Once we have mastered walking, people rarely give their feet much thought. You may wonder how they look in a new pair of shoes, but, mostly, they are a means of transportation. That is, until something goes wrong. If you have persistent problems with your feet, it may be time to see a doctor. Doctors who specialize in disorders of the feet are called podiatrists. Here are a few medical conditions that merit a visit to a podiatrist.
Diabetes mellitus is a disorder that involves the body’s response to insulin. With Type 2 diabetes, insulin is being produced, but it is not properly used. This causes the body to produce even more insulin, which can lead to complications. Years of excessive blood sugar weakens the blood vessels. Problems with circulation start at the extremities. Without adequate blood flow, the body part stops functioning or dies. Peripheral neuropathy is another diabetic complication. It damages the nerves to the hands and feet.
Arthritis and Gout
Arthritis is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints. It can occur in different parts of the body, sometimes simultaneously. Gout is a type of arthritis that forms uric acid crystals in the joints of the legs and feet. These conditions can cause swelling and severe pain, which makes it difficult to walk or sleep at night. There are medications prescribed to treat the actual condition, but a podiatrist may be able to help you manage and maintain daily activities.
Sometimes the problem is due to a more uncommon culprit. There are people who were born with special conditions that cause significant issues with the feet. For example, the shape of a person’s feet has a lot to do their ability to function properly. Significantly high arches or a lack thereof can make it extremely painful to walk or even stand. Severe bunions can also cause long-term issues with mobility because the bones often shift over time. In extreme cases, surgery may be required.
The human body operates like a complex machine, with all the different components working together. It is essential to take care of your feet just as you would any other part of the body. Also, health problems that primarily involve other areas can have a important effect on your feet. This is why you should inform your doctor about any changes or discomfort. Most doctors will tell you that early detection is important for any diagnosis. The key is to stay informed and be your own advocate.