Is Dr Google really helping you manage your health?

It has always been a popular idea to google your symptoms. Whether it be “What to do if I have a sore throat?” Or “How to fix a painful heel at home?”. Googling symptoms is quite often how patients end up in our office!

Google is often a good place to start if you are looking for a clinic, health professional or educational resource. However, Google is not a medically developed resource. The advice often found on Google can actually be counterproductive and lead to further injury or deterioration in the health condition.

Common Presentations

Toenails and dental floss – “I think I have an ingrown toenail, I Googled it and I read  to use toothpicks, dental floss and soak my toe in apple cider vinegar”. Ingrown toenails are complex and need to be treated carefully. If nails are cut incorrectly this can lead to nail plate damage and will result in permanent damage to the nail. Our podiatry team are highly trained in removing ingrown toenails, managing any soft tissue infections and can provide education about ongoing management. For more information on ingrown toenails please visit our education page.

Heel pain and soft shoes – “My heels have been painful for months, I googled and I believe I have a heel spur”. Plantar heel pain is a debilitating common condition that affects 1 in 4 adults. This condition typically presents as an ache in the heel worse in the morning, improves throughout the day and returns worse in the evening. Online resources often mislead patients into thinking softer shoes will provide comfort for sore feet, this is incorrect. Softer shoes provide little to no support for the feet therefore the overused or injured tissues in the feet are then subjected to further load and degeneration. Heel spurs are a calcification formation that occurs in the sole of the heel, heel spurs are a result of long standing inflammation and degeneration in the soft tissues. Heel spurs require a specialist approach to offload the heel so they the spurring or calcification does not continue to progress. For more information of plantar heel pain please visit our education page.

Heel Spurs do not disappear – “I had heel spurs but now they have gone away” Calcaneal (heel) spurs are bony calcium deposits that occur when there is long standing and repetitive tension applied to the heel bone. Often they are painless, however they can also be associated with long standing plantar fasciosis. As the arch flattens and there is progressive load applied to the heel there will be inflammatory changes which can result in micro-tears leading to slow detachment of the plantar fascia. Despite many google articles indicating that heel spurs can disappear it maybe true that pain can resolve however heel spurs are a permanent bone change. For more information of plantar heel pain please visit our education page.

What should I do if I think I have a foot pathology?

Schedule an appointment with a foot specialist who is trained and experienced in the health of foot health medicine. Podiatrists spend years at University training to detect, diagnose and treat foot conditions. It is ok to Google your symptoms to have some background on foot health however it is important to not use this internet information as a diagnosis or treatment regime.

Where to find out more information?

Visit our website 

Call our friendly team 0435 722 565 

Send us an email