Choosing the right specialist to perform a surgery is a job best left to a patient’s doctor, but those who are about to undergo foot surgery may derive some comfort from understanding a bit more about what these specialists are trained to do. Many medical specialties sound surprisingly similar to patients with no medical background. For example, the difference between an orthopedic surgeon and a podiatric surgeon in Racine WI can be quite confusing for patients who are just beginning to investigate their options for treating conditions of the foot and ankle.
What Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Do?
A general orthopedic surgeon is a doctor who has received specialized training in treating conditions affecting a patient’s bones, joints, or soft tissues. A foot and ankle orthopedist specializes further in conditions affecting the specific bones, joints, and soft tissue in a patient’s foot.
What Does a Podiatric Surgeon Do?
A podiatric surgeon treats foot and ankle conditions exclusively. He or she can manage conditions affecting the bones, joints, and soft tissue as well, but has also received specialized training in dermatology and in the biomechanics of feet and ankles.
So, What’s the Difference?
While orthopedic surgeons, including those that focus on the feet and ankles, receive medical and surgical training in all of the bones and joints in a patient’s body, podiatric surgeons focus on exclusively foot and ankle conditions from day one of their medical school training. Although the basic science behind this training is similar, and both these types of surgeons are exposed to different medical specialties while they are in residency, the podiatric surgeon has always placed an emphasis on treating feet and ankles.
How Do Doctors Choose a Specialist?
Patients undergoing relatively common procedures such as repairing fractured ankles can see either an orthopedic surgeon or a Podiatric Surgeon in Racine WI and expect similar results. However, should a patient be suffering from a condition that impacts exclusively the feet or ankles, he or she should be referred to a dedicated podiatric surgeon. Visit us for more information about the various conditions treated by podiatrists, or call to schedule an appointment today to get help deciding whether the services of a specializing surgeon might be necessary.