All About Podiatrist
A podiatrist is a doctor who examines, diagnoses, and treats health problems surrounding the feet. This includes the bones of the foot, foot joints, skin, muscles, connective tissue, nerves, and circulation of the lower leg. Podiatrists are different from foot doctors. Podiatrists are medical doctors, whereas foot doctors are not.
Podiatrist have completed both a bachelor's degree and medical school training to receive their MD or DPM degree. Podiatric medicine is practiced in all 50 states in the US. Podiatrists are the only professionals that can prescribe medications, perform surgery, and practice in physical therapy clinics.
Problems Treated by Podiatrist
Health conditions that a podiatrist can treat include
- Arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis
- Diabetic foot problems, such as infections, sores, neuropathy, slow wound healing, and Charcot arthropathy
- Foot deformities, such as flat feet, arched feet, bunions, and hammertoes
- Foot and ankle injuries, such as sprains, muscle strains, and fractures
- Heel and foot pain, such as Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis
- Morton's neuroma, which is a benign growth of nerve tissue that causes leg pain
- Nail and skin disorders, such as calluses, ingrown toenails, onychomycosis, warts
- Sports injuries, such as bruises, dislocations, sprains, fractures, and tendon ruptures.
What actions are performed by the foot doctor?
In addition to seeing clinical symptoms, podiatrists will also perform various tests to support the examination and establish a diagnosis, including:
- Arthrography, to determine the cause of ligament, cartilage, and tendon pain
- Blood tests, to measure inflammation, detection of blood clots, identification of autoimmune diseases
- X-rays, to identify fractures or bone abnormalities
- CT scan, to see a more detailed picture
- Doppler, to identify blockage of leg veins
- Electromyography (EMG), to identify muscle or nerve disorders
- Flexibility test, to measure joint range of motion and assess neuromuscular function
- Joint aspiration, to diagnose infection and inflammation such as in gout
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to visualize joint and soft tissue injuries