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What is a Foot Doctor Called and What Does a Foot Doctor Do?

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A doctor speaking to a patient, answering the question, "what is a  foot doctor called and what does a foot doctor do?"

Are you experiencing foot pain or discomfort? Wondering who to turn to for help? Look no further! 

In this article, we will explore the world of foot doctors and answer your burning questions about who they are and what they do. We will also discuss how custom orthotic insoles from Bilt Labs are often a top recommendation from foot doctors. 

A foot doctor, also known as a podiatrist, is a medical professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions related to the feet and ankles. They have extensive knowledge and training in podiatric medicine, allowing them to address a wide range of foot concerns, from common issues like bunions and ingrown toenails to more complex conditions such as foot deformities and sports injuries. 

Podiatrists play a crucial role in keeping our feet and ankles healthy. They not only provide treatment for existing conditions but also offer preventive care and advice to help maintain optimal foot health. Whether you're an athlete dealing with a sports injury or an individual with chronic foot pain, a foot doctor is your go-to expert for comprehensive foot care. 

So, if you're experiencing any foot-related problems, it's time to seek the expertise of a foot doctor to get the relief and comfort you deserve.

Education and Training Required to Become a Foot Doctor

Becoming a foot doctor requires a significant commitment to education and training. Podiatrists must first complete a bachelor's degree, typically in a science-related field. 


Afterward, they must attend an accredited podiatric medical school to obtain a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree. Podiatric medical school typically lasts four years and covers a comprehensive curriculum focused on foot and ankle care.

Upon completing their medical degree, aspiring foot doctors must then complete a residency program, which provides hands-on clinical training in podiatric medicine. Residency programs usually last three to four years and include rotations in various specialties such as orthopedics, radiology, and surgery. This training allows podiatrists to gain experience in diagnosing and treating a wide range of foot conditions.


Some podiatrists may choose to pursue additional fellowship training to specialize further in areas such as sports medicine, diabetic foot care, or pediatric podiatry. This additional training equips them with advanced knowledge and expertise in specific areas of podiatry.


Overall, the education and training required to become a foot doctor ensures that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to provide comprehensive foot care.

Two medical students in training to become foot doctors.

Common Foot Conditions Treated by Foot Doctors

Foot doctors are well-versed in diagnosing and treating various foot conditions. Here are some common foot problems that foot doctors often encounter:

  • Bunions: Bunions are bony bumps that develop on the joint at the base of the big toe. They can be painful and cause the big toe to angle towards the other toes. Foot doctors can provide both non-surgical and surgical treatment options for bunions, depending on the severity of the condition.

  • Ingrown Toenails: Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin, causing pain, swelling, and infection. Foot doctors can help alleviate the discomfort by providing proper trimming techniques, applying medications, or performing minor surgical procedures to remove the ingrown portion of the nail.

  • Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis is a common condition characterized by pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes. Foot doctors can recommend stretching exercises, orthotic devices, and other treatments to alleviate the pain and promote healing.

  • Heel Spurs :Heel spurs are bony growths that develop on the underside of the heel bone. They can cause heel pain and discomfort, especially when walking or standing. Foot doctors can provide various treatment options, including orthotic devices, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgical intervention.

  • Foot Deformities: Foot doctors are skilled in treating foot deformities such as flat feet, high arches, and hammertoes. They can recommend appropriate footwear, orthotic devices, and exercises to alleviate pain and improve foot function. In severe cases, surgical correction may be necessary.

  • Sports Injuries: Athletes often experience foot and ankle injuries due to the repetitive stress placed on these areas during physical activity. Foot doctors can diagnose and treat sports-related injuries such as sprains, fractures, and tendonitis. They can also provide guidance on injury prevention and rehabilitation strategies.

These are just a few examples of the many foot conditions that foot doctors treat. Their expertise extends to a wide range of foot and ankle problems, making them the go-to professionals for comprehensive foot care.

