Orthopaedic Surgeon or Podiatrist?

Both Orthopaedic Surgeons and Podiatrists have extensive training and expertise in the management and treatment of foot disorders. There are a few differences that you should be aware of, so that you can discuss with your doctor about making an appointment with the appropriate specialist.

If you have a foot or ankle problem, start by contacting your family physician. Your doctor will be able determine if you will benefit from consultation with one of our specialists, and will help guide you to the right specialist.

Training & Education


A Podiatrist receives specialized training from a school that concentrates on the treatment of the foot. Much like a dentist goes to dentistry school, a podiatrist goes to podiatry school. Upon completion of podiatry school a DPM or “Doctor of Podiatric Medicine” is earned.

The podiatrists within the BC Foot and Ankle Specialist group have expertise in the following areas:

  • undiagnosed foot pain
  • forefoot surgery
  • diabetes related problems including ulcers and infections

Orthopaedic Surgeon

An Orthopaedic Surgeon has completed a general medical degree and earned the credentials of a Doctor of Medicine. To become a surgeon, they complete an orthopaedic residency program. The program provides training in many areas such as trauma, sports medicine, reconstructive surgery and covers all regions of the body:

  • shoulder
  • spine
  • elbow
  • hip
  • knee
  • foot and ankle surgery

A “sub-specialist” is a surgeon who has obtained further training (“Fellowship”) in one particular region of the body. Several BCFAS physicians are sub-specialists in the area of foot and ankle surgery. Although they are trained to treat fractures and disorders throughout the entire body, they have particular expertise in the following areas:

  • ankle arthritis
  • trauma and problems caused by injury
  • sports medicine and arthroscopy of the foot and ankle
  • flat foot and high arch reconstruction
  • paralysis reconstruction
  • congenital deformity reconstruction