Purchasing a Podiatry Drill? Here Are the Top Things to Consider

For many podiatrists, the decision to acquire treatment drills for their clinic is based on improving efficiency, modernizing their clinic, controlling dust, and improving overall patient satisfaction.

Here are the top things you should consider and research before you purchase your next podiatry drill. Read this information and speak with colleagues and podiatry drill vendors to ensure you make the best investment and purchase the right drill for your clinic’s needs.

Podiatry Drill Types – Vacuum and Spray

It’s important to take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of each type of podiatry drill before making a purchase.

A vacuum drill, for example, will evacuate most of the airborne dust and make for relatively easy clean up, as any heavier particles that fall down are easily brushed off. However, vacuum podiatry drills are moderately noisy.

On the other hand, a water spray drill delivers painless treatment as the water mist helps to prevent friction. Many patients are impressed by the efficiency and ease of this type of drill. However, cleanup after a treatment with a spray drill is more intensive

Podiatry Drill Handpieces

A good quality handpiece plays a key role in the efficiency of the podiatry drill. Both vacuum drills and water spray drills reduce treatment time if the handpiece is powerful. In this regard, most all-metal handpieces outperform plastic ones.

It’s also important to ensure the handpiece allows the user to grip it properly – for optimal control and accuracy of the bur.

Additionally, note that twist-type locking chucks improve retention of the bur, are more reliable, and accommodate variation in bur stem diameters more readily.

Ease of Repair

When buying a professional drill, we advise to take into consideration the level of difficulty of repairs.

Be sure to inspect cables and connectors for ruggedness.

Removable front panel switches on the drill’s control unit can be replaced at a lower cost than smooth decal-based front panels.

Drills with detachable handpieces are easier and less costly to repair than those with fixed handpieces. If a handpiece is worn out and the control unit is still functional, the user can just replace the handpiece or have it repaired rather than getting the entire drill fixed.

Drill Durability

Solid vacuum hoses made from silicone rubber can easily outlast fragile ribbed hoses although they are a bit heavier. 

All-metal handpieces are usually more robust to begin with and they can be disassembled with screw threads and re-assembled after repair of internal parts. They also tend to have ball bearings at the tip of the nosecone that offer longer life and less vibration of the bur, which patients like as it minimizes discomfort.  

The power cords of your new podiatry drill should be sturdy and preferably of medical grade.

It’s also important that the drill you purchase can be operated easily and intuitively. Many drills on the market have excessive buttons and controls which often point to more complex and fragile electronics inside the control unit. Simple controls and a rugged heavy duty metal footswitch have proven their value over time.  

Long-term Value

While all drills will initially work and please the user, it’s important to evaluate the drill as a reliable investment for long-term use. The value of a drill is derived from the reliability and increased patient satisfaction as a result of shorter, more accurate, and less traumatic treatments. Good quality drills will last 10 to 15 years.

Vendor Reliability

Be sure to ask the vendor what the turnaround time is for common repairs. This will help you get a sense of the overall quality and dependability of the machine as well as how well the vendor supports their product. Keep in mind that you have a right to ask for a trial period when evaluating a new drill and should be eligible for a refund should you feel dissatisfied with the product.

Specialized Surgery to General Practice: Why Podiatrists Decide to Make the Switch

Thinking of changing the focus of your podiatry practice? The decision to make the switch from a surgical clinic to a general practice (one that provides routine foot care) is not a simple one.

There are many variables to consider before changing the focus of your clinic. To make your decision-making process a little easier, we’ve compiled some insights we’ve gathered over the years.

Here are the top 5 reasons podiatrists decide to convert their specialized surgery clinic into a general practice:

Changing demographics need routine foot care

When you first opened your clinic, you likely chose the location based on a study of what age distribution it needed to serve, but neighborhoods change over time. For example, younger neighborhoods now have a larger component of older constituents with different needs, like routine care of callus and nail ailments.

Appeal to a wider audience with a general practice

Regardless of the location of the podiatry clinic and the surrounding age demographics, routine, non-surgical care is normally needed by a larger number of people. As such, podiatrists can cast a wider net and appeal to a larger patient-base with a general practice than with a specialized surgery clinic.

Surgeries are becoming more difficult to perform

Patients aren’t the only ones who age over time. Doctors, too, often experience a decrease in their stamina as they get older. Many podiatrists who liked performing surgeries when they were younger may discover the same surgical procedures feel more physically demanding as they get older.

The specialized podiatrist’s workday never ends

For podiatrists operating a specialized surgery clinic, many find the workday to be especially strenuous and worry about complications even while at home. Some patients will call their doctor after hours if they are experiencing pain or have questions related to their surgery.

High-risk associated with podiatry surgeries

A surgical practice has higher operating costs, greater risk of complications, higher insurance premiums, and an increased risk of liability. Many podiatrists find that making the transition to a general practice clinic significantly reduces the day-to-day risk and consequently, is less stressful overall.