People playing pickleball again with treatment for their sports injuries.

Diagnostic Tools and Techniques Used by Foot Doctors

To accurately diagnose foot conditions, foot doctors employ various diagnostic tools and techniques. These enable them to assess the extent of the problem and develop appropriate treatment plans. Here are some commonly used diagnostic methods in podiatry:

  • Physical Examination: During a physical examination, a foot doctor will visually inspect the affected area, assess the patient's gait, and evaluate the range of motion of the foot and ankle. They may also apply gentle pressure to specific areas to identify areas of tenderness or pain.
  • X-rays: X-rays are commonly used in podiatry to visualize the bones in the foot and ankle. They can help identify fractures, arthritis, and other structural abnormalities. X-rays provide valuable information for determining the appropriate course of treatment.
  • MRI and CT Scans: In some cases, foot doctors may request MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography) scans to obtain detailed images of the soft tissues, such as ligaments, tendons, and muscles. These imaging techniques are particularly useful for diagnosing complex foot conditions and assessing the extent of soft tissue damage.
  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to produce real-time images of the foot and ankle. It is commonly used to evaluate soft tissue injuries, such as ligament or tendon tears, and to guide certain procedures, such as injections or aspirations.
  • Blood Tests: In cases where systemic conditions, such as diabetes or arthritis, may be contributing to foot problems, foot doctors may order blood tests to assess the patient's overall health and identify any underlying conditions that may be affecting foot health.

These diagnostic tools and techniques allow foot doctors to accurately diagnose foot conditions, leading to more effective treatment plans and better patient outcomes.

Treatment Options Offered by Foot Doctors

Foot doctors employ a variety of treatment options to address foot conditions. The specific treatment recommended will depend on the nature and severity of the problem. Here are some common treatment options offered by foot doctors:

  • Non-Surgical Interventions: Non-surgical interventions are often the first line of treatment for many foot conditions. These may include:
    • Orthotic Devices: Custom orthotic insoles, like those offered by Bilt Labs, are specially designed to support the arches of the feet and provide proper alignment. They can help alleviate pain and discomfort caused by various foot conditions.
    • Physical Therapy: Foot doctors may recommend specific exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles and improve foot function. Physical therapy can also aid in the recovery from foot injuries.
    • Medications: Foot doctors may prescribe medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), to reduce pain and inflammation associated with certain foot conditions.
    • Topical Treatments: For conditions like fungal infections or skin disorders, foot doctors may recommend topical treatments, such as antifungal creams or corticosteroid creams, to alleviate symptoms.
  • Minimally Invasive Procedures: In some cases, foot doctors may perform minimally invasive procedures to address certain foot conditions. These procedures are typically performed on an outpatient basis and involve small incisions or injections. Examples of minimally invasive procedures include:
    • Corticosteroid Injections: Foot doctors may administer corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in conditions such as plantar fasciitis or arthritis.
    • Laser Therapy: Laser therapy can be used to treat various foot conditions, including fungal nail infections or plantar warts. It involves the use of a focused laser beam to target and destroy the affected tissue.
    • Shockwave Therapy: Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) uses high-energy sound waves to stimulate healing and reduce pain. It is often used to treat conditions such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis.
  • Surgical Intervention: In cases where non-surgical interventions and minimally invasive procedures are not sufficient, foot doctors may recommend surgical intervention. Foot surgery aims to correct structural abnormalities, alleviate pain, and improve foot function.

 Foot doctors will thoroughly assess each patient's condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment option based on their individual needs and goals.

Bilt Labs everyday orthotic insoles offered by foot doctors.

custom orthotic insoles inserts orthotics


Designed for an active lifestyle.

best custom orthotic insoles inserts orthotics


Designed for normal day-to-day use.

