Choosing A Foot & Ankle Surgeon

Choosing a Foot & Ankle Surgeon at times can be difficult. Here are a few questions to consider:

Did the doctor examine your foot?  

  • Some surgeons base their recommendations based solely on the radiographs taken of the foot. A thorough foot and ankle examination is critical to not only confirm the radiographic findings, but to corroborate that the area where you hurt is reproducible on examination.  Additional problems can also be revealed during the exam that cannot be determined by x-rays alone.

Did the doctor explain your condition in detail?

  • Bottom line: the physician should give you a diagnosis and explain the condition to you in detail using lay language so you have some basic understanding of the problem. 

The treatment should address the problems you have, while preserving as much function as possible. 

  • If there is going to be functional loss, there should be a good reason it!


Does the surgeon have experience with the procedure recommended?

  • Its' simple: surgeons with experience and volume have less complications and better outcomes!


Were conservative treatments offered or discussed?

  • You may have exhausted conservative treatments from other doctors; but if your problem was just recently diagnosed, many foot conditions should still be treated conservatively before surgery is considered. There are, of course, exceptions such as: suspected soft tissue neoplasm, skin cancer, infections...etc which would be considered more urgent requiring a more aggressive treatment plan.  While bunions cannot be corrected with conservative care, bunion symptoms can respond to conservative care allowing both you and your physician to delay surgery for a time period.


The doctors at Ankle & Foot Clinics Northwest are dedicated to evidence based treatments. While we are very comfortable with surgical treatments, we feel it should be recommended only when the situation is indicated. A comprehensive examination and discussion is necessary, especially for complex structural or intractible problems.