Matthew D. Barber: Differences Between Orthopedic Surgeons and Podiatrists

An orthopedic surgeon and a podiatrist have a lot in common, so it is not surprising as to why you might want to find out the difference between the two.

When you sustain a foot injury or develop a problem in your feet, you have to navigate the maze that is the medical bureaucracy. This would be difficult enough even with healthy feet, so here is some useful information that will hopefully help you on your journey back to good health.

What is an orthopedic surgeon, and what do they treat?

An orthopedic surgeon is a doctor that concentrates on the treatment of the bones, the muscles and the connective tissues that connect the two. It takes more than ten years to become an orthopedic surgeon.

These specialists start off at medical school with the rest of the doctors. Once they graduate, they go on to train in general surgery and to specialize in the musculoskeletal system. This takes several years, during which time these doctors learn how to treat the injuries and disorders that affect the muscles and bones.

An orthopedic surgeon has the following responsibilities:

  • Evaluation and diagnosis of a patient, including going through their medical history or ordering medical tests
  • Creating a treatment plan and adjusting it as the patient progresses
  • Performing surgical procedures on ailing muscles, connective tissue and bones
  • Prescribing medication and therapeutic options like physiotherapy

Some orthopedic surgeons specialize even further. Some specialize in sports medicine, while others specialize in musculoskeletal disorders and deformities. There are also orthopedic surgeons that specialize in the treatment of the feet.

What is a podiatrist, and what do they treat?

A podiatrist has a different medical degree than an orthopedic surgeon. They do not graduate with an MD. Instead, they graduate with a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine or DPM.

To graduate as a podiatrist, a person needs to study an undergraduate course that takes at least three years to complete. From the get-go, a podiatrist will specialize in the treatment of the foot. They will graduate and complete a residency that also specializes in the foot and lower leg.

A podiatrist performs the following roles:

  • Evaluation and diagnosis of a patient
  • Where needed, referring cases to an appropriate specialist
  • Creating a treatment plan and adjusting it to match the patient’s progress
  • Treating skin problems and infections on the feet
  • Prescribing medication and therapeutic options like physiotherapy or orthotics
  • Guiding and advising patients on the proper care of their feet
  • Providing routine foot care for the patients that need it

How to choose the right specialist

Depending on a patient’s medical problem, a primary physician can give their patient a referral to an orthopedic surgeon or a podiatrist. If the patient is a diabetic who needs regular care for their feet, then their doctor will link them to a podiatrist. The physician will do the same for a person with a bad case of bunions.

If the patient has a severe problem like a deformed foot, a broken ankle or a torn muscle, then the doctor will refer them to an orthopedic surgeon.

Our surgeon is here to help you get back on your feet

Our practice has an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in the treatment of the feet. Visit us and get the help you need to restore your feet back to health.

Let's get started…

Request an appointment here: https://www.barbertotaljoint.com or call Matthew D. Barber, M.D. at (251) 800-9125 for an appointment in our Mobile office.

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.

Recent Posts

How Can Orthopedic Surgeon Matthew D. Barber Help Me?

An orthopedic surgeon treats disorders of the bones, the muscles and the connective tissue that links the two. Do not let the word "surgeon" fool you: An orthopedic surgeon will exhaust all conservative treatment options before they opt for surgery.Some orthopedic surgeons treat all parts of the body, while others specialize even further. Dr. Matthew…

What Is A Partial Knee Replacement?

Patients living with osteoporosis of the knee or other similar conditions may qualify for a partial knee replacement. Partial knee replacement surgery can be achieved when damage to the knee is isolated in one specific part. Partial knee replacement will replace specific components; more extensive knee joint damage may require a total knee replacement.Partial knee…

Four Common Causes Of Hip Pain

There can be many causes of hip pain. The hip is the body’s largest ball and socket joint. While the hip is designed to handle a lot of repetitive movement with no issues, sometimes things go awry. Hip pain is a common complaint, especially among the elderly and those with physically demanding jobs.A doctor will…

Do Orthopedic Surgeons Only Do Surgery?

When picturing an orthopedic surgeon, many people automatically assume that surgery is all these doctors do. However, orthopedics is a complex medical umbrella. Though surgery is a part of it, the surgeons who practice under it can be well-versed in a number of important diagnostic tools, healing methods and other techniques that do not involve…

Recent Posts

How Can Orthopedic Surgeon Matthew D  Barber Help Me?

How Can Orthopedic Surgeon Matthew D. Barber Help Me?

An orthopedic surgeon treats disorders of the bones, the muscles and the connective tissue that links the two. Do not let the word "surgeon" fool you: An orthopedic surgeon will exhaust all conservative treatment options before they opt for surgery.Some orthopedic surgeons treat all parts of the body, while others specialize even further. Dr. Matthew…

What Is A Partial Knee Replacement?

What Is A Partial Knee Replacement?

Patients living with osteoporosis of the knee or other similar conditions may qualify for a partial knee replacement. Partial knee replacement surgery can be achieved when damage to the knee is isolated in one specific part. Partial knee replacement will replace specific components; more extensive knee joint damage may require a total knee replacement.Partial knee…