Many conditions cause foot pain. It might be from a medical problem such as diabetes or arthritis. An injury can cause inflammation and pain too. Injuries can be acute when caused by a fracture or torn tissue. Pain can also be a chronic condition that develops from wearing the wrong shoes or having an abnormal gait. Here are some ways a podiatrist diagnoses foot pain and some possible treatments that can help.
Tests For Diagnosing Foot Pain
Besides taking a medical history and performing a visual examination of your feet, the podiatrist may order imaging tests such as an MRI, CT scan, or x-ray. These tests give the doctor a look at the bones and tissues in your feet so damaged areas are identified and the cause of your pain determined. Tests may also be done to check for poor circulation. These might include feeling the pulse in your feet, measuring blood pressure at your ankle, or having an x-ray test with dye. The nerves in your feet may be tested for level of sensation and response time to pain. Electrical conduction tests might be ordered to determine the degree of peripheral neuropathy.
Other tests a podiatrist can do involve testing your gait through observation and computer analysis. These tests identify abnormalities in the way you walk that can stress your feet and lead to chronic pain issues. When you go to a podiatrist, your condition may be obvious through a history and physical alone. It may not be necessary to do additional testing, but when it is, your podiatrist can order the same types of tests, including blood work, that your general doctor might order.
Treatments For Foot Pain
Since the causes of foot pain are so varied, the treatments vary too according to what's behind the pain. In general, you may need to rest your feet often throughout the day and use ice packs to help with inflammation and pain. Your podiatrist might prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, and in the case of severe pain, the medication might be injected in your foot. Your podiatrist may also recommend that you change your footwear to something that supports your arches and doesn't squeeze your toes or feet. Orthotics may be custom made that support and pad your feet. A podiatrist can even have custom shoes made to correct for a shorter leg or other abnormality that interferes with the way you walk.
If you have sudden foot pain that doesn't go away on its own or if you've struggled with foot pain for years, see a podiatrist for a diagnosis so the right treatment can begin. Sometimes, foot injuries take a long time to heal, and if you don't treat them properly, the pain will last longer than it should and you might even make your pain and injury worse by not caring for your feet the right way. Contact a clinic, like East Village Foot & Ankle Surgeons, to get started.