What is a Podiatrist?

A doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) practices the medical, surgical, and biomechanical treatment of the human foot, ankle, and associated structures. Although we specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of problems affecting the foot and ankle, Doctors of Podiatric Medicine are also highly trained health care providers. We see people of all ages and are often the first medical specialists to diagnose systemic problems that affect the feet and ankles such as diabetes, gout, hypertension, immun eficiencies, and arthritis. Four years of medical school is typically followed by 2 or 3 years of residency that certifies these doctors to function as partners in the larger medical community. Podiatric physicians (podiatrists) are the only medical professionals who exclusively specialize in treating the foot and ankle.

What does a podiatric physician do?

  • Diagnoses lower extremity pathology such as tumors, ulcers, fractures, skin and nail diseases, and congenital and acquired deformities
  • Makes independent judgments, prescribes medications, utilizes x-rays, MRI, ultrasound and other laboratory tests for diagnostic purposes, and orders physical therapy
  • Treats conditions such as: corns, calluses, bunion, heel spurs, plantar fascitis, ingrown nails, cysts, bone disorders, and infections of the foot
  • Fits corrective inserts called orthotics that address walking patterns to improved the overall ability of effective and efficient ambulation
  • Provides consultations for the patient and for referring physicians regarding prevention of podiatric problems and possible treatments
  • Performs surgical correction of the foot including: hammertoes, clawtoes, bunions, fractures, infections, ruptured ligaments and tendons, and neuro-vascular abnormalities of the foot

How do I know whether I should see a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon for my foot problem?

A podiatrist is a specialized medical physician focusing on surgical procedures involving only the feet and ankles, while an orthopedic surgeon's practice may include knees, hips, shoulders, arms etc. So when it comes to foot and ankle problems it is better to see a physician that specializes in foot and ankle procedures exclusively, as they will be best versed in the latest techniques in treatment.

How will I know if I have fungal nails?
Fungus on the nail can cause opaque discoloration, usually a darkening yellow color but can sometimes be blackish. In some cases it may also cause white splotching on the nail. In most cases the nail can get thicker and brittle

How often should I replace my running shoes if I run regularly as exercise?

It is a good idea to replace your shoes every three to four months, if you run an average of about 25 miles a week. This number fluctuates based on your height and weight, but the range is between 350-550 miles with heavier runners needing to replace shoes closer to 350.

How do I treat a sprained ankle?
Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Stay off of the injured ankle; do not attempt to "walk it off," as this could further injure the ankle. While resting, apply an ice pack with cloth barrier to the injury - keeping it on for twenty minutes and the off for twenty minutes. An elastic wrap can be applied firmly, but not too tight as to cause a sensation of throbbing in the effected area. And lastly, elevating the foot to heart level (usually with a pillow) will help drain the fluid build up.

How often to I need to replace my orthotics?
Orthotics is designed to control abnormal foot function, and they do lose their function eventually. This is usually right around a year to a year and a half depending on activity level and weight. When you have reached this point, or you are experiencing reoccurring foot discomfort it is time to replace your othotics.

What can be done about the pain in my heel?
Heel pain is usually caused by a condition known as plantar fasciitis. The ligament called the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot become inflamed where it attaches to the heel. To prevent this inflammation, you should avoid walking barefoot. Also, taking an anti-inflammatory such as Advil or Motrin along with wearing a pair of shoes with good arch support should help manage the pain; you may also ice the heel. If the problem persists, see your podiatrist as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

How do I know if I should have my bunions fixed or just leave them alone?
I am unsure whether I should have my bunions fixed, how can I tell if they need to be removed?
If the bunions are interfering with the activities you love, or if you are unable to find a pair of shoes that fit without hurting your feet then you should see a podiatrist for X-rays and a discussion of treatment options.

I have athletes foot, how can I get rid of it?
The dark, enclosed and moist environment that is your shoes are perfect for the fungus that is athletes' foot. And what is worse is that it can spread around locker rooms, spas, pools and other such areas. To avoid athletes' foot you should protect your feet while in such areas by wearing flip flops, crocs etc. Keeping your feet dry by wearing socks made of natural fibers or other fibers that wick away sweat, and applying an anti-fungal powder to your feet should help clear the fungal infestation. Also remember to change your socks regularly if you sweat heavily

My heels are dry and cracked. What can I do?
If you have a bleeding cracked heel, it is important to see a podiatrist. If they are just dry and cracked, you can start with moisturizing using a cream (lotion is too thin). Unfortunately, cracked heels are usually hereditary and will never just go away, but controlling the problem is within reason. After moisturizing, use a pumice stone after a shower or foot soak (This is when your feet are softest). If this does not work, there are numerous creams that can help.

