Podiatrist Vs. Pedorthist

Podiatrists and pedorthists are involved with providing medical care to patients with foot and ankle problems but their training requirements, incomes and duties differ significantly. Continue reading to compare these occupations further.

Comparing Podiatrists to Pedorthists

Podiatrists are medical doctors who require a more significant amount of training than pedorthists do. They earn a much higher salary than pedorthists, although pedorthists are currently experiencing a higher job growth rate than podiatrists.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)*
Podiatrists Doctoral degree $124,830 10%
Pedorthists Postsecondary studies and certification $35,980 (medical appliance technicians) 14% (medical appliance technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Podiatrists vs. Pedorthists

Podiatrists and pedorthists both work with patients who have issues with their feet or with the lower part of their leg or ankles. Podiatrists are medically trained to diagnose and treat their patients' conditions. They may refer patients to pedorthists. Pedorthists determine what type of medical appliances or modified footwear can be used to treat a patient's condition. Podiatrists may provide direct care to a person's foot by performing a wide range of tasks from surgery to clipping toenails. Pedorthists may assess a patient's feet but their focus is on gathering the data needed in order to modify boots and shoes or other types of footwear in order to provide patients with the footwear they need for their condition. While podiatrists may teach patients about their medical condition and how to take care of their feet, pedorthists concentrate on teaching patients about the footwear or appliances they are receiving, how to use them and how to look after them.

Podiatrists

Podiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in treating health issues related to people's feet. They may also treat problems with the lower part of a person's leg and their ankle as part of their duties. Patients may be referred to them by other medical professionals and podiatrists may also identify issues that prompt them to refer the patient to other specialists. Some podiatrists may opt to specialize in a field of podiatry and work with children or work with athletes. They must complete a residency program that lasts three years after graduating from medical school and have a valid license to practice medicine; those who decide to specialize in a specific area of podiatry must take further training after completing their residency.

Job responsibilities of a podiatrist include:

  • Evaluating patients
  • Diagnosing their condition
  • Operating on patients
  • Providing prescriptions to patients
  • Educating patients about their condition

Pedorthists

Pedorthists are specifically trained to create medical products for people's feet. The patients they work with typically have some form of foot trauma and need footwear or appliances that are designed for their specific needs. They may work in hospitals, medical offices or retail stores. Pedorthists can complete a pedorthic certificate before earning their certification. Since pedorthists work directly with patients they should have good interpersonal skills so that they can effectively communicate with patients about their medical needs and so that they understand how to care for the modified footwear or products they are required to wear.

Job responsibilities of a pedorthist include:

  • Examining patients
  • Establishing a treatment plan
  • Monitoring patient progress
  • Determining what types of socks, boots or other footwear a patient needs
  • Altering footwear to meet the patient's needs

Related Careers

Individuals considering a career as a podiatrist may also be interested in becoming a surgeon because podiatrists are also trained to perform surgery and it can be a regular part of their job. Those thinking about a future as a pedorthist may also be interested in becoming an orthotist technician because orthotist technicians also construct medical devices for patients.


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