On average, Americans take 7,500 steps per day (or more if you’re active). This places an enormous amount of stress on our feet and ankles. It’s no surprise then that many of us experience some type of foot or ankle injury in our lifetime – ranging from bunions to heel pain to complex fractures.

According to the AOFAS, there are 26 bones and 33 joints in the human foot and ankle, and the height of arches and the shape of the toes vary from person to person. There are many things we can do to keep our feet healthy, but when foot and ankle conditions arise or injuries occur, it’s helpful to understand your options and seek out a physician with the background and experience to provide you with the best care possible.

While many are familiar with the field of podiatry, there is often confusion around the role of an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon and when to seek one out.

What is the difference between an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon and a podiatrist?

Orthopedic foot and ankle surgeons are doctors – MDs or DOs who have completed four years of medical school, five to six years of surgical residency and an additional year of fellowship training in foot and ankle care. By comparison, a podiatrist (or DPM) is required to complete four years of podiatry school, followed by two years of residency training.

As a result of this rigorous training, orthopedic foot and ankle surgeons are not only well qualified to care for both common and complex foot and ankle issues, but possess extensive knowledge of the entire human body and its relationship to lower extremity issues. While pain may present in your foot, it’s not uncommon for the root cause of this pain to originate in your hips or back.  A comprehensive understanding of the body’s entire musculoskeletal system allows an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon to take the context of your entire health into account when diagnosing and treating problems.

When should I seek out an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon?

While many assume orthopedic foot and ankle surgeons only treat complex lower extremity issues or only issues that require surgery, the truth is they regularly treat common foot and ankle issues, such as plantar fasciitis, fallen arches, heel spurs, hammer toe and more. Like any physician, they seek to diagnose the root cause of the foot pain or injury and then explore a range of treatment options often starting with the most conservative methods. When conservative treatment options are no longer enough, they are most qualified to provide the highest level of surgical care and intervention.

Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons treat a variety of conditions:

  • Fractures, dislocations, sprains and torn ligaments
  • Arthritis and conditions requiring joint preservation or replacement
  • Sports and trauma injuries, such as tendinitis, turf toe, or achilles tears or ruptures
  • Bunions, hammer toes and flat feet
  • Nerve disorders and congenital deformities, including club foot

Orthopedic ONE's Foot & Ankle Specialists

Our foot and ankle team at Orthopedic ONE is ready to help you get back on your feet. With extremely high success rates in the field of orthopedic surgery, you can trust us with your lower extremity care no matter how minor or severe the issue. We take a comprehensive approach to prevention, treatment and management of foot and ankle disorders including options such as custom made orthotics, bracing, physical therapy and surgery when needed. Click Columbus Ohio Foot and Ankle Specialists to find an Orthopedic ONE Foot and Ankle surgeon near you.