Friday, 29 November 2013

Why Go To A Podiatric Physician?

Todays, medicine is very specialized. There are medical practitioners with expert knowledge of the problems and treatments for each part of the body. We go to opticians for our eyes, skin specialist for skin problems, cardiologists for heart conditions and so on. The feet are no different and deserve the same care and specialized treatment. For most of us our feet are far from our thoughts are we tend to take them for granted. We expect them to be sore after a long day. We accept the occasional small injury and pain as a part of life. Our feet are extremely tough and able to deal with carrying the weight of our bodies, day after day. But they are also highly engineered and very complex and if problems that do occur are not nipped in the bud, they can let us down, affect our mobility and alter the way we live our lives. The feet are also often the place where early signs of other medical conditions that affect other parts of the body first show up. Caring for the feet is important for our overall good health.

That’s why visiting a podiatric physician, often referred to as a podiatrist, regularly, is so important.

What Is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a highly trained specialist and a qualified Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). A podiatrist treats medical conditions and problems affecting the feet, ankles and the related parts of the legs. They know that the feet often are the first place that symptoms of other medical conditions appear and in such cases can refer the patient to another specialist to deal with problems affecting other parts of the body. Regular checkups of the feet are important not only for the feet but also for the rest of the body.

The Qualifications Of A Podiatrist

A podiatrist is a qualified medical practitioner. He or she will have completed 4 years of training in podiatric medicine and then 3 years of residency in a hospital. This is similar to the training that other medical specialists receive. Many then go on to spend more time increasing their areas of specialization. These can include such things as sports medicine, wound treatment, pediatric podiatry, diabetic care and surgery.

Podiatric Certification

As with all medical practitioners, podiatrists must undergo advanced training and obtain extensive clinical experience and pass a tough examination in order to be certified. This certification is conducted by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine or the American Board of Podiatric Surgery.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Having regular pedicures and keeping the feet looking nice and clean is a good thing. But that does not constitute foot care. The human foot has 26 bones, 19 muscles and tendons, 33 joints and 107 ligaments. The bones in the feet constitute almost 25% of all the bones in the body. It is this complexity that gives them their strength and toughness but it also means that there is a lot that can go wrong. Only a podiatrist can assess the condition of the feet, diagnose problems and provide the treatment that will enable the feet to stay as healthy, strong and mobile as possible.

Friday, 15 November 2013

A Daily Foot Care Routine

We brush our teeth a few times each day, wash our hands and our faces many times; but when it comes to our feet the cleaning they get in the bath or shower is enough. Perhaps it’s because our feet as usually encased in shoes and are not seen or because reaching them to examine and clean them is an effort. Whatever the reason, feet rarely get the care and attention they deserve. Feet are tough and can withstand a lot of use and abuse, but without proper care, sooner or later they will develop problems that can affect a person’s mobility and the quality of life. Taking care of the feet is a simple process and a daily care routine will enable them to continue to function in a healthy manner. Here are 5 simple things that constitute a daily foot care routine.

Dry The Feet Thoroughly

The space between the toes is often not completely dried after bathing. The dampness that remains is an ideal breeding ground for fungal infections such as Athlete’s Foot and discolored nails. Pulling a towel through the spaces between the toes a couple of time and allowing the skin to dry for a few minutes in the open before putting on socks and shoes will reduce the chances of such infections. Also change the towel used to dry the feet regularly. The use of a foot powder to absorb sweat is a useful addition to the routine.

Exfoliate

The weight they carry and the friction with socks and shoes as we walk causes the skin on the soles of the feet to become rough and hard. Use a pumice stone or a special exfoliating file to rub away the dead skin. The rubbing should use a smooth even motion that covers the whole of the sole of the foot. Excess pressure should not be used – the idea is to rub off only the hard rough skin. The joint and bony areas on the sides of the feet should not be ignored – but rub these areas gently. If there are stubborn hard patches that remain even after some days of exfoliation, a hard skin remover, available at most drug stores can be used.

Moisturize

Drying the feet thoroughly and exfoliation can leave the skin on the feet dry and tender. Using a moisturizing cream or lotion will keep the skin soft an supple and over time, reduce the amount of exfoliation that needs to be done. It is better to use a deep penetrating moisturizer because the skin on the feet is thicker than that on the rest of the body. Moisturizing formulations specially created for the feet are easily available.

Fresh Socks Or Stockings

Socks, stocking and tights should be changed every day, and, if possible, more often in hot humid conditions where the feet sweat more. Natural fibers such as cotton are the best option because the absorb sweat and allow the feet to breathe better that artificial fibers.

Rotate Shoes

Do not wear the same pair of shoes every day. Giving shoes a day to breathe and dry out before being worn again will protect your feet for the damage that this dampness could cause. It will also help to ensure that there is no odor from the shoes. In case an odor problem does develop, special shoe odor removing powders are available.

These simple steps should help to keep your feet healthy, clean and fresh. If, in spite of this problems do develop, it is advisable to visit a podiatrist for an examination.