Podiatrist vs. Orthopedic: What Are the Differences?

Are you suffering from pain, discomfort, or any debilitation with your feet? If so, you’re likely ready to see a specialist.

But the question is, “Do you need to see a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon?”

These two professions are frequently confused with one another. However, they are not the same. While orthopedic surgeons can provide care for the feet, their scope ranges much further than one section of the body.

Are you interested in learning more? Here is your guide to understanding the differences between the roles of podiatrist vs. orthopedic surgeon.

What is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a medical specialist who focuses on treating issues in the feet or lower legs. While they are considered doctors, they don’t go to a traditional medical school, and they have the terms DPM instead of M.D. after their names.

Podiatrists are trained for surgery, resetting broken bones, providing prescriptions, and performing X-rays on feet. Some of the injuries and conditions they treat include fractures, sprains, bunions, nail disorders, arthritis, etc.

There are some conditions that both an orthopedic surgeon and a podiatrist can treat. However, there are other medical issues specifically related to the foot that orthopedic surgeons don’t handle.

For example, bunions, ingrown nails, and diabetes-related conditions in the feet are conditions that call for a podiatrist rather than an orthopedic surgeon.

If you have any of these issues, you want to find the best podiatrist in your area. Click here for a podiatrist guide to help you determine how to find a qualified podiatrist near you.

What is an Orthopedic?

The confusion between orthopedic doctors and podiatrists is related to many orthopedic doctors specializing in specific body areas, including the feet. However, orthopedics is not limited to the feet.

Orthopedics is a branch of medicine that focuses on treating musculoskeletal system conditions. An orthopedic surgeon would specialize in treating areas such as bones, muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments.

Orthopedic surgeons can also treat neck pain, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and scoliosis.

While conditions like these can affect the feet, treating such conditions is outside of a podiatrist’s expertise, as a podiatrist focuses solely on treating foot issues.

One of the most awarded and best orthopedic surgeons, Travis R. Liddell M.D., specializes in many orthopedic services. Such services include knee replacement, rotator cuff repair, cartilage restoration, ACL reconstruction, and anterior hip replacement. If you have issues in such areas, a surgeon like Dr. Liddell is the person to go to.

Podiatrist vs. Orthopedic

This podiatrist vs. orthopedic guide accurately outlines the different roles of the two professions. Keep in mind that every condition of the feet or lower body differs. It isn’t always so clear which doctor is the one you need to see.

Are you are seeking medical care for feet issues, and you aren’t sure where to go? For the most accurate results specific to your needs, seek care and counsel from your physician.

For more articles like this, visit our Health section.

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