Foot and Ankle Surgeons: Specialists in Total Foot and Ankle Care
Foot and ankle surgeons are podiatric physicians who specialize in the surgical and nonsurgical treatment of a variety of conditions that affect people of every age.
A foot and ankle surgeon holds an advanced degree as a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). Podiatric medicine deals with the bones, soft tissues, and function of the foot and ankle, as well as how podiatric conditions may relate to other parts of the body.
Foot and ankle surgeons provide a wide range of care—from nonsurgical methods to correct common podiatric problems to state-of-the-art corrective and reconstructive surgical techniques.
Intensive, focused training and in-depth experience are what set apart the foot and ankle surgeon from other physicians.
During their education and training, foot and ankle surgeons devote more time to a wide variety of foot and ankle procedures than do other surgeons. Because of this critical difference, foot and ankle surgeons are the most appropriate specialists to promptly diagnose and treat various foot and ankle conditions.
A foot and ankle surgeon must complete four years of podiatric medical school and typically three years of a residency program in foot and ankle surgery. This residency is similar to — and integrates with — residencies for all physician specialties. During their residencies, DPMs receive training in internal medicine and general surgery in addition to their focus on the foot and ankle.
Certification by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS) ensures that the foot and ankle surgeon has completed appropriate training, successfully performed a diverse range of foot and ankle procedures with good surgical skills and judgment, and passed rigorous oral and written exams.
Members of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS)— a medical specialty society devoted to advancing foot and ankle health — are board-certified or in the process of becoming board-certified by the ABFAS. The 7,800 members have dedicated themselves to continuing their training and excelling in the field of foot and ankle surgery for the benefit of the patients they serve.
Most people have a foot or ankle problem at one time or another. So, how do you know when to see a foot and ankle surgeon?
Sometimes it’s obvious that you need to seek help, but at other times it’s less clear. In reality, many symptoms — even those you can tolerate — may require professional attention to keep the underlying condition from worsening.
Some reasons patients see a foot and ankle surgeon, include:
- An injury (a sprain, broken bone, etc.)
- Swelling in your foot or ankle
- A medical condition (diabetes, poor circulation, etc.) that can affect the feet
- Impaired ability to function in certain activities
- Heel pain in the morning
- Any painful condition of the foot, ankle or lower leg
- Discomfort after standing for awhile
- Changes in the appearance of your foot or ankle
- An abnormal growth
Foot and ankle surgeons treat all symptoms and conditions affecting the foot and ankle, such as bunions, heel pain (plantar fasciitis), flatfoot, foot or ankle arthritis, sports injuries, tendon disorders fractures (broken bones), diabetes complications, ingrown toenails, neuromas, dermatological conditions, tingly feet, hammertoes, and much more.
Find a Foot and Ankle Surgeon
To find a foot and ankle surgeon in your area or for more information about foot health, visit ACFAS' patient education website FootHealthFacts.org.