Those who ignore their feet do so at their own peril.

When your feet and ankles are tired, in pain, or not working as they should, everything else grinds to a halt. An 8-hour workday feels like 80. Daily chores, exercise, and activities that used to be fun now seem difficult to even contemplate, let alone enjoy.

You could go see your primary care physician, but there are several reasons why you should consider seeing a podiatrist—that is, a foot and ankle specialist—instead.

A podiatrist examining a patient's foot
  • Podiatrists work exclusively on the feet and ankles, and receive extensive training in all aspects of foot and ankle care. If you’re experiencing significant foot pain, would you rather receive care from someone who treats feet once in a while, or someone who works on them all day, every day?
  • Rather than specializing in one just one area of medicine (nerves, bones, etc.), podiatrists are multi-disciplinary doctors trained to “do it all” when it comes to foot and ankle pain and conditions—everything from fungal infections to tendinitis to neuropathy to arthritis to surgery. You are more likely to get a quick and accurate diagnosis from a podiatrist than a generalist.
  • Feet are complex—they have 26 bones and 33 joints each, along with an intricate layering of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels. Fully a quarter of your bones are at the ankle level and below!

So, now you have an idea of why a podiatrist is the best choice to provide your foot and ankle care. But how do you know when it’s time to go? How do you separate a minor ache or pain from something you should talk to a doctor about?

There are no firm rules, but any of the following scenarios would be solid grounds for booking an appointment as soon as possible:

  • You are experiencing foot pain or motion loss that is affecting your daily life in a negative way.
  • Symptoms are lingering or getting worse over time, rather than better.
  • You notice any changes to the structure or appearance of your feet—bunion, hammertoes, flattening arches, etc.
  • You notice discoloration, swelling, or pain in and around the toenails.
  • You struggle with persistent skin problems or irritation along the feet, such as corns, calluses, or chronically dry and cracked skin.
  • You have diabetes. (Because of the risks to foot health, people with diabetes should see a foot specialist at least once per year.)
  • You experienced an injury (traumatic or overuse) to your lower limb, such as an ankle sprain or Achilles tendinitis.

In short—if your feet are causing you any kind of problem, and you need help, a podiatrist is the person you want to call.

And at Northwest Extremity Specialists, getting excellent, expert treatment for your feet and ankles has never been easier. With almost a dozen doctors and locations, advanced treatment options, same-day appointments, and comprehensive insurance options, relief is never far away. Give us a call today at (503) 245-2420 to set up your appointment.

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