Frequently Asked Questions to Bedford Regional Foot & Ankle Care
Many people with various foot issues have questions that they would like answered before coming
to visit us. Here are just a few common questions about foot and ankle care:
Q: What is a podiatrist?
A: Podiatrists are doctors of podiatric medicine, and may also be known as a podiatric physician or podiatric surgeon. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions that affect the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg.
Q: Do podiatrists perform surgery?
A: The legal definition of a podiatrist is a physician and surgeon of the lower extremities; so at certain times, podiatrists may be required to perform surgery on patients as part of their treatment. Each patient’s case is unique, and surgery is not required in every case. It is good to have a podiatrist who is also a skilled surgeon, who can handle those extreme situations and who knows what to do when surgery is necessary.
Q: I am diabetic; why does my primary care physician want me to make an appointment with a podiatrist?
A: Persons with diabetes must take special precautions when it comes to the health and proper care of their feet and lower extremities. There are associated conditions related to diabetes that can have a negative impact on health, such as peripheral artery disease, nerve pain (neuropathy), and infections. Patients with mild symptoms may need to see a podiatrist at least once a year, while those with vascular disease may need to visit every couple of months if the condition is severe.
If neuropathy is evident, patients may not feel how much a shoe bothers them, for example, which could result in an ulcer or wound that becomes infected. An untreated infection for a person with diabetes may result in amputation. This can have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life.