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What is Podiatry? Exploring Foot and Ankle Care

What is Podiatry? Exploring Foot and Ankle Care

In the realm of healthcare, podiatry stands out as a specialized branch dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of foot, ankle, and lower extremity disorders. It's a field that addresses a wide range of conditions affecting people of all ages, from common ailments to complex surgical needs. At Osceola Medical Center, our Podiatry Department is equipped to tackle these issues head-on, ensuring that our patients in the St. Croix Valley and beyond receive the comprehensive care they need. Here's a closer look at some of the most common conditions our podiatrists handle:

Bunions and Hammertoes

Bunions and hammertoes are painful conditions resulting from misalignments of the foot's bones. Bunions form at the base of the big toe, causing it to veer toward the others, while hammertoes are characterized by an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the toe. Both conditions can lead to significant discomfort and are often exacerbated by tight or ill-fitting footwear.

Plantar Fasciitis

A leading cause of heel pain, plantar fasciitis, stems from inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. This condition is particularly common among runners and those who are overweight.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of the toenail grows into the flesh of the toe. This can cause pain, redness, swelling, and, in severe cases, infection. Ingrown toenails can result from improper nail trimming, tight shoes, or injury.

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes can lead to a wide range of foot problems, including poor circulation and neuropathy (nerve damage), which can make feet more susceptible to injury and less capable of healing. Specialized diabetic foot care is crucial to prevent serious complications, including infections and ulcers.

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, can become inflamed due to overuse, particularly in runners and athletes. This condition, known as Achilles tendonitis, results in pain and stiffness in the heel and can severely impact mobility if left untreated.


Arthritis, or joint inflammation, can significantly affect the foot and ankle, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout are among the types that commonly affect these areas.

Ankle Replacements

For those with severe ankle arthritis, ankle replacement surgery may offer a viable solution to relieve pain and restore function. This procedure involves replacing the damaged parts of the ankle joint with artificial components. Ankle replacements have become more common as advancements in technology and surgical techniques have improved outcomes, making it a promising option for many patients.

At Osceola Medical Center, we're committed to providing our community with access to high-quality podiatric care. Whether you're experiencing persistent foot pain, have noticed changes in your foot health, or simply want to maintain your feet in their best possible condition, our Podiatry Department is here to support you. Our team, led by skilled professionals like Dr. Mitchell Thompson, is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal foot health so you can continue to enjoy an active, fulfilling life.

Foot and ankle problems can significantly impact your quality of life, but with the right care, many of these issues can be effectively managed or resolved. We encourage anyone dealing with foot or ankle concerns to reach out to us. Together, we can take the necessary steps towards better health, ensuring that you can walk, run, and move with ease and comfort.

Remember, your feet carry you through life's journey. Taking care of them is not just about addressing current problems; it's about preventing future issues and maintaining your overall well-being. Let's step towards better health together, one foot at a time.

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