Most people have foot or ankle problems at some point in their lives, but for some reason many people never find a podiatrist (a foot and ankle doctor) to address those problems. Why and how should you go about doing this? Here’s what you should know about going to see your local podiatrist:
- Pain Isn’t ‘Normal’
Feet can take a lot of pressure. But that doesn’t mean you should ever be in constant pain, even if you work on your feet all day. A podiatrist can assess the reason for your pain and help you either eliminate or manage it. Remember, there’s nothing normal about chronic pain; pain is your body’s way of telling you it needs something to be fixed. You should be concerned about acute symptoms, too, and get any swelling or discoloration checked out. These can be signs of serious problems that will progress if not treated.
- Specialties Matter
Just as in other fields of medicine, podiatrists tend to specialize. All will probably be able to deal with basic problems like ingrown toenail or ankle sprain treatments. But depending on the nature of your problem, you might want to look for a sports podiatrist, or one who specializes in rehab. Doing your homework can cut down on the time it takes to find the correct treatment and relieve your pain.
- Referrals Will Help
All podiatrists in your area will be competent, since they’re trained and licensed just like general physicians. But that doesn’t mean that all will be equally good fits for your personality. Start with a referral from your primary care physician, if you can, but then check out several podiatry offices to determine where you’re most comfortable. You can ask for testimonials and personal referrals to get a better idea of a podiatrist’s treatment philosophy. Are you the type who wants your pain dealt with quickly, even if that means more invasive treatments? Would you rather start more modestly and try to take care of a problem with as few drugs or surgeries as possible? These are the things you should think about when you start the process to find a podiatrist that fits your personal preferences.
Do you have any tips to share on how to find a podiatrist? Join the discussion in the comments.