Wound Care

Podiatrist Vs Orthopedist surgeon, Top differences between Podiatrist & Orthopedist

Podiatrist Vs Orthopedist surgeon, Top differences between Podiatrist & Orthopedist

Posted On: April 29, 2020

Podiatrist Vs Orthopedist surgeon, Top differences, According to reports, people with lower limb fractures, which include those of the hip, upper leg, lower leg, ankle, foot, and toes, range from 11 million to 15 million in the United States. Between two-third and three-fourth of all cases of lower limb fractures occur in the ankle, foot, and toes. Severe cases of lower extremity peripheral arterial disease affect more than 12 million people in the United States.

It is obvious that a lot of lower leg injuries and conditions happen around the world resulting from accidents, sports, and health conditions. There are specific doctors that specialize in the treatment of lower leg injuries and conditions.

If you sustain a lower leg injury or you have a lower leg condition, which is the best choice of doctor to should seek treatment?

Continue reading to know the best doctor you should seek treatment if you have any lower leg injury or disorders.

Who is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist, also known as a podiatric physician is a medical professional or doctor that specializes in the treatment of injuries and disorders of the foot, ankle, and lower legs.


A doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) is a qualified Podiatrist. The letters “DPM” are added after the name of a qualified Podiatrist.

Medical training to become a Podiatrist

A podiatrist must complete four years of study and training in a podiatric medical school. After four years in podiatric medical school, he/she will proceed for residency training in hospitals and clinics for at least three years to gain practical experiences.

After passing all the required exams, he/she will be finally certified as a podiatrist by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine. A podiatrist that wants to specialize in a certain area to become a specialist in foot health will have to complete more specialized fellowship training.

A Podiatric surgeon is a podiatrist who specializes in foot surgery. Podiatrist surgeons are certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. To become a podiatric surgeon, a podiatrist must pass special exams in both general foot health and surgery for foot injuries and disorders.

To practice in a state, podiatrists must be licensed in the state. Without having a license in the state they practice, podiatrists cannot practice. The license must be renewed every few years in order to remain qualified to practice in the state.

Who is an Orthopedist?

An Orthopedist or Orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathy (DO) who specializes in the treatment and management of injuries or disorders of the entire musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system includes bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. An orthopedist corrects congenital or functional abnormalities of the bones and joints with surgery, casting, or bracing.


Many orthopedic surgeons specialize in certain areas of the body such as foot and ankle, hand and wrist, back, neck, and spine. Some other orthopedic doctors may focus on a specific field of orthopedics such as pediatrics, sports medicine, or trauma.

Medical training to become an Orthopedist

An Orthopedic Surgeon must have completed four years of medical study in a college or university. Additional four years of study in a school of medicine. He or she must have completed orthopedic residency of five years of study at a major medical institution. Finally, he or she must have completed fellowship training for one year of specialized education in an accredited fellowship program.

An orthopedist must be certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery to become a board-certified orthopedist surgeon. To become board-eligible, he or she will be offered a written test. If the written test is passed, he or she will be eligible to take the oral test after practicing for two years. If the oral test is passed, the orthopedist becomes “board-certified” and will be considered as a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. Orthopedic surgeons must pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination to legally practice.

List of treatments by Podiatrists 

Podiatrists perform several lower leg and foot treatments such as:

  • Bunion removal
  • Fractures or broken bones correction
  • Tumors removal
  • Skin or nail diseases treatment
  • Lower leg wound care
  • Ulcers treatment and management
  • Artery disease treatment
  • Walking patterns
  • Corrective orthotics
  • Flexible casts
  • Lower extremity amputations
  • Foot prosthetics

Podiatrists treat and manage conditions such as:

  • Ingrown toenails
  • Blisters
  • Warts
  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Bunions
  • Nail infections
  • Foot infections
  • Smelly feet
  • Heel pain
  • Heel spurs
  • Dry or cracked heel skin
  • Flat feet
  • Hammertoe
  • Neuroma
  • Sprains
  • Arthritis
  • Foot injuries
  • Foot ligament or muscle pain

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