Podiatrists and Orthopedists – Do They Treat Foot Pain?

The term Podiatrist is an abbreviation for a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. A podiatrist is an orthopedic specialist and is also referred to as a foot doctor. A podiatrist is a general practitioner, which means that the podiatrist usually only treats patients of all ages who have problems with their feet.


A podiatrist or orthopedic specialist tries to diagnose the problem first before attempting to treat it through orthopedic treatment. A podiatrist often recommends using orthotics or orthotic treatment to correct the problem. He/she may even recommend physical therapy to try to relieve pressure on the affected foot. Sometimes, when the foot is too short or has been injured it can still work properly, but the ankle does not have adequate ligaments to support the foot properly.

The specialization of a podiatrist and orthopedic specialist is wide, so they work together when necessary. Orthopedic specialists are required to see most conditions for which podiatrists are needed. In fact, a podiatrist and an orthopedic specialist must always be on the same team if the two specialists are to properly do their jobs. When a person is feeling pain from a broken bone, it is important to get it looked at by both a podiatrist and an orthopedic specialist. If both the podiatrist and orthopedic specialist diagnose the fracture as an upper body fracture, then a patient will likely need a second opinion.

A podiatrist must be able to properly diagnose many kinds of foot problems. Foot pain can come from many things including a person’s walking style, bad posture, and even arthritis. Any kind of pain from the foot can be very debilitating to someone who is in pain and unable to function.

Some of the most common conditions for which a podiatrist and foot doctor are needed include plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, corns, heel spur disease, rheumatoid arthritis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, plantar warts, and sciatica. There are other conditions, such as a slipped disc, where the foot may be the culprit. The foot doctor may take x-rays of the foot to rule out any possible problems with the bones or tendons. If the foot doctor diagnoses that the foot is at fault, then orthotics or surgery may be recommended.

Podiatrists do not treat children unless there is a serious problem. Children can have many problems with their feet from burns to birth defects, so they are much more likely to see children than adults. Pediatric orthopedic specialists treat orthopedic problems for kids that will help them function better. Problems such as foot deformities, aching joints, or short foot bones are found much more frequently in children than in adults. However, many podiatrists do treat adults too, but they are much less likely to do so.

A podiatrist and foot doctor may both specialize in treating foot pain, but this is not always the case. A podiatrist will see a problem with the foot, whereas an orthopedic doctor will see a problem with the ankle or the back of the leg. Both of these doctors will see different problems with the foot. For example, a podiatrist will look at the bones in the foot and the ligaments that bind the bones together and the foot and back of the leg and see what is wrong with the foot.

If a person has chronic foot pain, they should visit both a podiatrist and a medical doctor. The podiatrist will have a better idea of what is wrong with the foot and ankle and a medical doctor will be able to give the person treatment that is specific to the type of foot pain. Answering an all-encompassing question such as “does podiatry help with pain” will require several visits and examinations. However, if there is one specific area of the foot pain that the podiatrist can cure, then he/she can make a recommendation.