What Happens at a Podiatrist Appointment?

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Going to the podiatrist is an unpleasant experience for many, but it can also a necessary one. 

Research shows that up to four years after receiving treatment for foot pain, 70% of people report their pain has decreased, and they can do the activities they previously enjoyed. 

A podiatrist is a medical doctor who has completed specialized training and works with the feet, ankles, and legs. 

They can also treat foot and ankle pain due to problems with the bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and tendons.

Podiatrists are foot doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating injuries, diseases, and disorders related to the lower extremities (feet and ankles). 

They examine the lower extremity (feet and ankles), diagnosing and treating injuries, diseases, and disorders related to the foot and ankle. 

Unlike most of the other specialists, you may see, a podiatrist needs to know about the entire lower limb.

If it is your first time, there are a few things that you will want to be aware of when you visit.

What You Should Bring

You won’t need to bring anything with you apart from what they advised you to bring when you booked the appointment on an initial visit.

Instead, you need to bring yourself and allow plenty of time for the doctor to get a full assessment of you and your needs.

Nevertheless, it will help your podiatrist and speed up the process enormously if you have the following information ready:

  • Medications, allergies, and current medical problems
  • Surgical procedures in the past
  • You may experience any symptoms throughout your body.
  • Family history
  • Health habits, both current and previous

They will inform you about what to bring for subsequent visits.

Overview

Essentially, the main things you can expect to happen on your first visit will be:

  • They will ask a few questions
  • They will examine your feet
  • They will discuss your treatment with you
  • They will talk about treatment options
  • They will explain what they are going to do

Let’s go into a bit more detail about each step.

First Steps After Arrival

Initial consultations with the medical podiatrists give them a chance to assess your needs in a comprehensive assessment with you. 

The medical history will reference your foot health, as well as any previous problems and treatments you may have had. 

If you take any medication, have allergies, or have other health conditions, they will list this information.

Each patient’s first visit will be somewhat different, depending on their symptoms.

Examination

An examination of your feet will be performed initially by the podiatrist. 

Next, they will examine the legs, which start at the toes and include everything from the ankle to the hip, consisting of the feet, ankles, lower legs, knees, and pelvis. 

They should also examine the skin and nails for issues such as ingrown toenails, verrucas, and fungal infections, and they may even provide treatment at the time of the exam. 

Doppler Foot Assessment

This is a non-invasive and painless ultrasound examination that is generally used in the initial phases of evaluations.

It helps assess poor circulation in the lower limbs since it can have all sorts of implications.

Plan of Action

You will receive their expert advice on what you need to do next. 

When further treatment is needed, the doctor will inform you and arrange an appropriate schedule for you.  

Besides general foot health and advice on keeping it healthy, they’ll also give you advice on everyday foot health.

Biomechanical Assessment

It is also possible to undergo a biomechanical assessment during your initial evaluation if you suffer from this kind of problem. 

The podiatrist can do the complete evaluation at a later date if the pre-biomechanical assessment is satisfactory. 

The lower extremities are thoroughly examined, from the toes to the pelvis, to help resolve a host of issues and problems, such as postural deficiencies, gait issues, sports injuries, and Achilles’ problems.

Recommendations for Treatment and Prevention

Depending on your exact situation, you may receive a basic treatment plan straight away.

Based on a thorough history and examination, a podiatrist can recommend specific treatment options. 

Physical therapy and wound or ulcer care may be the most immediate recommendations, along with appropriate footwear, padding, and inserts. 

Occasionally, you may need to see a second specialist. For example, a vascular specialist may be required if you are having blood flow issues or a dermatologist for skin-related problems.

Throughout the process, your foot and ankle physician works with your primary care physician and any other specialists if needed to ensure you remain as healthy as possible on your feet and legs, making it easier to stay active.

There are also other lifestyle changes a podiatrist may advise:

Quitting Smoking

Your limbs and feet can experience decreased blood flow if you smoke. This is often a significant cause of lower limb issues, and if you are a smoker, stopping smoking will undoubtedly be the first recommendation you will receive.

Slimming Down

Your joints, such as your feet and ankles, can be strained by excess weight. Getting rid of a few pounds and proper dietary habits could alleviate foot discomfort while not costing you a lot of money.

More Walking

An increase in walking leads to a surge in circulation to the feet. This increased blood circulation will bring in fresh nutrients and oxygen to affected areas.

You may even find that after several weeks of improved walking, you will have alleviated some of your original foot issues.

Management of Diabetes

It is only applicable to people living with diabetes. However, managing your diabetes through diet and exercise will reduce the risk of foot and ankle problems.

Why You Might Need A Podiatrist

Several reasons why you may be looking for a podiatrist or doctor for foot conditions include:

An Infection of The Nails

Ingrown toenails are often the leading cause of infection and require minor surgery to remedy.

Arthritis And Gout

These can lead to foot and toe pain. 

A family doctor or podiatrist may treat these conditions to help ease the symptoms. This can range from simple medications to specialist footwear.

Flat feet

Wearing orthotics such as foot braces or arch supports may be necessary if you have flat feet or weak or injured foot ligaments. 

An orthopedist will make custom foot supports for you based on your foot molds.

Diabetes 

Nerve damage can be caused in the feet and other places. 

You may experience numbness, pain, and ulcers on your feet and legs due to diabetes. If you suffer from foot problems because of diabetes, you will need to visit a podiatrist. 

Problems With The Ankles And Knees

A podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon is best for treating ankle or knee problems.

You may also need to undergo physical therapy sessions to strengthen your knees, ankles, and feet joints and muscles for long periods.

Summary

Your initial visit to a podiatrist varies from person to person, but in most cases, they will perform some simple checks to try and get to the root cause of your problem.

Though a podiatrist is a doctor and will likely conduct an examination that includes listening to your lungs and heart, the first tests a podiatrist will perform are on the feet. 

They will check your ankles, knees, and hips’ range of motion and will also check your feet for signs of swelling, cuts, or ingrown toenails or calluses.

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