A podiatrist looks after foot problems and I have covered some of these general foot care problem in part one of what a Podiatrist can do.
In the last article, I covered;
- Diabetic Foot Care
- Callus issues
- Ingrown Toenails
- Thickened Nails
- Plantar Warts
Now that we have dissected one half of a Podiatrist’s scope of practice in relation to general foot care, let’s now have a look at what podiatrists treat on the bio-mechanical side of things.
Bio-mechanical Foot Problems
Bio-mechanical foot care is when a podiatrist is using their bio-mechanical skills to diagnose and treat foot problems and injuries in the foot.
Podiatrists will look at all the joints, muscles and your gait, not only in the foot but the lower limb.
Sometimes we will have to look a bit further up the chain to help us get to the bottom of that injury! Let’s have a look at some of the more common bio-mechanical issue’s that a Podiatrist will see.
Flat feet or fallen arches, are a common foot problem within society. A lot of people will suffer from flat feet and have little or no symptoms of it.
This is sometimes due to the slow progression over time.
Sometimes a change in activity level of the body will reach a tipping point and these feet will become a problem. Sometimes people will have a sore arch and the muscle’s surrounding it.
Risk factors of people suffering from flat feet are obesity, poor footwear and chronic conditions such as arthritis.
Paediatric – Children’s Foot Problems
When you’re little child is born, you can’t remember how your feet functioned or looked when you were that age. Unless your a Paediatrician or a Podiatrist, chances are you won’t know how your developing babies foot is supposed to look.
There are a few issue’s with babies and young person’s feet that podiatrists will deal with. A child’s will go through growth phases between the age’s of 8 and 12.
Growth will stop around the age of 16 – 18. If you think there is an issue with your child, it’s probably best to get it seen earlier rather than later.
Plantar Fasciitis Foot Problems
Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common conditions that a Podiatrist will deal with. The Plantar Fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs from your heel bone to your toes.
This Fascia’s job is too help maintain the arch of the foot. It can become inflamed through a number of factors such as, poor footwear, walking on hard surfaces, an increase in weight and general muscle tightness.
Classically it will hurt in the morning when you wake up and get a little better as the day goes on.
Achilles Tendinitis is also another very common foot problem.
The Achilles Tendon is the tendon that joins to your heel bone from the calf muscle. It is the thickest tendon in the body and can sustain a lot of force.
It helps the foot plantar flex, or point towards the ground, which is obviously quite an important job when walking!
We can injure the Achilles tendon through a sudden increase in running and it will generally become sore and swollen after activity and sometimes become less painful when we are active again.
A bunion has much more chance of showing up on a ladies foot. This is a condition where the first metatarsal will start to turn into the middle of the body and the big toe will start to turn into the smaller toes.
This causes a bunion, or a lump on the side of your big toe joint.
Sometimes the bone or ‘lump’ can even get extra growth within the bone as this condition progresses.
Not as common, however we can see a Taylor’s bunion or bunionette appear on the little toe. It is a condition that is commonly caused from poor footwear and high heels, however there are some genetic links.
Diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis which effect the small joints of your toes and fingers can also put people at risk.
A neuroma is an inflamed nerve and is generally an issue in the forefoot. Most commonly found between the third and fourth metatarsal a neuroma found here is often called a Morton’s Neuroma. However that doesn’t mean that they can’t appear between other metatarsals!
When people have a neuroma they will feel nerve like symptoms such as tingling burning or numbness.
These ‘pinched’ nerves will more often be the result of poor footwear, however other problems such as bunions and flat feet can also be other risk factors.
Bursitis is a problem mainly seen in the forefoot for Podiatrists. Every joint in the body has a bursa it’s a fluid filled sack that acts like the grease of the body and helps joints move.
Sometimes in the forefoot because of the pressure of the body these bursa’s can become inflamed and cause pain.
There are a few reasons bursitis can occur, things that will make you more at risk of this are age, being overweight and also repetitive motions on your feet.
Early intervention is always the best solution to a quicker and more effective treatment. Unfortunately clients often see Podiatrists when their problem is chronic, and very painful.
A lot of the treatment options at this stage may not be as effective or will take a lot longer to heal than in an acute stage. So if you suspect you may have any of these issues, think about booking in to see a Podiatrist sooner rather than later.
- Australian Podiatry Association – Find a podiatrist near me. (2019). //www.podiatry.org.au/
- Podiatry.org.au. (2019). [online] Available at: //www.podiatry.org.au/documents/item/1860 [Accessed 10 Jul. 2019].
- Healthdirect.gov.au. (2019). What do paediatricians do?. [online] Available at: //www.healthdirect.gov.au/what-do-paediatricians-do [Accessed 10 Jul. 2019].