Choosing The Podiatrist That’s Right For You

The doctor/patient relationship is one of the most important relationships we’ll have with a professional caregiver. Doctors are charged with our well-being and our health, two of the things we (rightfully) value most. The same is true of specialists. In some cases, the relationship is even more important.

What is a podiatrist?

Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in the care of feet and ankles. In fact, they’re sometimes referred to as foot and ankle doctors or foot doctors. Patients tend to see podiatrists for one of two reasons: One, their primary care physician may have referred them to a podiatrist. Two, they may be experiencing some sort of discomfort or injury in their foot or ankle, and have decided to look for a podiatrist on their own. Either way, it’s important for patients to take an active role in choosing the podiatrist that’s right for them.

Location, Location, Location

One of the first things that a patient should take into consideration is the practice at which the podiatrist works. Whether it’s a private group practice, an independent practice, or an office at a local hospital, the patient should research others’ experiences there. In the case of hospitals, this research can be done via the internet using any one of several different professional hospital rating sites. When it comes to private group and independent practices, the patient may need to simply look for online reviews on an unbiased, third party site. Great practices don’t usually tolerate the presence of subpar physicians, and the same can be said of highly rated hospitals.

Training

While all podiatrists complete some educational requirements that are similar, many go on to specialize in certain areas of podiatry, like surgical procedures, sports medicine, or the like. If the patient’s issue is a specialized one, they’re smart to choose a podiatrist that’s chosen that area of medicine as their specialty. This can be determined by visiting a hospital staff directory online and looking up the podiatrist’s information or by checking the podiatrist’s website to see if it’s listed.

Rapport

A doctor may have excellent technical skills, but a lack of bedside manner (or simply an incompatible personality) can sour the doctor/patient relationship in a hurry. It’s important that patients be able to communicate honestly with their doctor, and it’s equally important that doctors take the time and put forth the effort to understand their patient’s needs. The patient should pay attention to the rapport and communication they develop with the doctor at the first appointment. If they don’t feel they’re capable of building a good relationship with their podiatrist, they should consider other options.

Experience

This is especially critical when it comes to surgical procedures. Everyone’s heard the saying “Practice makes perfect,” right? It’s true—so true; it’s been scientifically proven when it comes to surgery. The more times podiatrists have performed a particular procedure, the higher the likelihood that it will be successful. Your doctor will be more than happy to answer inquiries regarding experience.
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