Podiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in problems affecting the feet or lower legs. They treat injuries as well as health issues associated with diabetes. Podiatrists can reset broken bones, perform surgery, order X-rays or lab tests, and recommend medication. They are regulated and licensed by state governments in the United States. Podiatrists study how bones, muscles, and nerves work together to help you move.
They also learn how injuries and illnesses can affect your feet. If you have diabetes, you may have trouble getting enough blood to your feet. Over sixty thousand individuals every year need to have their feet amputated due to complications from diabetes. Regular visits to your podiatrists can help prevent this.
The heel bone is the largest of any other bone in the human foot. It's susceptible to outside influences that can affect its ability to keep us stable on our feet. Heel pain can occur in the bottom, back, or front of the heel. Generally, it's the result of walking abnormalities or placing too much stress on the soft tissues and bone. It is also caused by injury, bruising, from wearing poorly-made footwear, being overweight, or jumping on hard surfaces. Heel spurs occur when the muscles and ligaments of the foot become strained by stretching the long band of tissue connecting the ball of the foot and heel.
Resting and light walking will only provide temporary relief. Heel pain can also be due to Achilles tendinitis, which is the pain in the back of the heel from inflammation of the Achilles tendon. This condition is common among individuals who walk or run frequently and have tight tendons. If left untreated, it can cause the growth of a bone spur on the back of the heel bone. A podiatrist will examine the foot and may perform X-rays to rule out other bone issues. Early treatment might include shoe recommendations, exercise, physical therapy, and customized shoe inserts.