#770 3 Signs runner has the wrong doctor - DOC

#770 3 Signs runner has the wrong doctor

What are the top three ways you can be sure you’re seeing the wrong doctor? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.



If you’re a runner and you get injured and you’re trying to get back to running, one of the most important decisions you can make is which doctor you choose to see and it is your choice.

I just got off a call yesterday with a runner who had a really serious issue. She actually rolled her ankle and she treated it like a normal ankle sprain. She had sprained her ankle before, so she thought this is no big deal. It’ll be better in no time. Well, about six weeks later, it’s still a little bit puffy. It still hurts. It’s still bugging her and she wanted to get a second opinion because she originally got some X-rays at the urgent care center and they said there’s nothing there. So, she thought it might be fine, but it still wasn’t better and if everything was fine, it would have been better.

She did the right thing. She went and saw an orthopedic surgeon to get a second opinion. And the reason for this episode is because when I got the call yesterday about this, there were three things that I saw as definite red flags and definite signs this woman is seeing the wrong doctor. I thought it might be useful for you to hear about that so  you can think about this if you have the same situation.

The first thing is that she said that when she saw the orthopedic surgeon, he literally did not touch her foot or her ankle. So, what that means is he really did no physical exam at all. He didn’t even touch her foot. He didn’t grab it. He didn’t push on it. He didn’t pull it to check the ligamentous laxity. He didn’t see if there’s inflammation in the subtalar joint. He didn’t palpate, push or touch anything and that’s red flag number one. Your doctor should actually not be so lazy as to think he doesn’t even have to look at your foot.

Then you think well how do you make a diagnosis? Well, this is red flag number two, he said “You need an MRI.”  So, not only is he not going to do a physical exam, he’s going to rely entirely on an MRI and we know that when you have tendon and ligament tears around the ankle, they can actually get missed up to 75% of the time on an MRI. And that’s not my opinion,  that’s from a study that was done by Matt Rocket and published in a medical journal in 1998.

The third thing he said which is red flag number three, he said “we’re getting the MRI just to see if you need surgery.” So, keep in mind if you want surgery, you should definitely see a surgeon. If you want to get back to running as quickly as possible, you should see someone who’s going to try to not delay your treatment by waiting for an MRI and potentially delay your treatment unnecessarily a whole lot longer by doing surgery that may or may not actually be necessary.

When you see a doctor, make sure number one, that they actually really look at you, check you, do a physical exam and then make a decision based on what’s really going on with you, what they see, what they feel, what they sense on their physical exam, and not just one imaging study. That is no good, and if they tell you basically they’re just looking for a reason to do surgery, you definitely have the wrong doctor and you need to get a second opinion from somebody who understands runners.

It’s easy to do. It’s easy to find. All you need is a doctor who talks to runners, works with runners, and potentially even runs herself. So, look for a second opinion from somebody who’s a runner and specializes in running injuries and most of the time, they are not going to just tell you we’re looking for a reason to do surgery.

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