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FAQ on Podiatry

1. Who is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a qualified doctor who is an expert in evaluating and managing foot and leg problems medically or surgically.

2. When should I see a Podiatrist?

Consult a Podiatrist if you are suffering from foot ulcers or pain, redness, swelling over foot or legs, numbness or pinprick or burning sensation of feet, unsteady gait, ankle sprain, corn/callus, bunions, high arched or flat foot or foot deformities, heel pain, fungal nails, Achilles pain, dry cracked heels/sole, athlete’s foot, varicose veins, dark discoloration of skin/toes, infection of toe web- spaces, unusual pain or swelling over the calf etc. A podiatrist would do the relevant clinical examination and manage your foot/leg problems.

3. Are diabetic patients at high risk for foot complications?

Yes, diabetic patients compared to no-diabetics are more prone to foot complications and may present with any of the complaints mentioned in question 2.

4. What are the most common foot problems among diabetic patients?

Prolonged or uncontrolled diabetes would affect nerves and blood circulation to the feet. If the nerves are affected, patients will have symptoms such as pinprick sensation, burning feet, numbness, unsteady gait, lack of heat/cold sensations, etc. Whereas, lack of blood circulation to the feet will manifest as dark discoloration (gangrene) of toes, calf pain (claudication pain) while walking for a short distance. 

5. What are the reasons for heel pain?

Heel pain can originate within the foot, directly on the heel bone or within foot’s connective tissue/fascia. Heel pad of fat acts like a shock absorber during running and walking. You can experience pain if the tissue becomes irritated or inflamed or when spurs grow on the heel bone-calcaneus, which may require surgical or medical removal. Apart from diabetes, patients with Gout, Arthritis, Collagen disorder, tumors, nerve injuries, and Psoriasis may also present with heel pain.

6. Can an ingrown nail be cured? 

If the nail is not infected, your podiatrist may trim the corner of it to relieve pain. It may be required to remove one side of your nail back to the cuticle. The base of the nail is then treated with a chemical to avoid the ingrown part from growing back. In case of severe infections, you may be prescribed with antibiotics, temporary or permanent removal of a portion of a nail.

7. Why does corn or callus develop more commonly in diabetic patients?

It is necessary to wear the right footwear, maintain a correct gait and weight. There are 33 joints in our foot and our entire body weight is supported by them. Ideally, no area of the foot should take extra weight. If there is an uneven distribution of weight and an uneven displacement of pressure on our feet, then there is a possibility of corns, calluses, ingrown nails, knee pain, and back pain. Therefore, Podiatrists will assess the peak plantar pressure points and prescribe custom made footwear. 

8. What is peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and what are its common causes? 

It is the condition wherein blood circulation to the leg and arms is compromised. Diabetes, hypertension, smoking and certain autoimmune diseases are the common causes for PAD. Common symptoms are tiredness, pain in the legs, buttocks that always happens when you walk but goes away when you rest. Foot or toe pain that often disturbs your sleep. Skin wounds or ulcers on your feet or toes that are slow to heal.

9. What are the foot care tips for diabetes patients?

  • Wash your feet every day

  • Dry your feet well after bath especially between the toes

  • Keep the skin soft and smooth, use moisturizing cream if your skin is dry but avoid putting cream between the toes

  • Wear extra-wide and well-cushioned footwear

  • Be cautious in cutting your nails. Trim your nails straight, avoid deep cutting of nails as you may injure the skin around the nails

  • Avoid using a hot water bottle and electric pads for your feet

  • Refrain from doing bathroom surgeries for corns and calluses and do not use nay corn cap that is available in the market

  • Never neglect any cuts, injury to skin, swelling, redness, and infection of nails

  • Take prompt medical advice and avoid self-medication

10.  How often should a diabetic patient visit a Podiatrist?

Consult a Podiatrist even when you have trivial foot issues and such minor symptoms could be a manifestation of a major issue of your foot/leg. It is advised to get your foot checked at least once in 3 months.


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