Top Six Reasons to Visit a Podiatrist

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Michelle Champlin, Founder and CEO of Dubai Podiatry Centre, the Middle East's leading specialist in foot, ankle, leg and hip clinic, explains the top reasons why you should see a Podiatrist. She also discusses what a Podiatrist specialises in, the typical issues that a Podiatrist can help with and how Dubai Podiatry Centre is leading the foot care field in the Middle East with innovative new treatments and a patient centred approach.

Activity, aging and genetics can all lead to foot problems which we will all likely experience, at some point in our lives. A Podiatrist is a licensed healthcare specialist who treats foot and ankle problems with medical solutions, as well as preventative care. Sometimes it can be confusing to select the right medical specialist to see for an ailment. So let’s take a look at what a Podiatrist does and the problems that we can help with. Come and see a Podiatrist if you are concerned about any of the following;

1. Your nails are painful, ingrown, discoloured or thickened

Nails can be a window to your overall health. If you notice changes in your nails, it may be from a fungal infection, trauma, poor circulation or dermatological factors. Education and management of nail care are essential in these cases allow nail growth to improve.

Ingrown toe nails can be very difficult and painful to manage by yourself and can chronically keep recurring. Commonly antibiotics are prescribed by a Doctor to help alleviate infection and pain; however the root cause of this condition has to be investigated. For effective treatment Podiatrists can advise an appropriate corrective treatment plan, solving this painful condition permanently.

Dubai Podiatry Centre is an advanced foot, leg and hip centre and is the only clinic in the Middle East region to offer a permanent, aesthetically appealing solution to ingrowing nails, which can otherwise be an ongoing, painful recurrence every month or so. We put ourselves in the patient’s position and create treatment plans that are in the patient’s best interests, pain free and offer great improvement to quality of life.

2. Skin problems on the soles of your feet

If your feet are red, itchy and the skin is scaly and dry, this can be associated with a fungal infection and may also be a dermatological issue. This should be treated appropriately.

Plantar warts, or ‘verrucas,’ are very common in the UAE and throughout the region, especially amongst children. This is a viral infection which is easily spread in warm, moist conditions where people walk barefoot (swimming pools, home). You should see a Podiatrist, if you notice a small, new bump on your foot. Plantar warts look similar to a cauliflower head and have minute black dots that look like pepper. There are numerous ways to treat warts, although Dubai Podiatry Centre has pioneered a treatment method with much higher and faster success rates than conventional and outdated treatment methods such as salicylic acid or cryotherapy.

Dubai Podiatry Centre is the only clinic to offer this ground-breaking therapy and are pioneers in the treatment of verrucas, with patients attending the clinic from both the local region and further afield, commonly having exhausted other outdated treatment methods such as cryotherapy or salicylic acid. Under no circumstances should verrucas ever be surgically excised from an area, as this can leave scar tissue on the foot, which can cause long term issues more significant than the original verruca.

3. Painful corns and callous

The appearance of callous/hard skin are symptoms of excessive pressure on parts of your foot. Podiatrists will not only remove callous and hard skin, but a biomechanics Podiatrist will diagnose any underlying biomechanical cause, to allow prevention of callous and corns returning. Corns and callous are formed from excess pressure/friction on a particular area. Dubai Podiatry Centre does not just keep on treating the same issue over and over such as recurrent corns or callous, but diagnoses and corrects any actual underlying biomechanical or footwear related cause.

4. Sports and Biomechanics

When you exercise do you ever have pain in your lower back, knees, legs, ankle or foot? At Dubai Podiatry Centre, all of the Podiatrists specialize in biomechanics, which is the study of the mechanics and function of the human body, particularly the foot, ankle, leg and hip. This is very important for understanding patterns of injury and developing treatment plans, which will treat existing symptoms of injury and prevent future sporting injuries.

