Foot & ankle specialists: podiatrist vs. podiatrician?

March 16, 2010 —

If you’re looking for a physician to treat problems of the foot and ankle, such as a recurring corn/callus, hammertoe/bunion deformity, ankle instability/sprains, flat feet/heel pain, foot ulcers, ingrown toenails or any other foot problems, you must be looking for a podiatrist. I have only heard the term “podiatrician” used once and I believe it was used to inaccurately to describe a foot specialist. Often times the term podiatrist can be confused with pediatrician but the two are completely different. Pediatricians work with children and the root word, “ped” refers to “child” while the root word “pod” refers to foot. To make it even more confusing, there are podopediatric specialists who work on the foot of children.

I find it much clearer to describe podiatrists as foot and ankle specialists without causing too much confusion. Currently, both terms are still used and our professional degree is doctor of podiatric medicine, or D.P.M.

I hope this clears up any confusion regarding the two profession. Do you have any other questions regarding the podiatric profession?


Tea Nguyen is a dual degree D.P.M./M.P.H. student at DMU. She was born in Utah but raised in California and left the great state to be at one of the best podiatry school in the country.

She has aspirations in international medical service trips and hopes to hit several continents during this lifetime. Traveling is also on the top of her to-do list and she often reminisces about her prior travels to Italy, France and Greece. She also enjoys eating adventures with her boyfriend Paul and is a major food-snacker. It is not uncommon to find her lapsed in a food coma in the middle of her studies.
  • http://www.MedicalPracticeAppraisal.com Keith Borglum CHBC

    Then there’s “exopododontists”, who specialize in taking a person’s foot out of their mouth! ;-)
    I’ve needed one on occasion myself!

    As a specialist in medical and podiatry practice valuation for 25 years, I’ve never heard of someone, DPM, MD or DO, refer to themselves as a “podiatrician”.

    -Keith B
    Certified Healthcare Business Consultant
    http://www.medicalpracticeappraisal.com/podiatrist-practice-valuation.html

  • http://www.solentfootandankle.co.uk/ Solent Foot

    Tea, nice explanation, but to tell you sincerely I heard about podiatricians as well, that does not mean this term really exists but there are people that take it “as it is” and still using it.. :)

  • http://www.solentfootandankle.co.uk/ Solent Foot

    Tea, nice explanation, but to tell you sincerely I heard about podiatricians as well, that does not mean this term really exists but there are people that take it “as it is” and still using it.. :)