If you’re thinking about foot and ankle problems, it’s helpful to consider how much use and strain they undergo daily. Not only do you use your feet and ankles every time you walk somewhere, but doing so puts the weight of your entire body on your lower extremities. When we understand that, it’s not surprising that an American Podiatric Medical Association survey found 77 percent of Americans experience some sort of foot pain. About half of those people report that their lower extremity pain affects their quality of life.
Yet most people have never seen a podiatrist. Frequently, patients who have been referred to us say they didn’t know that a podiatrist could treat various conditions that affect the feet. Another concern is that many people don’t know how to care for their feet or prevent common foot and ankle problems. A large number of conditions can be prevented or improved with regular foot care, including podiatric visits in some cases.
Some people believe that a foot and ankle conditioning program is only for serious athletes, but this isn’t true. Many people with varying fitness levels and goals benefit from a conditioning program. It can help reduce the risk of painful conditions or injuries by strengthening the muscles, tissues, and joints of the lower extremities. If you have foot or ankle pain or are recovering from an injury, you may be able to improve your symptoms by working to keep your body as healthy as possible.
A foot and ankle conditioning program should be supervised by a board-certified podiatrist, and in some cases, a physical therapist will work with you and your doctor. If you have foot or ankle pain or an injury, the first step is to contact a foot and ankle specialist for an evaluation. They will examine the affected area and may run imaging tests like X-rays or a CT scan. After diagnosing your condition, the doctor will create a comprehensive care plan to treat your condition. This could include medication, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. A foot and ankle conditioning program will usually begin once the acute injury or problem has been addressed and your pain is starting to subside.
Your doctor will monitor your progress as you work on the conditioning program. It can take time to see results, and some people do experience an increase in pain when starting a new exercise program. If your pain is significantly worse or you are in too much pain to continue training, let your doctor or physical therapist know right away. They might be able to devise a modified regimen that puts less stress on key areas. In some situations, your doctor may give you injections to temporarily reduce inflammation so you can exercise with less pain.
If you ask someone what a podiatrist does, often you might hear a response like, “They remove bunions,” or, “I went to one for an ingrown toenail once.” Podiatrists do treat these conditions, but they also help with a wide variety of other issues that affect the ankles and feet:
Many people have concerns about insurance coverage because policies vary widely. The good news is that most insurance policies do cover podiatric care. Some policies require a referral from another doctor, while others will cover your consultation without one. Depending on your specific policy language, there may also be restrictions on which treatments are covered or how much coverage you have. For instance, your policy may only pay for 20 physical therapy sessions yearly.
If you aren’t sure if you need a referral or what your insurance policy will cover, please call our office, and one of our staff members will help you find the answers. We know that insurance can be complicated, and we want to make the process easy for you.
Treating your foot or ankle problem should begin with seeking a qualified and experienced podiatrist. You need someone with the knowledge to correctly diagnose your condition and the skill set to effectively treat it. A podiatrist, or DPM, is a physician who specializes in injuries and diseases of the foot, ankle, and lower leg.
Dr. Elizabeth Auger, DPM, has been treating foot and ankle difficulties in the Sandy area for more than 24 years. Her practice centers on holistic, patient-centered care, which starts with a complete medical history and an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Auger earned her degree from the Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine, then completed a three-year residency in foot surgery and wound care in Salt Lake City. Fond of the scenery and Utah lifestyle, she continued her practice in Sandy and has been helping patients with foot and ankle issues ever since.
Waiting to treat a foot or ankle problem often increases the chances that it will get worse or become a chronic issue. If you’ve had foot pain for more than a few days without improvement, please contact our office today. Our helpful administrative staff will be happy to answer your questions or assist you with insurance coverage. In most circumstances, we can schedule you for a same-day appointment so you can get a diagnosis and treatment plan as soon as possible.