Podiatrists in the states see about 60 million visits each year. With thousands of podiatrists practicing today, there is a huge industry operating to support patients.
The world’s podiatry services market was worth $4.3 billion in 2020. The growth in the podiatry industry has come from increased awareness surrounding foot care, but also because podiatrists promote preventative treatments.
Podiatrists help patients to keep their feet and ankles strong and healthy. To do this, they dispense nutritional advice and treat ailments such as foot ulcers caused by diabetes.
To help podiatrists keep advancing with their care, the industry has made several pushes with technology and innovations.
What do podiatrists treat?
Before a podiatrist can be fully qualified and trained, they will have gone through about 8 years of study and 3 more gaining experience in a residency. The result is a specialist who understands everything related to the foot and ankle.
A visit to Cutting Edge Podiatry reveals a list of ailments that podiatrists can treat from sprains to muscle injuries to fungal infections. Podiatrists help with rehabilitation and preventative care to avoid more injury in the future.
A podiatrist will treat infections, ingrowing toenails, and foot health concerns brought about by diabetes. Podiatrists treat simple foot and ankle problems as well as dealing with long-term illnesses.
To help podiatrists with their work, there have been some advances in the tools they use.
What podiatric advances have been made in recent years?
Corns are a common problem with foot health, and modern treatment includes minimally invasive surgery to permanently correct the condition. There are many other areas in podiatry that have been improved upon recently.
Innovative implants for ankle instability
Modern technology is changing healthcare for the better, and the SonicAnchor Bioresorbable Anchoring System provides an innovative method to fix ankle instability. Using ultrasound technology, a surgeon can fuse soft tissue to bone with the aid of a bioresorbable implant. Innovations such as this are helping with reduced recovery times and less risk of post-op complications.
Interactive care and tele-podiatry
The pandemic saw the rise of telemedicine as social distancing and lockdowns prevented many people from visiting their doctors. Technology is being used now to provide podiatric care through the internet.
The benefit of tele-podiatry is patients can facilitate early detection of foot health problems, and receive intervention when urgent.
Grafix wound cover
This FDA-approved membrane is used to treat chronic foot wounds. Used as an alternative to skin grafts, Grafix can be used to help patients with diabetic ulcers. Benefits include faster healing times, reduced wound-related infections, and fewer adverse effects.
Data collection through diabetic socks
Collecting data has resulted in some controversial media reports about certain tech companies. Yet, there is no doubt that data analysis can help improve patient care.
One company has created a sock or insole that can monitor certain functions such as heat and pressure when a patient moves. By monitoring data, the patient and the podiatrist can help to reduce the chances of foot ulcers recurring. It is hoped that this technology will help the patient in managing their conditions themselves.
Burn and wound dressings
PluroGel is the brand name given to an innovative treatment for burns and dressing wounds. This gel helps to create a better healing environment by reducing pain and softening debris in wounds so that they are easier to clean.
Foot ulcers are one of the biggest reasons to see a podiatrist. Many patients avoid treatment due to pain though. PluroGel increases patient compliance by making wound cleaning easier and less painful.
3D Printing for orthotics
Flat foot is a condition when development doesn’t happen properly. Podiatrists try to treat hollow and flat feet early on, and orthotics are of great assistance.
Now, custom orthotics can be created through the use of 3D printing. This speeds up treatment and reduces costs. Orthotic insoles can help patients either postpone or in some cases avoid surgery altogether.
Prescription scar management gel
Surgery can cause painful and unsightly scarring on feet. Ulcers, trauma, and operations can all leave scars that cause the patient discomfort.
Even ingrown toenails can lead to heavy scarring in some instances. Scarring from untreated onychocryptosis can be helped with steroid injections, but Celacyn gel has been shown to reduce itching, discomfort, and pain in foot scars.
Microwave therapy for the treatment of warts
Warts and verrucas can be cleared quickly through the use of microwave therapy. This treatment involves a medical device that pinpoints microwave signals on the area that needs treatment. The SWIFT system has been shown to remove 83% of the most stubborn verrucas during trials.
Toenail laser treatment
Terbinafine and itraconazole are the most common topical medications for toenail fungus, but laser treatment is very effective. This problem is common, and knowing how to keep kids’ feet fungus free is something every parent wants to know. Fortunately, podiatrists can recommend an efficient laser treatment.
Laser treatment will target the microorganisms under the nail without damaging the keratin. A few treatments are usually all that is needed to eradicate any infection.
As advances are made in treatments for foot and ankle problems, patient care can only improve. The benefits of innovations in podiatry are faster recovery times, better pain management, and fewer complications or adverse effects.
Preventative care is the best method for keeping feet healthy and strong, but technology will help podiatrists treat problems much easier shortly.
The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.