Pain in the feet is something that everyone experiences at one point in his or her lifetime. Most of the time, the aches and pain go away by themselves. However, sometimes the pain may continue or worsen. So how do you know the difference between needing rest and needing a podiatrist? Here are four telltale signs:
1. Pain In Your Heel
Heel pain can be blamed on a lot of things: shoes, improper gait, and exercise to name a few. While your shoes or gait may cause mild pain, severe pain usually warrants the attention of a podiatrist. If the pain persists for several days, it may indicate something more severe, like plantar fasciitis. Other times, heel pain that needs attention include worsening pain and pain that is more severe during specific parts of the day, such as the morning. This type of pain may be indicative of a fracture or break.
2. Discolored Toe Nails
Most of the time, women attribute discolored toenails to nail polish. While nail polish can leave behind a trace of its color, it will usually go away. It will also be a mild discoloration. If you notice severe discoloration or extremely yellow toenails, it is possible you have contracted a toenail fungus. A podiatrist should be seen in these cases, as you may need a prescription antibiotic or topical cream to eliminate it.
3. Swollen Feet
Another common foot ailment is swelling. While swollen feet do occasionally happen due to shoes or socks, swelling can be a cause for concern—especially if you haven't changed your daily routine recently. Swelling can cut off blood circulation, which can lead to even bigger issues. If you have swelling, visit a podiatrist instead of your general physician. A podiatrist can prescribe the right medications or offer massage techniques to relieve the inflammation and swelling.
4. Numbness or Tingling
Numbness or tingling in the feet may be a sign of poor circulation; if you have been sitting on them, they may be "asleep." However, if you experience these sensations out of nowhere it may be a sign of neuropathy or diabetes. If left untreated, neuropathy can cause severe issues in your legs and feet—and other extremities—so visit a podiatrist immediately for testing and diagnosis.
Your feet take a beating every single day. Although they may seem like a small part of the body, feet are hugely important. If you experience any of these four warning signs, visit a professional podiatrist, like Ohio Better Foot Care, to learn more about your foot health.