Individuals spend an excessive amount of time on their feet. For this reason good foot care is essential to balanced health. Podiatrists, doctors in the field of Podiatry, often treat various foot aliments, problems and diseases. Acquire insight on podiatry and foot medicine by understanding the following definitions.
Podiatry - The branch of medicine that diagnoses, treats and prevents diseases associated with the human foot and ankle. It is a sub-specialty of internal medicine and is also referred to as chiropody.
Bunion - Pain and swelling at the base of the big toe. It forms when the joint enlarges due to new bone forming. A bunion also indicates that the toe is misaligned. Typically women are affected by this condition, especially ballet dancers. Other factors that contribute to a bunion forming, include wearing high heel shoes or shoes that are too tight.
Bunionectomy - Surgery to remove the bunion and re-align the big toe. In this surgery bone cutting is performed on one or more bones of the foot, like the ankle. This removes spurs around the joint and balances the tendons around the toe.
Heel Spur - Nail-like growth of calcium around the ligaments and tendons of the foot where it attaches to the heel bone. It is also referred to as calcaneal spur. Men and women are at risks for heel spurs and often associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, poor circulation of the blood and other degenerative diseases. It is important to inform the podiatrist of any preexisting conditions when seeking treatment for a heel spur.
Plantar Fasciitis - Inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot.
Ossatron Machine - Machine used to treat plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and inflammation of the heel. This is shock-wave therapy applied to the affected area to help reduce inflammation.
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Podiatrists are medical professionals that focus on the care of the human foot, and they are generally referred to as doctors of podiatry.
The need for specialized care of the foot, ankle and leg is growing. Diabetics often develop foot and limb problems. Geriatric medicine also often involves foot care, with elderly people developing issues such as bunions, calluses and arthritis. Some podiatrists may specialize in this, while others offer pediatric care. Pediatric podiatry might include the treatment of club feet and other deformities or advising parents on how best to ensure the healthy development of their child's feet and legs.
Podiatry is also important to the physically active. Sports medicine places a great importance on the feet and legs. Podiatrists may be called upon to assist in the treatment of athlete's foot or for a tendon injury. One common problem, especially in runners, is heel pain. Toe problems can include ingrown nails, arthritis and turf toe, which is a tearing of the joint capsule at the base of the big toe associated with playing sports on artificial turf.
Podiatrists work in hospitals and clinics. They may prescribe treatments ranging from a change of shoes to surgery. As doctors, they are able to write prescriptions for medications, such as pain relievers. Although podiatry focuses on the foot and ankle, and on treatments for bunions and heel spurs, the feet are often an echo of the general health of an individual. Poor circulation can aggravate foot problems. While many people may never see a podiatrist, they can be an essential medical professional for many diabetics and athletes.