Which professional should you consult for foot pain?
Last update: 6 March 2021
Most medical professionals will tell you that good musculoskeletal health directly depends on your feet.
But who should you trust with the delicate task of treating foot pain?
After all, there are various medical professionals who have the skills to identify what is wrong with your physical condition.
Let’s take a look at who offers the most appropriate treatment for your foot pain.
Recognizing the symptoms
While a medical professional is well equipped to determine the nature of your condition, you should seek medical attention sooner if you experience certain symptoms.
Therefore, before you start looking for a medical professional to treat your feet, it is crucial that you consider your symptoms.
Here are the signs that generally indicate a foot problem requiring the attention of an expert like a podiatrist:
- Pain that occurs after an impact and does not subside.
- The inability to put weight on your injury.
- The pained foot loses all of its mobility.
- The foot or toes are visibly deformed.
- The Achilles tendon appears to be severely swollen.
- A sore on or under the foot shows signs of infection.
- You have difficulty performing certain routine movements, such as climbing stairs or squatting.
Of course, if you are diabetic or suffer from arthritis, you should see a podiatrist regularly even without these symptoms.
Consult a podiatrist for your foot pain
A podiatrist has a doctorate in podiatry. They are therefore capable of diagnosing and prescribing medical treatment for the foot.
Their extensive knowledge of foot pathologies and pain makes them the perfect medical professional to understand the nature of your pain.
The podiatrist is well equipped for treating the majority of problems related to the feet, whether they are specific to skin, toenails, or musculoskeletal disorders.
Here are some of the conditions that the podiatrist takes care of:
However, there is a possibility that your condition does not fall within a podiatrist’s area of expertise.
If this happens to be the case, they will readily refer you to a specialist or another therapist.
Refer to a medical specialist
If you have a major deformity of the foot or a systemic disease that is worsening your joints, your best solution is a specialist doctor.
The orthopedist, for example, can treat injuries such as:
- A bone tumor;
- A fracture;
- Advanced arthritis of the foot.
They are able to provide you with advanced medical care and perform major surgeries that require a full team.
The rheumatologist, in turn, is more concerned with pain stemming from the joints and inflammatory diseases.
Here are some foot problems that the rheumatologist treats:
- Chronic inflammatory diseases;
- Autoimmune diseases.
While the podiatrist can treat certain localized foot pain, they do not have the same authority as an orthopedic surgeon or a rheumatologist. The podiatrist will be able to inform you at which stage their skills will no longer be enough, and refer you to a professional who can meet your needs.
Choosing an alternative therapist
In addition to official medical expertise, some therapists also offer alternative solutions to alleviate your foot pain.
However, it is important to exercise caution when considering natural remedies.
Mind you, while they perform a form of foot therapy, foot reflexologists and podologists are not officially recognized as medical practitioners in Quebec.
As for the kinesiotherapist, they too practice a form of manual foot therapy. Additionally, they can design strengthening or fitness programs for people without a pathological physical condition.
However, unlike the physiotherapist, they cannot treat you in an officially regulated setting.
The physiotherapist, on the other hand, can set up a strengthening program and perform manual therapy adapted to your specific pathology, in order to avoid worsening your condition. They are able to assess you and suggest exercises that are suitable for your situation. They will allow you to heal faster thanks to a prevention program that limits the risk of recurrence.
Make an informed choice without wasting too much time
Choosing the right doctor to treat your foot pain can be more difficult than you might think.
Nonetheless, you should not hesitate to explore the available options.
If you need to learn more about what is causing your pain, the podiatrist has the expertise and tools to provide you with this type of information.
Consult your local PiedReseau podiatrist to benefit from their expert advice.