Why Bilt Labs Custom Orthotic Insoles Are Highly Recommended by Podiatrists

When it comes to foot care, podiatrists often recommend Bilt Labs custom orthotic insoles. These insoles are designed to provide optimal support and alignment for the feet, helping to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with various foot conditions. Here's why podiatrists highly recommend Bilt Labs custom orthotic insoles:

  • Customization: Bilt Labs custom orthotic insoles are tailored to each individual's unique foot structure and needs. They are created based on a detailed assessment of the patient's foot arches, gait, and specific foot condition. This customization ensures that the insoles provide the right level of support and correction for each person.
  • Proper Alignment and Support: The insoles are designed to promote proper foot alignment and distribute pressure evenly across the feet. This helps reduce strain on the muscles and ligaments, alleviating pain and discomfort caused by conditions such as plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or high arches.
  • Improved Foot Function: By providing optimal support and alignment, Bilt Labs custom orthotic insoles can improve foot function. They can help correct biomechanical issues, such as overpronation or supination, and enhance overall foot performance. This is particularly beneficial for athletes or individuals who engage in physical activities that place significant stress on the feet.
  • Versatility and Compatibility: Bilt Labs custom orthotic insoles can be used with various types of footwear, including athletic shoes, dress shoes, and even some sandals. They are designed to fit seamlessly into the shoe, providing comfort and support without sacrificing style or functionality.
  • Long-lasting Durability: These custom orthotic insoles are made from high-quality materials that are built to withstand daily wear and tear. They are designed to maintain their shape and effectiveness over an extended period, ensuring long-lasting comfort and support.

Overall, Bilt Labs custom orthotic insoles offer a reliable solution for individuals seeking relief from foot pain and improved foot health. By working closely with podiatrists, Bilt Labs ensures that their insoles meet the highest standards of quality and effectiveness.

Importance of Regular Foot Care and Preventive Measures

While foot doctors are there to provide expert care when problems arise, it's essential to prioritize regular foot care and take preventive measures to maintain optimal foot health. Here are some important steps to incorporate into your foot care routine:

  • Proper Foot Hygiene: Maintaining proper foot hygiene is crucial for preventing infections and foot-related issues. Wash your feet daily with mild soap and lukewarm water, and make sure to dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes. Keeping your feet clean and dry helps prevent fungal infections and other common foot problems.
  • Nail Care: Trim your toenails straight across, avoiding rounded edges, to prevent ingrown toenails. Be careful not to cut them too short, as this can also lead to discomfort and ingrown nails. If you have difficulty trimming your nails or have thickened nails, consult a foot doctor for professional nail care.
  • Wear Proper Footwear: Choosing the right footwear is vital for maintaining foot health. Opt for shoes that provide adequate support, cushioning, and room for your toes to move freely. Avoid wearing high heels or shoes that squeeze or rub against your feet, as these can lead to foot pain and deformities. If you have specific foot conditions or require orthotic insoles, consult a foot doctor for recommendations on appropriate footwear.
  • Protect Your Feet: If you participate in sports or activities that put your feet at risk of injury, make sure to wear protective gear, such as custom orthotics, supportive shoes, ankle braces, or padding. Taking preventive measures can help reduce the risk of foot-related accidents and injuries.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight puts added pressure on your feet and can contribute to foot pain and conditions such as plantar fasciitis or arthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet can help alleviate stress on your feet and improve overall foot health.
  • Regular Foot Exercises: Performing foot exercises can help strengthen the muscles, improve flexibility, and prevent foot problems. Simple exercises like toe curls, arch stretches, and calf raises can be incorporated into your daily routine to keep your feet in good shape. Consult a foot doctor or physical therapist for guidance on specific exercises tailored to your needs.

By practicing regular foot care and taking preventive measures, you can reduce the likelihood of developing foot problems and maintain optimal foot health.

