Orthopedic Ankle And Foot Surgeon or Podiatrist: Which to Choose
Posted on July 27, 2022 in Foot/Ankle & Podiatrist by Dr. Erik Nilssen
Posted on July 27, 2022 in Foot/Ankle & Podiatrist by Dr. Erik Nilssen
The foot is comprised of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 ligaments, tendons, and muscles, the feet and ankles are a part of the human skeletal system that is very complex. Because of this, it can take years of education, training, and practice to become a medical expert in this field. It’s essential to understand the difference between an orthopedic surgeon and a podiatrist when you are looking for foot and ankle surgery and care.
Differences Between Orthopedic Surgeons and Podiatrists
Knowing the education, training, experience, and certification requirements help you to choose the best foot and ankle specialist for your injury, disorder, or condition. A big difference between the two types of medical providers is their level of education and the training they complete. This includes how many years in medical school and in a residency program and the focus of study.
In addition, it’s important to understand that an orthopedic ankle and foot surgeon also understands the entire body, as well including the muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments and joints or the lower extremities. This means he can not only address complicated ankle and foot problems, but he also understands how medical conditions could impact your overall health. Because of this, he knows the impact that your whole body can have on ankle and foot conditions and vice versa.
Orthopedic surgeons have M.D. degrees. Following college, they also have four years of medical school, a year’s worth of internship, and then three to four years of residency. Additionally, they have a minimum of five years of orthopedic or general surgery postgraduate` training and advanced training in ankle and foot surgery.
Orthopedic surgeons with MD’s are cleared by the American Board of Orthopedic surgery for both written and oral examinations and must have continued medical education. They treat joints and bones musculoskeletal system conditions, this includes bone joints, muscle, and ligaments. Orthopedic surgeons can take a full-body approach to diagnosing your condition.
Podiatrists typically treat common foot ailments, including calluses, ingrown toenails, heel spurs, injuries, fallen arches, and foot injuries. They are well equipped to fit orthotics, custom shoes, and braces. They typically are not trained to manage the complete array of foot, ankle, and lower leg problems involving the soft tissues, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones.
Podiatrists do not hold an M.D. degree. After their undergraduate degree, they go through four years of a program in podiatric medicine. Some will follow up with a one-year internship and others will have an optional podiatric surgical training. It depends on the state they are in if they need to take an oral or written exam. Podiatrists only work with the feet and ankles and in some states, they are not allowed above the ankle.
Benefits of Orthopedic Surgeons
The orthopedic surgeon is an MD who not only focuses on the lower extremity but the overall musculoskeletal system. He specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of diseases and injuries in your musculoskeletal system. Although many do practice general orthopedics, some even specialize in treating the hand, spine, shoulder, knee, foot, and ankle (of course), sports, as well as pediatrics medicine.
Dr. Erik Nilssen is board certified by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. As a foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon, he has also obtained a fellowship, at the American Sports Medicine Institute under the direction of Dr. James R. Andrews in sports medicine and subsequently completed a fellowship in ankle and foot.
If you have a suspected repetitive or traumatic motion injury to a joint, bone, nerve, or tendon, you should seek treatment from an orthopedic doctor. When you are experiencing chronic bone or joint pain, have arthritis, or have been diagnosed with a rheumatic disease, your best choice for treatment is the orthopedic surgeon. The healing process for your foot or ankle condition can be sped along greatly by choosing the right orthopedic specialist.
Dr. Erik Nilssen is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and founder of the Nilssen Orthopedic Ankle & Foot Center in Gulf Breeze, Florida. His education, training, and experience are impressive, and include:
Dr. Nilssen’s other notable accomplishments include:
Making The Decision
When choosing an ankle and foot specialist, take the time to learn about their education, residency, areas of specialization, and experience with your specific condition before making a final decision. Depending on your condition, both a podiatrist and an orthopedic ankle and foot specialist are great choices. However, with an orthopedic ankle and foot surgeon, you have peace of mind knowing that he has extensive education, training, and residency experience, is a medical doctor and specializes in more than just the foot and ankle.
The Nilssen Orthopedics Ankle and Foot Center at The Andrews Institute specializes in research and multidisciplinary medical treatments that focus on all foot and ankle disorders and injuries related to sports, rehabilitation, prevention, and athletic performance. It was the first clinic established in the United States as a dedicated Orthopedic Sports Medicine centered ankle and foot clinic. Elite athletes, as well as non-athletes with ankle and foot issues, are treated and operated on by Dr. Erik Nilssen.
Dr. Sonya Ahmed, a board-certified and fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon and Partner at the Nilssen Orthopedics Ankle and Foot Center, is proud to announce that she will provide orthopaedic and sports medicine coverage for the US Olympic Team at the ANOC World Beach Games Qatar 2019. The Games, which were originally slated to take place in San Diego, CA, will run from October 12-16 in Doha, Qatar. Dr. Ahmed is excited about the opportunity to once again provide team coverage on behalf of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
Orthopedic injuries can cause pain that lasts a lifetime. While many people associate orthopedics injuries with old age or contact sports, they are just as often caused by traumatic injuries resulting from car wrecks and on-the-job accidents. Accidents can cause a variety of orthopedic injuries, ranging in severity from mild to life-threatening. While you may seem fine in the immediate aftermath, the surge of adrenaline generated by your body during an accident can actually cover up serious but invisible injuries. These hidden injuries can surface in the days or weeks following an accident, and, if left untreated, they can lead to years of pain and suffering.
Personal injury is a legal term for any injury to the body or mind of an individual, as opposed to damage to property. Personal injury claims result from accidents that are the result of negligence or reckless conduct and are one of the most common legal complaints filed today. If you have been injured in an accident–at work, on the road, or otherwise–you should immediately seek medical treatment, even if you believe you are not injured. Some injuries can take days or weeks to manifest and can cause lifelong pain and suffering if left untreated.