Frequently Asked Questions
What is a podiatrist or a D.P.M.?
A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, or podiatrist, is a medical doctor who specializes in conditions of the foot and ankle.
Podiatrists are governed by the state medical board and are licensed to evaluate, diagnose, medically and surgically treat foot and ankle diseases, including soft tissues of the leg below the knee.
Medical training of D.P.M.s parallels those of our M.D./D.O. colleagues in understanding the whole body and is an important part of a healthcare team. An additional three years of surgical residency training is focused on foot and ankle diseases making podiatrists the expert in this area. Many may go on to fellowship training sub-specializing in a variety of fields such as trauma, wound care, research, to name a few.
Do I need to be referred to see foot and ankle specialist Dr. Tea Nguyen?
If you do not have health insurance and are paying cash, you can come in anytime without a referral.
If you carry health insurance:
- An HMO will require a referral from your primary care doctor to see a specialist. This includes Central Coast Alliance for Health (CCAH).
- Many PPOs do not require a referral but you can call our office to confirm whether we are in-network or out-of-network with your plan. We are currently in-network with Medicare, Cigna, Blue of California, United AG, Dignity Health Network and a few others.
How do I prepare for my appointment?
Please arrive 10-15 minutes before your appointment time to fill out paperwork. Also, bring your ID, insurance card and medication list. Outdated information may result in claim denials by your insurance so be sure they are accurate. You will be responsible for payment of any claim denials.
- If you need assistance filling out forms plan to arrive earlier.
- If you are a minor under the age of 17, you must have your parent or guardian present with you.
- If you require transferring assistance, from wheelchair to exam chair, please have your caregiver with you at all times at your appointment.
- If you arrive later than your appointment time, you may be subject to a cancellation fee and may have to reschedule.
- To save you time, if you have relevant medical documents such as xrays and medical reports, it would be helpful to have them with you. You can request them to be faxed to us by your provider. This is particularly important if you are seeking a second opinion.
What general tips do you have for keeping my feet in good shape?
I am so glad you asked! Since the feet are the furthest body part away from your field of vision, it is easy to see why they frequently get neglected. However, they are just as important as any other body part so they require care to prevent problems from developing.
Here are some basic foot care tips that you can do to prevent common problems like Athlete’s foot.
- Wash your feet daily with soapy water and dry them gently with a towel making sure in between the toes are dry too. Your feet should be completely dry before putting on socks or shoes.
- Air out your feet regularly. Remember that fungus likes dark and warm environments, ie your shoes, so the more often you can air out your feet the better!
- Unusually sweaty feet? Some people suffer from sweaty feet and may need more than just airing out their shoes and socks regularly.
- Consider different socks that wick away moisture (Coolmax, Merino wool, for example). Avoid 100% cotton (absorbs but does not dry), nylon or polyester since these are not breathable materials.
- Additionally, you can apply an antiperspirant to the bottom of your feet. Many people like this product SweatBlock. A podiatrist can prescribe a prescription based antiperspirant like Drysol if over the counter products are not enough.
- Check your shoes: rubber shoes do not breathe at all and old worn out shoes will probably have a very high level of fungus hanging out in them. Disinfect your shoes with an aerosol. Some tennis shoes are washer machine friendly so give them a regular wash. Running shoes in general have a wear time of 500 miles, or about 3-6 months, before they should be replaced. Click here to read more about when you should replace your walking shoes.
- Unusually dry feet? Dry feet can lead to painful cracks in the skin, which can become a portal for bacteria, fungus and infection. Moisturize your feet daily avoiding in between the toes. If you need something more hydrating than over the counter creams, look for a urea based product or ask your podiatrist for additional recommendations.
- If you have an open wound or infection, consult your doctor before applying creams or lotions. Some products may cause irritation to open wounds and make it worse.