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) 410-3600 for an appointment in our Mobile office.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.
PRP is a form of regenerative medicine that uses a person's own blood to promote healing and relieve pain. The blood is drawn from the patient and then placed in a centrifuge to separate the platelets, which are rich in growth factors. The concentrated platelets are then injected back into the patient's body at the…
Due to the knee's large articulating surface and weight-bearing properties, it is no surprise that it is one of the most commonly injured joints. In fact, in the United States alone, knee pain accounts for over 1 million ER visits and more than 1.9 million primary care outpatient visits each year. The natural aging process causes…
Thousands of people undergo knee replacement per year in the United States. The doctor will replace the degenerating joint surfaces and bone pieces with metal and plastic implants for the process. The procedure is often recommended for those whose mobility or daily functions have been impeded due to knee issues. If you have been scheduled…
Every year, more than 600,000 Americans undergo knee replacements. By 2030, that number is expected to increase by nearly 200%. Knee replacement, also called knee arthroplasty, is a relatively common, cost-effective, and elective surgery for people suffering from knee osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or a knee injury.Knee arthroplasty can give people a new lease on life…