A healthy pair of feet is vital to your health and independence. Thus, whether a chronic foot problem plagues your life or you experience issues that hinder your ability to walk, seeking help from a podiatrist is imperative. Like with any other medical professional, it is in your best interest to develop an excellent rapport with your foot doctor. If he or she does not meet your expectations your treatment will be in jeopardy. Here are three factors to keep in mind when you search for a foot doctor. |
1: Board Certification
All podiatric specialists undergo at least eight years of advanced training. In addition to general medical training, foot doctors complete three to four years of education in podiatric medicine as well as a three-year medical residency at an accredited hospital. However, this does not guarantee them board certification. Such a distinction is reserved for doctors who are further advanced in the field as well as the cleanest track record with patients.
Opting for a board-certified practitioner increases your chances of having your foot problems resolved. Due to the advanced experience, a board-certified podiatrist will have more insight into the treatment you need to expedite your cure. You can easily research whether a doctor is board-certified by finding his credentials online or calling his medical practice. This credential is public knowledge.
2: Hospital Affiliation
Though most foot physicians treat patients via their own private practice, they are usually affiliated with a local hospital. Hospital affiliation is important, especially if your foot or ankle will require surgery at some point during your treatment. Some doctors are affiliated with more than one hospital while others have no affiliation at all. It is worth your time to find out the specifics regarding this before scheduling your initial appointment. Unpleasant complications may arise if your chosen practitioner is affiliated with a hospital not covered by your medical insurance.
3: Extent Of Authorized Treatment
Within the field of podiatric medicine, there are numerous niches in which practitioners may specialize. One might specialize in sports medicine while another may be restricted to surgical procedures.
This is an important factor to consider since practitioners cannot legally treat patients outside of their specialty in most of the United States. In New York State, for example, a podiatrist cannot legally practice outside of his personal scope of competence. Each practitioner's medical license clearly outlines his legal scope of competence according to his exact training, and if his treatment of a patient is outside of bounds, the license can be terminated for malpractice.
Thus, if your foot injury stems from an athletic accident, you will want to find a practitioner who works specifically within the field of sports medicine.
Finding the ideal foot doctor to accommodate your specific circumstances can be a bit tricky if you don't keep the above factors in mind. Of course, it can be well worth it to seek out second opinions and to find a new doctor if the first one is not an adequate fit. However, the more time-consuming your search, the longer your foot problems persist.
When considering a podiatrist, New Jersey residents visit Ocean County Foot & Ankle Associates. Learn more about them at http://www.ocfasa.com/.
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