July 22, 2019

What kind of doctor do you go to for foot and ankle pain?

Foot and Ankle | Sports Injury


Deciding where to seek treatment for foot and ankle pain or an injury can be tiresome. Especially with the amount of options out there. 

According to Dr. Stephen Greenfield, an OrthoIndy foot and ankle surgeon, you should choose a foot and ankle specialist based on their expertise and whether you feel comfortable and confident in their care. A foot and ankle specialist should never jump right to surgery, and instead should focus on a plan you feel comfortable with and you both agree on. 

“An experienced foot and ankle specialist will start with nonsurgical treatment options such as physical therapy, injections, bracing, medication or shoe modifications,” said Dr. Greenfield. “If these efforts are unsuccessful, then surgery may be suggested.” 

What is a foot and ankle doctor called?  

There are many kinds of medical professionals that treat and evaluate conditions of the foot and ankle. Medical professionals that treat foot and ankle injuries include podiatrists, orthopedic surgeons, primary care physicians and physical therapists. 

At OrthoIndy, we have foot and ankle orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists that focus on treating your foot and ankle pain with the most cutting-edge technology and treatment options. 

What is the difference between a podiatrist and an orthopedic surgeon? 

Podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons treat many of the same conditions related to the foot and ankle, but their training and scope of practice is different.  

A podiatrist, also called a doctor of podiatric medicine, will typically have the following education: 

  • Four years at an accredited podiatric school where they receive specialized training on the foot, ankle and lower leg 
  • Three to four years of foot and ankle surgical residency 

An orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon will typically have the following education: 

  • Four years at an accredited medical school 
  • Five years of generalized orthopedic surgical residency training 
  • Additional fellowship training focusing on treatment of the foot and ankle 

An orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor who has a firm understanding of the entire musculoskeletal system. Additional training specific to foot and ankle diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation help an orthopedic surgeon offer the best advice not only for the foot but also for the patient as a whole. At OrthoIndy, our foot and ankle specialists are fellowship trained in this specialty. 

Understanding your feet and what shoes to wear

Does a podiatrist do surgery? 

Podiatrists are trained to do surgery. It’s important, however, to understand the laws and training of a specific podiatrist. There are state to state differences in the surgeries that podiatrists are able to perform. 

“Both podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons are qualified to treat foot and ankle conditions with surgery,” said Dr. Greenfield. “In general, the best way to choose the doctor is to find one you are confident in and comfortable speaking with. Don’t be afraid to ask him or her if they have experience treating your particular condition.” 

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Greenfield, please call 317.575.2720 or learn more about foot and ankle treatment at OrthoIndy.  

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000

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