Ask the Doctor: What Do Podiatrists Treat?

June 13, 2018
Ask the Doctor: What Do Podiatrists Treat?
Michael Cannon, DPM

You may have heard of podiatry and know it relates to the foot, but do you know the many conditions a podiatrist can treat? Michael Cannon, DPM, clarifies what exactly a podiatrist does and problems that they specialize in treating.


Q: What is a podiatrist?

Podiatrists are doctors of podiatric medicine (DPM) that specialize in conditions affecting the feet and ankles. The foot is a complicated structure with over one hundred tendons, ligaments and muscles supported by 33 joints and 26 bones that allow you to balance, stand, walk, climb and run.

Q: What are common foot and ankle conditions?

Bunions, corns, hammer toes, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, flat feet, fungal infections and ingrown toenails are all common conditions that podiatrists can treat. In addition, they may address foot complications related to diabetes, as well as foot or ankle fractures and tendon issues like Achilles tendonitis. A podiatrist may also address leg, hip and lower back pain that could be related to or aggravated by problems in the feet that require special footwear.

Q: How do podiatrists treat these conditions?

It depends on the podiatrist’s training how and what they can treat. Often, they can provide both non-surgical and surgical treatments for foot and ankle conditions. Common procedures include bunionectomies to remove bunions or hammer toe surgeries that might involve redirecting tendons, joint resection or fusion. For flat feet, high arches or other similar conditions, a treatment option may be to create custom orthotics that fit in shoes to alleviate associated pain or discomfort.

Q: Why should I see a podiatrist?

While a primary care provider will have general knowledge of foot and ankle conditions, podiatrists specialize in these issues, which means they can offer an evaluation and treatment for your problem based on our extensive training in everything relating to feet and ankles. When any condition causes undue discomfort while wearing normal shoes or walking, it may be worthwhile to consult a podiatrist to find a treatment solution that works for you.

To schedule a podiatry appointment, call 866-341-3362.