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    Foot Injuries: When To See A Podiatrist Or Orthopedist?

    By Fox Valley Orthopedics

    When suffering from foot and ankle injuries or disorders, choosing between a podiatrist or orthopedist is important in finding the right care. After all, both are known for providing specialized foot and ankle treatment, so which is the best choice?

    What are the difference between podiatrists and orthopedists?

    The main difference between podiatrists and orthopedists is that each treats different body systems. Most conditions treated by podiatrists are strictly localized to the foot and/or ankle. That means podiatrists focus on the foot and ankle, treating the musculoskeletal system (bones, muscles, ligaments, joints) along with conditions affecting the skin, blood vessels, and nerves. An orthopedist, in contrast, treats mainly the musculoskeletal system but can do so throughout the whole body. Yes, that means there is some overlap between what each specialist can do.

    What an orthopedist does for foot injuries and disorders?

    An Orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor with extensive education, including four years of medical school, five years of orthopedic surgical residency, and one year fellowship training dedicated to the treatment of foot and ankle disorders. Orthopedists are physicians with the expertise to address foot and ankle problems that can also originate from other parts of the body including bones, joints, and soft tissues. For example, it’s possible that foot pain stems from the back or hip, rather than being localized to the lower extremity. An orthopedist can help treat patients with fractures, osteoarthritis, deformity, and many other conditions that could affect both the lower extremity and another body area.

    How a podiatrist addresses foot pain?

    A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine and has specialized training to treat disorders of the foot and ankle. Education is also extensive and includes four years at a podiatric medical school and three to four years of surgical residency. Podiatrists treat conditions either through conservative or surgical methods, including ankle sprains, fractures, tendonitis, ingrown toenails, calluses, bunions, and plantar fasciitis. They are also trained to fit orthotics, custom shoes, and various foot/leg braces.

    Foot and ankle specialists at Fox Valley Orthopedics

    Regardless of whether you choose a podiatrist or orthopedist, both are medical experts and either can be an excellent choice. At Fox Valley Orthopedics, orthopedic surgeons and podiatrists are skilled at treating foot and ankle conditions through various treatment modalities, not all of which include surgery.

    Fox Valley Orthopedics (FVO) provides musculoskeletal care in diagnostic and comprehensive treatment for patients of all ages who have acute or chronic orthopedic conditions or injuries. FVO board certified/board eligible physicians and surgeons are specialized in various areas of orthopedics and draw from multiple treatment options to provide both surgical and non-surgical solutions. Areas of service include foot and ankle, hand and upper extremity, joint replacement, spine, and sports medicine, as well as pain management and rheumatology. FVO’s Ambulatory Surgery Center and in-house imaging also provide cost-effective convenient care, as well as does OrthoFirst, FVO’s urgent walk-in clinic. Fox Valley Orthopedics is a state-of-the-art, state-licensed facility, and is accredited by the AAAHC – Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. Visit FVOrtho.com, or call 630-584-1400 for more information.

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