Which Foot and Ankle Issues Warrant a Doctor’s Visit

Most people have a foot or ankle problem at one time or another. So how do you know when to seek help?

By StatePoint

Many symptoms—even those you can tolerate—require the professional attention of a foot and ankle surgeon to keep the underlying condition from worsening. According to Danielle Butto, DPM, FACFAS, a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and a Fellow Member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS), “It’s important to remember that foot health is an important part of your overall health. You need to take care of your feet, which includes going to the doctor when you have pain, sustain an injury, or develop a condition needing professional evaluation and treatment.”

Here are five examples of when you should make an appointment with your foot and ankle surgeon.

  1. When you have diabetes: Living with diabetes means being more prone to a variety of conditions that affect the feet, including foot sores and ulcers. At the same time, diabetic nerve damage makes it harder to detect when there’s a problem. Regular visits to a foot and ankle surgeon should be part of your holistic diabetes treatment plan. The doctor can screen for the loss of protective sensations in the feet, as well as diagnose and treat any structural issues leading to ulcers and wounds. Swelling, temperature and color changes in the feet, and calluses, are all telltale signs an ulcer may be around the corner and warrant a trip to a foot and ankle surgeon.
  2. When children experience pain: When it comes to pediatric foot problems, early intervention is key to long-term successful treatment. As a parent, you may find distinguishing between growing pains and injuries or deformities difficult. But foot and ankle surgeons stress that pain isn’t normal and if it lasts more than a few days, or is severe enough to limit your child’s walking, it should be evaluated. Foot problems commonly experienced by children include flat feet, ingrown toenails, calcaneal apophysitis, and plantar warts.
  3. When you’re at risk for falling: Falls have become the leading cause of injury deaths among Americans 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the reasons falls occur are numerous, painful foot conditions are a contributing factor, as they make it difficult to maintain balance and coordination. Fortunately, many such conditions are treatable. See a foot and ankle surgeon to alleviate pain and reduce your risk of a life-changing fall.
  4. When you can benefit from medical advances: A loss of cartilage once meant a loss of functionality. Today, joint reconstruction surgery with cartilage regeneration offers real hope for long-term functionality, nurturing the body’s own ability to heal itself—with a little boost from technology and a knowledgeable surgeon. Likewise, new surgical techniques for ankle arthritis, including arthroscopic ankle surgery, total ankle joint replacements, and bone or cartilage replacement, are helping people stay active. Finally, platelet-rich plasma therapy can promote the healing of bones, cartilage, blood vessels, tendons, and tissue for many patients, and is associated with easier recovery than traditional treatments. If you suffer from a foot and ankle ailment, ask your healthcare provider about game-changing medical advances.
  5. When pain is sidelining you: It’s important for athletes and fitness enthusiasts to rest and recover rather than push through foot and ankle pain caused by an overuse injury. If the pain doesn’t improve in three to seven days, however, it’s time to see a foot and ankle surgeon for evaluation and treatment.

With the highest level of education, training, and board certification, foot and ankle surgeons are the leaders in surgical and non-surgical foot and ankle care. For more information, or to find a foot and ankle surgeon near you, visit FootHealthFacts.org, the patient education website of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.




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