Why visit a podiatrist?
Why do my feet hurt? Unfortunately, over the past few years we have ignored our bodies, and many have focused on avoiding a virus. This led to deleterious problems some of which can be found in our feet. We ignored conditions like plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammertoes and diabetic care and they only worsened. I tell patients that it’s best to be on the mild side of any condition rather than wait until it worsens significantly. Truth be told, treating mild symptoms of many conditions beats treating severe symptoms of many conditions.
Why did this happen over the past few years? Unfortunately, one reason can be found on our scales. Some polls showed responders say that 42 percent of them gained weight over the pandemic. Some studies revealed a 19-pound weight gain. Ah, COVID-19. Weight gain affects foot function in many ways but first and foremost you carry more weight which is a problem. Imagine carrying a 19 pound bag all day. Now imagine how that affects your feet. Specific conditions become exacerbated with weight gain such as plantar fasciitis. Most patients with this condition will relate to a weight gain, increased activity and or poor shoe gear. Plantar fasciitis is treatable. Strappings, injections and orthotics can be employed at one time or another to treat this condition.
Orthopedic conditions like bunions and hammertoes were ignored as well. Now that patients are wearing their work shoes pain has increased. It must have been great working in bedroom slippers but that is not the normal for everyone. Tight shoes have exacerbated conditions like bunions and hammertoes to name a few. Fixing these problems is another story. Better shoes can be a start. Unfortunately, structural deformities may require surgery. Patients will usually be walking in a surgical shoe after bone surgery especially hammertoes and some bunions. That would be a conversation for another day.
How about diabetics? Close diabetic foot care is an imperative on the level of diabetic eye care and renal care. The doctor treating your glucose is usually attentive to these referrals and it is important to have a check up at least once a year. If patients have neuropathy or circulation problems more visits may be needed but taking that first step to the office is the correct one. Sometimes diabetics can qualify for extra depth shoes and insoles which can protect the at-risk patient from problems.
In summary, visiting your podiatrist can help you to avoid unnecessary discomfort. We maintain our bodies with sleep, exercise and eating well so they won’t break down. Do the same for your feet. I have lost count of patient stories where they say they knew they had a problem and just hoped it away. It won’t go away without treatment. You only get one body, treat it well.
David Weiss, DPM, is the owner of Weiss Foot & Ankle Center located at 777 South White Horse Pike, Suite D1 in Hammonton. For more information or to make an appointment, call (609) 561-2488 or visit weissfootandankle.com.