When you have a foot problem, a podiatrist works with you to provide treatment to get you back on your feet. A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM), specializing in the care and treatment of the feet and ankles.

A doctor of podiatric medicine completes four years of undergraduate education, four years of graduate education at an accredited podiatric medical college, plus two or three years of residency training.

Podiatrists can also become certified Fellows of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (FACFAS), joining an elite group of physicians.

The ACFAS reserves Fellow membership status for foot and ankle surgeons who earn board certification from the American Board of Podiatric Surgery (ABPS).

Columbus Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic sees patients for a range of foot and ankle-related problems.

What does a podiatrist do?

Podiatrists see it all when it comes to foot and ankle ailments. They treat patients for muscular, skeletal and nerve problems resulting in pain and foot deformities. They help patients heal from overuse injuries such as Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis and stress fractures. Podiatrists treat skin problems including athlete's foot, corns, calluses and warts, as well as toenail problems, heel pain, bunions and hammertoes. They perform surgery to correct foot and ankle injuries, bone spurs, neuromas (pinched nerves) and other problems.

Podiatrists help relieve foot pain, sores, swelling and numbness with a range of therapies including medication, supportive footwear/orthotic inserts, physical therapy and minimally invasive surgery.

Should I see a podiatrist?

A podiatrist can diagnose foot and ankle problems with a simple physical examination including a gait analysis, and in some cases, advanced imaging such as an X-ray or MRI is needed.

Many people wait until the pain is unbearable before seeking help, but you don't need to suffer with foot pain. When you see your primary care doctor for a foot problem, he or she may refer you to a podiatrist for further testing and treatment. If your insurance doesn't require a referral, you may set up your first appointment with a podiatrist.

Brandon Borer, DPM, is a podiatric surgeon with Columbus Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic.

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