Looking for Sanexas Neuropathy treatment near walnut creek?
Learn More

Podiatrist vs Orthopedist: Which Doctor Do I Need to See?

Dr. Eman Elmi
July 6, 2022
copy svglinked in logofacebook logo

Whether it is early in life or in one’s elderly years, there comes a time when a person could experience foot pain. The profession of the individual can be a risk factor for damage to come to the ankle or foot. One example is an Olympic runner who must train consistently to stay in physical shape to compete. In doing so, they must take extra caution to ensure that they avoid any damage to their feet. Or, ankle or foot pain can simply happen when someone goes about their daily tasks, with a few examples being walking or engaging in recreational activities. In some instances, there are patients who suffer from other diseases, like diabetes, that cause foot pain. 

To mitigate the longevity of how long foot or ankle pain lasts, there are a variety of treatment methods available for foot or ankle pain. This includes elevating the foot while lying down, depending on if the injured foot requires that kind of care. Another self-care option, again dependent on the foot condition, is to add ice for periods of time to the affected area of the foot to combat the pain. But, the abnormality in the foot could be serious enough that at-home treatment methods may not be sufficient enough for it to receive proper care. In this case, it may be necessary for the individual to set up an appointment with a specialized physician.

Finding the Right Foot Doctor Near Me

It is very important that an individual schedules their first visit with the right foot doctor in the beginning stages of their condition. This is because the doctor can pinpoint the issue early enough to mitigate worsening symptoms. Moreover, if it is a chronic issue, a person can have consistent care with the appropriate physician. When in doubt about who to see, individuals can seek advice from their primary care doctor, who can refer them to either a podiatrist or orthopedist to treat their foot or ankle pain. 

Podiatrist vs. Orthopedist

In simple terms, a podiatrist is a person who cares for foot and ankle abnormalities and are only specialized to work on this part of the body. To become a podiatrist, an individual must complete several years of studies, including undergraduate studies, medical schooling, and residency training. Some podiatrists are specialized to complete surgical procedures on the foot and ankle if it is deemed necessary for the patient. However, surgical training is not required to become a licensed podiatrist.

Some operations that podiatrists with a surgical specialty can perform include hammertoe, heel spur, or bunion surgery. During bunion surgery, for example, the patient is sedated while the podiatrist works through the ligaments and other parts of the foot to treat the bunion. With that being said, other conditions a podiatrist is trained to care for are fallen arches, ingrown toenails, neuromas, and a variety of other conditions. 

It is time to discuss what an orthopedist is as well. Essentially, this kind of specialized physician is trained to treat conditions within the ligaments, nerves, and bones of the entire body, including the feet. As mentioned before, a podiatrist can only treat the ankle and foot, which makes them different from orthopedists who can treat other parts of the body, including the spine.

Like podiatrists, orthopedists must attend university for undergraduate studies, medical school, and residency training. But, they also can undergo fellow training on surgery to be specialized to operate on a certain part of the body, including the hips. A list of conditions that orthopedists are more equipped to treat are ligament tears, achilles tendon tear, lisfranc injury, and many more. 

Individuals can find us at BASS Diablo Foot and Ankle if they are asking themselves, “Where can I find a podiatrist near me?” Request a consultation, and a representative will respond to you soon.

Request your podiatry consultation now

Fill out our contact form for a prompt call back. Diablo Foot & Ankle: Premier podiatry group in Walnut Creek & Antioch