A podiatrist is a medical specialist who is trained in the treatment of your feet or lower legs. Podiatrists are specifically trained doctors and can perform surgery and treatment to the feet, ankles, and related structures of the leg, including skin substitutes. A podiatrist commonly works with injuries and complications derived from underlying health conditions that can impact the feet and/or lower legs such as diabetes, arthritis and more.

Like seeing any other doctor, seeing a Podiatrist can seem like an overwhelming experience if you are not properly prepared. The purpose of this article is to encourage a proactive approach to your health and health questions. For tips on how to get the information you need and have open dialogue with your health care providers, read on!

A Proactive Approach

Being proactive about your health simply means taking care of your body and striving to prevent health complications before they arise rather than being reactive and responding to health complications with treatment options. Being proactive sometimes also looks like seeing a doctor as soon as you notice something off or different rather than waiting it out. For example, if you have diabetes, you can be proactive in preventing diabetic foot ulcers that would lead to needing skin substitutes by taking simple measures such as inspecting your feet frequently, not walking barefoot, and moisturizing your feet daily. Periodic foot exams and scheduling an appointment with your podiatrist as soon as you notice something different such as discoloration, pain, cramps, sores, etc. are all proactive approaches that can keep you from needing procedural care such as amniotic tissue grafts (skin substitutes).

If you do find yourself scheduling an appointment with your podiatrist, be it for proactive or reactive reasons, there are several things you can do to open communication and ensure you are knowledgeable about your condition and what is to follow. Some conditions or symptoms leading you to see a podiatrist include but are not limited to:

-Sports injuries
-Foot, Ankle or Knee pain
-Skin problems & infections
-Diabetes related issues
-Poor circulation in feet and legs
-Pain limiting day to day activities
-Ingrown toenails

How to prepare and talk to your podiatrist about your health

Tip#1 Know what your podiatrist will want to know!

Your podiatrist is going to want to know when your problem started, if you know how it started, where the pain is and when it occurs. They will also want to know any steps you have taken, the details of those steps, and if any of them provided relief. The more accurately you can communicate these elements, the more direction your podiatrist will have in helping to resolve the issue. Writing these things down prior to your appointment can help you accurately communicate this information. This brings us to Tip#2.

Tip#2 Write down notes and questions

Too many times, patients have unanswered questions leaving their doctors office. Writing down any questions you have in advance will ensure you remember them and get the answers you are seeking. As stated above, it also helps to note dates and signs about your symptoms and degree of pain leading up to your appointment. Writing things down in advance will not only help you pay closer attention to the symptoms you are experiencing but it will help you to better communicate those symptoms to your health care provider.

Tip#3 Bring your shoes!

Wearing the wrong shoes for your feet is a very common problem leading to foot pain. Bring in some shoes you frequently wear to see if they could be a source of your issue. Your podiatrist will appreciate the extra effort!

Tip#4 There is no such thing as a silly question

Ask! Ask! Ask! The more questions you ask, the better you will understand your condition and the treatment options being presented to you. Some questions you can start with are: What is causing my foot pain? What is my Diagnosis called? What are my treatment options? How can I protect my feet? What are some proactive measures I should take?

Tip#5 Research in advance

Before going to your appointment, do some research on the symptoms you are having. While self-diagnosis is not recommended, doing some research in advance can help inform and prepare you of some possibilities. As you get information, you will think of more questions that you may not have thought of until after your appointment otherwise. Research in advance can also lead you to treatment options your doctor may or may not offer. For example, in reference to the example previously used in this post, if you do have a diabetic foot ulcer and run across Tides website in your research and learn about amniotic tissue grafts and other skin substitutes, this is something you can ask your podiatrist about.

Tides is in the business of helping people. If your podiatrist is not familiar with our products, we would love the opportunity to introduce them to our advanced products and expert service. Our goal is to remove barriers that can prevent patients from the full range of treatment options they deserve. Have your podiatrist contact Tides for more information today.