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Foot and Ankle Orthopedic Surgeons, Podiatry, and Comprehensive Care

  September 02, 2017

Submitted by McLean County Orthopedics

When suffering from foot or ankle pain, finding treatment is your main priority. When choosing a specialist to address your specific needs, it can be confusing when making a decision between two seemingly similar specialists: a podiatrist or an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon.

Though both treat conditions related to the foot and ankle, their medical training is widely different. Understanding the differences between podiatrists and orthopedic foot and ankle surgeons, as well as the different treatment options they offer, will help you in choosing the right specialist for you.

Different doctors, same interests
The level of training is the area these two professions vary the most. Podiatrists typically attend four years of podiatric school, becoming a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M). After podiatry school, podiatrists complete two to three years of residency specifically towards treating foot and ankle conditions. As a result, podiatrists treat patients for foot and ankle conditions occurring across the spectrum.

Podiatrists treat many common problems related to the lower extremities such as onychomycosis (toenail fungus), heel pain, and ingrown toenails. These doctors also specialize in diabetic foot care, which involves the recurring maintenance of the feet, skin, and nails. Podiatrists typically will also manage fallen arches, deformities of the feet, calluses, and common foot injuries.

Foot and ankle orthopedic surgeons are physicians who specialize in orthopedic surgery, specifically, surgery of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. Orthopedic foot and ankle specialists attend four years of traditional medical school, becoming a Medical Doctor (M.D.), followed by five years of residency in orthopedic surgery, which includes foot and ankle training. These specialists are then required to complete an additional year of fellowship training in the treatment of conditions affecting the foot and ankle. With almost ten years of training, orthopedic surgeons are not only certified in their specialty but have a comprehensive knowledge of the entire human body and musculoskeletal conditions. Their training in orthopedic trauma, sports medicine, and joint replacement provides them with an advanced skill set for the treatment of foot and ankle injuries and conditions.

Foot and ankle orthopedic surgeons specialize in the comprehensive management of conditions of the musculoskeletal system, including all bones and joints with their supporting soft tissues, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. They are equipped to manage the complex conditions of the foot and ankle, including fallen arches, bunions, hammertoes, arthritis, and injuries.

Your care-providing team
The complexity of the foot and ankle requires specialized training to understand and fully treat the condition. It is important to choose a specialist in whom you trust and can have an open dialogue about the various options available to treat your foot and ankle problems.

For more information on any orthopedic problem, call 309-663-6461 to schedule an appointment with the board-certified physicians at McLean County Orthopedics or visit their website at Their new office is at 1111 Trinity Lane in Bloomington. MCO is happy to announce that Dr. Shaun A. Kink, an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist, will be joining the practice this fall. Dr. Kink  is excited to take on new patients and provide you with comprehensive foot and ankle care.

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September 02, 2017


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