There are few things as inconvenient as foot pain; it can cause your life to grind to a halt. Most of the time the pain can be relieved with time, rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, or shoe gear. But if none of that works, you’ll want to consult a podiatrist for a more accurate diagnosis. Podiatrists are doctors qualified to handle foot and ankle issues. Podiatrists can handle conditions ranging from arthritis pain, bunions, calluses, corns, diabetes complications, ingrown toenails, and sports injuries. Here are some conditions that you should immediately talk to a doctor about.
Suddenly Progressing Deformities
A common foot deformity is Charcot arthropathy, an issue caused by diabetes. Symptoms include pain, swelling, redness, and heat. Charcot can cause bones to break and slip out of place, which if left untreated, can cause the bones to heal incorrectly.
If one of your feet is noticeably flatter than the other, you could have tendon dysfunction or ruptures. Tendon issues can lead to arthritis and bone issues, but treating the problem early enough can prevent joint damage.
Growing or Painful Lumps and Bumps
Growing lumps should always be looked at by a doctor; it could be a cyst or something more serious like a tumor.
Wounds or Sores That Don’t Heal
Open sores on your feet or ankles should always be looked at by a medical professional, especially if you have diabetes, as that can affect the healing process. The longer you leave an open sore untreated, the more likely you are to develop skin and bone infections.
If one of your feet is a different color than the other, that may be an indicator for some kind of issue. Redness signifies infection or gout, blue or purple could mean vein problems, and whiteness/paleness signify decreased blood flow.
Elevated Legs Causing Foot Pain
If you have foot pain when you’re lying in bed but not when you’re standing up, you may have decreased blood flow or peripheral artery disease. A podiatrist should be the first doctor you speak to, but you may also have to see a vascular surgeon.
Tingling, Burning, or Numbness
These issues can signify neuropathy, which causes decreased foot sensation. Neuropathy is often caused by diabetes and can lead to foot ulcers.
Pain and Swelling
If one of your feet is swelling and in pain, there could be a variety of causes, like broken bones, infection, tendonitis, and tendon ruptures. Swelling in both feet or ankles is also often caused by lymphedema.
Pain Caused by Activity
If your feet are hurting after physical activity, you may have a stress fracture. Don’t ignore the problem, talk to a podiatrist. Treating the fracture early can prevent more severe issues earlier.
More Than 24 Hours of Severe Pain
Being in intense pain for a long period, especially if you just had surgery, is a serious problem. This pain can be caused by infection, tight dressing, compartment syndrome, or deep vein thrombosis.