Returning patients: Please call the office to book an appointment.

The Importance of a Coach in Treating your Feet

The Importance of a Coach

Take a minute to picture in your mind’s eye a “coach”. Did you create the image of a coach in movies or real life, standing on the sidelines, clipboard in hand, screaming at an athlete? Did you picture a person that you email once a week to give information about your weekly runs and wait to get back your schedule for the upcoming week? Did you remember fondly a person who helped you navigate a difficult time in your life? Did you picture your doctor???

The function of a coach for most individuals is to provide information, insight, strategy and perspective that comes from years of experience. That’s what Bill Belichick does at New England Patriots practice and during games. That’s what Red Auerbach did for the Boston Celtics for so many years. It just so happens that both of those people also wore a whistle and are/were very good at meeting the team goals of winning championships. I have had athletics coaches nearly my whole life, for soccer in my younger years followed by more than a decade and a half for running. I wanted to run fast, and they wanted to get me to run fast. We had a shared goal. My coaches not only provided me workouts, but they listened to what I had to say about how my body was feeling, what workouts I responded well to, monitored my outcomes, changed plans and evaluated what other things were happening that would affect our shared goals. Ultimately, I had excellent coaches that were able coach my limited talent to a pretty high level with running.

Not every coach has a whistle or stop watch around their neck. The Doctor/patient relationship is analogous to the athlete/coach relationship. Patients come into the office and they share their problem which can be used to create a goal. “My heel hurts when I run” transforms into a goal, “be able to run without pain in the heel”. Our job as physicians and surgeons is to help you accomplish that goal and to share it with you. Much in the way that a coach does, doctors provide a plan based on years of training, experience, perspective and compassion. We provide direct interventions, we give you work to do at home, we monitor your improvement, we change the plan to help you respond better or faster based on what has worked or not. But the patient has a big role in accomplishing the shared goal. Treatment for most foot and ankle ailments is very rarely passive. Patients have to perform their “training/homework”. They need to be honest about what is working and what is not. They need to provide their “coaches” with other information that may be getting in the way of shared progress.

I have found that treating patients with the team approach is incredibly powerful. It increases patient buy-in with the treatment plan to achieve a shared goal. It helps assuage patient anxiety that they feel they are dealing with their problem alone. It creates accountability for all involved, physicians and family members, to be “on the team”. Lastly, it allows for an open and honest discussion about any barriers to the goal in a non-judgmental way.


Keep moving,

Dr. Benjamin Saviet

Dr. Benjamin Saviet Dr. Benjamin Saviet is a Podiatrist at Central Massachusetts Podiatry, in Worcester and Westborough. He is a board certified rearfoot and ankle surgeon, runner and triathlete. As a former Division 1 runner, he understands how important activities are to his patients. His most important goal when treating all patients is to get them back the activities they love as quickly and safely as possible.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Painful calluses after weight loss in Worcester and Westborough, Central Massachusetts

Why do calluses hurt more when I lose weight?

When you lose weight, your body also reduces fat around your feet. This is specially bothersome on the bottom of the foot, because without that extra layer the callus rubs directly against the bone. There are two main ways to stop this kind of pain.
Dr. Feldman tips for marathon day success

Dr. Feldman's best advice for Marathon Day

Are you running the 2023 Boston Marathon? Watch and share these tips from Dr. Neil Feldman. Ultramarathoner and triathlete, he ran the Boston Marathon 12 times and finished the Leadman Series in 2022. Learn some of his rituals for success on race day.
Webinar Series Recording

Webinar Series

Here is a list of previous webinars that were done in the office by the doctors at Central Massachusetts Podiatry.
Best treatments for heel pain, plantar fasciitis, free webinar

Best treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

Almost everyday a patient comes in with excruciating heel pain, after trying every tip and spending hundreds of dollars in shoes and products that promise a solution for Plantar Fasciitis. Watch this free CMP webinar before you google or buy anything.