Finding a Podiatrist, What to Ask and More

Podiatrists are doctors that specialize in foot and ankle issues. Podiatry can range from diagnosis to medical and surgical treatment of diseases, injuries, and deformities. Since podiatrists are specialists, you might not have had to visit one before, or you could have just moved to a new area. Here’s what you need to know to find a podiatrist.

Starting Out With a Podiatrist

When looking for a podiatrist, there are a few places you should look first. Your primary care physician or family doctor can usually provide recommendations for specialists. The American Board of Podiatric Medicine, American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, American Podiatric Medical Association, and American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons have websites that can help you find podiatrists in your area.

Your insurance company might be able to help you find a podiatrist, but you will probably be limited to podiatrists that participate in your insurance. And if you see one that’s outside your plan, you’ll have to pay out of pocket.

What to Ask Your New Podiatrist

Here are some things to know before you make an appointment with a new podiatrist, and answers as they apply to our practice:

  • Is the practice taking new patients? Our practice is taking new patients.
  • Where is the practice? Our practice is located in the heart of downtown Seattle a block from the Westlake light rail station.
  • Is the office handicap accessible? Our office is handicap accessible and the treatment room door is 29 inches wide.
  • What are the office hours? We are open 8am-4:30pm Monday through Friday with lunch from 12:30-1:30pm.
  • How long will it take to get an appointment? Real-time appointment availability can be found on our website seattlefeet.com.
  • Does the practice have an x-ray or lab? Our practice has x-rays and we utilize outside labs for specimens and orthotics fabrication.
  • Is the practice associated with any hospitals or surgical centers? Dr. Hoy has hospital privileges at Swedish Medical Center.
  • Who covers for the podiatrist when they’re away? Dr. Hoy covers his own call and refers to appropriate providers in the area if urgent care is needed.
  • Is the podiatrist board certified? Dr. Hoy is certified by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine and the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, the two boards in the profession recognized by the American Podiatric Medical Association.

After the Appointment With Your Podiatrist

After your first appointment with a podiatrist, ask yourself if the doctor listened to your questions and treated you with respect, as well as how well they explained your diagnosis and answered your questions. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to follow up or seek other opinions.

Podiatry Education, Training, and Licensing

Becoming a podiatric physician takes around four years of undergraduate, premedical training at a university followed by four years of medical school to become a doctor, and then several years of residency for postgraduate education. After completing their residency, a podiatrist may choose to complete fellowship training afterwards. Available fellowships include sports medicine, diabetes, research, wound care, dermatology, and trauma.

Physicians need to meet and verify various state requirements to get a license to practice medicine. You can find out if a physician has violated any rules by calling your state’s medical board. After a physician completes enough cases and completes all the exams, they become board-certified.

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