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Ow! Although you’re not sure how you did it, with every step you take your foot hurts more and more. It would have been one thing if you had slipped and twisted your ankle, but you just woke up one day with your foot swollen, achy and even a little numb.

There are nearly endless causes of foot pain. Mercola Peak Fitness names plantar warts, ingrown toenails, toe fungus, hammertoes, bunions and plantar fasciitis as just a few.

How do you know what’s causing yours? That’s something an orthopedic doctor can help with. Until then, keep weight off the foot, elevate it when possible, and use ice packs or a heating pad to soothe the pain.

When thinking about going to a foot doctor Chicago, Illinois residents should keep these five considerations in mind.


1. Location

Chicago is a huge city. If your foot is already ailing you, you probably don’t want to drive long distances. You also want to avoid parking the car and then having to walk several blocks to your foot doctor in Chicago. Those activities could leave the foot swollen and sore.

When dealing with uncomfortable foot pain, it’s important to find a doctor in the neighborhood. If you can’t locate one nearby, try looking for doctor near your job. Terence Vanderheiden at Verywell recommends looking for a medical facility that has handicap access, too. Depending on the extent of your foot pain, you may not be able to walk at all, and it’s crucial that you can easily enter and exit the building.


2. Price

While your health insurance covers many aspects of your well-being, including doctor’s visits and medication costs, that may not always be so for foot doctors in Chicago. These specialists are known as podiatrists. Because they are specialists, their services may fall outside of your health insurance network.

Nicholas Hugentobler at Animas Foot & Ankle suggests emailing or calling to ask the medical office about cost before scheduling an appointment. You don’t want to see a doctor only to find out later you have to pay for the visit and any future appointments out-of-pocket.

You may also be able to get on a flexible payment plan, Hugentobler says. If you’re on the phone with a podiatrist, it doesn’t hurt to ask about this, either. Hugentobler warns that “not all plans are created equal. Some bill you in intervals themselves, while others outsource the payment plan option to a third party financing service.”

Make sure to get all the details of the payment plan (preferably in writing) before going to the first appointment.

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3. Availability

Before booking an appointment with a foot doctor Chicago residents should thoroughly review that doctor’s availability. Do they have weekend hours? Do they have emergency hours? If you wake up in the middle of the night and your pain has intensified, you’ll be grateful for a podiatrist who is available late.

Next, find out how soon you can you get in for an appointment. Is the doctor available to see patients right away? Do you have to wait a day or two? How about a week? Only you can decide how long is too long for you to wait to get a medical opinion on your pain. However, the longer you go without treatment, the more your foot pain could worsen.

Availability is about more than office hours, though. It also has to do with how long patients are kept waiting when they get to the doctor’s office. Are you stuck hanging around the waiting room for an hour or so? If you have a precise appointment time, a good podiatrist should be able to see you at about that same time. Of course, delays happen and patients have emergencies.

Also, what kind of resources does the podiatrist have available to them? Vanderheiden at Verywell says patients should feel free to ask whether the podiatrist has a testing lab, X-ray machine, CT scan, ultrasound and other diagnostic tools at their medical facility. Otherwise, you’ll be referred to another specialist, which can be expensive and time-consuming.


4. Experience

Certifications and awards are more than just wall decorations for a good podiatrist. These are a testament to his or her skills and experience. If your foot condition is severe enough, these are the doctors who would likely perform your surgery. You have to feel comfortable with them, which means they should be able to develop a rapport with patients. You should be able to express your concerns freely and ask whatever questions spring to mind.

Ask your Chicago foot doctor about the surgeries they’ve performed. As Hugentobler at Animas Foot & Ankle says: “With today’s technology, foot surgery can be minimally invasive and recovery time relatively fast. Your podiatrist should be able to make recommendations based on your unique condition and needs.”

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5. Reviews

Want a second or third or fourth opinion? When it comes to choosing a foot doctor Chicago residents who have been patients previously can be a great help while you’re narrowing down your options. Reviews provide an uncensored glimpse into someone else’s experience with a doctor. You’ll probably see glowing testimonials on the doctor’s website. Don’t stop there, though.

The Foot & Ankle Center in Richmond, Virginia recommends, using sites such as RateMDs and Angie’s List for unbiased reviews. Of course, no matter how great a doctor is, someone is always going to leave a negative review or two. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should discount that podiatrist, though. If there are more negative reviews than positive ones, continue searching. However, if there are few negative reviews but the rest are advocating for that doctor, consider scheduling an appointment.

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©adamgregor/123RF Stock Photo, andreas160578, domeckopol

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