"How often do I have to go to the foot doctor?" is one of the most common questions asked by people painfully suffering from plantar fasciitis or other foot problems. Unfortunately, the answer is not as clear as one would like—there are many causes of foot pain and foot stress. Anything from injuries old and new, wear to the joints and bones, to weak ligaments, could cause foot pain. This article will answer the frequently asked question, "how often do I need to go to a podiatrist or a foot doctor?"
The first step when it comes to foot pain is to determine the cause. This usually means visiting a podiatrist for a foot examination. During this visit, your podiatrist will be able to accurately determine the exact source of the pain and determine the best course of treatment. Self-examination will only get someone as far as locating the pain. As with any injury, patients must carefully determine the cause before treatment and medications are administered. A podiatrist will be able to determine the pain’s cause and specify the injury type, and—most importantly—prescribe a method of treatment or cure.
If the pain continues even after going to see a podiatrist for a thorough examination of your foot and ankle, your next step may be an appointment with a physical therapist or a chiropractor. They may also recommend that you wear a brace or support splint for pain relief and prevention. In extreme cases, a bone spur or a break in the arch may be the cause of the pain. In these cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the bone spur or break.
If treating a physical issue such as a bone spur or break does not provide relief from plantar fasciitis pain, your podiatrist may prescribe a strong steroid injection. These injections are typically for six months at a time. After six months of steroid injections, most patients experience relief from the pain.
If the plantar fasciitis persists after six months of steroid injections, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. This includes a heel lift, laceration flap, orthotic replacement or a hammertoe release. Most of these procedures are performed under local anesthesia.
Foot pain is the most common reason for patients being prescribed crutches or orthotics. The most common reasons for foot pain are related to a fracture, high arches or other structural issues of the foot. In addition, many people injure their foot by using athletic shoes that offer little or no protection. As a result, subluxations may result. Subluxations are partial dislocations or misalignments between bones within joints. One of the primary reasons for this is poor arch support. Treatment involves custom orthotic devices or surgery. Most people who have to go to the doctor for arch support issues have very severe lower back pain and/or chronic foot pain. There are many different exercises and orthotic devices such as braces and splints, or arch supporting shoe insoles, that can help improve arch support. The most common and easily acquired of these are special orthotic insoles designed to distribute pressure evenly throughout the arch.
Patients with plantar fasciitis will also often suffer from inflammation, pain and redness in the heel, arch or bottom of the foot. This is often mistaken for a sprain or ligament injury. However, it is actually the result of the inflammation, swelling and edema of the fascia. In the worst cases, a plantar fasciitis diagnosis may be accompanied by fractures of the heel or bone spurs.
While it varies from person to person, on average a person suffers from foot pain at least once or twice a year. In addition, many people experience an increase in the severity of their foot pain, particularly after strenuous activity. In these cases, a doctor visit is recommended to obtain proper diagnosis and start an effective treatment or pain management plan.
How often do I need to go to the foot doctor? Other than corrective surgery, the most common treatment is physical therapy or massage, combined with a prescribed orthotic shoe insert. PowerStep offers many arch supporting orthotic shoe insoles. This not only helps relieve pain, it also helps to rebuild bone strength. Many patients are now taking non-surgical treatments on their own. This includes walking, stretching and strengthening exercises to return their feet to normal function.