When will it get better??? A question I’m asked daily in clinic as a podiatrist where there is not always a precise answer. Let me explain.
A concept we’ve been conditioned to expect in our contemporary daily lives.
UberEats has food delivered to your door within minutes.
The NBN allows us to surf the internet at a millisecond per click.
And online shops like The Iconic and ASOS make urgent last-minute dress shopping a reality with next-day delivery.
As a modern day society, we’re not used to waiting.
Our expectations to get better and achieve our desired outcomes are therefore extremely high.
I think we’re all guilty of knowing our Australia Post truck’s arrival time off by heart, and sheepishly waiting outside for it’s arrival when we’re expecting a parcel. We then become disgruntled when the delivery driver stops just short of our house to deliver to our neighbour! “But my Australia Post app said it was arriving today!”, we cry… while storming back inside to keyboard warrior our way through a strongly worded email to Australia Post.
These habits of instant gratification flow through to matters much more significant than irritable hunger, speedy internet and fast fashion.
Our habituation for quick results has infiltrated and somewhat warped our expectations around achieving our health goals.
Rationalising your expectations…
As podiatrists, we understand that you’re coming to see us in order to get better.
Whether it’s a gnarly ingrown toenail, a painful big toe joint or a twisted ankle from when you chased that Aus Post truck down the street! But an important part of our job is to discuss your health goals, construct a treatment plan and set realistic expectations for how long this toenail/big toe joint/twisted ankle may take to really feel better.
In a perfect world…
Carefully resecting that ingrown toenail, modifying our footwear to support that big toe joint and taping up our twisted ankle may see you walking out of the clinic feeling a million times better than when you walked in!
As if your UberEats delivery arrived 10 minutes earlier than the app predicted!
However, this is not always the case.
In-clinic treatment for ingrown toenails may provide temporary relief, but without changing to some wider shoes and learning to trim our nails better next time, we may find ourselves back in the treatment chair and turning towards a Partial Nail Avulsion surgical procedure for a more permanent fix.
Your big toe joint may feel heaps better in your new swanky Hoka Bondi runners, but perhaps we’re not the full way there just yet and we need to look towards orthotics and some activity modification to further optimise that joint.
And boy-oh-boy that ankle felt better with the tape on, but (unfortunately) tape doesn’t last forever.
We need to look at strengthening the supporting anatomical structures surrounding the outside of that ankle, to make sure we can run to the Aus Post truck many a time without sustaining a nasty sprain!
Quick Fix ≠ Good Fix…
In a world where we expect a level of immediacy in achieving our desired outcomes, it’s important to put your health goals in a completely separate basket.
A quick fix is not always a good fix, and receiving a long-term, sometimes time-consuming management plan from your podiatrist may be a very likely outcome of your clinic visit!
At the end of the day, we’re not UberEats, or the NBN or The Iconic.
As much as we’d love to wave goodbye and send you on your merry way after that first consultation, we know our job doesn’t quite end there. And frankly, we can’t wait to get you back again to watch you improve and continue to assist you in reaching your health goals!
In a way, we’re a bit like that Aussie Post truck.
We may drive past a couple times, but eventually, when we’re ready, we’ll stop.
And when we do, you’ll be the happiest you’ve been!
Want to know how long it will take for you to get better?