Podiatry as a medical specialty has advanced greatly during the last fifty years. However, in certain areas, recognition and understanding of that advance through the general public as well as the medical community hasn’t followed. No longer a trade that merely treats toenails, corns, and calluses, podiatry has become the branch of drugs with the most knowledge of foot and ankle medicine and surgery. This article will discuss common myths about podiatry, and the nature of this specialty in 2010.

Myth #1: Podiatrists only go to school for 2 years

After graduating from a 4 year undergraduate university, podiatrists visit school provided a physician (MD), or doctor of osteopathy (DO). In fact, much of the very first 2 yrs of podiatry school academic study are the same to those degrees. The difference begins within the third year, where podiatry students start to develop experience in foot and ankle medicine. While podiatry students serve in lots of of the identical hospital departments learning general medicine throughout the second and third year as MD and DO students, more of that point is put in the area where they have decided on specializing, as opposed to MD and DO students who are undecided on the specialty. Upon graduating, new podiatrists become hospital-based resident physicians for two to three years, learning advanced medical and surgical techniques, and usually are given the job of exactly the same responsibilities as MD and DO interns and residents in those institutions. Only after that do podiatrists enter practice.

Myth #2: Podiatrist mainly treat nails and calluses

Once in the former half of the final century that podiatrists (then known as chiropodists) strictly treated nails, calluses, and simple foot pain. That point has long since passed. For the last 40 years, podiatrists have treated every condition that may possibly affect the foot and ankle, from bunions and hammertoes, to serious infections and fractures, as well as severe birth deformities. Podiatrists treat skin disorders, bone disorders, nerve disorders, injuries, and even contribute in circulation disorders. Company, they even still treat toenail disease and corns and calluses.

Myth #3: Podiatrists don’t perform surgery

The specialty of podiatry generally is a surgical one, since many treatments performed by a podiatrist in or outside involve some hands-on procedure. Although some of this isn’t surgery in the sense of involving a practical room and general anesthesia (such as the in-office management of ingrown toenails, for instance), a lot of what podiatrists do does involve traditional surgery. Nearly all podiatrists perform hospital or surgery center-based surgery. They become board certified in foot surgery, and American podiatrists are recognized world-wide as the experts in foot and ankle surgery. Podiatrists employ traditional orthopedic surgical techniques, as well as pioneer procedures unique towards the specialty to succeed modern foot and ankle surgical knowledge. Podiatrists perform routine corrective surgery, but also serve on trauma teams and save lives with aggressive surgical intervention in diabetic foot infections. Some sub-specialize in pediatric surgery, while others concentrate on sports medicine.

Myth #4: Podiatrists use expensive walkfit shoe inserts to deal with everything.

Area of the unique benefits of a podiatrist over another specialist who has cross-treatment of foot problems is the podiatrist’s education and understanding of the concept of biomechanics. The foot includes an unique structural, physiological, and engineering relationship using the ground when it comes to movement. Biomechanics involves the study of this relationship. A part of a podiatrist’s education is knowing this relationship, how it factors into foot disease and injury, and how it may be manipulated to avoid injury and disease. One of the biggest advances in this field within the last half a century has been the development of the orthotic. Although any store-bought insert has become called an orthotic, the traditional and much more accurate description of the orthotic is really a molded plastic or composite insert which was formed on the type of one’s foot. This feet are manipulated during the modeling process such that the foot joint that controls flattening and excessive arching is locked in an accepted zero degree position, thus ensuring the resulting orthotic will hold the arch inside a biomechanically ideal position. Since many common foot injuries are based on excessive foot flattening, or less commonly a high arch, orthotics contribute in stabilizing and preventing that disease process. Orthotics are utilized included in cure plan for many foot conditions, but aren’t a panacea for everything, and for that reason use is restricted to conditions for which they will be of benefit. As a prescription device, they unfortunately are costly (comparable with lots of high quality eyeglasses). However, they are durable, and should last a long time as long as one’s foot structure doesn’t change much over time.

Myth #5: “Bone doctors” are better educated to treat foot injuries than podiatrists.

Orthopedic surgeons share with podiatrists treatment of most of the same conditions that involve the foot and ankle. However, most general orthopedic surgeons aren’t as specially been trained in foot and ankle medicine and surgery as modern podiatrists, with many of the experience lying inside the scope of trauma and fracture care. While orthopedic surgeons are experienced specialists who succeed in treating other areas of the body, they’ve less training in elective foot reconstruction, non-surgical management of the foot, and foot biomechanics. You will find orthopedic surgeons who focus on the foot and ankle, with increased fellowship training and experience. However, these fellowships are short compared with an average podiatry residency, and emphasize surgical treatment over non-surgical treatment. By contrast, most podiatrists practice a mix of non-surgical medical therapy and surgical intervention, and also have established themselves as the first line specialist for foot and ankle conditions because of their comprehensive training and breadth of treatment capabilities.

By comprehending the role that podiatrists play in modern medicine, old myths about who provides foot care can be dispelled, and patients seeking expert proper care of the foot and ankle will find the right physician to provide that treatment.

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