By Dr. Kyle Kinmon
Selecting a specialist doctor is much like choosing any other health care professional. If you have been having issues with your feet and/or ankles, and feel that you need to seek medical help, it’s important to make sure you’re choosing the right podiatrist. It is important to see a specialist who will listen to your concerns, properly diagnose the issues, and deliver the kind of care you need.
Podiatry schooling begins on the same track as becoming a medical doctor. After completing a four-year undergraduate pre-medical degree, aspiring podiatrists move on to a four-year doctoral program in an accredited podiatric college. Upon graduation, podiatrists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of the foot, ankle and their related tissues and structures. The feet are complicated body parts and contain half of the body’s bones and a large number of small muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels.
Beyond training, it’s important to find a podiatrist who is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association or the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. You will be able to visit those websites to locate a podiatrist near you and see his/her credentials.
There are also many other ways to determine which professional podiatrist is right for your needs. You can request a reference from your long time family physician, who will be able to recommend a professional foot care provider who is experienced with your specific issues. Another option is to request referrals from friends or family members who have visited a podiatrist in the past and have had a particularly good experience.
If you find a podiatrist who looks particularly helpful, do not be hesitant to call his/her office and ask a few questions before making an appointment. Sometimes an office will give you the phone numbers to their own references, which might include past or current patients. This is a great option as you will want to find out as much as possible about the podiatry office you are thinking about visiting.
Nurses are another source of good referrals because they work closely with a number of doctors so can offer helpful insight to your particular needs. They are a good source of information as to a doctor’s professionalism, experience and general bedside manner and behavior.
To begin your foot and ankle care journey, simply make an appointment with a podiatrist and make sure you feel completely comfortable during the visit. Ask questions about the doctor’s availability, and make sure he/she seems to have your best interests at heart. If you are going to put your feet in the care of someone else, it is best to feel assured that that person is going to care for them as best they can.
You will also want to feel you can trust the podiatrist you choose, as this person must be able to take care of any of your problems and diagnose them properly. If you do not feel good about a doctor during that first visit, chances are you would not feel comfortable on any other visits with that doctor either.
Trust your instincts in addition to doing your homework. The proper amount of research will help you feel that you are getting the best care, and it’s important to remember that your feet are well worth the trouble. It’s important to read reviews, visit the doctor’s website and read his/her credentials.
At the end of the day, your feet carry you everywhere you need to go, so make sure your podiatrist puts your foot and ankle care as a priority. Our team of eight board-certified podiatrists are fully equipped to treat everything from an ingrown toenail to total ankle joint replacement, and have more than 100 years of combined experience. They are compassionate and caring, take the time to listen to you, and recommend the most conservative treatment first. From Broward to Palm Beach and Martin Counties, they’ve got your foot and ankle needs covered.