More FAQs

What is a Podiatrist?

A Podiatrist is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). The medical care that Podiatrists provide is referred to as podiatric medicine and surgery, and includes the medical, surgical, and mechanical care of the foot and ankle. The foot and ankle is a complex structure comprised of bones, nerves, tendons, muscles, and joints.

What is the difference between a podiatrist and a doctor of general medicine?

Podiatrists are specially trained in the care of orthopedic deformities, diseases, and injuries of the foot and ankle. This includes birth deformities, growth deformities, work or sports injuries, fractures, bunions, hammertoes, heel spurs, ankle trauma, ingrown nails, arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, and peripheral vascular disease.

Should I call a podiatrist for my foot and ankle problems?

Over the past decade, medical care has become very specialized. A podiatrist is board certified in all problems relating to the ankle and foot. Any ankle or foot concerns can be treated by a podiatrist who is a specialist in this area.

My mom had bunions. Does that mean I will get them?

Bunions occur more commonly in women and sometimes run in families. People born with abnormal bones in their feet are more likely to form a bunion. Wearing narrow-toed, high-heeled shoes may lead to a bunion. The condition may become painful as extra bone and a fluid-filled sac grow at the base of the big toe.

How are bunions diagnosed?

Usually a doctor can diagnose a bunion by looking at it, but a foot X-ray can show an abnormal angle between the big toe and the foot.

Do I have to give up my stilettos if I have a bunion?

Yes. Many adults do well by caring for the bunion when it first starts to develop, and wearing different shoes is a big factor in caring for your feet.

When should I call my doctor?

It’s time to seek medical attention when the bunion continues to cause pain even after you have switched to wider shoes, it prevents you from participating in your daily activities and if there are any signs of infection like redness or swelling. If you have diabetes, call your doctor immediately.

Are fungal nail infections common?

Yes. By some estimates, as many as 36 million Americans have fingernails or toenails (usually toenails) that have become discolored and disfigured due to a fungal infection of one kind or another.

Who’s at risk?

Everybody is. The risk increases with age, however, perhaps because older nails are more susceptible to the infections.

How can I tell if I have one of these infections?

A nail that is discolored is an early sign. But you can’t know for sure until you see a doctor and have a sample of your nail examined in a laboratory. Nails can become thick and discolored for reasons other than a fungal infection.

Are fungal nail infections contagious?

Yes. An infection can spread from nail to nail—and from person to person. That’s one reason it’s important to get treated at the first sign of a fungal infection.

If I have athlete’s foot, am I more likely to develop a nail infection?

Yes. Nail infections are frequently caused by the same fungus responsible for athlete’s foot.

Are nail infections dangerous?

If not treated properly nail fungus can lead to serious health risks and complications.

How long is the recovery from bunion surgery?

The recovery for bunion surgery varies depending on a number of factors which include the procedure chosen to correct the bunion, the patient’s age and current medical status. The procedure is out-patient and patients are advised to rest and elevate their foot most of the time the first few weeks following surgery. They will wear a surgical boot and transition to a gym shoe once adequate healing occurs.

Who gets plantar fasciitis?

Though most often seen in middle-aged men and women, anyone can get plantar fasciitis. It is also seen in people who gain weight rapidly, runners and other athletes.

When should I call my doctor?

If you don’t see much progress in heel pain after a few weeks of stretching and rest, call your doctor. But call sooner if the pain worsens, you have diabetes or any other condition that causes poor circulation.

How can I prevent plantar fasciitis?

Maintain a healthy weight, wear supportive shoes, buy new athletic shoes after every 400 miles of use and start new activities slowly.

How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?

The doctor will look for points of tenderness in your foot, which can rule out tendonitis, arthritis or a cyst. He may also recommend an X-ray or MRI to rule out a stress fracture.

What are some of the complications from hammer toe?

Possible complications include foot deformity and posture changes caused by difficulty walking.

I think my child has hammer toe. Is that possible?

The condition may be present at birth or develop from wearing short, narrow shoes. Hammer toe also occurs in children who continue to wear shoes they have outgrown.