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Got Foot Problems? Here's How to Choose the Best Podiatrist for You
Podiatrists are medical professionals who specialize in the treatment of health problems related to the foot or ankle. They did not have the same training and educational path as medical doctors since they have their own podiatric schools and organizations.
Podiatrists can perform a variety of procedures like surgeries, drug prescriptions, x-ray or laboratory tests, broken bone fixes.
Depending on your location, it might be difficult to find podiatric specialists. This guide should help you choose the right podiatrist to treat your foot problems.
Look for Experience and Expertise
Similar to medical doctors, aspiring podiatrists finish a bachelor’s degree in either chemistry, biology, or physics as a preparation course.
The next step of their education is in a podiatric school, where they spend at least four years. Here, they are trained to diagnose foot-related health conditions and treat them accordingly. You may also want to check where they spent their hospital-based surgical residency, which should take about three to four years.
The Podiatrists Board of New Zealand reviews and approves applications for accreditation to those who have completed the necessary educational requirements and professional training.
Know Their Specific Podiatry Specialization
Before going to your first consultation, understand that the foot is a complex system. Many people would try to disregard their foot problems, thinking that it is not as sensitive as other organs like the heart or liver. It is only until the condition became worse, and their quality of life is affected that they consider going to a foot orthopedic specialist.
Podiatrists have specific areas of specialization. It is important to consult with a professional with years of education and practice on areas like fractures and sprains, bunions and hammertoes, nail disorders, arthritis, growing pains, heel pain, and Morton’s neuroma.
Some podiatrists also specialize in the treatment and management of sports-related injuries, surgeries, and bio-mechanical management. You should also discuss with the foot doctor other underlying conditions like fibromyalgia, diabetes, and chronic foot wounds.
While there are general podiatrists who deal with common foot diseases, there are also doctors who specialize in rare ones. Your diagnosis should reveal the complexity of your case and if you need a general podiatrist or a team of specialists.
Find Someone Who Makes You Comfortable
Meeting with the doctor can sometimes be a painful task to do, regardless of their specialization. Other patients might feel ashamed of having to divulge sensitive information that is necessary to make the proper diagnosis and treatment.
This is why it is crucial to find the doctor with whom you feel most comfortable, even if it would mean switching doctors.
While most doctors are likely to meet your qualification standards, not many will make the most comfortable experience. You will find that comfort is a deal-breaker, especially when the area of concern needs a lot of touching. Podiatrists will perform repeat physical examinations to the foot or ankle.
As a patient, you have the right to set expectations during the initial appointment. Ask about the treatment process and factors that could make you uncomfortable along the way.
Consider Convenience and Schedule
Most private doctors have set schedules as visiting residents to hospitals or clinics. Patients likely go to the doctors whose time and location are most convenient to them. You will find that it is most practical when you are meeting with a podiatrist near you.
If you are working during the week, find someone who is available on Saturdays. However, clinics get less cramped during the week compared on the weekends.
Another consideration is your insurance provider. Check which providers are affiliated to your podiatrist or the hospital in case you need hospitalization. The insurance usually covers consultation, laboratory, and confinement in full or certain amounts.
Ask Your Family and Friends for Referrals
If you are a new patient and have no idea how podiatry works, consider getting a referral. Recommendations from family members and friends are the best way to narrow your search. This is especially true if you are time-crunched and working on a specific budget.
You will also find that you almost always get a sense of security when you are working with a doctor who is referred by people you trust and love the most. However, not everyone has a referral, to begin with. Stefan Edwards reviews the profiles of qualified podiatrists in the country and matches them with potential patients based on location and specialty.
Podiatrists have specialized training and education in medicine that enable them to diagnose, treat, and manage foot and ankle-related health problems. Some people do not find the need to see a podiatrist until their condition worsens.
In your search to find the best podiatrist for you, always consider their expertise and experience — narrow your choices to a few who can fit into your preferred schedule and location. Finally, utilize referrals from family and friends, so every doctor’s appointment is a worthwhile experience.