A board certified podiatrist is a physician who specializes in the care of feet and ankles. The feet contain 52 of the 206 bones in a human body. A foot doctor must understand the function of each bone. He also must know how each bone supports the team of joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles in the feet, as well as how they interact and what to do when something malfunctions.

A bunion is a typical foot condition that develops when too much stress is placed on the joint at the base of the big toe. If continued over time, the big toe will turn toward the other toes on the foot. A bunion can exist on one foot without affecting the other foot. Non-surgical treatments are tried before considering foot surgery. Non-surgical remedies may include wearing comfortable shoes that will not irritate the bunion. In California, a Los Angeles foot doctor may prescribe medication or a support for the toe area that will alleviate the pain and tension on the sore area. If there is no relief from the discomfort or pain, surgery would be the path for relief and recovery. At this point, the bunion should be removed.

Surgery for a bunion is an outpatient procedure. The podiatrist will remove or realign foot tissue through an incision near the joint of the big toe. Depending on the extent of the bunion damage there may be a need to insert pins or screws to align the toe and foot. Recovery can take several weeks to several months. People with jobs that require them to stand for long periods of time may need to remain out of work to recover. The surgeon will monitor the patient’s recovery progress and advise the patient on appropriate healing practices. The end result will be pain free walking and a more pleasing foot appearance.

While a podiatrist may not need to perform surgery to treat a bunion, Brachymetatarsia does require surgery as a cure. There are two Brachymetatarsia conditions that occur when one of the five metatarsals - the long bone in each toe - develops at an unusual rate when compared to the other toes. One condition that can occur happens when the second toe is longer than the big toe. In this instance, the extended toe will rub and push against the top of the shoe causing discomfort. To alleviate the pain, corrective surgery is often the best option. This requires the shortening of the metatarsal bone. The foot surgeon will place a pin in the shortened bone to help the healing occur in a straight position. Recovery time can be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending upon how fast the toe heals.

The other condition is when the fourth toe does not fully develop. This condition creates a walking and balance problem for the patient. The smaller sized toe does not align well with the fully developed toes and tends to lie upward away from the foot causing rubbing discomfort in shoes. The surgery for this issue is both corrective and cosmetic. During surgery the underdeveloped metatarsal is cut and additional bone is inserted between the two bone pieces. The entire reconstructed toe is secured with wires and pins until the bone knits together. The skin tissue of the toe must also be stretched to heal around the new length. Recovery time can take anywhere from several months to a year. Once healed, the patient will have no trouble walking, there will be no shoe discomfort, and the toe will have a normal appearance.

A podiatrist dedicates himself to the total care of feet, toes and ankles. In addition to mending broken bones and foot and ankle injuries, he routinely treats a number of common conditions. These conditions include, but are not limited to fungal nail infections, corn removal, wart removal, ingrown toe nails, hammertoe correction, planter’s warts, tailor’s bunions, and several different heel pain syndromes.

A board certified foot surgeon is a very specialized physician who can help patients to walk better and to enjoy every step. People with feet or ankle problems do not need to endure the pain, discomfort or embarrassment of sore or disfigured feet or toes. There are so many new procedures, many non-surgical, that can relieve most unpleasant conditions and that will give people the pleasure of pain free steps. It is to a person’s benefit to make an appointment for a consultation on what treatment is best for improving their feet and ankle health.