I have a pain under the balls of my feet, what is the cause?
Metatarsalgia, or pain under the ball of the foot, can have many causes from a torn ligament responsible for stabilizing the toe to a stress fracture. The only way to find out for sure is to see your podiatrist.

My child has flat feet. Does it need to be treated?
If your family has a history of flat feet that need to be treated with surgery, or other foot related complications then, yes you should seek treatment for your child's flat feet. But, there are a large number of people who have flat feet who never have a problem with them.

Are warts contagious?
Warts are in fact a virus, and as such are contagious. If you have one on your feet, it would be unwise to pick at it as that is how they spread to others. Taking some basic precautions such as wearing flip flops while in moist public environments such as locker rooms can prevent the spread of warts.

How do I avoid ingrown nails?
To avoid ingrown toe nails, trim your nails straight across and slightly round off he edges with a file. If you tear you toenails instead off cutting them, you will eventually develop an ingrown toe nail.

My toes are becoming crooked and they now hurt, why is this?
Crooked toes can be a hereditary trait or it can be a result of the shoes you wear. Over time, they may begin to become painful. Crooked toes are called "hammertoes" and when they begin hurting it is due them becoming arthritic and less flexible. Wearing wider shoes and adding padding can help. If these solutions do not help relieve the pain caused by hammertoes, there is a surgical procedure that can straighten the toes.

Do you bill my insurance carrier?
We do accept most insurance plans throughout the community. If you are unsure of our participation in your plan please call your insurance company on the back of your card. We will bill your primary, secondary, and tertiary if necessary. At the present time we are not contracted with Buckeye Medicaid or Caresource Medicaid.

What is the Medicare Diabetic Shoe Program?
Diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. During the past decade, there has been an increase of 33% with the diabetic population currently topping 16 million people. There are many complications associated with diabetes including kidney, heart, vision, circulatory and foot problems. The good news is that many of these potential problems can be minimized as a result of life style changes, medications and other preventive care.

Amputations, or partial amputations, of the feet and legs are also growing at an alarming rate. In fact, it is the leading cause of non-traumatic amputation in the United States. Recently a task force was created by officials from Medicare, the American Podiatric Medical Association and the American Diabetes Association in order to explore ways to reduce the number of amputations in the diabetic populations. The number of these lower extremity amputations grew by 28% in just the past several years. However, it has been determined that over half of these amputations could have been prevented by timely conservation foot care.

We at The Advanced Footcare Clinic are authorized Medicare Suppliers to evaluate, prescribe and dispense high quality shoe and 3 pairs of removable protective shoe inserts per calendar year. Many diabetic patients qualify for this benefit and Medicare will pay 80% of the cost for the shoes and insoles and your supplemental insurance should pay the other 20%.

What are Orthotics?
Orthotics are custom made devices manufactured from many types of materials. They fit inside your own shoes, and are worn on a full time basis. Orthotics help to control the way your foot functions. There are many types of orthotic devices. Advances in technology enable your podiatrist to prescribe a device specific to the activities that you participate in the most. From walking to running, or aerobics to basketball, orthotics can help you perform at peak efficiency. Professional orthotics are made from impressions of your feet. The devices are custom made for your feet only. Just as contact lenses or glasses improve vision, orthotics will help your podiatrist improve your foot functions.

What are Biomechanical Orthotics?
Biomechanics involves the study of body in motion. Biomechanical orthotics are prescription inserts made from neutral foot position casts or digital imaging. The prescribing practitioner sends the casts or digital image and clinical information to a professional orthotics laboratory, where an evaluation specialist reviews the casts and prescription. A staff doctor oversees the evaluation in the form of a "second opinion." Then a production clinician takes responsibility for fabrication and quality control of the individual prescription. The fabricated orthotics are sent to the doctor to dispense with instructions to the patient. Orthotic Treatment may be combined with other forms of treatment, such as injections, medications, physical therapy or surgery.

Is There More Than One Type of Orthotic?
Because we are born with different foot types, and because we engage in different occupations and activities, there are specific types of orthotics for individual patients. Orthotics may be used with children, adults, athletes, elderly patients and, very often, with patients following surgery or injury. Orthotics may be rigid, semi-rigid or soft (flexible).

How Long will I need to Wear Orthotics and How Long do they Last?
Orthotics may require a gradual break-in period. They are worn in 95% of all walking or standing activities. You will probably need to wear orthotics indefinitely, depending upon your activities. You may need periodic changes in your prescription as your foot function changes.

Will I Need More Than One Pair of Orthotics?
There are patients who may need one pair for work and one pair for recreation. Women who wear different heel heights may require an additional pair. Your podiatrist may recommend more than one pair, depending on your individual need.