There may be some confusion when it comes to distinguishing the role of a podiatrist from the duties of a pedorthist. While the two foot-related professions sound very similar, the level of expertise and responsibilities of the two are vastly different.
Growing Need For Foot Care
The U.S. Department of Labor says as Americans of all ages become more active, the need for foot care will become increasingly important.
What is a Podiatrist?
A podiatrist is a physician or surgeon who has received extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions specifically related to the foot and ankle as well as connective structures of the leg.
Credentials of a Podiatrist
The American Podiatric Medical Association, the U.S. government and most states classify podiatrists as physicians. Doctors of Podiatric Medicine receive lengthy medical education equivalent to medical doctors.
The APMA says most podiatrists are certified by the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine.
Podiatrists may choose to specialize in surgery, sports medicine, biomechanics, geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics or primary care.
The Podiatric GP
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a general practitioner of podiatrics treats condition such as corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, arch issues as well as ankle and foot injuries, deformities and infections.
Podiatrists also take care of foot problems that are caused by diabetes and other conditions and may perform surgeries, conduct physical therapy and prescribe medications.
What is a Pedorthist?
Pedorthics is defined as the art related to the design, manufacture, fit and modification of foot appliances as recommended to help relieve of painful or debilitating conditions of the foot.
The Pedorthic Footwear Association (PFA ) says these problems may be associated with disease or due to a congenital condition, overuse or injury of the foot.
Credentials of a Pedorthist
Pedorthists are not doctors although their clients are often referred by podiatrists for shoe modifications.
According the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a student of pedorthics must complete 120 hours of training and pass an exam. The pedorthist may receive certification from the Pedorthic Footwear Association.
A pedorthist has been educated in foot anatomy, shoe creation and has received extensive training in correctly fitting shoes to feet.
The human foot is a complex body part that’s designed for transportability and balance. The 52 bones in the feet account for about one quarter of all the bones in the human body.
Podiatrists and pedorthists work together in an effort to improve the health of the foot and the quality of footwear required to support and maintain it.