Working with a Podiatrist vs. a Pedorthist
Most people with serious foot pain have at least once had a common suggestion directed their way – visit a podiatrist. The average person prefers dealing with it by trying things that bring temporary relief, even though this is not advisable from a medical perspective. Over-the-counter insoles feature heavily among such options, despite having proven largely ineffective for a vast majority of the population. Others take a safer and more promising route, and buy a custom fit arch support insert, which they wear in their shoes to rectify any problems in their gait. People who fail at both have no option but to meet and consult a podiatrist.
Pedorthists vs. Podiatrists
Podiatrists are medical practitioners holding surgical qualification in ankle and foot problems. They are authorized to prescribe treatment, medication, and surgery, and have attended four years of medical school, followed by three of hospital residency training. They are technically Doctors of Podiatric Medicine or DPMs. Many podiatrists possess board certification as well as further fellowships in specific areas of practice.
A pedorthist is different from a podiatrist, in that he or she is an allied health professional, not necessarily having a college education. Their area of specialization includes footwear fitting, orthotic fabrication and designs, and shoe modification and construction. The training a pedorthist undergoes can be from an approved site, and can be attained online as well. Following that, he or she has to accumulate 1,000 hours worth of practical experience in order to become legible for a certifying exam. After passing that, they become a certified pedorthist (C.Ped). Some states require that practicing pedorthists have a license other than this.
Signs That Require the Attention of a Podiatrist
It is widely accepted that a podiatrist is the most qualified kind of practitioner for proper and adequate diagnosis of any foot problem. While back pain insoles and the like can mitigate a lot of the difficulties involved in many cases, prior assessment by a podiatrist is often immensely helpful. The following symptoms warrant a visit to your nearest podiatrist.
- Loss of function
- Pain extending over a week
- Acute injury along with bruising, swelling, or sudden pain
- Tingling, burning sensations, or numbness in the toes or feet
A podiatrist examining a foot problem would generally use ultrasound, X-ray, or other methods to figure out the issue and its cause. They are capable of diagnosing the causes underlying the discomfort or pain, and are often able to treat issues that over-the-counter inserts cannot alleviate. Numbness and tingling, for instance, may trace back to diabetic peripheral neuropathy, signaling undiagnosed diabetes.
The podiatrist would notice such problems and refer the patient to a specializing physician. From their side, they can administer injections, prescribe medication, suggest the use of custom orthotic devices, and even perform surgery when needed.
Situations Where Pedorthists Can Be Useful
Pedorthists lack the type of license, which allows diagnosing acute problems, but can be greatly accomplished at recommending footwear changes, including any addition of insoles. They can prove helpful when consulted about unrelenting aches or pains in the foot while walking or running. Their aim is to improve gait and boost the efficiency of the foot for each person that approaches them with a related ailment. This typically results in the pain and discomfort being reduced to a manageable level, or even removed completely.
Podiatrists commonly refer patients to pedorthists after finding that a shoe modification or braces can help them. It is usually best when you have both professionals collaborating on your treatment. Following are some cases where a patient heads to an insole store recommended to them by their podiatrist.
- When they need a shoe recommendation, which will maximize the prescribed custom orthotic’s effectiveness
- When they need a foot analysis as well as a recommendation regarding over-the-counter insoles
- When they need a custom insole made which can support their foot in the right manner, and which possibly includes casting and molding
- When they need their podiatric prescription filled for shoe modification
- When seeking shoes addressing specific issues like bunions, arthritis, painful heels, painful arches, flat feet, hammertoes, and diabetes
Both podiatrists and pedorthists assert that people with foot problems should be wary of buying the wrong products. Many sellers claim they have “custom” insoles capable of resolving all your pain and discomfort, but never get a fitting out of you. To ensure you get a quality product, it is essential that you have your foot analyzed and measured using a special mold, which can then be used to design an orthotic that suits you perfectly. A pedorthist would also be able to decide what materials are best suited to your condition, as well as how to fabricate the inserts you will be paying for.