Anytime you’re in the market for a specialist, there are many questions to consider, and finding a podiatrist is no different. If you’re in the market for a new foot doctor, the process can be a long and daunting one. Today, we have a few tips that can help you narrow down the specialist that’s right for you.
This may seem obvious, but not all specialists were created equal, and not all foot doctors work within the same specialties. So the very first question you ask yourself should be as simple as that: what are you looking for? If you’re looking for something relatively common, like ankle pain treatment or bunion treatment, then you can feel free to cast a pretty wide net when it comes to choosing a podiatrist. However, other, more specialized concerns may require a more specialized treatment center. For example, you may be looking for a diabetic foot specialist who is sensitive to the needs of diabetic patients and can help you establish and maintain a proper foot care regimen for your feet, or take care of diabetes-related foot issues as they arrive. If this is the case, give offices a call to ask if they offer those specialties, or get a referral from your general practitioner.
If you live in a small area without much choice in the matter, traveling to see the foot doctor might be your only option, but if you’re in an area where you can afford to choose, it might not hurt to take location into account. Remember: you may be seeing this doctor at some of your most vulnerable moments, and while traveling 40 minutes to see a doctor you had good feelings about may feel fine on a normal day, that doctor might not be the right choice for you if you can’t imagine making that same trip while you’re experiencing excruciating foot pain.
This is similar to what we discussed above, but if you find a foot and ankle center with multiple specialists who cover multiple different issues, that might make future visits to the office make more sense. This is especially true if you plan on having surgery on your foot or ankle, because some facilities offer things like physical therapy in the same building as the foot doctor, which will allow your medical team to move your records between them without anything getting lost in the shuffle. By establishing a relationship with a treatment center, you can ensure you’ll be taken care of, no matter which step of the process you’re at.
Visiting the doctor is expensive, and can be doubly so if your specialist is out of your provider’s network. When choosing a specialist, it’s a good idea to consult with your insurance provider to make sure that the process is covered. From there, you can also discuss what your co-pay will be, if any, and how that will effect treatments down the line. Some insurance companies even offer to cover treatments related to the issue such as massage, so it’s worth asking about those as well.
Last but not least, make sure that you get a good feeling about the doctor you choose. The ideal doctor should listen to your concerns, not be dismissive or belittling. They should make time for you, not rush you through appointments. In turn, you should be sure to respect your doctor’s time by showing up on time for appointments, respecting support staff, and discussing your options accordingly. A good rule of thumb when you visit a new doctor’s office is to see how the support staff is acting. Do they seem friendly and happy to be there? If so, then it’s much more likely they’re treated well by the doctors, who will hopefully treat you well in turn.
Choosing a new foot doctor can be a daunting task, but if you do your research and take the time to make sure that the specialist is a good fit, you can establish a relationship that will help keep you on your feet for years.