Podiatry Arena

Podiatry - Treatment For Your Foot

Podiatry is a branch of medicine covering the diagnosis, study and treatment of the foot, ankle and lower leg.
The term podiatry originated in the USA and refers to a Doctor of Podiatric medicine who is qualified to diagnose and treat conditions that involve the feet. There are specialist branches of podiatry such as surgery, biomechanics, geriatrics, sports medicine etc. In some English speaking countries podiatry is still known as chiropody and the doctors as chiropodists and though there are some differences the two are generally the same. Plantar fascia is a thick fibrous mass of tissue that originates in the heel bone and goes along the sole of the foot towards the toes and the painful condition that occurs in this tissue is known as plantar fascists. This condition which is usually caused by long hours of standing related to occupation is said to affect nearly two million Americans. It can also be caused by too much weight constantly bearing down on the feet. The condition which starts with a pain in the heel is usually more intense when taking the first steps in the morning. Sometimes it may be that the sufferer will have difficulty when bending the foot as the toes tend to curl upwards towards the shin which affects the movement in the ankles. The condition also increases the likelihood of pains in the knees mainly amongst runners but not just runners. A podiatrist will generally examine the foot and the way a patient stands and walks, before making a diagnosis, and the treatment will involve rest, stretching, special shoes and in some cases may require the use of corticosteroids. Medial tibial stress syndrome is the formal name for a painful condition of the shins known as shin splints.
It can be caused by running, sprinting and jumping. One cause of the condition is overuse of one muscle which can occur in athletes specialising in a particular activity and putting too much stress on the shins. If the condition is untreated it can lead to a stress fracture. It is usually diagnosed as increasing pain that worsens rather than eases during exercise when warmed up. Anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, and the use of cold compresses are the usual treatment for this. Barefoot running is not the norm in modern times though famous athletes such as Zola Budd were well known for it. With the advances in running shoe design it is generally believed that running shoes are more beneficial than running in bare feet. When running without shoes the emphasis is based on the balls of the feet whereas running with shoes the emphasis changes to the heel and surrounding areas to the back of the foot. It has been argued that wearing running shoes with the stress on the heels may cause repetitive stress problems but barefoot running is thought to be healthier because the weight distribution is more evenly spread.
There is no concrete evidence as to which is better though most sports authorities recommend that running shoes be worn.