As the field of medicine becomes more and more specialized, it is sometimes hard to decide which doctor you should see. For a severely broken foot bone that needs surgery, for example, the question of podiatrist vs. orthopedic surgeon might come up. How do you decide?
It may help to know that both types of specialists are well-trained in surgery and understand bones and their healing properties. Beyond that, there are some differences.
A general orthopedist is trained to treat all the bones and joints in your body, and the soft tissues surrounding them as well. They often deal with the larger joints of shoulder, hip and knee, but some orthopedic surgeons specialize in foot and ankle issues.
Podiatrists, on the other hand, treat only bones and soft tissues located in the foot and ankle. However, their training enables and allows them to deal with dermatology, general biomechanics of the feet, and other conditions affecting the foot as well (gout and diabetes, for example).
So there is overlap between the two specialties, with each specialist also able to do some things the other cannot. Either one can correct a bunion or reconstruct a fractured heel bone. However, podiatrists focus specifically on the foot and ankle throughout their training, residency, and private practice. It is all they do, so they become very knowledgeable and very good at it. For that reason, when you have an issue with your feet or ankles, you may be happiest going to a specialist who understands those extremities the best.
Whichever you choose, make sure that you feel totally comfortable and confident with the doctor and the care you receive. Patients who come to Parker Foot & Ankle have been feeling that way for over 40 years. Our credentials are impeccable, and our staff embodies a caring attitude that will make you feel at home. Call our Houston office at (281) 497-2850 for an appointment, and experience our superior foot care—from healing an ingrown nail to the most complicated foot surgery—for yourself.
To find out more about your feet, you are welcome to a copy of our book—When Your Heels Hurt...You Hurt All Over!—free of charge. Just request one using this form.