Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can go wrong with our feet. Skin and bones can break, blisters can form, toenails and even toes can grow the wrong way, and the list goes on. Despite the fact that most of these are not very serious health risks, these can easily become very uncomfortable and debilitating, as our feet are not only used practically all day every day, but also bear the weight of our entire bodies.
Fortunately, many of these problems can often be easily treated at home. Cracked heels or blisters on the feet can be soaked, orthotics and pads can be used to treat bunions, and stretches or foot rolling exercises can be used to treat Plantar fasciitis, one of the most common conditions in human health. However, while it is often fine to treat a range of foot ailments at home, there are some times you should go and see a podiatrist.
First off, people with diabetes should always be particularly vigilant when it comes to foot health. Any slow-healing wound, or area of the foot that remains warm to the touch, could be a warning sign, and should always be taken seriously. But even for people who are not diabetic, there are some symptoms that should always be examined by a professional.
While it is not unusual to have pain or swelling in your foot, it should not remain this way for too long. After stubbing your toe for example, the pain may be described as “unbearable”, but this pain will typically subside after a few minutes, simply leaving the area a little more sensitive to the touch. If you are still in a lot of pain a short while later, it could be a sign that something has broken, especially if swelling is present.
Similarly, it is normal for an injured area, such as a twisted ankle, to remain swollen for a few days. But if there is no improvement to the swelling after 3 days, especially if you have been using home treatments such as ice packs or foot baths, it could be symptomatic of an underlying problem.
But the pain doesn’t have to be extreme in order for it to be a matter of concern. It can be easy to ignore low-level pain for a while, and go about life as normal in the hopes that it will just sort itself out. But if the pain remains after several weeks, it is likely not a problem that will go away, and it is important to have it examined before it deteriorates even further.
Persistent sensations of warmth or burning, as well as those of numbness or tingling, are often an indication of an underlying issue, particularly if the majority of the soles are affected. The problem here is that, because these issues don’t cause a lot of pain or appear to pose an immediate threat, they are often ignored. But symptoms such as these should be taken very seriously, and a visit to a podiatrist is highly advisable.
Any open wound, particularly if it is leaking pus, should be examined by your doctor, as wounds on the feet are highly susceptible to infection. Signs that an infection has already set in include redness, sensitivity, heat emanating from the affected area, or a fever of 37.8°C or above.
Because we use them for so much of our daily lives, problems with the feet can be particularly troublesome. Despite this, we often don’t see these as urgent, and instead hope that we can walk it off instead of paying for a doctor. But unless you are positive about the cause of the symptoms, foot problems can represent a wide variety of more serious issues.
So if you are experiencing any symptoms that seem unusually persistent or exaggerated, it is better to err on the side of caution, get in touch with our team and book in have it checked out.