Some people just hate going to the doctor. There may be many reasons for that. Maybe they don’t want to pay the money for the office visit. They may also assume that they’ll only hear bad news that won’t make a difference in the end.
However, for certain conditions, seeing a doctor is extremely important. This is especially the case for a foot injury. Foot injuries may not sound very serious, but they can lead to big problems if unattended to. Here are five problems that can result from refusing to see a doctor about a foot injury.
1. You Could Lose Your Ability to Walk
Feet are a very important part of the body. They allow a person to freely walk from one place to another. Injuries to the feet should be addressed immediately. If they are ignored, they can be damaged irreversibly.
One of the most common foot injuries is an ankle sprain. According to the New York Times, 28,000 people sprain their ankles every day in the United States. However, just because sprains are so common does not mean you can safely ignore one. When a sprain occurs, muscle and connective tissue in the ankle becomes disoriented. This tissue must be properly reoriented again by a professional. If not, it may scar in this unnatural position and regular movement could be lost permanently.
2. You Could Be Forced to Live with Constant Pain
Another possibility of refusing to have a foot injury treated is constant unending pain. “Pain occurs due to nerves reacting to something that’s wrong with the body,” said Advanced Foot and Ankle Institute of Georgia LLC. In the case of a foot injury, pain is usually the result of inflammation related to the bones, tendons or ligaments in the foot. The nerves themselves can also be damaged and this too can cause pain. In the case of nerve damage, it may be an intense burning pain intermingled with feelings of numbness and tingling.
One reason you should absolutely get a foot injury treated is to make this kind of pain go away. You will likely receive a prescription from the doctor to help you deal with the pain. However, don’t think that over the counter pain medicine will be a good alternative to visiting a doctor. If the underlying source of the pain in your foot’s bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles or nerves is not addressed, the pain will continue and only get worse.
3. You Could Develop Arthritis of the Foot
Arthritis is a chronic condition caused by inflammation of the joints in the body. It can cause severe pain and stiffness and significantly impair movement and mobility. The foot contains various joints and is a prime target for developing arthritis.
You may assume that arthritis happens gradually as people reach old age due to normal wear and tear of the body. While this is the case for certain kinds of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, it is not the case for posttraumatic arthritis. This is arthritis that develops due to an injury. Fractures, dislocations and other injuries to the ankle and feet can cause posttraumatic arthritis. If you want to avoid debilitating arthritic pain in your foot, you absolutely should seek professional medical care after a foot injury.
4. You Could Develop Gangrene
Gangrene isn’t something that only exists in movies. It’s a gruesome condition that occurs when tissue in the human body dies. The tissue in question dies due to the result of blood loss from an infection, illness or injury. Due to how far blood must travel to reach the feet, the feet are especially at risk of developing gangrene. A strong enough injury to the foot that interrupts proper blood flow can certainly lead to gangrene of the foot.
5. You May End Up Needing an Amputation
Lastly, you may end up with one of the worst consequences possible. You may need to have your foot amputated if you wait too long to receive medical care. According to CDC.gov, the number of people who have lower extremities amputated each year is in the tens of thousands. After gangrene sets in, the only recourse is to remove the dead tissue. How much tissue needs to be removed depends on how much tissue died. Failing to treat an injury right away could result in needing toes amputated or even the entire foot.