Foot Care: What Doctor to Visit for an Arthritic Foot

April 17, 2023
Foot Care: What Doctor to Visit for an Arthritic Foot

Foot care can be a surprisingly complex topic for such a seemingly simple part of the body. There are seemingly a ton of specialists and doctors that treat different foot ailments and conditions. So, what doctor should you visit to treat an arthritic foot? Should you see a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon? Let’s dive deeper.

Treating Arthritic Feet: Who to See

Treating arthritic feet involves addressing pain and other issues affecting the joints in the feet. It can seem unclear which specialist to see, or who to see first. You have two primary options: a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon.

Why See a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist, or Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), is a specialist who focuses on foot and ankle care.

This includes many conditions, like bunions, toe and hindfoot fractures, plantar fasciitis, flat feet, gout, corns, heel spurs, and toenail disease.

Why See an Orthopedic Surgeon?

On the other hand, orthopedic surgeons are medical doctors who specialize in the care of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves throughout the body. This treatment includes the ligaments and tendons in the feet and ankles.

Orthopedic surgeons treat various conditions affecting those areas. This includes Achilles tendon repair, cartilage restoration, bunion treatment, treating bone fractures, flat feet, plantar fasciitis, and heel spurs.

Which Doctor Should You Visit?

There is some overlap in the conditions treated by these two specialists, particularly with heel spurs, flat feet, and plantar fasciitis. On one hand, arthritic feet may be deferred to a podiatrist's knowledge. However, arthritis is a condition that affects joints in particular, falling into the purview of an orthopedic surgeon.

The best solution is to see both specialists who can work together to devise a comprehensive treatment plan. Getting your arthritic feet diagnosed may be best done by a podiatrist. However, an orthopedic surgeon may have wider treatment options.

A podiatrist may recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon to treat your arthritic foot. An orthopedic surgeon may not take appointments without such a recommendation. 

Top of Foot Arthritis: How to Know If You Have It

Top of foot arthritis is one of the most common places to feel arthritis in your feet. It might seem an unusual location to feel joint pain, especially compared to the ankle, heel, or sole. However, the top of the foot is home to several joints that can equally undergo arthritic strain or injury.

Did you know there are 30 joints in the foot? This includes the joints connecting the forefoot, the midfoot (also called the lisfranc,) and the hindfoot together. While you may not notice these joints moving regularly, their movement is essential for walking. That’s why top of foot arthritis can feel so painful and impact your ability to walk.

Similar to other areas, top of foot arthritis is marked by pain, stiffness, swelling, and deformity of the joints. If arthritic, the top of the foot, also called the dorsum or dorsal area, will be affected by these symptoms. It may impact your ability to walk, or can worsen by wearing poor-fitting shoes.

Get Expert Treatment for Your Arthritic Foot From the Professionals at Diablo Foot and Ankle

There’s no shortage of expert opinions for those looking to treat arthritic feet. If you’re unsure about your foot pain, get a second opinion from the experts at Diablo Foot and Ankle. Diablo’s podiatric expert doctors can diagnose arthritic feet and recommend the treatment options that work best for you.

Check out Diablo’s resources and frequently asked questions for patients, including the most prevalent symptoms of arthritic feet. Relief from your pain is possible with help from Diablo Foot and Ankle’s friendly, professional, care.

Common Podiatry Questions

What is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot and ankle.

What does a Podiatrist treat?

A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the medical and surgical care of the feet. They can treat conditions such as ingrown toenails, fungal toenails, bunions, hammertoes, and plantar fasciitis.

What’s the difference between a Podiatrist and Orthopedist?

A Podiatrist and Orthopedist are very similar to each other in many ways. They use most of the same tools and treat a lot of the same conditions. The main difference between the two is their medical training. Podiatrists are trained exclusively on the foot and ankle, whereas the Orthopedic is trained on the whole body with an additional year of training on the foot and ankle.

Where are your Podiatry clinics located?

At Diablo Foot & Ankle, we treat our foot and ankle patients in two main clinic locations in Walnut Creek and in Antioch California. Dr. Eman Elmi and Dr. Shayan Esspoor are Board Certified Podiatrists who specialize in the treatment of foot and ankle disorders.

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