FAQ’s – What is a Podiatrist?

What is a Podiatrist?

A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, or a Podiatrist, is a medical specialist who diagnoses and treats conditions of the foot, ankle and lower leg. A Doctorate’s degree in Podiatry takes a minimum of four years to complete. Then, a 3-year surgical based residency where they rotate through core areas of medicine.

Upon completion of their residency, podiatrists can choose to become board certified, like Dr. Scott Shields. Certification involves rigorous testing and the evaluation of a candidate’s surgical logs for satisfactory experience and variety.


 When can I return for work after my ingrown toenail procedure?

We recommend taking it easy the rest of the day. If you must return to work that day and have an office position, prop your foot up while wearing and open-toe shoe to avoid putting any pressure on the toe.

If your position requires some type of steel-toe or rigid shoe and you must return to work, we recommend taking it ‘as easy as possible’ and frequently remove your shoe to visually inspect for any signs of bleeding or swelling.

This is not recommended as continuous pressure immediately following the procedure can delay healing and increase chances of an infection.


Are orthotics a permanent fix for my flat feet?

No. However, it is the most effective corrective device used to prevent your issue from getting worse.


Will my X-Rays be covered by insurance?

Depending on your insurance, X-Rays are usually included in the office visit. We provide a complimentary benefits check for every patient so there is no surprise at the time of your visit. 


How much will my visit cost?

The cost of your visit depends on your insurance. Many times, the front of your insurance card will tell you the co-pay that you are responsible for paying with you come to see a specialist.

However, as a courtesy to you, we will call your insurance company ahead of time to see if your first visit will be covered and get an estimated coverage for various services that we offer.


Will my insurance cover D.M.E. (Durable Medical Equipment)?

We provide complimentary insurance verifications to check benefits and DME coverage before your appointment. If you have a deductible that has not been met yet, you may be required to cover the portion that your insurance doesn’t cover. Our billing department can help clarify your questions, but your insurance provider is a valuable resource for these questions as well. 


Will you bill my insurance?

YES – We will bill your primary insurance and any secondary insurance that you may have.  Once your insurance has been billed and we have received a response, if there is any portion due from you that has not already been paid, you will receive a statement in the mail.  We expect that any balance due will be paid within 30 days of receiving your statement. 


What if I don’t have any insurance?

Our office welcomes Cash Pay patients and we do so by offering several ways to help take care of your medical costs.  We also accept personal checks and credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and Care Credit.


What’s the difference between a Co-Pay and Co-Insurance?

Both terms refer to the amount of charges that are due from the patient. A Co-Pay is a set dollar amount for each visit. Co-Insurance is generally a percentage of the allowed amount that is due. 


What is a Deductible?

Your deductible is the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket for medical expenses before your insurance will cover the remaining costs. If your policy has a deductible, you will be required to pay that amount for your medical cost before your insurance will begin making payments each policy year. 


If a service is “covered” does that mean insurance pays 100%?

No. “Covered” is a term that means your insurance carrier will allow and process the charge according to your contract with them. You may still be responsible to pay any deductible, co-insurance or co-pay amount applied to the charge. 


How did my toenails get fungus?

It’s important to realize that getting fungus toenails doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with proper hygiene. Some people are just naturally more at risk than others.

People become more susceptible to fungus as they age because they’ve had more years of exposure, they have diminished blood circulation in their feet, and nails can grow slower and thicker as we get older. The following factors also increase vulnerability to toenail fungus: 


What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation of the thin, flat band of tissue that stretches from the heel to the ball of the foot. It is called the Plantar Fascia. Pain can occur anywhere along that band of tissue.

Inflammation happens when too much stain causes small tears in the plantar fascia. It is usually caused by repetitive strain such as walking or running. Other factors include wearing poor shoes, being overweight, and starting a new exercise program. 


What is Morton’s Neuroma?

This is probably the most common kind of Neuroma. It is an injured nerve located in the foot.

It is a thickening of the tissue that surrounds the nerve leading to the toes. The pain you feel will generally begin in the ball of your foot and shoot out between your third and fourth toes. Your toes might sting, burn or feel numb and walking is probably quite painful. Morton’s Neuroma is far more common in women than men and part of it can be attributed to wearing high heels and shoes that are too tight.

When caught early on, it is generally easy to treat. If you feel any kind of pain, be sure to make an appointment with our Podiatrist. Many times, making simple lifestyle changes and caring for your feet can treat Morton’s Neuroma. 


What foot problems are common with diabetes?

Diabetics can suffer from a variety of common foot conditions, but the difference is that for them, those foot problems can turn into serious issues. These conditions can become more problematic due to two issues specifically related to diabetic feet.

  1. Diabetic neuropathy: If you do not have control over your diabetes and have too much glucose in your blood for an extended period of time, nerve damage is highly possible. If you damage the nerves in your feet and legs, you’re not going to feel much of anything. Some people think it would be nice not to feel pain, but then you don’t know when you’re hurt. Too many diabetics will injure their feet, either by wearing ill-fitting shoes or cutting their foot while walking barefoot. Unfortunately, they have no idea they hurt themselves and if it goes unnoticed too long, the wound can become infected. Serious infections or tissue death may be beyond medical repair, requiring amputation to save the patient’s life.
  2. Peripheral vascular disease: This is a circulation disorder that affects blood vessels away from the heart; its signature is poor circulation in the arms and legs. Fatty deposits build up in the inner linings of the artery walls of the legs and hinder blood flow. When diabetics have poor blood flow, any wounds or injuries they have on their feet will have trouble healing. Even when a person finds the injury and takes the appropriate steps to have it treated, the process can be very slow. 

How do I know if my ankle is sprained?

If your foot lands incorrectly while walking or running and you feel a sharp, sudden pain, you pay have sprained your ankle. If you can, stop what you are doing and inspect the joint for swelling and bruising. You may still be able to put weight on the ankle and walk around, though it will probably by painful to do so. If the pain is severe to stand, don’t try- seek immediate medical assistance.

An ankle sprain involves the straining or tearing of the ligaments that support the joint and can result in chronic ankle weakness if not treated properly. If you suspect that you have a sprain, don’t wait and allow the problem a chance to worsen. Contact the experts at Total Foot & Ankle for a appointment.

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