Your first visit with a podiatry specialist can feel intimidating. Foot health may not have been a specific concern until now, and you may be wondering how to best prepare. Here are some helpful dos and don’ts for your first visit with your podiatrist.
Foot Doctor/Podiatry Appointment Dos
Every health practitioner needs to know your medical history and as much information about the nature of your problem as you can provide.
- Bring lists — of your symptoms, current medications, any surgeries you have undergone, prior related medical events and treatments, and of course, whatever questions you may have for the podiatrist.
- Gather up and bring your medical records in your possession, especially as they relate to your foot problem(s) — reports, lab results, X-rays, MRIs, and recommendations from your doctor (or previous podiatrist, if you had one) or hospitals. Ideally, the more information and supporting documentation you can give your podiatrist initially, the better — rather than having to wait for them to obtain your pertinent medical files from another doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital.
- If you have insurance, make sure you have confirmed whether you need a referral in order to obtain coverage — and obtain said referral.
- If your foot problem is related to walking or exercising, bring your exercise shoes and any insoles you have been using.
- Give your feet a thorough washing (and drying).
Foot Doctor/Podiatry Appointment Don’ts
We all want to proverbially put our best feet forward, especially for foot specialists, but there are a few things that many people think of doing but should not do. When seeing your podiatrist for the first time, do not:
- Shave your legs. Leg hair growth can actually help the podiatrist make an assessment. Hair loss on the legs can be an indication of problems you may not be aware of, such as diabetes.
- Get a pedicure. Pedicures can actually make your feet more vulnerable to infection (especially if the pedicure is vigorous) or exacerbate your foot ailment. Your podiatrist will most likely examine your toenails for any infections and abnormalities, so make sure you avoid or remove nail polish before you go in.
- Cut your toenails short. Cutting your toenails too short causes problems in general, like making you more prone to in-grown toenails or encouraging fungal or bacterial infection. As mentioned, your toenails are of interest to your podiatrist, who may even want to take a small sample for analysis. Leaving a little toenail length for a clipping could prevent you having to come back again just for the sample.
- Worry about grossing out the podiatrist. Many people are sensitive about their feet, especially with regards to how they look and smell. By all means, wash and dry your feet thoroughly before seeing the podiatrist, out of courtesy and so that they can conduct an accurate assessment. Do not fret, however, if you can’t get rid of your foot odour or you have thick, cracking calluses. The whole point of going to a foot doctor is so that they can find out and tell you what is going on with your feet. The odour or skin issues may be symptoms that will help your podiatrist get down to the bottom of your foot problem(s).