When you have a problem with your foot or ankle that needs medical attention, where do you go – to a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon? And does it make a difference?
To answer those questions, let’s first look at what each of these specialists do.
A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM), specifically a specialist whose focus is strictly on foot and ankle care. That includes treatment of such conditions as:
· Toe and hindfoot fractures
· Diabetic ulcers and wounds
· Plantar fasciitis (inflammation of connective tissue on the bottom of the foot)
· Hallux rigidus (stiff big toe)
· Flat feet
· Toenail disease
· Heel spurs
· Athlete’s foot
An orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor (MD), specifically a specialist whose focus is on the care of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves throughout the body – including in the foot and ankle. In regard to the latter, that includes treatment of such conditions as:
· Achilles tendon tear and repair
· Ankle replacement and cartilage restoration
· Flat feet
· Plantar fasciitis
· Heel spurs
· Morton’s neuroma (nerve inflammation near the toes)
· Hammer toe, mallet toe, and claw toe deformities
· Stress fractures
· Toe fractures
· Hindfoot fractures
· Metatarsal (forefoot fracture)
As you can see, both podiatrists and orthopedists perform many of the same foot and ankle procedures. Both are highly trained and qualified to treat foot and ankle conditions both surgically and non-surgically. The only discernible difference between them is that an orthopedist manages parts of the foot and ankle that pertain to the bones, soft tissues and joints, while a podiatrist manages the same areas, but also the biomechanics and dermatology of the foot and ankle. For instance, a podiatrist is often an integral care provider for people with diabetes who have serious concerns about foot health.
So, who do you choose for diagnosis and treatment of your foot or ankle problem?
It often depends on your particular foot or ankle problem – and how comfortable you are with one doctor over another. But it’s a dilemma you don’t have to face at Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs. That’s because our practice specializes in both podiatry and foot and ankle orthopedics.
Our board-certified podiatric surgeon Dr. Frederick Hainge is highly skilled in diagnosing and treating structural and biomechanical issues, wounds, toe and foot deformities, nerve pain, and much more.
Meanwhile, fellowship-trained Dr. John Shank and our team of orthopedic physicians help patients manage their foot and ankle conditions through reconstructive procedures, arthroscopic and open fusion surgeries, physical therapy, and other procedures. And it’s all done under one roof.
The Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs regularly treats injuries to bones and joints, providing the best of care. If a foot or ankle injury or pain is cause for concern, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons will quickly diagnose and treat the condition. Call us at (719) 623-1050 today for an appointment.