Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in the care of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. This requires additional knowledge of the bones, muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and vasculature of the body from the knee down. Podiatry is considered a subspecialization of orthopedics. Podiatrists might specialize in an area such as surgery, sports medicine (physical therapy), biomechanics, geriatrics, pediatrics, internal medicine, diabetes, orthopedics, or primary care. Foot and leg applications a podiatrist would be seen for are:

  • Injury
  • Diabetic injury
  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Corns
  • Repetitive motion injuries (often work or sports-related)
  • Dermatological aspects of feet (dealing with the skin specifically) 
  • Vascular aspects (dealing with the arteries and veins supplying blood)
  • Muscular aspects
  • Bone aspects
  • Oncology (cancers in this region of the body)
  • Forensic podiatry (such as footprint casting)

Physical therapy as a subspecialty of podiatry involves diagnosing and treating disorders or injuries that have occurred that affect the musculoskeletal system and patient’s ability to move or perform activities involving the lower leg and feet. The goal of physical therapy is to restore optimal movement and function, reduce pain, and prevent further injury or degeneration. 

Treating diabetics as a specialized application of podiatry isn’t immediately intuitive as diabetes is a disease involving the endocrine system. Diabetes, however, greatly affects the vasculature of patients especially in the more distal extremities -- the feet being most susceptible. As diabetes becomes worse, patients can begin to suffer infections and afflictions in the feet, sometimes progressing to the need for amputation in extreme cases. Surgery to remove necrotic material from the feet of diabetics or amputations has sometimes been performed without adequate consent from patients. At times surgeons have been guilty of taking away more tissue than was originally planned for or discussed. The wrong foot has been operated on or removed in some cases of diabetic foot surgeries. Make sure you know exactly what your consent is granting beforehand in these types of surgeries. 

If you believe you or a loved one suffered a worsening of a condition due to an error made by a podiatrist, you may be eligible for damages. Contact the experts at the Sweeney Law Firm and let us review the facts to see if you have a podiatrist medical provider malpractice case. If we decide to take your case, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless there is a settlement or recovery of funds for you.