What's a Podiatrist?


| 3 min read

Your feet are full of bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons, which means there are a lot of places for things to go wrong. And since you use your feet for, well, everything but sitting and sleeping, chronic foot pain can get in the way of all of your favorite activities. But it can be hard to tell when the pain is something that will go away on its own and when it's something that will just keep getting worse. The specialist who can help tell the difference is a podiatrist. Podiatrists focus on foot and ankle injuries and can diagnose sprains, tendinitis, bunions and any of the other issues that commonly happen to feet. But while 77 percent of Americans have had foot pain, the majority haven’t seen a podiatrist about it. Read on for insight into when a podiatrist might be able to help you get back on your feet.
  • Consistent pain: Having a weird ache every now and then is one thing, but if you are feeling foot pain day-in and day-out, you may want to see a podiatrist. It could be a sign of something that can be treated, like a broken bone, infection or tendonitis.
  • A growing bump: A lump on your foot or ankle that continues to get larger could be a cyst, which is common but extremely painful. A podiatrist might be able to offer treatment options and also make sure it isn’t a sign of a larger, more serious issue.
  • Discoloration: If your feet or toenails change colors, something could be going on. For example, feet that start to look pale can mean you have a circulation problem while darkened toenails could be a sign of a fungal infection.
  • Pain during physical activity: If you experience a shooting pain in your feet when running or during other physical activity, this could be a sign of a stress fracture, which could ultimately lead to broken bones. If you see a podiatrist early on, it could help nip the problem in the bud and avoid a lengthy recovery process.
  • Numbness or tingling sensations: These two symptoms could be a sign of neuropathy, which can result in decreased sensation in your feet. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for neuropathy, so diabetics might want to talk to their primary care physician about how often they should see a podiatrist.
Make sure you check your insurance coverage before you make an appointment with a specialist like a podiatrist. Your coverage might require you to get a referral through your primary care physician first. And if you're searching for a podiatrist, you can use Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's Find a Doctor tool. Interested in learning more about your feet? These blogs from A Healthier Michigan are full of information:
Photo credit: Julien Haler

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Braden Bills

Oct 18, 2016 at 4:49pm

Lately the toenail on my big toe has been hurting. I didn't know that it could be a big issue! It's been doing this for a while, so I should probably get it checked on. I'll make sure that I go to a podiatrist! http://www.northsydneypodiatry.com/

Lillian Schaeffer

Jul 14, 2016 at 1:50pm

This is some great information, and I appreciate your suggestion to visit a podiatrist if you have consistent pains in your foot. Since the beginning of this week, my right foot has been giving me problems, and it doesn't seem to be going away. I'm not sure what's causing the pain, so I'll definitely look into visiting a podiatrist to get that diagnosed and taken care of. Thanks for the great post! http://www.hcotler.com

Charles Kemp

Apr 20, 2016 at 10:22pm

I really didn't know what a podiatrist was until I started having feet problems and had to visit one. It is really interesting how they are good at figuring out what the problem is by just looking at bumps, coloration of our skin, and the types of pains that we are feeling. I wonder how they are able to figure out the problems so fast. http://www.chicagofeet.com/

Jeff Curtis

Apr 5, 2016 at 5:09pm

Thanks for the helpful information on what podiatrists do. I knew that a podiatrist was a type of doctor that worked with feet, but I wasn't sure exactly what they specialized in. It is good to know that if I have any of these issues, I should see a podiatrist. Thanks for the help! http://www.footandanklecenterofphila.com

Wesley Colberth

Mar 10, 2016 at 2:02am

Thanks for the information on podiatrists! I have always wondered about the many problems a foot can have and if there were specialists who could alleviate those problems. I think that many people can benefit from seeing a podiatrist because everyone has had foot problems before. http://www.foundationchiropody.com/

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