Foot and ankle surgeons, also known as podiatric surgeons, are the leading experts for a wide range of simple to complex foot and ankle care. They have more education and training specific to the foot and ankle than any other healthcare provider. They undergo a comprehensive, rigorous certification process to ensure they are qualified to treat all foot and ankle conditions.
Foot and ankle surgeons treat all conditions affecting the foot and ankle in patients of all ages, from the simple to complex, including:
Fracture repair of the foot and ankle
Diabetic foot care & complications
Ankle and foot arthritis
Foot and ankle trauma
Foreign body injuries
Foot and ankle surgeons are also uniquely qualified to detect diseases that exhibit warning signs in the lower extremities such as diabetes, arthritis and cardiovascular disease.
What kind of surgeries are foot and ankle surgeons qualified to perform?
Foot and ankle surgeons are qualified to perform a wide range of surgeries, including but not limited to:
Ankle ligament surgery
Ankle joint replacement surgery
Ankle deformity correction surgery
What education and training do foot and ankle surgeons receive?
Foot and ankle surgeons are specialists who have more education and training in foot and ankle care than any other healthcare professional. They complete four years of postgraduate podiatric medical school to earn their Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree (DPM). Like all physicians, this is followed by a three-year residency with complete rotations through hospital departments and full exposure to all pathologies. Many also pursue a post-residency fellowship program in areas like sports medicine, diabetic care or deformity correction.
Are foot and ankle surgeons board-certified?
All ACFAS members are board-certified (FACFAS) or board-qualified (AACFAS) by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, an independent, non-profit certifying agency. The demanding, comprehensive certification process encompasses passing written examinations, submitting simple and complex surgical cases and completing simulations of cases. This ensures ACFAS members perform a diverse and extensive range of foot and ankle surgeries and that they have demonstrated the highest level of proficiency to earn board certification. To demonstrate continued proficiency, foot and ankle surgeons must be recertified every 10 years.
All board certifications are not the same – so look for FACFAS or AACFAS when you refer your patient to a foot and ankle surgeon.
What type of patients do foot and ankle surgeons treat?
Foot and ankle surgeons treat patients of all ages, pediatric through geriatric. They diagnose the full spectrum of foot and ankle conditions and develop treatment plans ranging from conservative management of a chronic issue to complex surgical procedures. They are the experts in foot and ankle care.
When should I refer a patient to a foot and ankle surgeon?
Any time your patients need a skilled specialist is the time to refer them to a foot and ankle surgeon. Foot and ankle surgeons are qualified to diagnose and treat any foot and ankle condition – from the simple to the complex. Foot and ankle surgeons regularly collaborate with a wide range of healthcare providers in both outpatient and inpatient settings, for patients of all ages.
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Are foot and ankle surgeons the same as podiatric surgeons?
Yes they are. The terms foot and ankle surgeon and podiatric surgeon can be used interchangeably. Foot and ankle surgeons are DPMs – Doctors of Podiatric Medicine – who have undergone extensive education, training and board certification focused on the foot and ankle. They undergo more education and training specific to the foot and ankle than any healthcare provider and are the leading experts for a wide range of complex foot and ankle care.
Why should I see a foot and ankle surgeon instead of another surgeon?
Foot and ankle surgeons today are the leading experts for a wide range of complex foot and ankle care. They have the most education and training specific to the foot and ankle and undergo the most rigorous, comprehensive certification process of any specialist. They are collaborative members of multidisciplinary patient care teams and innovators in treatment protocols and surgical procedures.
Do foot and ankle surgeons conduct research in foot and ankle care?
Foot and ankle surgeons today are dedicated to advancing the science of the profession and continually expanding and improving treatment options through research. They are innovators in the treatment of common foot and ankle issues such as flatfoot surgery, chronic heel pain and hammertoe. Millions of patients have benefited from these innovations.
What do FACFAS and AACFAS stand for?
The designation of FACFAS indicates that the physician is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and has been certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, an independent, non-profit certifying agency.
The designation of AACFAS indicates the physician is an Associate Member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and has completed written exams, residency surgical requirements and is in the process of becoming a Fellow Member of the College and final board certification by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.
Certification matters and not all certification is the same, so look for FACFAS or AACFAS when referring to a foot and ankle surgeon.
What is ACFAS?
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) is a professional society of more than 7,400 foot and ankle surgeons. Founded in 1942, ACFAS seeks to promote the art and science of foot, ankle and related lower extremity surgery; address the concerns of foot and ankle surgeons; ensure superb patient care; and advance and improve standards of education and surgical skill.