The study and practice of podiatry are known to have taken place across many generations. For instance, treatment of foot problems has existed even in the era of the Pharaohs. This practice can also be traced back to the era of Hippocrates (also known as the father of western medicine). This Greek physician emphasized the need to address foot problems.
Several notable individuals over the centuries have been known to have their podiatrists including Napoleon, kings of France, and Abraham Lincoln. In America, the first podiatric society was established in 1895 in New York. Subsequently, the first school for training podiatric physicians was opened in 1911.
Common Podiatric Problems
Foot problems are very common, with 75% of American citizens reporting an experience associated with at particular points of their lives. The most common reported podiatric ailment is the heel pain. Podiatric surgeons treat various lower limb problems include including:
- Corns and calluses – These are areas with thickened, hard skin that develops when exposed to extreme friction or pressure. They cause discomfort and pain when walking. The problem has various causes including wearing shoes that do not fit properly.
- Verrucas – These are small lumps that develop at the bottom of the feet, also known as plantar warts. They are harmless and may eventually to go away on their own after several months or even years. Despite being harmless, verrucas can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. They can also spread to other parts of the body or infect other people.
- Athlete’s foot – This refers to a rash brought about by fungi that appear between the toes. The affected area may be red, itchy scaly, dry blistered or cracked. The condition is not usually serious but requires attention to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the foot or other people.
- Flat feet – Many people with flat feet have no reason to worry about their condition. However, it may be associated with pain on the feet, overpronation, as well as underlying bone and muscle problems.
- Smelly feet – The condition is also known as bromodosis. It is mainly as a result of sweaty feet and poor hygiene. Note the feet have approximately 250,000 sweat glands.
- Heel pain – This is a common condition that affects the foot characterized by an intense pain on the affected heel. The pain builds and gets worse gradually especially when one applies pressure on the heel.
- Gout – This is a type of arthritis whereby small crystals form within the joints. The condition causes swelling and sudden severe pain and mainly attacks men over 30 years and women past menopause.
- Bunion – this is a deformity at the joint and base of the big toe. The condition makes the big toe point towards the others on the same foot, forcing the foot bone to stick outwards.
Podiatric surgeons play significant roles in maintaining correct foot posture and health. The practitioners in this field are also trained to handle various illnesses that affect the feet. It is important to make the necessary consultations whenever someone notes any of the symptoms above.