Why You Should See a Podiatrist Instead of Going to Urgent Care

Urgent care facilities provide a great service to the community and are the appropriate choice of care for patients that need general, immediate, and non-emergent care. However, for foot problems, it is recommended that you see a New York podiatrist rather than go to urgent care. Best Foot Doctor NY has offices conveniently located in Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn to meet your needs. 

What Is Urgent Care?

Urgent Care facilities are community-based healthcare services designed to provide quick, and accessible healthcare. Urgent care is often utilized by patients who need to be seen immediately for a condition that is not life-threatening. For life-threatening situations, you should always call 911 or head to your nearest emergency room for the highest level of treatment. 

Urgent care providers can provide a basic assessment and immediate treatment for an illness or injury. Still, often they will direct patients to follow up with their primary care physician or specialist for ongoing or more specialized care. 

Many urgent care facilities are equipped to run basic x-rays and lab tests but must refer patients to another provider for more specialized tests.

Because anyone can walk into an urgent care facility and receive treatment, the doctors and nurses have to be broadly trained in assessing and treating a wide range of ailments. They may care for a sprained wrist, urinary tract infection, flu symptoms, and foot pain all within an hour. 

What Is a Podiatrist? 

A podiatrist is a medical doctor specializing in podiatry; the branch of medicine dealing with the foot and ankle. Podiatrists go through medical school and residency with an emphasis on injuries and medical conditions that affect the foot and ankle. All podiatrists must qualify for and pass all required exams and complete the required hours of hands-on training to be certified by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine. Many podiatrists go on to a specialized area of practice within podiatry, becoming an expert in recognizing and treating the very thing you are experiencing. 

What Are Common Foot Issues that Podiatrists See?

Here are some of the most common foot issues that New York podiatrists like Best Foot Doctor NY see regularly: 

  • Achilles’ Tendonitis– inflammation of the tendon that runs along the back of the heel; typically presents with pain and tightness in the heel and decreased range of motion; often requires laser treatment to relieve symptoms and prevent a recurrence
  • Athlete’s Foot– fungal infection characterized by burning, itching, cracked skin; may require prescription medication to treat
  • Arthritis– a degenerative condition common in the elderly; steroid injections often help to slow progression and alleviate pain
  • Bunions– painful deformity at the base of the big toe; often requires surgery to correct
  • Bursitis– inflammation of the fluid-filled bursa sac; pain may be relieved with steroid injections
  • Corns and Calluses– thickened skin due to irritation and excessive pressure or rubbing; many over-the-counter remedies are available; a podiatrist can perform in-office procedures to reduce the size of the corn and prescribe or recommend medication and other treatments
  • Flat Foot– lack of arch on the sole of the foot; depending on the cause this can require surgery to adjust ligaments or tendons, move bones, or place metal screws to hold bones in place; podiatrists also may fit you for custom orthotics to support the foot
  • Fractures– broken bone in the foot or ankle; diagnosed with an x-ray; depending on the severity it may require a cast or surgery to ensure proper healing
  • Gout– build up of uric acid in the joint of the big toe; often requires prescription medication
  • Haglund’s Deformity– painful condition affecting the back of the heel caused by excessive bone growth; podiatrists will try custom orthotics or other external accessories to support the heel first, but if the pain does not improve you may need foot surgery
  • Hammertoes– a complication of bunions, that involves the large toe bending inward; surgery recommended
  • Heel Spurs– extra growth at the base of the heel as a result of repeated pressure and calcium deposits; a podiatrist can discuss lifestyle changes needed and when to consider surgery
  • Ingrown Toenails– toenail begins growing into the skin; depending on the extent of the condition many in-office procedures, as well as surgery, are available 
  • Morton’s Neuroma– nerve pain in the base of the foot that is often alleviated by surgery to control the cause of the inflammation
  • Plantar Fasciitis– inflammation of the thick plantar fascia across the base of the foot; podiatrists may recommend custom orthotic inserts to support the foot and relieve pain; for severe cases other treatments such as steroid injections and surgery are available
  • Warts– skin growths indicative of the HPV virus; may be treated with salicylic acid or freezing-both in-office procedures done by your podiatrist

Many of these conditions begin with foot or ankle pain and declining functionality. If you are experiencing pain, reach out to Best Foot Doctor and let us help you determine the cause and best treatment for your condition. 

What Procedures Do Podiatrists Perform? 

Podiatrists are skilled in performing many foot procedures. Their specialty includes experience in providing steroid injections for inflammation, offering custom orthotic fittings, and performing various surgeries. Podiatrists regularly assist patients by assessing, recommending, and performing foot and ankle surgeries. 

At Best Foot Doctor NY we routinely provide the following surgeries: 

Podiatrists work hard to keep up with the constantly improving technology and research in their field, making sure they are skilled in cutting-edge procedures and equipment to best serve you. For example, at Best Foot Doctor NY we use Class 4 laser treatment to minimize scarring and pain after surgery.  

Benefits of Choosing a Podiatrist Rather than Urgent Care? 

There are many benefits to seeing a podiatrist instead of going to urgent care. 

Continuity of Care

After getting established with a podiatrist, you will need to return for follow-up appointments to ensure that the treatment options are working and your healing is progressing as effectively as possible. Seeing the same podiatrist for each visit (or at least going to the same practice) will ensure continuity of care. Your podiatrist will be able to access your files, x-rays or other images, and past treatment plans to continue to provide the best possible care for you. Without this continued communication and treatment, you run the risk of extended visits where you have to remember and repeat in detail your medical history and possible frustration due to new doctors trying different treatments that have already proven to be ineffective for you. Staying with one podiatrist ensures that you are getting the most personalized care. 

Cost

Medical bills are expensive. Best Foot Doctor NY accepts most insurance companies and will work with you to help you get the treatment you need at a cost you can afford. By skipping urgent care, you avoid paying bills to both urgent care and a podiatrist. 

If you require any procedure (even common ones) on your foot or ankle, an urgent care provider will have to refer you to a podiatrist. Save time and money by starting with a specialist rather than ending up there in the end. 

Convenience

Urgent care facilities can have long wait times. As a patient at a podiatrist’s office, you are guaranteed an appointment time and a comfortable waiting room surrounded by other patients who are also there to see the podiatrist: not patients coming in with respiratory infections or GI issues. 

In New York, Best Foot Doctor NY has convenient locations in Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. 

Competency

Podiatrists spend hundreds of hours training to be experts in foot and ankle problems. After their training, they continue to work solely in the field of podiatry, increasing their knowledge and skills to be the most competent for you. 

At an urgent care facility, you will be treated by a general physician, nurse, or advanced practice nurse. While competent in a broad range of medical situations, they do not have the specialized training and experience required to specifically diagnose and treat the multitude of foot and ankle issues that you may be experiencing. 

Confidence

Our podiatrists are confident. They are confident in their training and ability to help you. With such confidence comes care and compassion to listen to your concerns and help you most effectively. And you too can be confident that you have chosen the best care for your needs. 

Summary

The next time you are considering medical attention for your foot or ankle, skip urgent care and contact a podiatrist directly instead. Don’t waste a step by stopping at urgent care only for them to refer you to us. Best Foot Doctor NY is here for you in Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn for all your foot and ankle needs. We spend all our time specializing in podiatry so that when you need services we are experienced and ready. Contact us today.

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