When appraising the most common or pressing types of health issue in the UK, conditions pertaining to feet tend not to feature in the top 10. There are several reasons for this; from the sense of embarrassment that we often have about our feet to the lack of serious conditions that directly affect this area of the body.
Podiatry is the name given to the branch of medicine concerned with complaints in the feet and lower extremities, and you may be surprised to note that this plays a key role in treating foot and ankle pain and helping to diagnose secondary health issues elsewhere in the body.
There are more than 12,000 podiatrists currently practicing in the UK, but what are the benefits of this branch of medicine and why should you care as a patient?
They Can Cure Long-term Foot Problems
Given that we rely on our feet to get around, it stands to reason that pain in this area of the body may be extremely debilitating.
Whether this is caused by minor complaints such as fungal infections and skin lesions or more serious issues like bone deformations and diabetic ulcers, it’s important to deal with the underlying issue and provide sustainable care going forward.
Make no mistake; burying your head and ignoring even minor foot complaints can cause issues to develop and potentially become chronic over time, so it’s important to seek out expert care as a matter of urgency. For example, untreated bunions can grow to the point where you cannot wear normal shoes and surgery becomes the only viable options.
By seeing a podiatrist at the earliest opportunity, however, you can tackle the issue head on and alleviate symptoms over time.
They Can Help to Keep You Active
We’ve seen sterling work done in the wider field of podiatry in recent times, with specialist firms such as Mobility Solutions now selling well-fitted and breathable footwear for older patients who have specific conditions relating to the foot or ankle.
Podiatrists can also help you to optimise your mobility and activity levels as you age, primarily because they deal directly with impact or sport injuries that impede the movement of your feet or ankle joint.
If you’re a runner, for example, pounding your feet regularly against hard surfaces can place huge stress on your muscles and ankle joints, as well as the tendons and ligaments in your lower legs.
A skilled podiatrist can treat impact injuries and even perform a subsequent gait analysis, while recommending the best style of trainers and footwear to compliment your feet and unique running style.
They Can Inspire Beneficial Lifestyle Changes
As experts in the field of feet and the lower extremities, podiatrists can deliver a diverse range of foot care advice that helps you to maintain your mobility and wellbeing over a sustained period of time.
This even applies to nutrition, as specific vitamins play a key role in maintaining toenail health and ensuring that the blood-flow to your feet is sustained over time.
By taking this advice and treatment on-board, you can make positive lifestyle and dietary changes that actively boost your intake of iron, Vitamin D and other key supplements.
This can help keep you active and mobile for years, while ensuring that you avoid unnecessary health issues that often plague people in later life.