It is crucial that any biomechanical anomaly, whether in young budding athletes of the future to professional footballers is addressed and corrected or managed to avoid chronic injury and ensure top performance. Dubai Podiatry Centre is the region’s only provider of genuinely fully custom made prescription orthotics. As opposed to taking a mould or scan of your feet and simply sending these off to a factory for generic manufacture with little if any prescriptive correction, the Podiatrists at Dubai Podiatry Centre fully assess each patient, diagnose and hand make custom orthotics in their onw in-house laboratory. It also offers patients the benefit of having any orthotic adjustment made in-house, which is necessary as the patient’s foot posture and shape improves and changes. This is much more convenient and indeed better practice for the patient than having to wait for insoles to be sent back to a factory and modified by a technician who has not seen the patient’s feet. Adjustments and manufacture of orthotics at Dubai Podiatry Centre are exceedingly precise and according to the individual’s specific diagnosis, prescription and treatment plan – every person’s feet are unique and your Podiatrist should care for yours accordingly.

5. ‘Flat feet’ or a lowering of the arch

You have ‘flat feet’, which you feel fatigue easily when walking or running? You have heel pain; especially first thing in the morning? Your child complains of heel pain and may complain mostly after sports?

'Flat feet' can affect the major joints and muscles in the lower limb. A biomechanical assessment will create a treatment plan for symptomatic low arches and prevent occurrences of trauma or injury. Most people do not have truly ‘flat feet’ but acquire the appearance of this as their arches collapse, which can be alleviated with the correct diagnosis and podiatric intervention by a specifically trained biomechanics Podiatrist.

Dubai Podiatry Centre is the only centre in the Middle East to operate a fully equipped orthotics laboratory in-house to make their fully custom made prescription orthotics and also allow in-house 'while you wait' adjustments during the patient's orthotic review. Commonly, the 'alternative' offered elsewhere is generic or over-the-counter insoles which are out-sourced from manufacturing facilities abroad which do not offer the same, if at all any, level of biomechanical correction.

Ask your Podiatrist if they make orthotics themselves in their own on-site lab, and how any progressive adjustments are made. This will help to clarify whether you are being offered 'customized or generic' insoles or truly custom made prescription orthotics. The difference is absolutely critical to your outcome and there is little comparison between generic, outsourced insoles and truly custom made orthotics. Only a qualified, licensed Podiatrist (which is also a legally protected designation) should examine, assess and diagnose biomechanical anomalies of the foot and ankle and prescribe appropriate orthotic therapy. Other sub-specialties such as 'orthotist' should work under the supervision of a Podiatrist and their remit generally covers making orthotics with the supervision of a Podiatrist, and they do not diagnose, assess or see patients.

6. Do you have Diabetes?

The UAE has the highest prevalence of diabetes worldwide. Locally in the Middle East, it is an area where education and prevention of diabetic complications (ulceration and amputations) is crucial. It is very important for diabetics to have a Diabetic Foot Assessment annually. Diabetes can affect the circulation and level of sensation to the lower limb, particularly in the foot and ankle. As the farthest extremity from the heart, even the smallest changes to your overall diabetic condition/management can show up first and be most easily detected in your feet. The eyes are another part of the body that should be examined annually as the smallest organ of the body, again showing up any small changes. Both of these should be tested annually (or more frequently if at higher risk) so that your diabetic condition and management can be monitored and changed accordingly to prevent more serious, long-term damage from occurring undetected to more vital organs. Podiatrists can assess and monitor the foot and ankle and educate you on how to best care for your feet, and provide feedback to your GP/Diabetologist on even the tiniest changes to your feet, allowing your diabetes management to tweaked if necessary. This prevents more serious complications or any damage to other major organs from occurring. Your feet and eyes are an early warning system for managing your Diabetes.

All of the above have a podiatric solution - Podiatrists aim to get you mobile and active! If you have any concerns about your feet and legs, contact a qualified Podiatrist. The specialist Podiatrists at Dubai Podiatry Centre can be contacted on +971 4 3435390. They are also socially active and interact with patients via YouTube, FaceBook, Keek and Twitter.

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Michelle Champlin

Michelle Champlin
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