Care for Feet and Ankles
Podiatry is an area of medicine involved in diagnosing and treating conditions of the foot and ankle. A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) who completes four years of training in a podiatric medical school, and then spends three years as a resident in a hospital. A podiatrist is different from an orthopedist, who is a medical doctor (MD) or an osteopathic physician (DO), with training in all of the body's bones and joints. Both types of specialists are able to perform surgery and are well trained in their respective specialties.
If you have a medical problem that is very specific to your foot or ankle, a podiatrist at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center may be a good first choice for a consultation.
Foot and Ankle Conditions Podiatrists Treat
Among the conditions treated by podiatrists at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center are:
- Ankle trauma
- Athlete's foot
- Bone spurs
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Foot issues related to diabetes
- Flat feet
- Foot and heel pain
- Plantar fasciitis/tendonitis
- Plantar warts
- Foot and ankle deformities
- Toenail problems
Services St. Mary's Podiatrists Offer
Some of the services offered by podiatrists at St. Mary's Regional Medical Center include:
Bunion care - A bunion is a large lump on the joint at the base of the big toe that results from changes in alignment of bones of the front part of the foot. Bunions can cause extreme pain if left untreated because the joint carries much of the body's weight while walking. Treatment options vary with each bunion, and podiatrists will work with each patient to come up with a plan; surgery is usually the last option and podiatrists encourage patients to make footwear and other changes to avoid surgery. The primary goal of most early treatment options is to relieve pressure on the bunion and halt the progression of the joint deformity.
Hammertoe care - A contracted or “crooked” toe, which may have resulted from previous trauma or from an imbalance in the muscles or tendons, is called a hammertoe. Hammertoes may be aggravated by shoes that don’t fit properly. A hammertoe may also result if a toe is too long and is forced into a cramped position when a tight shoe is worn. The condition may also be hereditary. Treatment options vary with the type and severity of each hammertoe. Podiatrists work with patients to make footwear and other changes as early on in treatment as possible to avoid surgery. If surgery is needed, podiatrists with a specialty in surgery can remove the tiny bone that is promient and restore the toe joint to normal alignment, which often relieves pain. Severe hammertoes may require more complex surgical procedures.
Plantar Fasciitis care - Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. The fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed, resulting in heel pain. People who have problems with their arches, either because of flat feet or high-arched feet, are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis. Treatments include pain relievers (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen), physical therapy and over-the-counter or custom-fitted arch supports (orthotics) to help distribute pressure more evently across the feet.