Foot And Ankle Issues: Should You See A Podiatrist Or Orthopedic Surgeon?

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For those who enjoy taking part in sports or choose to lead an active lifestyle, injuries are possible. Just moving or landing the wrong way on your foot or overdoing it can lead to painful mishaps.

When you are hurt, where do you turn? Especially if it involves your feet or ankles? The answer is a podiatrist or podiatric surgeon.

Portraitist vs Podiatric Surgeon

Podiatrists are not medical doctors. While they do attend podiatry school and complete a short residency, they do not attend a traditional medical school; therefore, they are not MDs but doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMS).

Both podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons treat foot and ankle issues, only a foot and ankle surgeon is trained to address more complex problems.

Conditions Treated By Podiatric Surgeons

While podiatrists treat foot issues, these include those that don't require the knowledge of an orthopedic surgeon.

This is not an exhaustive list, but are some common reasons people seek podiatrist care. While podiatrist can do some minor surgeries, reset broken bones, order lab tests and x-rays and prescribe medications, they don't do orthopedic type surgeries.

A podiatric surgeon can diagnose and treat more complex foot issues and sports injuries.

The orthopedic surgeons have a broader general medical background and more expertise in surgical procedures.

Deciding Which To See

For problems in the foot and ankle area, make an appointment with a podiatrist first. They can treat a foot or ankle problem using a conservative approach and only recommending surgery as a last resort.

The field of podiatry focuses on everything an orthopedic surgeon would in terms of soft tissues, skeletal, and muscles of the feet and ankles. If the problems require a podiatric surgeon, like the skeletal system or soft tissues, your podiatrist can refer you to an orthopedic doctor to help in areas where he or she cannot.

The bottom line is if you're having issues with the feet or ankles, the best place to start is with a podiatrist to get the area evaluated and determine what steps are next. This podiatrist is trained to recognize and offer treatment options for any issues with the specific foot and ankle area, while an orthopedic doctor focuses on the entire body. This means the podiatrist or podiatric surgeon can offer a more specialized approach to issues pertaining to feet and ankles.

To learn more, reach out to a local podiatric surgeon or podiatrist.