04 Nov 5 Steps: How to get the most out of your appointment
Have you ever been to an appointment and completely forgotten to ask that really important question? Have you ever left an appointment feeling a little let down or that you have not achieved your objective?
Help us help you get the most out of our time together by considering the few little tips below. A little bit of preparation really can save you time and money as well as improve your outcomes!
1. Arrive on time:
Actually, arrive early! We all know how un-predictable the traffic can be. The day you don’t have an appointment will be the only one you get all the green lights along Nicklin Way! We understand, that life happens sometimes and in that case almost all of you have a smart phone, CALL US! Our reception staff are the loveliest ladies, we are very accommodating and we can make your life easier. For example, sometimes we can juggle the patient order and take someone in before you to give you some more time. We could also change your appointment to a more convenient time for you. Please understand if you are running late it will impact how much time we have together and this makes it difficult for us to give you the highest standard of treatment. It will also potentially impact the patient after you.
2. Have reasonable expectations:
I often joke around in the clinic and say “so I think what you need is a new leg!”. This is of course not possible (yet). If you have had pain in your foot for a decade, it would not be realistic to think that we will be able to cure you in one 30 minute consultation (we are good, but not that good!). A more appropriate expectation would be- “I would like to find out what is causing my foot pain and work towards fixing it”. If there is a lot going on or you would like general nail care, as well as mechanical foot advice, consider how you would like us to prioritise our time. We might be able to cover all your concerns in one appointment and surprise you, but we would hate to let you down! If you are unsure what you need, we will work through this together and set some realistic expectations. Something to consider is that sometimes, pain in your foot could be coming from higher up in the body. We may need some more people on our team to fix your problem or may need to refer you on if the concern is outside of our scope. Please know that this is not ‘palming you off’, this is being realistic and getting you the care you need.
3. Set an appointment goal/intention:
I guarantee the first question we will ask you is, “Why are you here?”. Have a think about this question before you come.
Here are some examples of an appointment goal/intention:
– I would like my nails cut so they don’t catch on my sheet
– I would like you to assess the pain in my left heel when I run
– I would like to walk my dog without pain in my knees
4. Bring in data, evidence:
• Imaging: If you have recently (in the past year) had imaging done on the affected area bring it in! We can source your imaging results, but consider that this wastes precious consultation time.
• Medication: Bring a list of your current medication, when you take it, how much you take. This includes vitamins, minerals, supplements and naturopathic medicines.
• Fit bits/tracking garments/tracking apps: How many steps do you walk on an average day? How many minutes into your walk does your pain start? Does you pain come on when you do hills or stairs? Tracking apps are great to answer these type of questions. Remember they are all clue to us while we are trying to solve your problem.
• Take photos and videos: In the age of the smart phone it is easier than ever to map the progress of your swelling, healing wound, or colour change visually. A picture says a thousand words they say!
• Pain diaries: We will be asking your questions about your pain so we best know how to treat you. If you put in the time to document your symptoms, this will save you time in your appointment. There are lots of ways to do this. Below I have included a printable copy of so you can fill this out at home. You can scribble notes in a book or on the notes section of your phone but make sure you be as specific as you can and give us as much of the information below as you can. Here is a link to a printable version of the pain diary below: Sports and Structural Podiatry Pain Report.
• Pain Diary Apps: For the tech savvy there are phone applications that will do the same thing, arguably even better. You can even make graphs! Visuals are great for us to see at a glance your progress with different treatments. This all takes some time but it is well worth it to get the best results for your body. Here is a list of a few I could find:
5. Be a good communicator:
We might be the experts on feet and the lower limb, but you are the expert on YOU! It helps to come into your appointment ready to collaborate. Pain is our common enemy and two brains are better than one. We understand going through your medical history and pain history can be quite emotional, however, the more factual and direct you can be, the more you will get out of your consultation.