A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM), also known as a podiatric physician or surgeon. Podiatric medicine deals with the bones, soft tissues, and function of the foot and ankle, as well as how podiatric conditions may relate to other parts of the body.
Podiatrists are specialists who provide a wide range of care from non-surgical methods to correct common foot and ankle problems to state-of-the-art corrective and reconstructive surgical techniques. Podiatrists are the only health care professional whose total training focuses on the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg.
Common conditions requiring podiatric care include bunions, diabetic complications, heel pain/spurs, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, neuromas, warts, corns and calluses. The podiatric physician also renders care of sprains, fractures, infections, and injuries of the foot, ankle and heel.
A foot and ankle surgeon holds an advanced degree as a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM).
After obtaining an undergraduate degree, a podiatrist must complete four years of medical school to obtain a doctorate degree. Podiatrists further their education by participating in a post-graduate podiatric residency program. This residency is similar to — and integrates with — residencies for all physician specialties. During their residencies, DPM’s receive training in internal medicine and general surgery in addition to their focus on the foot and ankle.
During their education and training, foot and ankle surgeons devote more time to a wide variety of foot and ankle procedures than do other surgeons. Because of this critical difference, foot and ankle surgeons are the most appropriate specialists to promptly diagnose and treat various foot and ankle conditions.
Following their doctorate degree, each podiatrist must pass national and state examinations in order to be licensed by the state in which he or she will practice.
Certification by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS) ensures that the foot and ankle surgeon has completed appropriate training, successfully performed a diverse range of foot and ankle procedures with good surgical skills and judgment, and passed rigorous oral and written exams.
Members of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS)— a medical specialty society devoted to advancing foot and ankle health — are board-certified or in the process of becoming board-certified by the ABFAS. The 7,000 members have dedicated themselves to continuing their training and excelling in the field of foot and ankle surgery for the benefit of the patients they serve.
Diabetic Wound Care
A diabetic foot ulcer is an open sore or wound that occurs in approximately 15 percent of patients with diabetes and is commonly located on the bottom of the foot.
Peripheral neuropathy is damage of the peripheral nerves—the nerves in your toes and fingertips. In the United States, the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes.
Sprains, Strains & Fractures
The feet and ankles work together to provide support and mobility to the body. A foot or ankle sprain is a soft tissue injury. A fracture is actually a break in the bone.
Haglund’s Deformity is a bony enlargement of the back of the heel bone. Sometimes it’s called “pump bump” because the deformity often occurs in women who wears pumps.
The heel bone is the largest of the 26 bones in the human foot. Like all bones, it is subject to outside influences that can affect its integrity and cause heel pain.
Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon. Achilles tendinitis, or an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, is one of the most common causes of foot or ankle pain.
Athlete’s foot is a skin disease caused by a fungus. It most commonly attacks the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, and humid environment which encourages fungus growth.
Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are areas of thickened skin that develop to protect that area from irritation. They are usually caused by rubbing or excess pressure against part of the foot.
Warts are one of several soft tissue conditions of the foot that can be quite painful. They are caused by a virus and can appear anywhere on the skin.
A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place.
A hammer toe is a contracture, or bending, of the toe at the first joint of the digit, called the proximal interphalangeal joint. This bending causes the toe to appear like an upside-down V when looked at from the side.
A neuroma is a painful condition, also referred to as a “pinched nerve” or a nerve tumor. It is a benign growth of nerve tissue frequently found between the third and fourth toes.
Ingrown toenails, the most common nail impairment, are nails whose corners or sides dig painfully into the soft tissue of nail grooves, often leading to irritation, redness, and swelling.
Toenail fungus is an infection underneath the surface of the nail caused by fungi. The disease is characterized by a progressive change in a toenail’s quality and color.
Shoe Inserts and Prescription Custom Orthotics
Shoe inserts are any kind of non-prescription foot support designed to be worn inside a shoe. Custom orthotics are specially-made devices designed to support and comfort your feet.
Often when pain or deformity persists, surgery may be appropriate to alleviate discomfort or to restore the function of your foot.
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Dr. Hunt got me back on my feet in no time. I was actually seen on time, at my appointment time. The staff was friendly and courteous and the office/reception area was clean and inviting.
The level of care from Dr. Hunt was absolutely exceptional!