Bones are bones, right? So it makes sense that you would visit an orthopedic specialist if you have an issue with any part of your musculoskeletal system. But what if that issue particularly has to do with the feet or ankles? Then you would want to visit a podiatrist. Podiatry is a medical specialty dedicated to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders and conditions of the foot, ankle and lower extremities. But unlike an orthopedist, podiatrists also can provide diagnosis and treatment for everyday problems with the foot and lower extremities – from ingrown toenails to diabetic wound care. Thought you knew everything about podiatric medicine? Here’s what you need to know about podiatry.
Podiatry vs. Orthopedics
You may ask yourself, what is the difference between a podiatrist and an orthopedist? After all both are highly trained and qualified to treat foot and ankle conditions surgically and non-surgically. Oftentimes, the two specialties are co-located in an orthopedic practice to provide full range of care for musculoskeletal issues. However, a key difference is that an orthopedist manages parts of the foot and ankle that pertain to the bones, soft tissues and joints, whereas a podiatrist manages the same areas, but also focuses on the biomechanics and dermatology of the foot and ankle. That’s why a good amount of a podiatrist’s time may be spent dealing with ingrown toenails, wound care, and infections, in addition to orthopedic conditions such as sprains, tendonitis and fractures.
Podiatry requires special training, including four years in a podiatric medical school and three years of hospital residency training. In addition, podiatrists may go on to complete fellowship training in a particular field, such as surgery, sports medicine, pediatrics, diabetic care, or wound care, following their residency. With advanced training and clinical experience, podiatrists can earn board certification in their chosen field by passing an exam with a certifying board such as The American Board of Podiatric Medicine and The American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.
All in a Day’s Work
Depending on the podiatric specialty and what the specific practice may focus on, podiatrists can treat a variety of conditions and injuries. For example, a podiatrist who focuses on orthopedics can expect to treat foot deformities, fractures, flat feet, sprains and tendonitis, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. A podiatrist who specializes in sports medicine may treat all of the above, but with a focus on getting an athlete back into game-day condition. Podiatrists who primarily treat diabetics may spend their time performing wound care and treating ulcers and infections. And certainly, all podiatrists stand ready to remove ingrown toenails, treat corns and calluses, fit for orthotics, and treat joint pain.
The interdisciplinary advantage of Advanced Bone & Joint
Not sure if your foot or ankle condition merits seeing an orthopedist or a podiatrist? Advanced Bone & Joint specializes in both! Advanced Bone & Joint’s board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Anthony Lombardo, uses conservative treatment methods and state-of-the-art surgical procedures that can prevent or correct foot problems, while greatly reducing the risk of complications.
Dr. Lombardo helps patients manage their foot and ankle conditions by offering a variety of treatment options including custom orthotics, diabetic foot and care, as well as a broad spectrum of advanced surgical techniques that include ankle arthroscopy, joint fusions, Achilles tendon repair, bunionectomy, and neurectomy. What’s more, all our podiatric and orthopedic services are provided on site at our offices in St. Peters and O’Fallon, Missouri. For comprehensive podiatric care, or for any orthopedic concern, call Advanced Bone & Joint today at (636) 224-4192, or simply request an appointment online.