Should I see a podiatrist or an orthopedist?
It's a great question. They're basically the same thing, right?
A podiatrist, or doctor of podiatric medicine, is a specialized healthcare professional who focuses on the diagnosis of lower extremity, foot, and ankle conditions. According to the American Board of Podiatric Medicine, podiatrists undergo four years in podiatric medical school and several years of residency training before receiving certification from the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery and the American Board of Podiatric Medicine.
A podiatrist can help with the following conditions:
- Foot and ankle sprains
- Bunions (bony bumps on the base of the big toe)
- Hammertoe (abnormal bending of the central toe joint)
- Ingrown toenails, enlarged toenails, and fungal infections of the toenail
- Athlete’s foot
- Heel spurs (calcium buildup on the bottom of the heel bone)
- Plantar fasciitis (pain in the tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot)
- Morton’s neuroma (thickened tissue around nerves leading to the toes; causes pain in the ball of the foot)
- Diabetic foot conditions such as nerve damage (neuropathy)
- Damage to ligaments in the foot (such as a Lisfranc injury)
Orthopedists, on the other hand, are medical doctors who specialize in conditions related to the musculoskeletal system. According to the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS), an orthopedic surgeon must graduate from a four-year medical school and complete a five-year orthopedic residency program before becoming board certified by the ABOS.
Orthopedic surgeons can help with the following conditions:
- Bone fractures
- Sports medicine (Surgery for injury, rehabilitation, prevention)
- Joint reconstruction
- Pediatric orthopedics (study and treatment of growing bones, joints and muscles)
- Achilles tendon repair
- Hand surgery
- Shoulder and elbow treatment
- Bunions and hammertoe
- Bone spurs
- Muscular dystrophy
- Cerebral palsy
Podiatrists specialize in the mechanics and dermatology of the lower extremities, while orthopedic surgeons can provide medical care for the entire musculoskeletal system.
Whether your condition is better suited for a podiatrist or orthopedist, you can find the care you need on Sesame for affordable, upfront prices. Book an online consultation today with a doctor licensed to treat podiatric conditions in College, AK to develop a treatment plan that's right for you. No hidden fees, no copays, just the care you need.