The field of podiatry is typically one that is not talked about a lot. Most people can name five different medical specialties off the top of their head, but podiatry usually is not one of them. In fact, you may not even know about these types of doctors until you have a bunion or a plantar wart that is painful and needs to be treated. Even when you are sent to a podiatrist to help you with your problem, you probably do not know much about this type of specialty. In the past, when people did know about podiatrists, they made the assumption that they only handled simple cases like corns, calluses and toenail problems. However, the specialty is now much more complicated. Listed below are several of the misconceptions about these doctors.
Many people think that podiatrists are not real doctors, however this is not true. All doctors must start with a four year undergraduate degree. Then everyone has nearly identical classes during the first two years of their graduate education. At that point, medical doctors and podiatrists start concentrating on their area of specialization. Also like medical doctors, podiatrists are required to spend several years as a resident to begin their more advanced training. During this time as a resident, doctors with many different specialties all handle the same types of duties.
Another common misconception about podiatrists is that they only treat easy stuff like toenails and calluses. That used to be the case, but it is not that way any longer. Podiatrists now treat anything that has an influence on your feet, ankle or lower leg. This can include things like fractures, nerve disorders, circulation problems, skin diseases and serious infections. Most podiatrists also spend a lot of time on surgical procedures. Many of the procedures that can be performed in an office are technically considered surgery. However, podiatrists also spend time in more traditional surgical settings as well. They are board certified to be able to perform any kind of foot and ankle surgery.
People that do not know very much about what podiatrists do have an altered perception of their specialty. The usually think that their only function is to have you buy specialized, expensive shoe inserts. Due to the structure of the foot and the amount of weight and pressure that is put on it with each step, there are times when special inserts are warranted. However, as we have discussed above, there are many other problems that a podiatrist has to deal with.
One final misconception that a lot of people have is that if there is an issue with a bone in the foot the best option is to see a regular orthopedic surgeon. While those doctors should have the ability to handle these issues too, chances are that they are not nearly as familiar with them as a podiatrist would be. Do you think it is a better idea to have your foot operated on by someone who only works on feet or someone who also splits their time on arms, legs and fingers too?