Do podiatrists actually perform surgery?
Are you wondering whether podiatrists are capable of performing surgery? Many people have this misconception that they should visit an orthopaedist in case they need foot surgery. The fact is that a podiatrist specialises in all kinds of injuries and conditions affecting the ankle and foot.
They are also specialists in surgery and capable of treating orthopaedic issues. Some of the common types of surgeries performed by these professionals include arthroscopic foot and ankle surgery, reconstructive surgery, limb salvage and Charcot foot, among others.
Here is a list of some of the common types of foot and ankle surgeries performed by a podiatric surgeon:
- Ingrown toenail surgery — This is one of the most common types of procedures performed by a podiatrist. An ingrown toenail is painful and many people keep suffering without getting the required correction. Trained podiatrists can help with ingrown toenails.
- Morton’s neuroma surgery — This condition happens when the nerve between the metatarsal bones becomes too thick due to chronic pressure. This results in instability. In this surgery, the nerve is cut out to provide relief.
- Ankle fusion surgery — In some conditions, ankle fusion surgery is required. Since your ankle is capable of moving in all directions, this surgery is performed to restrict its movement. Sometimes, complex arthritis or traumatic injuries require surgery.
- Plantar fasciitis surgery — Millions of people around the globe suffer from this condition. While local strengthening, use of right footwear or other measures can provide relief in most cases there are outliers where only surgery is capable of providing the required relief. While it is extremely rare, a podiatric surgeon is capable of performing the surgery.
- Hammer toe surgery — This is a common surgical procedure where a toe tendon is snipped off which allows the toes to sit flat. This may create potential balance issues. People suffering from hammer toes are not able to wear tight shoes even for a small period of time. It may also result in the formation of corns.
- Bunion surgery — Bunions are common but removing these can be very complex. Your big toe joint is the hardest working joint in your lower limb and sometimes, this results in the formation of bunions. A podiatric surgeon has the training to provide relief from bunions.
Podiatrists Are Surgeons
While podiatrists are trained to perform surgery, it is also important to mention that not all podiatrists have the training to qualify as a surgeon. In order to become a podiatrist, an individual must earn a bachelor’s degree and should register under the Podiatric Board of Australia. They should also continue to invest in their own personal development.
In order to become a podiatric surgeon and perform surgeries, individuals need further postgraduate study. Only after completing the necessary postgraduate studies and registering as a specialist, do they become qualified to perform podiatric surgery.
Why should you choose podiatrists for surgery?
When it comes to performing foot surgery in Australia, you have 2 options: podiatric surgeons and orthopaedic surgeons. Orthopaedic surgeons are trained to perform surgery on the whole body but they do not specialise in performing surgery on the feet.
Podiatric surgeons have to spend a lot of time studying. As explained earlier, they need to complete undergraduate training which requires them to train for 4 to 5 years. After that, they need to undergo an intense training program of more than 7 years to be accepted into the Fellowship of Australian podiatric surgeons. Therefore, they are more qualified to perform complex surgeries on foot in Australia.
Overall, podiatric surgeons are properly qualified to perform complex foot surgeries. Keep in mind that not all podiatrists have the necessary qualifications to perform complex surgeries as they need to further study for around 7 years after completing their undergraduate studies to become a surgeon in Australia.
Upwell Health Collective is a multi-award-winning provider of podiatry services. Our team of skilled and highly-experienced Camberwell podiatrists is focused on benefiting your health and long-term outcomes well beyond the successful treatment of your problem.