Podiatrist Or General Physician – When to See the Foot Doctor Instead of the Family Doctor

If you’ve ever served in the U.S. military, then you’ve undoubtedly had blisters caused by forced marches which were then treated by either a Combat Medic (Army and Air Force) or Corpsman (Navy and Marine Corps).

In the civilian world, foot blisters are typically ignored because you generally aren’t required to perform complex combat maneuvers where a bothersome blister could potentially put the lives of others at risk. But if you do decide to have a blister treated as a civilian, you’re likely to make a quick visit to your family physician.

Podiatry (healthcare of the foot and leg) may seem like a strange specialty, but in reality there are many conditions in which seeing a podiatrist, or “foot doctor,” would be preferred over seeing any other type of medical technician or doctor.

Common foot, ankle, and leg injuries are easily treated by any physician. A sprained ankle, ingrown toenail, athlete’s foot, stress fractures, and of course the occasional blister probably don’t require the expertise of a foot doctor.

The foot is more complex than a lot of people realize. But complex enough to have its own medical specialty? Just try asking your family physician about plantar fasciitis, sesamoiditis, high arches, or even flat feet. You’ll be referred to a podiatrist faster than you can say, “What should I do about the calcaneal on my heel?”

You’ll especially understand this if you are a runner. Healthy feet are vital to a runner’s performance, so they don’t trust them to just anybody.

While common foot and leg ailments and related minor injuries can be and are often treated by a general physician, if you have a more complex injury or are active in sports or work that requires full health of your feet and legs then seeing a specialist in podiatry — a good ol’ foot doctor in other words — is probably the best option for you.

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