How To Choose Between A Podiatrist Or An Orthopaedic Surgeon

If you have a problem with your foot and/or ankle, you may wonder whether you should see a podiatrist or an orthopaedic surgeon.

This is actually a very common question. You are not alone, many people have this same question.

Which doctor you end up choosing should truly depend upon your condition and what type of treatment your condition requires.

So let’s take a look at how to choose between a podiatrist or an orthopaedic surgeon.


First let’s talk about each of these doctors. A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine, or a DPM. Podiatrists diagnose, treat and prevent foot and ankle diseases, disorders and injuries.

Podiatrists treat the musculoskeletal system as it relates to the foot and ankle.

They perform a vast range of surgeries to the foot, ankle, and lower leg including fractures, soft tissue injuries, such as Achilles tendon ruptures, and reconstructive procedures of the foot and ankle.

They also prescribe medications and physical therapy. Podiatrists evaluate and treat vascular disorders, neurological disorders, and skin conditions and are an integral part of the health care system.

Many diseases have symptoms that occur in the foot and ankle. Some of these diseases include diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and cancers.

Because of their specialized training in the foot and ankle, podiatrists are often the first doctors to detect and diagnose these serious health conditions.

Podiatrists also treat conditions such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammertoes, fractures and sprains of the foot and ankle, and infections.

Orthopaedic Surgeons

Orthopaedic surgeons are medical doctors, or MDs, who diagnose, treat and prevent diseases and injuries of your body’s musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system consists of your muscles, tendons, bones, joints, ligaments and nerves.

Most orthopaedic surgeons specialize in a particular area of the body, such as the foot and ankle, knee, hip or spine. Like podiatrists, orthopaedic surgeons can prescribe medicine and physical therapy and they also perform surgery.

Education and Training

Both podiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons complete extensive schooling and residency training as well as fellowships.

Both podiatrists and orthopedists attend 4 years of undergraduate college. Orthopaedic surgeons complete four years of medical school and a five-year residency in general orthopaedics.

Following their general training, some orthopedists pursue further training for 1-2 years in a specialized field.

After 4 years of undergraduate schooling, podiatrists complete 4 years of podiatric medical school followed by 3-4 years or residency training as well as fellowship training.

While training is similar for both podiatrists and foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons, there is one difference. Orthopaedics surgeons focus on the entire body throughout most of their training, while podiatrists spend all of their training focusing on the foot and ankle and its relationship to the body systems.

Best Advice

Both podiatrists and foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons are highly qualified to treat foot and ankle conditions both non-surgically and surgically.

So when choosing between a podiatrist and an orthopaedic surgeon, the best advice is to choose the doctor you feel most comfortable with and who has experience treating your particular problem.

If you do happen to choose an orthopaedic surgeon, you should choose one with fellowship training in the foot and ankle.

Podiatrist in Maryland

Dr. Jordan R. Stewart of the Timonium Foot and Ankle Center is a Board Certified Podiatrist located just outside of Baltimore, Maryland.

After attending Temple University, one of the top podiatry schools in the country, and graduating in the top of his class, he completed his surgical residency and fellowship training at the University of Maryland Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center, both in Baltimore.

His education and training focused solely on the foot and ankle, allowing him to become a specialist instead of a generalist in this area.

He has been in private practice since 2006, helping patients with all types of foot and ankle conditions.

He continues to study, research, and stay up-to-date on all of the latest information, pertaining to diagnosing and treating foot and ankle conditions.

This has enabled him to become and remain one of the top foot and ankle specialists in the country.

Dr. Stewart has been described by his patients as being caring, friendly, and taking the time to truly understand their problems. On many occasions he has been able to help his patients relieve their condition(s) when previous doctors were not able to.

Ask Us A Questions Or Schedule An Appointment

If you are experiencing a foot and/or ankle condition and would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stewart, give our office a call today at 410-560-2777 or simply fill out the brief form on the top right of this page.

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