Patients experiencing problems with their feet and/or ankles will often have to choose between seeing a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon. It can be confusing for patients to decide which option will better suit their lifestyle and needs. Although any foot doctor would be able to help a patient figure out a solution, it helps to know the basic differences between the two types of doctors before seeking out treatment. This can help because the different doctors may be the difference between surgery or alternative treatments.
The biggest difference between a podiatrist and an orthopedic surgeon is the type of education they received. A podiatrist studies solely feet and ankle problems. According to Coordinated Health, a podiatrist must study four years at a specialized podiatric school in addition to regular undergraduate training. They also have the option of taking a two to four year residency for additional training. On the contrary, a general orthopedic surgeon studies all areas of the body. These doctors are only required one year of specialized foot and ankle studies, so the difference in the amount of time studying the affected area is vast. There is perhaps one exception to this, however, in the case of an ‘orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon.’ These doctors may have not only completed undergraduate and medical school, but five years of study in residency at a medical center specializing in foot and ankle problems. They also must have the required one year of specialized foot and ankle studies. These surgeons seem to provide the best of both worlds – knowledge of the entire body as well as many years devoted to studying foot and ankle problems.
Another difference between a Podiatrist and an Orthopedic Surgeon lies in the way they will try to solve a patient’s problems. Podiatrists are trained to examine all possible cures and solutions for a patient’s foot and ankle problem. Orthopedic Surgeons, however, are more likely to recommend cures revolving only around what types of surgeries would help a problem. If you are hesitant to try a surgery on your foot and want to know if there are any different solutions, it would be a good idea to find a podiatrist who will give you a well-rounded overview of your case. If surgery is not a problem, however, it is personal preference as to the choice between a Podiatrist and an Orthopedic Surgeon.
Getting help from a board-certified podiatrist in Colorado Springs
If you’re experiencing foot or ankles problems, feel free to contact Colorado Springs podiatrist, Dr. Kerry Berg, to schedule a private, one-on-one consultation to discuss your condition and options for treatment. Dr. Berg will be able to help you evaluate your problem and help you understand possible causes and best solutions—some of which may include surgery, some not.