Douglas Campbell, DPM, Podiatrist



Got Foot Pain? Call a Podiatrist

A podiatrist is a trained physician who specializes in problems involving feet and ankles. You'll probably visit a podiatrist if you have foot pain or foot-related diseases, like diabetes.

By Eric Metcalf, MPH

Medically Reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

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Name any body part — ears, nose, eyes, heart — and you can find a doctor who specializes in treating it. The doctors who focus solely on the feet and ankles are called podiatrists or doctors of podiatric medicine.

Roughly 15,000 podiatrists treat foot pain and other problems in the United States, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). For their training, podiatrists attend four years of podiatric medical school following their undergraduate education. They then typically work in a residency program for two years.

Podiatrists do many of the same procedures as other medical doctors, such as performing surgery, taking X-rays, and prescribing drugs. They also consult on issues that your primary doctor might not, such as analyzing the way you walk and prescribing special inserts for your shoes.

When to See a Podiatrist

Although a family practitioner may be a reasonable choice to treat some common foot conditions, your primary care doctor may refer you to a podiatrist, says Paul F. Brezinski, DPM, a Chicago-area podiatrist and president of the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association. "I would say that if you're having a specific foot problem, your best bet is to go see a podiatric physician."

Because several serious conditions such as diabetes and peripheral arterial disease can show up first in your feet, a podiatrist who spots a more widespread disease may recommend that you see an internist or other doctor to treat this underlying problem, Dr. Brezinski says.

Finding the Right Podiatrist

Here are some tips to keep in mind and questions to ask when planning to see a podiatrist for foot pain or other foot problems:

Find a doctor who’s a good fit.It's a good idea to seek out a podiatrist affiliated with the APMA, Brezinski suggests, since this large organization maintains standards of practice and supports continuing education for its members. In addition, look for a podiatrist with the same qualities that you'd seek in a general physician.

"You want to have somebody who will answer questions, treat you with courtesy, and take time to explain and educate you about the problem you're having," Brezinski says.

Ask about credentials and areas of expertise.Like other medical doctors, podiatrists have areas of expertise. Treating an ingrown nail is one thing; looking for a surgeon to remove that painful bunion is another. You’ll want someone with experience in your particular problem, especially if it is a potentially life-threatening disease like diabetes.

Bring a list of your medications.Jot down all the medicines you take on an index card, Brezinski suggests. Or bring the bottles with you so the podiatrist will know the dosages and how often you take them. By checking your medications, the podiatrist can learn more about any health conditions you may have. In addition, because a podiatrist can prescribe medicines, he or she will want to make sure that any new prescriptions won't interfere with ones you're already taking.

Wear or bring your usual shoes.It's helpful for the doctor to see the shoes you normally wear, especially if you're having heel pain or other problems involving structures within your foot. "If somebody brings in a shoe they've been wearing for a good period of time, I can inspect the wear pattern," Brezinski says. "The way we walk is as unique to each of us as our fingerprints. The shoes can often provide good input and good clues as to what the source or the cause of the problem is."

Concludes Brezynski: Wash your feet and put on fresh hosiery before heading to the podiatrist.






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Date: 01.12.2018, 08:19 / Views: 81135