do to prevent my foot problems?” My answer is simple: “Pick different parents next time, when it comes to your feet.”
Most people who inherit the tendency to have foot problems don’t have these problems until they reach middle age. That is when these inherited traits start to take their toll due to the day-in, day-out trauma that has built up over the years.