Q. What is the difference between a podiatrist, podiatric physician, and podiatric surgeon?
A. Podiatrists, Podiatric physicians, and Podiatric surgeons are all terms used to describe Doctors of Podiatric medicine (DPMs). All are uniquely qualified among medical professionals to treat the Foot and Ankle based on their education, training, and experience. The specific types of surgical procedures performed by Podiatric Surgeons may vary based on each individual’s experience and personal choice within their practice.

Q. What type of medical education do DPMs receive?
A. DPMs receive medical education and training comparable to Medical (Allopathic) doctors or doctors of Osteopathic medicine. This includes four years of undergraduate education and four years of graduate education at one of ten Podiatric medical colleges. They are then required to complete a Three year, hospital-based, Surgical residency program. Some Podiatric Surgeons then elect to do an additional One-year Surgical Fellowship.

[Note: Dr. John has completed a Three year Foot and Ankle Surgical Residency, followed by an additional One year Surgery and Research Fellowship]

Q. Do podiatrists encounter patients with serious illnesses?
A. On a daily basis, podiatrists treat foot and ankle conditions of patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, obesity, heart disease, and peripheral arterial disease. These illnesses can lead to serious foot and ankle problems. With proper treatment from a podiatrist, more serious complications may be avoided.

Q. Do podiatrists have areas of specialty in which they focus?
A. Within the field of podiatric medicine and surgery, podiatrists can focus on specialty areas such as surgery, sports medicine, biomechanics, geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics, or primary care.

Q. Do podiatrists accept health insurance?
A. Foot and ankle services provided by podiatrists are usually covered by health insurance plans and most podiatrists participate in private and public health insurance plans. However, not all podiatrists accept all insurance plans. To find out if your health insurance plan is accepted, contact the podiatrist’s office in advance. Also, check with your health insurance company regarding the foot and ankle services covered under your plan.

Q: When should I call a podiatrist for an appointment?
A: No pain is normal especially if it has been going on for longer than one week. You should have it evaluated and treated to avoid long term problems.

Q: What causes heel pain?
A: Typically, heel pain is not caused from one single incident or injury. Repetitive stress/pounding of the heel can cause heel pain. Other common causes can include: inflammation of the plantar fascia, inflammation of the back of the heel, inflammation of the heel pad, progressive degeneration of the Achilles tendon, or a stress fracture which could be caused by repetitive stress to the heel.

Q: What are orthotics?
A: Orthotics are custom foot supports that replace the over the counter supports that come in shoes you buy off the shelf at the store. These are designed to hug your foot more efficiently than over the counter products to significantly aid in balancing the biomechanical inadequacies of your feet and legs.

Q: How can you tell if you have an infected ingrown toenail?
A: You may have an infected ingrown toenail if there are any signs of redness, swelling, pain, and drainage such as puss coming from the area. If you notice any of these symptoms contact you podiatric physician immediately.

Q: Is Foot Pain Normal?
A: Foot pain is not normal. If you are suffering from foot or ankle pain, it is important that you see a podiatrist before the problem worsens and becomes harder to treat. Many people can try home remedies and they may work. However, lingering foot pain is a sign of a problem that must be handled by a professional.
Foot and ankle pain can develop from everyday injuries or sports injuries. Other causes of pain are from too much activity, improper foot support and excessive weight. This can lead to heel pain and arch pain and pain in the ball of the foot or pain on the top of the foot.