A podiatrist is a professional medical specialist whose practice is concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, conditions and injuries to the foot and ankle. This includes common problems such as bunions, corns and calluses as well as hammertoes, warts and heel spurs. A podiatrist also provides treatment for more serious conditions, such as sprains, fractures and infections.
What’s the difference between a podiatrist and a chiropodist?
Podiatrists have to meet higher educational standards than chiropodists do, and as a result chiropodists are much more limited in the type treatments they are able to perform. It can take as much as eight years of university level education, as well as the completion of a residency program lasting 1 – 3 years before a candidate is qualified to practice podiatry.
Do I need a referral from my doctor to consult a podiatrist?
No. You are free to contact a podiatrist directly for treatment. To schedule an appointment with Jeffrey A. Liebman DPM click here.
I’m diabetic. Are there any special precautions I should take?
Diabetes and poor circulation often are first detected in the feet. An early consultation with a podiatrist can prevent the development of more serious conditions such as ulceration and numbness. If you notice changes in skin colour and temperature, or swelling of your foot and ankle, if you are bothered by bleeding corns or calluses, or an open sore that is slow to heal, these may be indications that you are suffering from diabetes. Without proper treatment these conditions could worsen and lead to serious consequences, including amputation. If you experience any of these symptoms you should consult a podiatrist right away.
What are orthotics?
Orthotics are specialized biomechanical devices that provide stability and support to bones and joints of the foot and ankle, relieving pain and pressure during daily activities. Orthotics serve to control pain and provide comfort and support to patients plagued by arthritis, over-exercise, injury, flat feet, and other causes.
How often should orthotics be replaced?
In order to remain effective orthotics should be replaced a minimum of every two years.
What is an ingrown nail?
While ingrown nails can occur on both the hands and feet, they more commonly affect the toenails. An ingrown nail is a painful condition that occurs when the nail begins to grow into the skin surrounding it. This can lead to inflammation, discomfort and the possibility of infection and can be very serious for people who suffer from poor circulation and diabetes.
How can ingrown nails be prevented?
To avoid ingrown nails always trim toenails straight across with only slightly rounded edges, making them even with the tips of your toes and finishing with gentle filing with an emery board, if necessary. If you have ingrown or infected nails you should consult a podiatrist immediately.
Are warts contagious?
Frequently called “plantar warts” because they appear most often on the plantar surface of the foot, warts are caused by a viral infection, and as such can be transmitted by contact with moist walking surfaces. Warts can be prevented by wearing flip-flops or sandals in public areas such as showers or communal changing rooms and by avoiding direct contact with people afflicted with them.