Issues with your feet can include injuries such as a fractured toe, genetic problems such as hammertoe or bunions, or illnesses such as fungus or athlete’s foot. While some foot issues can be treated at home, others may require a visit to your family practitioner, while still others may require you to see a podiatrist. It’s important to know when your foot should be evaluated by a professional, as well as how much that visit will cost you.
Podiatrists are medical professionals who specialize in problems that affect your feet, ankles, and lower legs. While podiatrists are doctors, they don’t go to the traditional medical school that other doctors attend. Podiatrists attend specific professional associations and schools and have a DPM for doctor of podiatric medicine (instead of an MD for medical doctor) after their names.
Most podiatrists have a bachelor’s degree in biology or other science before attending podiatry school for four years. Their training covers the muscles, nerves, and bones of the feet and lower leg to understand how they work together to help us move. They also study any injuries and illnesses that can affect our feet and lower legs, as well as how to diagnose and treat those issues. The training will also include how to fix the problems with surgery when needed. The United States has nine American Podiatric Medical Association-accredited podiatry schools.
After podiatry school, future podiatrists work in a hospital for three years as their residency. Here they put to work what they have learned under the tutelage and supervision of doctors, surgeons, and other specialists. After their residency, they can further their studies with advanced certifications on ankles and feet.
A podiatrist is a specialist in foot, ankle, and lower leg issues and they can treat a plethora of foot-related conditions, including:
If you’re experiencing extreme or long-lasting foot, ankle, or lower leg pain, it might be time to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist, such as Dr. Schoene of Gurnee Podiatry and Sports Medicine Associates. Symptoms to look for include:
A podiatrist will start with a complete health history and medical exam. They may ask you to walk and stand so that they can evaluate your range of motion and how you use your feet, ankles, and legs. A podiatrist may also check how your shoe fits you to rule out an ill-fitting shoe as the culprit for any foot pain.
A podiatrist will recommend treatment after your initial consultation. Treatment options will vary based on the type of foot problem you are experiencing and the severity. Your podiatrist may offer in-home treatment options, treat your issue in their office, or schedule you for surgery if needed. Treatment options include:
Your podiatrist may also use a scalpel to remove a wart or callus, a nail anvil or splitters to remove an ingrown toenail, or liquid nitrogen to freeze off plantar warts.
There’s no one answer to this question, as the cost of your visit will be determined by the foot problem you are experiencing as well as the treatment option that works best for you. Costs will also vary depending on your location and the professional history of the podiatrist. The average price of a visit to a podiatrist is between $60 and $400. You can expect that to be much higher if your condition requires surgery. The average cost of a hammertoe correction surgery is between $2,500 and $9,300.
Again, there’s no one answer to this question, as insurance companies vary in coverage, but most insurance companies do cover a visit to the podiatrist. Your out-of-pocket expenses will depend on your coverage and whether you have a deductible, coinsurance, or copay. You will also want to be aware of in-network and out-of-network providers before booking your initial consultation. Gurnee Podiatry and Sports Medicine Associates provides a listing of accepted insurance providers for potential patients to check out online.
If you have additional questions about your specific insurance coverage, you can reach out to your insurance company. Many insurance companies now offer a quick search for coverage online or via app to allow you to check your coverage on your own prior to making any appointments. The Gurnee Podiatry and Sports Medicine Associates team would also be happy to answer any questions you may have on insurance coverage, fees, and treatment options.