Like many people, you may be considering either podiatry or orthopedics to care for your ailing feet. Both disciplines have their place and can offer help for a variety of conditions. You may hear different answers from various people on which doctor would provide the most effective care. It would help you to understand what each professional does.

Common foot problems that doctors address

Think of all the time a person spends on their feet throughout the day and week. As the years go on, this part of the body takes quite a toll. As a result, a wide range of issues can affect a person’s feet. Sprains and fractures are among the most common. These happen to athletes during training or competition, but accidents can cause them too. Some patients come to podiatry because of growths on the feet such as warts. Bunions and hammertoe are other painful examples of concerning foot problems.

What a podiatrist does

Someone who practices podiatry must complete four years of undergraduate studies, followed by four years of podiatry school. The doctor will then complete a few years of residency and focused training on care and surgery for the foot and ankle. The podiatrist diagnoses and treats all conditions that affect the foot and ankle. This doctor has knowledge and training in caring for the foot and its bones, muscles, ligaments and joints.

What an orthopedist does

An orthopedist also completes a bachelor’s degree program. After this, the student finishes four years of medical school and then has additional training in bone and joint care. However, unlike a doctor in podiatry, an orthopedist can address abnormalities and dysfunctions of joints and ligaments throughout the body, including in the foot. This physician also works on issues of the skin, blood vessels and nerves of the foot.

Level of training and practice

Patients who have severe foot conditions such as growths or infections often choose podiatry care. Both a podiatrist and an orthopedist spend several years studying the feet, a podiatrist has more intense training in this specific area. It is this doctor’s focus to find ways to treat and provide relief to patients with foot ailments.

Surgical needs

Conversely, someone who needs surgery may prefer to see an orthopedist. A physician in this area often has more experience performing surgeries to correct bone or joint problems. This could include injuries such as fractures or dislocations in the foot, heel, toes or ankle. Podiatry care can include surgery as well. However, orthopedics may be more effective when the needs are more complicated for the patient.

Podiatry can help you

As you think about which type of doctor makes the most sense to you, review these guidelines. Many people in your position choose based on the level of comfort. Meet with a podiatrist near you and discuss your condition and concerns. You should not have to live with debilitating issues in this part of your body. You can feel good about choosing this professional and overcoming the pain and discomfort you are feeling in your feet.

Get more information about Ambulatory Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pocatello at

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Podiatry in Pocatello, ID.

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