Average Cost of Visiting the Podiatrist
When I was little, I used to run around everywhere barefoot. No matter the weather or terrain, I would throw caution to the wind and go on my merry journey shoeless. My dad used to lecture me in these moments, and I remember him saying, “You will put millions of miles on your feet in your lifetime, you need to take care of them.” I would scoff when I was younger, but I smiled at that memory now. He was so right! Often overlooked, the health of our feet is so important, and that’s why it may be necessary to visit a podiatrist now and then.
So, how much does it cost to see a podiatrist? Of course, the answer to this will depend on your health insurance coverage or lack thereof, the expertise of your podiatrist, and the purpose of your visit. However, on average, a short consultation with a podiatrist will cost you from $60 to $400.
It’s important to remember when considering the cost of a podiatrist visit, you will be receiving specialty care, which oftentimes comes with a higher price tag compared to a visit with your primary care physician. Other examples of specialty care providers include dermatologists, chiropractors, or allergists. Podiatrists are medical specialists who will help you with problems that affect your feet or lower legs and can treat injuries as well as ongoing health issues. Podiatrists earn their DPM degrees (doctor of podiatric medicine) and can perform surgery, reset broken bones, prescribe medications, and order lab tests and X-rays.
What Conditions Can a Podiatrist Treat?
Typical conditions that podiatrists treat include the following:
- Unwanted foot odor
- Ingrown toenails
- Recurring athlete’s foot
- Toenail fungus
- Sports injuries
- Flat feet
Podiatrists are certified by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine. They must also be licensed to practice in the state that they work in, and cannot practice podiatry without a license. Like all doctors, they are required to renew their licenses every few years. They must also keep up to date with the latest podiatry practices and research by attending special seminars or prove they’re involved in continuing education practices.
A Breakdown of Costs For a Podiatrist Visit
Like every patient is different, the cost of a podiatrist visit will vary by a case-by-case visit. The average consultation cost ranges from $60 to $400. Your physician’s location, his or her professional history, and the service you may require will affect the bill. Good news if you have health insurance – your insurance should cover at least a portion of the final bill. If you don’t have health insurance and paying out-of-pocket, your bill will be much higher as you’re covering the total cost.
After your initial consultation, which will be one separate cost, your next cost at the podiatrist will be the services provided. The severity of your condition and the recommended treatment option(s) will affect your bill. It also should be noted that the procedure itself doesn’t always affect the cost as much as the treatment area.
For example, while ingrown toenails and calluses are removal services, the cost will not be the same as the two conditions are very different from one another. Hippocratic Solutions explains that this is due to the fact that ingrown toenails are much harder for the podiatrist to remove, and the service can be almost surgical in nature. The average cost for ingrown toenail removal ranges anywhere from $250 to $500. On the other hand, calluses are much easier for a podiatrist to treat, and therefore will only cost the patient on average $90.
Will My Health Insurance Cover My Podiatrist Visit?
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, foot and ankle services provided by podiatrists are usually covered by health insurance plans. Most podiatrists participate in private and public health insurance plans. However, not all podiatrists will accept all insurance plans.
It’s important to contact your local podiatrist before scheduling an appointment to determine if that office accepts your insurance. It’s also wise to double-check your insurance coverage regarding foot and ankle services. You can usually do this by calling your insurance provider, or logging into your client portal on the insurance website.
For those on Medicare, services are typically covered if the service is deemed medically necessary, which can include:
- Patients with foot problems that are caused by chronic conditions, such as diabetes, vein inflammation, chronic kidney disease, cancer, or others
- Diabetic patients who require custom-made shoe inserts or therapeutic shoes
- Diabetic patients who experience a loss of sensation in their ankles and/or feet
- Patients who need toenail clippings performed by a professional for health safety reasons
How Do I Choose the Right Podiatrist?
Since you are going to pay some money when visiting a podiatrist regardless, it’s important that you find a podiatrist that provides the proper care you need and one that you are pleased with. There are four things you need to keep in mind when searching for your podiatrist:
- Podiatry Experience: Typically, podiatrists with many years of experience will be in the position to quickly assess your condition and come up with the best treatment options for you.
- References: Word of mouth is a powerful tool when trying to find the best medical services. You wouldn’t want to visit a podiatrist who has a local reputation for being unkind or unhelpful. Ask your family, friends, and coworkers if they have any positive experiences with local podiatrists, and then use that list to start your search.
- Your Medical Condition: Even though podiatry is already a specialized field of medicine, podiatrists tend to have areas of expertise and specialty. For instance, some focus on surgery, while others may assist primarily with diabetes-related foot issues. Figure out which podiatrist will most likely be able to assist you with your problem.
- Convenience: You could find the best podiatrist in the entire world, but if his or her location or hours of operation don’t align with your schedule, it’s pointless to schedule a consultation. Make sure that the podiatrist is open when you can visit, is in a location that is easy for you to attend, and perhaps accepts your health insurance.
What To Expect At Your First Appointment
If you have never been to a podiatrist before, the doctor will most likely want to conduct a thorough medical history, as well as learn more about your family medical history, before he or she even takes a look at your foot. This will help the podiatrist understand if any genetic factors are coming into play with any conditions you may be diagnosed with.
It will be helpful to the podiatrist if you have any medical reports from prior medical visits that are connected to your current foot or lower leg problem, as well as a current list of medications and allergies. You should also be able to inform the podiatrist of any symptoms you are experiencing and any other medical conditions you have at the present time. After learning more about you as a patient, the podiatrist should examine your feet and lower limbs and consult with you on what he or she thinks may be the issue at work. You will then discuss treatment options moving forward.
Can a podiatrist perform foot surgery? Yes, podiatrists can perform foot surgeries. A podiatric surgeon can perform a variety of surgeries, such as bunion surgery, ingrown toenail surgery, plantar fasciitis surgery, and more.
Why are podiatrists not MDs? A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine. Their training and medical requirements are similar to those of medical doctors, however. They don’t attend medical school because they focus on learning about the feet and ankles, rather than the entire human body.
Do I need to see a podiatrist or an orthopedist? As a rule of thumb, if you have an injury or symptoms affecting your foot or ankle health, it’s best to see a podiatrist first. If you have an injury or symptoms that are affecting any other part of your musculoskeletal system, your best bet would be to see an orthopedist.
Do I need to see a podiatrist or a chiropodist? That’s a trick question – because they are the same thing! Both podiatrists and chiropodists are medical professionals who treat feet and the ankle. The difference between the two is merely geographical – Europeans often refer to the foot doctor as a chiropodist, while Americans and most of the world will refer to foot doctors as podiatrists.