Podiatrists use many different treatment options to resolve the problems patients experience. These include custom orthotics, physical therapy, and when necessary, surgery. Another option that can be included in a treatment plan is medication. Medicine can be recommended or prescribed for pain relief, anti-inflammatory properties, or to fight against bacterial or fungal infections.
When it is included in your treatment plan, it is important that you understand the proper use of medicine, both in the instructions you need to follow and why it was prescribed in the first place. Let’s take a look at medication and some of the things you need to know.
Pain Relief Addresses Discomfort Only
Sometimes medication is prescribed by podiatrists as a way to help with pain from a particular problem. Relieving pain and discomfort is important, but it is not the same as actually addressing the problem causing the symptoms. Pain relievers do not make a condition better. They need to be accompanied by treatments such as stretches, strengthening exercises, and custom orthotic devices—depending on your particular condition—because these treatment options help correct biomechanical and structural deficiencies and abnormalities.
Our goal is to identify the cause of your pain and discomfort and then eliminate those symptoms by actually addressing the root cause.
Some medications, like the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) you can buy over-the-counter, do provide pain relief, but a more important function is the anti-inflammatory properties they provide as these aid in the healing process. That being said, these kinds of medications should only be considered a short-term fix, at best. Besides NSAIDs, corticosteroids can also be used to relieve inflammation. If you have any questions or need a recommendation when it comes to anti-inflammatory medication, simply give us a call and we will be glad to assist.
Antibiotics and Antifungal Medication
There are now more medication-resistant bugs, viruses, and fungi than there have ever been, and a major contributing factor to this is the simple fact that approximately 70% of antibiotics are not taken to completion. Instead, many patients will see a decline in symptoms and then stop using them rather than following the instructions. As a result, we have to use more expensive 2nd and 3rd generation antibiotics to address various infections in the lower limbs.
Another approach that we take is to use antibiotic beads—which can be 50 and 100 times more potent than oral medications—to address infections. We insert these beads into an infected open wound and then they dissolve while administering an effective dosage of the medication. This is ideal for localized and deep infections, and also for patients who have poor circulation.
When oral medication is prescribed, we will also recommend probiotics. This is important because antibiotics not only kill the intended bacteria, it can also kill natural bacteria residing in the GI tract, which are necessary for healthy digestion.
Name Brand Isn’t Always Better
We know that financial considerations are important for you and your family. As such, we feel it is important for you to know that you can often save money on your prescriptions by using the pharmacies like Kroger, Wal-Mart, and Meijer. There are many instances where a generic medication at one of those retail stores will only cost you $4 or may even be free, whereas the same prescription can cost 3-5 times more at a nationwide pharmacy chain. Additionally, always make sure you check to see if there is a generic version of the medication you need available. Generic drugs have to meet the same quality criteria established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as do the name-brand medications.
For More Information on Proper Use of Medicine
If you would like more information on medication you take for foot or ankle issues, or you have a condition or injury in need of treatment, simply give our Indianapolis, IN office a call at (317) 545-0505 to request an appointment with Dr. Leibovitz today!