Pain below the knee is a common challenge that affects people of all ages and lifestyles. In fact, Health in Aging estimates that up to 87% of people will suffer foot pain at some time in their life. No matter the toe woes or foot shenanigans you may face, it can be helpful to have a knowledgeable foot doctor in your corner. Below, we’ll discuss the seven questions to ask when choosing your foot and ankle specialist.
What Is a Foot and Ankle Specialist?
A foot and ankle specialist is a podiatrist (also known as a foot doctor). These foot-smart individuals are board-certified medical doctors who are experienced in treating all foot and ankle problems with both surgical and non-surgical methods.
Common conditions and problems treated include:
- Broken bones below the knee.
- Foot and ankle sprains.
- Bunions, nail disorders, and hammertoes.
- Arthritis and senior foot care needs.
- Morton’s neuroma.
- Diabetic foot problems.
- Extreme cases of Disney feet.
- And much (much) more.
But, just like two feet are never exactly the same, neither are podiatrists. Finding the right podiatry group can help you take the best care of your feet on your terms.
Foot and Ankle Specialist Options: 7 Questions
1. What Are the Specialist’s Certifications and Experience?
At minimum, look for certification through the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS) and the American Board of Podiatric Medicine (ABPM). But that should not be the whole kit and kaboodle. Finding a group of podiatrists that have years of experience can ensure that you’ll get the care you need even if you have a foot emergency and the foot and ankle specialist you primarily see is unavailable. An experienced podiatrist clinic will have foot doctors who communicate with each other and put patients above all else.
2. Does the Podiatrist Have the Specialized Experience To Treat My Condition?
Having a podiatrist who specializes in your foot condition can make all the difference. But what happens when you or a family member have a different problem? It may be a good idea to call and ask about the office’s network of specializations so that you know, no matter what happens, your foot doctors have your feet covered.
3. Do Your Current Doctors Recommend the Clinic and Doctor?
When you have a foot or ankle issue, your general practitioner may have insight into SWFL’s best podiatrists. You can also ask friends and family to see if they have visited a recommended podiatry clinic before. Additionally, you can check online reviews, to get an idea of the podiatrist’s reputation.
4. Does the Clinic Have Advanced Technology in House?
Advanced medical equipment and technology can help give you the most treatment options available. Advanced podiatry technology to look for:
- In-house MRI for nerve pain.
- Zimmer Shockwave Therapy for heel pain.
- Top-notch surgical equipment and machines for effective surgeries (when necessary).
5. Is the Doctor’s Practice Conveniently Located?
It’s important to balance a convenient location with the best care available. Although you want a short, easy drive, a foot and ankle specialist who advocates patient education over a direct jump to the operating room will listen to and work with you to create the right treatment plan. Keep in mind, some podiatry groups will have multiple locations for your convenience.
6. Does the Foot and Ankle Specialist Have Appointment Space?
When you need foot care, you need foot care. Larger podiatrist groups are likely to have more appointment options available. In a foot fiasco (emergency), they may be able to see you on the same day.
7. Last, but Definitely Not Least…
Does the Entire Foot and Ankle Specialist Team Listen to You?
A truly advanced foot and ankle specialist clinic understands the value of a care team who cares about your well-being, is passionate about what they do, and respects you as an individual. Your first call to a foot and ankle specialist clinic will give you the information you need to feel good about your foot care.
Foot & Ankle Group is here to support your every step of the way— treatment plans are created on a case-by-case basis. Contact us today.