Your feet are highly complex structures that contain 25% of all the bones in your body. Each foot has about 28 bones, 30 joints, and more than 100 muscles connected by an intricate network of ligaments and tendons designed to keep you upright as you go about your daily activities. That’s a lot of hardware packed into a small body part!
When treating foot and ankle problems, you would want to seek treatment from a medical professional best qualified to do provide the highest level of care. To help you decide, let’s look at the differences between a podiatrist and an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon:
Level of Training:
- A podiatrist is required to complete a 4-year curriculum in a podiatry school and an additional 2 years of residency training in a recognized institution. Due to the focused nature of the curriculum, podiatrists are therefore not medical doctors.
- An orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon is a medical doctor who completes 4 years of medical school plus 5 or 6 years of residency as an orthopedic surgeon and an additional year of specialized training for treating foot and ankle problems. As a result of such extensive training, an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon has in-depth of the entire musculoskeletal system and its impact on foot and ankle conditions.
- Podiatrists usually treat conditions such as ingrown toenails, heel spurs, foot deformities, foot problems related to diabetes and other systemic illnesses.
- In addition, to the above conditions, an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon also treats a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions involving the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons of foot, ankle, and lower leg. They also have additional specialized training for complex conditions and deformities.
To sum up, an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon is better qualified to address complex problems of the foot and ankle, identify the root cause of the condition, prescribe medications, recommend physical therapy and bracing, and perform surgery to treat your foot and ankle condition.
Dr. Ho is an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist who treats all disorders of the foot and ankle including arthritis, tendon ruptures, deformities, acute trauma and fractures, repair of non-unions, total ankle replacements and repair of cartilage lesions. Book an appointment today for an accurate assessment and treatment of your foot and ankle condition.