We’ve all felt it. That dreaded cramp in your sole or painful twinge in your ankle leaves you limping for hours or even weeks after your workout.
Sometimes pain in your feet and ankles can be harmless and just down to an inadequate stretch or slight strain. But sometimes, these injuries can be more serious and require specialized medical treatment. That means seeing a podiatrist. But what is a podiatrist exactly? We’ve got all the info you’ll need in this short guide.
What Is a Podiatrist?
While most people associate podiatry with foot injuries, there’s a lot more to it than that.
A podiatrist is a medical professional who deals with feet, ankles or anything to do with the structure of the leg. So, while podiatrists do treat common foot ailments such as blisters, heel pain, and ingrown toenails, they’re also well-acquainted with sports injuries.
Common Training Injuries
Some of the most common sports injuries occur in these areas, including sprains, strains, tendon ruptures, and fractures.
Running injuries account for approximately 45% of injuries to the lower extremities. Leg injuries are often a result of cardio, but strength training is also a big culprit. Like other sports injuries, injuries to your feet and ankles most often occur if you over-exert yourself or don’t do an adequate warm-up before training.
Other ways to lessen the likelihood of injury include wearing the correct shoes for your workout, an extensive warm-up, and doing exercises to strengthen your feet and ankles.
When Should I See A Podiatrist?
If you experience sudden, sharp pain in your foot, ankle, knee, or leg during a workout, stop training immediately. If you continue, you’re putting yourself at greater risk of permanent damage.
Sit down and assess the severity of the damage. If there is swelling and bruising in the area and you cannot put weight on it, it’s most likely a strain. Strains and sprains can usually be treated with rest, elevation, and ice.
If the pain and swelling don’t go away within 2-3 days and you cannot put any weight on the area, it’s probably time to visit a podiatrist clinic. Other reasons to book an appointment asap are if you feel a popping sensation near any joints if you can’t move the area at all, or you develop a fever which may indicate an infection.
If something feels off, or you’re repeatedly injuring the same area, you may have a chronic weakness that needs attention. When it comes to your lower limbs, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
What Happens at the Podiatrist?
A consultation with a podiatrist will obviously differ depending on the injury itself. Usually, the podiatrist will assess the injury by examining it closely and lightly touching and moving the area to gauge how painful it is and what kind of pain you’re feeling.
You should also keep track of your medical history, including prior surgeries, illnesses, and medications, so that your podiatrist can get a better understanding of your body.
If necessary, the podiatrist will send you for an X-Ray or scan to get a better look at what’s going on with your bones, joints, and tendons. Treatment will depend on these results.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Podiatrists aren’t just there for emergencies. The question “what is a podiatrist?” shouldn’t only be answered with “see a specialist when you’re in extreme pain.”
Whether you’re a workout novice or a seasoned pro, your podiatrist can help you avoid injuries in the first place. Any workout requires correct technique and equipment to keep you from straining your muscles and doing permanent damage.
Sports injury or not, podiatrists are the experts on how to keep your feet and legs working in optimal condition so that you can get the most out of your workout. If you’re looking for a leg-strengthening workout, we’ve got something for everyone in our workout section.