When to See a Foot Doctor and What to Expect During a Visit

If you're experiencing any foot-related problems, it's crucial to seek the expertise of a foot doctor. Here are some signs that indicate it's time to schedule a visit:

  • Persistent foot pain or discomfort that does not improve with rest or over-the-counter treatments
  • Difficulty walking or performing daily activities due to foot problems
  • Swelling, redness, or warmth in the foot or ankle
  • Changes in the appearance of the foot, such as deformities or skin abnormalities- Ingrown toenails, corns, or calluses that are causing pain or are difficult to manage

During your visit to a foot doctor, you can expect a thorough examination and assessment of your foot condition. The foot doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical history, and any previous treatments you have tried. They may perform various diagnostic tests, such as physical examinations, X-rays, or other imaging studies, to accurately diagnose the problem.

Once a diagnosis is made, the foot doctor will discuss treatment options with you and develop a personalized plan based on your specific needs and goals. They will explain the recommended treatments, potential risks or benefits, and answer any questions or concerns you may have. The foot doctor will also provide guidance on preventive measures and offer advice on maintaining optimal foot health.

Remember, early intervention is key for preventing many foot problems from worsening. If you're unsure whether to see a podiatrist, it's always better to err on the side of caution and get it checked out.

A closeup of a foot doctor speaking to her patient.

The Role of Foot Doctors in Maintaining Foot Health

Foot health, often neglected, fuels daily life, mobility, and well-being. Podiatrists, foot and ankle specialists, safeguard this foundation.

Their deep knowledge guides accurate diagnoses, from bunions to sports injuries. Advanced tools like X-rays and biomechanical assessments reveal the source of pain.

Treatment options are tailored, prioritizing non-surgical approaches like custom orthotics, physical therapy, and targeted medications. For severe cases, minimally invasive procedures or surgery may be necessary.

Beyond treatment, podiatrists promote prevention through education on hygiene, footwear choices, and weight management. They equip you with tools to avoid future problems.

By addressing pain, improving stability, and preventing complications, podiatrists significantly enhance your quality of life. Walk pain-free, participate fully, and thrive with the help of a skilled podiatrist.

People Also Ask:

What is the most common problem treated by a podiatrist?

While many foot woes find their way to a podiatrist's office, the undisputed champion of foot problems is heel pain. It can strike from sneaky plantar fasciitis to bony heel spurs, leaving you yearning for pain-free steps. Thankfully, podiatrists are equipped with a toolbox of tricks, from custom orthotics to targeted therapy, to get you back on your feet.

Is it better to go to a podiatrist or orthopedist?

Picking between a podiatrist and orthopedist depends on your foot concern. Think of an orthopedist as a musculoskeletal pro, tackling bones and joints throughout your body, while a podiatrist is the foot and ankle guru, specializing in everything from bunions to tricky fractures down there. So, for everyday ankle aches or bunion woes, the podiatrist's your go-to. But if your foot pain travels up your leg or involves major bone breaks, the orthopedist's broader expertise might be a better fit.

What does a foot doctor do to your feet?

During a podiatric evaluation, your doctor will delve into the intricate world of your feet. They'll conduct a comprehensive assessment, analyzing everything from gait patterns to skin texture, seeking the root of your discomfort. Armed with this diagnosis, they'll become your foot architect, crafting personalized solutions. This might involve prescribing custom-made orthotics, carefully crafted inserts designed to optimize your foot's biomechanics and alleviate pain. Think of them as high-tech support systems for your soles, engineered to restore balance and send you stepping comfortably into the day.

What do podiatrists do?

Podiatrists are specialized physicians dedicated to the comprehensive care of your feet and ankles. They're skilled diagnosticians, utilizing advanced techniques to decipher ailments like biomechanical imbalances, chronic conditions, or nerve issues. As therapeutic innovators, they prescribe targeted treatments like custom orthotics, pain management approaches, and even corrective surgeries, all aimed at restoring pain-free function and optimizing your gait.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions about your health. If you have any questions about your health or are experiencing any medical problems, please contact your doctor or other healthcare provider immediately. Do not delay seeking medical attention based on the information provided in this article.