The dangers of self diagnosing and self treating

Sometimes, it is necessary to seek the advice of a professional before heading down the road of self-treatment for a condition of the foot or lower leg.  Podiatry and Chiropody is the profession that deals with the examination, diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the foot and lower leg.  For this reason, they are generally accepted as the first medical practitioner to contact for all things feet.  

Why should I use Experienced Chiropodist?

Your Podiatrist or Chiropodist will have undertaken extensive training to be able to treat and manage conditions of the foot.  On your visit to a Podiatrist or Chiropodist you may be offered either a single episode of treatment, a course of treatments until the condition has resolved or you may be advised to have ongoing care if the condition may present as a problem for the long term. Diabetics for example with a persistent in growing type toe nail or a corn caused by a hammer toe should always consider long term Podiatry or Chiropody Care.

If I tell a practitioner to treat me, does this mean they must?

A practitioner must always resort to what we call ‘clinical reasoning’ as to why they should or should not conduct any treatment on the foot and lower leg.  Just because a person says that they think they have a condition that sounds like the one they read about in a book or on the internet does not then mean the practitioner should therefore treat it.   In simple terms, the practitioner may outline why it is better ‘not’ to cut the nails too short,  as this can cause in-growing nails in the long term.  Or that the patient says, treat the verrucae please.  The Podiatrist or Chiropodist will always have to weigh up the risks of treating the skin before applying medicaments to it.  Sometimes, if the condition is causing no harm, then it can be left alone.

Why is it not always a good idea to self-diagnose and treat?

People often self-diagnose and treat the foot for one condition, when it is actually something else.  Or, they lack the skills and tools to safely and effectively self treat.   One of the most common miss-diagnosis is people treating themselves for verrucae, when in-fact they have a corn.  Another is treating eczema, when they actually have athletes foot, or trying to treat cracked heels, when they have actually injured their foot.  People will often use the incorrect treatment method for a self diagnosed condition.

What about muscle and joint pains? Can I just buy new shoes and it will go away?

Again, often it’s not what you have got, but how you use it.  Many muscle and joint injuries can be corrected or prevented by correct alignment of the body.  Your Podiatrist or Chiropodist may provide a detailed musculoskeletal assessment to find out the cause of your problem and offer advice to help resolve the issue in the form of basic exercises to specialist arch supports/orthotics.  The wrong type of in-shoe device can actually damage your foot further.   If are suffering with foot pain, fatigue or suspect joint damage, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon and calf problems then seek professional advice.

What should I do if I am not sure about the condition no my foot?

We would always advice discussing with your Podiatrist or Chiropodist first.   With their wealth of experience and knowledge, they should be able to provide you with a good treatment and management plan for your condition.  If something else is suspected, then they are able to referrer to the relevant medical practitioner.

For peace of mind on all things feet, contact your Podiatrist or Chiropodist.