Podiatrists are doctors who concentrate on treating conditions of the foot, ankle, and connecting parts of the leg. To become a podiatrist, a person must complete four years of undergraduate education, four years of graduate education at a podiatric medical college, and two or three years of hospital-based residency training. There are many specialties within the field of podiatry, such as foot and ankle surgery, sporting injuries, and pediatric ailments.
How a Podiatrist Can Help Your Foot Condition
Podiatrists have to fully understand the structures of the lower leg, but they must also know how chronic health conditions affect the feet, ankles, and toenails. In many cases, proper treatment of the foot will involve not just topical treatments and footwear adjustments, but diet modifications, exercise recommendations, and physical therapy.
Podiatrists help their patients by:
- Performing thorough examinations. A problem in the feet can be caused by footwear or trauma, but it can also originate somewhere else in the body. Podiatrists conduct physical examinations of the lower extremities, but also consider systemic factors that could be contributing to foot and ankle pain.
- Ordering diagnostic tests. In order to get a full picture of the patient's ailment, a podiatrist will often perform diagnostics such as X-rays or lab tests. The results of these tests allow your podiatrist to make the most effective treatment plan.
- Recommending treatment plans. Patient education is key to overcoming a foot problem for good. Your podiatrist will discuss your condition and potential treatment options with you, including conservative measures (such as orthotic devices or medications) and more complex remedies (such as surgery).
- Preventing future suffering. Once you have been treated for a condition, your podiatrist will focus on preventing problems from coming back. You may need regular visits to inspect diabetic feet, treat fungal nails, or to allow the doctor to monitor your healing after surgery.
Whether you have an ongoing condition or need immediate intervention for an injury, the foot and ankle specialists at Greater Washington Advanced Podiatry are here to help. We offer free initial consultations to determine the root cause of the problem, and create a customized treatment plan to get you back on your feet as soon as possible. Simply fill out our online contact form or call us at (301) 515-FEET to set up your first visit.