What is Foot & Ankle Surgery?
Foot and ankle surgery is the specialty offering medical and surgical care for the foot and ankle. The feet and ankles are some of the most frequently injured parts of the body, but foot and ankle surgeons also treat damage due to illness, major trauma, or structural disorders.
Foot and ankle surgeons begin their career by either studying podiatry or orthopedics. Podiatrists study and care for the feet and ankles, while orthopedists study how bones, muscles, and tendons work and help us move. After their initial training, foot and ankle surgeons go on to do a surgical residency for three years, studying specifically how to care for feet and ankles with surgery.
A foot and ankle surgeon may treat conditions including:
Trauma, such as due to a car accident
Surgical management of joints damaged by arthritis
Polydactyly (extra toes)
Tumors of the foot
The care offered by foot and ankle surgeons does not always involve surgery. Depending on the diagnosis, they may recommend non-invasive medical treatments such as rest, ice / heat, casting, bracing, or physical therapy.
What is Podiatry?
Podiatry is the medical specialty that deals with injuries and diseases of the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg. Caring for feet may seem simple at first glance, but podiatry combines elements of sports medicine, wound care, diabetic care, and pediatrics into one specialty.
Podiatrists examine and treat many minor conditions in their office. They may perform surgery at a hospital, and they may refer patients to other professionals for physical therapy or orthotics if needed.
Some of the conditions commonly seen by podiatrists include:
Sprains and fractures
Heel pain and heel spurs
Ingrown or infected toenails
Corns and calluses
Structural issues of the foot
Pain in the feet and ankles is often neglected or seen as a normal part of daily life by patients, but keeping your feet healthy is a great way to maintain your mobility into old age. A podiatrist can help you keep moving comfortably.
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