Podiatrists who have medical degrees are referred to as podiatric physicians or podiatric surgeons; and some even go on to narrow the field of their studies to specific areas in the treatment of feet and ankles, such as surgery, geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics and sports medicine.
Structure Of The Foot:
The structure of the foot comprises 26 mostly small bones and 33 joints which form two arches. These bones are held together by the fact that they fit into each other; and fibrous ligaments, muscles and a tough tissue (known as the plantar fascia) support them to retain the shape of the foot. There are also fat pads in the foot, which assist in absorbing impact and with weight bearing. The two major functions of the feet are that act as levers which push the leg forward to enable us to walk; and they help in maintaining body balance by being able to adjust to uneven surfaces. Bear in mind that the feet are very small in relation to the weight of the rest of the body and the impact of each step taken exerts a force of about 50% of a person's body weight on them. It is estimated that people spend around 4 hours of each day on their feet and, in that time, they take about 8,000 to 10,000 steps. This all adds up to a combined force equal to a few hundred tons a day.
Foot Pain Facts:
Approximately 75% of people in the western world will suffer from foot pain at some time during their lifetime. More women suffer from this affliction than men, and this is most probably caused by them wearing shoes which are ill-fitting or which push the feet into unnatural positions, such as shoes with pointed toes and shoes with high heels. There are certain medical conditions which may cause foot pain. High impact exercise may injure the feet Obesity will put extra stress on the feet; and pregnancy may cause a build up of fluids, resulting in swollen feet.
Podiatrists May Be Able To Provide Simple But Effective Relief For Foot Pain
In many cases, a simple a gel insert placed in the shoe, under the painful spot, helps enormously; and special corn, callus and bunion plasters are effective for these conditions. It is, of course, important to always wear comfortable and well-fitting shoes. If one suffers a strain or sprain, remember RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation - in that order - to reduce swelling and discomfort.