The Lsst Week of VERSUS!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this is the last post in our series called VERSUS. Yes, they have been wildly popular but all good things must come to an end.
We are pulling out all the big guns for today’s comparison. Without further ado, our VERSUS competitors of the week are
Podiatrist vs. Orthopedic Surgeon
I bet many of you would like to know the differences between the two and if they are comparable. Today is the day you get the answer to that question.
A podiatrist is a doctor licensed by the state who has received specialized training in feet, ankles and the lower leg. A podiatrist graduates from college, takes the medical entrance exam and then applies to and is accepted into one of the seven podiatry schools in the country. During the first two years of podiatry school, the curriculum is much like the medical school curriculum. There are core classes in anatomy, chemistry, pharmacology and pathology. During the third and fourth years, the student has clinical rotations. During these rotations, the student learns how to take a patient history, perform an exam, read test results, and diagnose a patient’s medical issues. A D.P.M. (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) is then awarded. Most doctors will then go on and do a post-doctoral residency so that they can be certified to be a specialist in primary podiatric medicine, orthopedics, and/or podiatric surgery. For example, all the doctors of Evanston Podiatric Surgeons and Mag Mile Foot and Ankle Institute are licensed podiatrists that are board certified in podiatric medicine and surgery.  
An orthopedic surgeon is a doctor licensed by the state who has received training in the entire body during medical school. After graduating from an undergraduate program and taking the medical entrance exam, the potential orthopedic surgeon goes on to four years of medical school followed by a 4-5-year orthopedic residence in a teaching hospital. The first year of residency covers general surgery and then the next years of residency are orthopedic specific training including shoulders, elbows, hands, hips, knees, legs and feet. Then if a doctor wants to specialize they can do a fellowship that can pertain to foot and ankle issues. Orthopedic surgeons must pass an exam by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery in order to be certified in their area of surgery.
You can see from the above descriptions that there is a difference between a podiatrist and an orthopedic surgeon. While they can both specialize in foot, ankle, and lower leg issues, the training for the podiatrist is all centered around the foot, ankle, and lower leg.  The orthopedic surgeon’s training includes all body joints before they narrow down their focus to the feet, ankles, and lower leg later in their training. 

A podiatrist is trained to take care of all facets of foot, ankle, and lower leg care.  This includes the care of fungus and bacterial infections, wound care, and surgery.  An orthopedic surgeon is a surgeon. You would not go to an orthopedic surgeon for a rampant case of athlete’s foot but you would go to a podiatrist. You could go to an orthopedic surgeon for a bunion repair but you can also go to a podiatrist. The podiatrist might have had much more experience with bunions and bunion surgery during his training and in his/her practice. You can certainly ask about a doctor’s experience in performing surgery. They should proudly point to their experience. You can then decide.
If you broke your ankle or bones in your foot, you can see either a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon. Both types of doctors are trained to evaluate and care for broken bones.
For foot and ankle problems, a podiatrist has extensive training to care for all your foot, ankle and lower leg needs. Your friendly local podiatrist has received extensive training and is ready to work with you.  
Thanks for joining us for this last week of VERSUS. It has been fun!


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