Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Top 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Rely on Google Search to Treat Your Foot Ailments

The smartphone hasn’t just transformed the way you communicate. It has also significantly altered the way you see and access healthcare. With Google search at your fingertips, you can easily research an ailment and find ways to self-treat it. Hence it is no wonder that almost every ache and pain today is at the mercy of Dr. Google. It’s true that rising healthcare costs, steep insurance deductibles, and the frenetic schedule of modern-day living has made it difficult for people to seek the advice of experienced doctors. As a result, they turn to Google to find cheaper self-help options and it’s no different for foot ailments.

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

Though Google can be a valuable resource to help you understand what’s troubling you, it’s important to realize when things demand a specialist’s care. Google search results should never be followed blindly.  It is necessary to understand when you can treat yourself safely and when you are required to visit your doctor. When it comes to foot ailments, here are the top four reasons why you shouldn’t rely on Google search to play the doctor:

      1.       Your Generic Symptoms May Have Other Underlying Causes

A Google search on swelling and pain in the lower leg may bring you search results that suggest elevating your lower leg or using ice packs on the affected area. But your condition may have underlying causes such as blood clots, tendon tears, peripheral venous insufficiency, etc. Since Google can’t distinguish between these root causes, you need to see a podiatrist who would be able to find the root cause and suggest the proper course of treatment. If you decide to rely on Google, you may end up doing more harm than good to your leg, and in the long-run, your overall health as well.

      2.       Unreliability of Information Available

The results a Google search yield varies from reputed sites and blogs of podiatrists to common people who just share their opinions and suggestions. Thus, the information you depend on for treating your foot ailments on your own may often be unreliable as you can’t know whether the person giving the suggestions or talking about the treatment methods are really qualified to do it.

      3.     Risky to Play Doctor Without Proper Diagnosis

Foot doctors can prescribe different diagnostic tests such as x-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, blood tests, etc. to find out the underlying problems triggering your foot ailments. Based on the results of the test they can decide on the proper course of treatment. To understand why this is way better than relying on Google, imagine a scenario where a runner is down with leg pain and swelling. In case the runner has Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or an undetected blood clot, leaving it untreated could result in its migration into the brain and lungs, which could turn fatal. Seeking medical attention, in this case, would mean a quick diagnosis via a Doppler or a venogram. This will help in identifying the condition quickly and blood thinners, if needed, could be started.

     4.       The Absence of Personalized Treatment Plans

      Google won’t understand what is triggering your foot ailment. The same condition, say foot pain and swelling, in A, could be caused by poor biomechanics or cholesterol-lowering meds, while in B, ill-fitting shoes or tendonitis caused by overuse could be to blame. Approaching a foot doctor would mean personalized treatment for the exact cause which Google can’t provide.

In conclusion, it is safe to say that Google can be used as an adjunct for treating foot ailments but not as a replacement for an in-person assessment by an experienced podiatrist.