10 Ways to Improve Patient Experience in Your Podiatry Clinic

With Google, Facebook and Yelp reviews becoming more and more popular, word-of-mouth marketing is as important as ever – meaning that good or bad reviews can significantly impact your business. In order to see patients returning to your clinic and recommending you to others, it’s imperative to create a good patient experience in your podiatry practice.

Below are some clever ways for podiatrists to ensure that patients have a pleasant experience at their clinic.

Our suggestions apply to all types of podiatry clinics. If you are interested in tips targeted at surgical practitioners specifically, read more on how to improve patient care while increasing revenue in Podiatry Today.

Tip 1: Make an online podiatry survey

Create an online survey that you can have patients fill out before their visit. Ask them about their foot problems, whether they have seen a podiatrist in the past, and what brings them to your clinic. This will allow you to be well prepared and ensure greater patient satisfaction.

Tip 2: Make your podiatry clinic easy to navigate

Improve Patient Experience in Your Podiatry Clinic

Ensure you clinic is accessible and easy to navigate. As explained by Micah Solomon, thought leader in customer experience, you should strive to experience your care as your patients do. For example, park in the patient lot to determine the level of ease or difficulty they may experience walking to the front door. Consider how a physically impaired person might be able to navigate the premises. Also, take a tour of your clinic with someone who has not been there previously. While you might feel the experience is seamless and intuitive, you will be surprised at how many things can be improved.

Tip 3: Use a waiting room app

If you notice your patients seem antsy or stressed while waiting for their appointment, consider using a waiting room app. Here are 10 useful and engaging apps that can keep patients busy while they wait, whilst helping your practice run smoothly.

September 2017 update: this month, we participated in the Texas Podiatric Medical Association conference in Frisco. At the conference, we met Peter and Jarrett from Practice EHR. Peter and Jarrett showed us their cloud software for podiatry practices. Although it’s not exactly a waiting room app, this software can improve patient experience and save you valuable time nonetheless.

Practice EHR booth at the Frisco podiatry conference

Practice EHR can help you easily view patient information, manage patient appointments, and access podiatry-specific templates and reports, among other things. We haven’t tried their software ourselves, but if you think that your practice could benefit from a software like this, you can sign up for a free trial of Practice EHR here.

Tip 4: Set up a tea and coffee station

waiting room experience

Set up a tea and coffee station in the waiting room, so patients can treat themselves to a drink while they wait. A warm beverage can be comforting and help alleviate any long wait times. The cost of the station is minimal, and it will elevate the waiting room experience of your clinic.

Tip 5: Put a TV in the treatment room

Putting a TV in the treatment room is an easy way to make time go by faster for your patients. It can help distract them and keep them entertained while you perform the treatment.

Tip 6: Use painless podiatry equipment

Want patients to have a positive experience? Try to minimize any pain or discomfort your patients may experience during the procedure. For instance, in the case of nail and callous treatment, use the Ortho Spray professional podiatry drill. This drill cools the area being treated with a water and alcohol mist, which makes for a more pleasant and less painful procedure.

Tip 7: Use giveaways

You’ve probably received a few small giveaways (toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss) after your appointment with the dentist. As a podiatrist, you can also give a small gift to your patients at the end of the appointment. Contact companies that sell foot care or foot aesthetics products and see if they can provide you with something – for free, or for a nominal fee – to advertise their business. If you are willing to spend a little more and advertise your own practice, here are some ideas for small promotional items that you could brand with your clinic’s name and logo.

Tip 8: Encourage your staff to be polite and empathetic

Make politeness a core value of your practice. If a prospective patient is trying to book an appointment over the phone, a rude receptionist can be extremely off-putting. Keep in mind that while you may have performed a particular treatment countless times, your patient might experience some nervousness so it’s important to be kind and compassionate.

Tip 9: Be upfront about costs

Wherever possible, try to be direct with patients about the cost of a treatment or procedure. Providing an estimate can help set clear expectations for your patients and prevent any surprises. Also, try to make sure you have an easy method of handling insurance claims so the process is simple for your patients.

Tip 10: Acknowledge that the customer is always right

Yes, we know… the customer isn’t always right. Still, even if you take into account all the aforementioned tips, occasional mistakes are inevitable. As Micah Solomon explains, it’s important to be accountable for mistakes (or what the customer perceives as mistakes) as a health care professional. Teach your staff that an apology – rather than defensiveness – is the first step in resolving patient issues.


Ultimately, the medical industry is evolving with the rest of the world. Since the entire reputation of podiatry clinics is more readily available online than ever before – people no longer follow doctor referrals blindly. They rely on other patients’ experience to choose their doctor.

This means that the success of your practice is increasingly dependent not just on your professionalism as a podiatry practitioner, but on your ability to create a pleasant and memorable experience for your customers.

The good news is that with minimal investment of time and money – you can change your practice for the better, differentiate your business, and ultimately attract more customers.