Preparing for your appointment

If you're having a problem with your feet, you'll likely start by seeing your primary care provider. Or you may be referred immediately to a foot specialist (podiatrist or orthopedist).

What you can do

Before your appointment, make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment
  • Key personal information, including major stresses, recent life changes and family medical history
  • All medications, vitamins or other supplements you take, including the doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.

For hammertoe or mallet toe, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's likely causing my foot problems?
  • What are other possible causes?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What's the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
  • Am I a candidate for surgery? Why?
  • Are there restrictions I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, such as:

  • When did your foot problems begin?
  • How much pain are your feet or toes causing you?
  • Where is the pain situated?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
  • What type of shoes do you normally wear?
Jan. 28, 2016
  1. Fields KB. Evaluation and diagnosis of common causes of foot pain in adults. Accessed Dec. 15, 2015.
  2. Hammer toe. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Accessed Dec. 16, 2015.
  3. Malloy A, et al. Mallet toe deformity. Foot and Ankle Clinics of North America. 2011;16:537.
  4. Hammer toes. American Podiatric Medical Association. Accessed Dec. 16, 2015.
  5. Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Selecting footwear for healthier feet. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.