Foot injuries are common in collegiate and professional sports, but there’s little time to waste in the sports world. If you want to start in the next game, you need a reliable podiatrist who can quickly and safely get you back on your feet.
Sports podiatrists assess injuries, take x-rays, diagnose foot issues, write foot health prescriptions, and estimate recovery times.
While podiatrists follow a series of protocols, quality of care is a separate issue. Even the most experienced podiatrists may not provide adequate care for your needs.
It’s important to understand the basics of podiatric medicine to know what to expect. There are also logistical factors to consider and patient care.
Start your sports podiatrist search with this easy introductory guide.
Not Every Podiatrist Is the Same
While every podiatrist needs experience, not every experienced foot doctor can treat sports injuries. This point is the first factor to consider when choosing the right doctor.
Sports injuries are unique to other foot injuries. To emphasize this point, let’s draw a comparison between general foot doctors and specialized podiatrists:
For example, a general podiatrist can treat foot injuries from pronation or basic slips and falls. While these doctors also treat injuries from car crashes and work accidents, some podiatrists specialize in worker’s compensation and car accident injuries. A vehicular accident podiatrist would help you receive a larger insurance settlement since they specialize in car accident injuries.
Like worker’s comp doctors and accident podiatrists, sports podiatrists are better suited to treat sports injuries than general foot doctors.
Suppose you receive an injury that takes you (or one of your star players) out of the game. Not only do you need a doctor who can accurately diagnose and treat the problem, but this doctor must monitor the treatment consistently for a speedy recovery.
Professional athletes and team managers aren’t the only people who can benefit from sports podiatrists. Local marathon runners, cyclists, dancers, skateboarders, and other recreational athletes can see a sports-focused foot doctor.
Look for a Range of Foot Health Services
Sports foot injuries come in many forms and severities.
Issues can be as minor as persistent acute muscle pain to severe Achilles tendinopathy. Sports podiatrists also treat chronic issues, like chronic runner’s knee. Even ingrown toenails can lead to sports injuries, which sports doctors can remove and treat.
Of course, you want to understand a doctor’s full range of services and treatments before booking an appointment. There are a few ways to get this information.
Your first stop is the podiatrist’s website.
For example, Movement 101 Marrickville lists all its podiatry treatments on its services page, covering Plantar fasciitis, sesamoiditis, sinus tarsi syndrome, and more foot health problems. They even outline their foot injury assessment process.
Customer Service Matters in Podiatric Medicine
Websites can tell you a lot, and you should look for sports doctors who are transparent about their process and protocols but don’t stop there. Customer service can tell you even more.
Wait, you’re not a customer; you’re a patient! Why does customer service matter?
Patients should be treated with the same care and respect as any paying customer. Many patients pay out of pocket or large co-pay fees for treatment. Patients should always expect a high standard of care.
One way to gauge a doctor’s bedside manner or staff’s customer service is to give them a call. Any medical professional should be happy to address your questions and concerns transparently. Your health is precious, and rudeness just leads to more toxic stress, which worsens injuries.
Look for visible contact information on the podiatrist’s website, like phone numbers, online chat, and email. If staff isn’t picking up the phone during office hours, that’s a huge red flag. Being put on hold for extended periods (without anyone checking in) is another red flag.
Look for patient-centric podiatry practices. That first voice on the end of the phone matters, but so does consistent communication. Doctors and staff should follow-up regularly with patients via phone and email.
Of course, phone friendliness isn’t the only indicator of good patient service. You may not know until that first appointment.
Your podiatrist should listen to your injury timelines and concerns. If you feel like your doctor isn’t listening, you can always switch to a new sports podiatrist. Listen to your intuition and seek a second opinion if something isn’t sitting right.
Wait times are another sign to watch. If you’re waiting too long for appointments and referrals, look elsewhere. Long wait times are also a sign of disorganization and unprofessionalism.
Read Reviews from Fellow Patients
Your fellow podiatry patients will tell you a thing or two about customer service. Patient reviews are an excellent source of honest feedback. If a patient has a bad experience, you can be sure they’ll tell the internet about it.
There are a few ways to find valuable patient reviews and testimonials. First, you can check the podiatrist’s website for authentic testimonials, but you won’t find too much there. You may find some video testimonials on YouTube, as well.
Social media is a great way to find reviews, especially Facebook. Click the customer reviews tab on a podiatrist’s business page to read a list of starred reviews. You can also message the doctor’s office directly on Facebook to inquire about poor experiences.
Business review websites and doctor review sites are full of information. Google reviews are also helpful; these reviews are listed right under the podiatrist’s Google business listing.
Don’t underestimate word-of-mouth reviews, either. Asking friends and family for referrals could lead to the right sports podiatrist. Talk to your fellow athletes to learn who their favorite doctors are, too.
Get Back On Your Feet
Are you sick of injuries spoiling your sports career? Find the sports podiatrist you deserve! Remember these tips about podiatric medicine so that you can discover the right medical professional for your injuries.
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