It’s not always that pain in the neck across the office cubicle wall that will cause you the most trouble at work. Oftentimes, it’s that pain in your feet that makes maneuvering around the office difficult. Foot pain and other complications in your legs are a common problem. Few people know how to go about getting help for their medical issue. Trying to find a podiatrist is rarely the idea that first comes to mind.
Keeping your feet in shape, and dealing appropriately with issues that arise with them, will contribute to your overall health. After all, your feet are what keep you moving ahead in life.
There are more than 300 issues that can affect your feet, so finding a podiatrist may likely be the best way to keep them in good shape.
Many people make the wrong move when it comes to health care. They will show up at an emergency room or clinic when their feet hurt. Better to go to their doctor (primary care physician) to get an initial diagnosis, and a likely referral to a podiatrist.
A podiatrist would be in the best position to assess the condition affecting your feet and to come up with the appropriate treatment plan. Experience in dealing with common but painful foot ailments, such as bunions or plantar fasciitis, can be key to getting a patient up and moving.
As with so many other medical issues, you can ask your family members or friends if they have a podiatrist they would recommend. It’s preferable to take that advice from someone who had previously suffered a foot injury or condition such as yours.
With hundreds of injuries and conditions that can affect your feet, podiatrists often specialize in treating certain groups of those issues. Some podiatrists specialize in treating sports injuries, or surgery, or biomechanical issues. So, there are questions to ask before you make that first appointment, during it and after it as well.
When you choose to visit a podiatrist make sure you describe any medical conditions you have – such as diabetes – that may affect your feet. Good podiatrists know how to look after foot problems before they worsen. They will have knowledge, for instance, on how to treat plantar fasciitis using the correct shoe inserts. Or, they’ll understand how to treat the abnormal gaits and other problems that are common in children’s bodies.
Some questions to ask when choosing a podiatrist:
Do they accept most health insurance plans? With the high cost of medical expenses, the first item on your list is to check with your insurer or employee benefits office as they may have a list of podiatrists who are part of their medical network. Going out-of-network can be a costly mistake you don’t want to make.
If I have trouble walking will getting into the office be too difficult? An issue that doesn’t arise when choosing a dentist or a dermatologist is the physical layout of the doctor’s office. A long flight of stairs isn’t an issue when you’re going to an office to get a cavity filled or a wart removed. It is when you’ve got a bunion.
Do they have patient reviews or board ratings that you can review?
Is their office equipped with the latest technology? You may see a range of technology when you shop around for a podiatrist. Some offices will keep only a minimum amount of equipment on hand, while others will have an office crowded with medical technology. As you do your research make sure you know whether a podiatrist has limitations to what treatments they can offer. Certain equipment is essential to treating particular foot conditions.
Do they rush to suggest surgery as an option? While surgery may be necessary, a podiatrist may still be able to offer other procedures as an option.
Are they experienced? Even some experience, particularly in treating your particular foot issues, is a good sign. The podiatrist you use should know how to deal with the conditions you present.
Do they have a family friendly practice? Foot problems can develop at any age – from early childhood to advanced age. If you have a family, you may want to make sure you can depend on a podiatrist that can treat everyone in it.
Are they board certified? The American Board of Podiatric Medicine administers annual examinations for certification. If a podiatrist isn’t certified, how confident am I that I will get effective treatment?
How is their demeanor? This is true of any professional with which you expect to do business. It’s certainly important when dealing with a medical issue. Is the podiatrist and the office staff welcoming, efficient and respectful? Do they explain your options in a way that’s easy to understand?
Is the podiatrist taking the time to consider my health care concerns? Just like with any doctor or medical professional, a podiatrist should take the time to sit down with you and offer you a considered opinion on your condition and possible treatment options. You should have a sense that they listen to your symptoms and your needs and then discuss treatment options that are right for you. You should have a sense the podiatrist you choose will be your partner.
What other questions would you ask when finding a podiatrist? Do you have any advice for someone looking to do the same? Tell us in the comments below!
Medicare supplemental insurance from AAA can help you cover out-of-pocket health care costs that original Medicare doesn’t. Learn more at AAA.com/Medicare.