Dr. Zhang

Your feet are important for balance and strength, much less to help you get around. When something goes wrong with them, you want to make sure you get them the best possible care.

It is hard to ignore a foot problem. While over-the-counter remedies might help with some issues, more serious or persistent problems should be treated by a podiatrist.

These medical professionals specialize in foot or ankle problems, including pain and swelling, psoriasis, pinched nerves and heel pain.

Don't wait until you can't walk or the pain keeps you up at night. Here are some ways you can find a good podiatrist.

GET REFERENCES

Your first step toward finding the right podiatrist is getting references from other medical professionals.

If someone in your social network has had a foot problem, ask them about their experience.

High-quality doctors typically have a large roster of patients who are happy to recommend them.

Check with your family doctor or other medical professional for advice on podiatrists with strong reputations.

KNOW THEIR SPECIALTY

There are many specialties within the field of podiatry.

It has become more common in recent years for some podiatrists to focus on sports-related injuries to the foot. When you have strained or sprained muscles from playing sports, find a podiatrist who concentrates on diagnosing and treating sports injuries.

Other doctors may help with psoriasis or chronic pain.

Whatever your problem, it can be helpful to know whether your podiatrist specializes in general or specific problems with the foot and ankle.

PAYMENT

Check with your insurance provider to see if the podiatrist is covered by your plan. If you are unsure, call the office and ask which insurance is accepted.

Some providers require a referral from your principal doctor. Be sure to get the paperwork in order before visiting the podiatrist.

If you do not have coverage through your insurance plan, inquire about payment plans. Many doctors are willing to work with patients on a budget.

PERSONALITY

Every patient is different, and so is every doctor. Not all of them relate to patients in the same way.

Ideally, you should try to find one who communicates well with you, answers questions patiently, solves immediate problems as quickly as possible and helps you with ongoing care.

It shouldn't be hard to find someone who is a good fit for your personality. Feeling comfortable with your doctor is key to regaining your health.

CONVENIENCE

Finally, look for a podiatrist with convenient office hours and location.

The office should be close to where you live or work. You may need to continue treatment for weeks or months. It is difficult enough to travel if you have a foot problem. Don't make it even harder by selecting a podiatrist who is not in a convenient location.

Also, the doctor's hours should work well with your schedule. Some podiatrists have practices in multiple locations, each of which may be open for only a few days a week. Others offer extended hours on weekdays for working people. A doctor who takes his patient's lifestyle into consideration might be a good fit for you.

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