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What Does a Podiatrist Do on the First Visit?

15 August 2023

If you’ve never visited a podiatrist before, it’s understandable that your first visit could be fraught with some anxiety and questions about what will actually occur. No matter the reason for your visit – from a sudden foot or ankle injury to persistent pain over an extended period of time – a podiatrist will carry out a comprehensive assessment to ensure that your needs are addressed as effectively as possible.

At Capital Podiatry, we know that pain can affect your day-to-day life and keep you from doing things you love. This is why we use the latest technology to create personalised treatment plans for our patients with the aim of getting them back out there as soon as possible. Book an appointment with a podiatrist in Canberra today to get back on your feet faster.

What to Bring to Your First Podiatry Visit

We recommend wearing clothes that you feel comfortable in and will allow your podiatrist to assess as high as your knees (so, pants that roll up easily, shorts, and even a skirt or dress). It can also be a good idea to bring two pairs of your most commonly worn shoes (such as work shoes and runners) just in case your podiatrist would like to take a look at them. It’s also helpful to bring along any scans, reports or referrals that are relevant to your appointment.

Understanding Your Medical History

As with any other doctor, the initial consultation allows your podiatrist to learn more about you. Upon arrival, you will be asked to fill out a form that includes your medical history. You will be asked questions relating to any medical conditions or allergies you may have, your current foot problem, any surgeries you may have had, and whether you’re currently taking any medications.

Many first-time patients don’t realise the relevance of their overall health when it comes to the health of their feet. But there are certain conditions, like diabetes, that can increase your risk of foot problems. Certain medications can also have side effects, like ingrown toenails and leg pain. It pays to be forthcoming with your podiatrist so that they can treat you properly.

Share Your Current Foot Concern

Once you’ve been called into the examination room, your podiatrist will ask you some further questions about your current foot or ankle concern. These questions will likely be related to when your symptoms started, what they feel like, what makes the symptoms worse, and what makes them better.

If you think you may forget to tell them something important, don’t hesitate to write all these things down before your appointment.

 

Expect a Physical Examination

Now that they have a better idea of the problem, your podiatrist will conduct a physical examination of your feet and ankles. They’ll be looking for any indications of corns, warts, bunions, fungus, and other foot issues, as well as assessing skin thickness, colour, and the presence of rashes (like tinea or psoriasis). They’ll also examine your toenails for any signs of brittleness or discolouration, and check your lower legs for signs of poor circulation.

Depending on the reason for your visit, your podiatrist may also ask you to walk so that they can perform a gait assessment, test the range of motion in the joints of your foot, test your muscle strength, and/or perform a weight-bearing foot assessment.

Diagnostic Tests

Your podiatrist may order some further diagnostic tests, such as imaging scans (including bone scans, MRIs or ultrasounds) to check for blood vessel narrowing and blockages, or structural problems. They may order blood work to check for conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, that may be contributing to your pain or discomfort. If there are signs of infection, they may collect samples for further lab testing. If you have an injury and there are signs of swelling, bruising, tenderness, or ankle instability, your podiatrist may send you for an x-ray to determine what is going on internally.

 

Tailored Podiatry Treatment Plan

Once your podiatrist’s examination is complete, they will discuss suitable treatment options with you and will design a treatment plan that is personalised to your needs.

 

For some conditions (like ingrown toenails, fungal nail infections, circulatory problems, or warts), treatment may be started at your first visit. For other conditions, you may need to return for follow-up appointments or even pursue surgery. In these cases, we will seek to alleviate your pain as best we can for the short term until further treatment can be sought.

Finding a Thorough Podiatrist in Canberra

Whether you’re recovering from an ankle injury or are experiencing pain in your feet, podiatry can help. At Capital Podiatry, our experienced team treats all sorts of foot and ankle problems. We take the time to evaluate and understand your concerns, then work with you to create a treatment plan that sees you back on your feet in no time. Book an appointment with one of our skilled podiatrists in Canberra today.

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CALL (02) 6293 3300

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