A podiatrist (DPM) or Medical Doctor (MD): Which is Best for Foot and Ankle Care?
What’s the difference between a DPM and an MD when it comes to treating foot, ankle, and lower leg problems? Would it surprise you to learn that DPMs -- doctors of podiatric medicine -- are far more than simply foot doctors? While a medical doctor may be trained to treat a wide array of problems and complaints, only podiatrists are thoroughly and specifically trained to treat the lower legs, feet, and ankles. Many podiatrists are trained to treat the patient as a whole person, integrating care of the legs, feet, and ankles, to meet the patient’s needs in ways that support the entire body and the patient’s ability to live a full life.
What Is a Podiatrist?
Your podiatrist is a fully trained foot and ankle surgeon who is able to treat all conditions that relate to the foot, ankle, and lower leg, and uses proven, evidence-based medicine through specialized training and practice.
Podiatrists have a thorough understanding of the entire body, but focus on the lower extremities.
This focus includes how the health of the feet, ankles, and legs impact the rest of the body.
In addition to being technically proficient, your podiatrist should also be fully adept at interacting with you, the patient.
The Difference between Podiatrists (DPMs) and Medical Doctors (MDs)
Podiatrists are far more than simply foot doctors who treat toenail fungus, calluses, and bunions. In fact, your podiatrist is a highly trained foot and ankle surgeon who has received in-depth training to address problems, injuries, and complaints of the lower extremities.
In contrast, a medical doctor, even if they are an orthopedist, has a broader, less focused base of training and education.
In fact, general medical doctors and orthopedists may only cover the feet and ankles in just a few weeks of training while your podiatrist invests years in understanding the complexities of these parts of the body.
What Kind of Specialized Training Does a Podiatrist Have?
To become a doctor of podiatric medicine, your podiatrist has completed podiatry-specific medical school training, clinical rotations in medicine and surgery, and a residency in podiatric medicine and surgery.
To maintain board certification, your podiatrist must also complete regular continuing education and training activities to stay on top of their skills and make the most of emerging technologies and treatment options.
When seeking a podiatrist, it is important to look for a doctor whom you are comfortable with, who understands you as a whole person, and who is thoroughly trained and able to provide the level of care you both need and deserve.
What Kind of Foot Problems Does a Podiatrist Treat?
- Heel pain
- Foot trauma - including sprains & fractures of the foot and ankle
- Sports injuries
- Ingrown toenails
- Diabetic foot care
- Bunions, neuromas, and more
- Orthotics & growing pains
Meet the Podiatrists of Kansas City Foot Specialists:
Dr. David B. Laha
Able to treat a broad spectrum of podiatric issues, Dr. David B. Laha takes special pride in performing reconstructive foot surgery and offering sports medicine of the lower extremities.
He is an expert in these podiatric specialties, and is often sought out by other physicians for guidance in treating their patients -- making Dr. Laha an integral part of the patient’s treatment team.
Dr. Laha is board-certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, an American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons fellow, and a fellow with the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine.
He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Podiatric Medical Association.
Dr. Jennifer G. Phillips
Dr. Jennifer G. Phillips, like Dr. Laha, has the training and education to treat a broad spectrum of podiatric issues, but with specialized training in reconstructive foot surgery and diabetic foot care.
She takes pride in offering patient education to her patients so that they may be their own best champion in their care. As a runner, she also understands the needs of sports-medicine podiatric patients.
Dr Phillips is an American Board of Podiatric Surgery diplomate and is board certified in foot surgery. She is also a member of the American Diabetes Association, American Podiatric Medical Association, and the Kansas Podiatric Medical Association.
Dr. Andrew M. Hall
Dr. Andrew M. Hall is the newest member of the Kansas City Foot Specialists team, and has special interest in podiatric sports medicine, trauma, and limb preservation.
Dr. Hall completed his foot and ankle surgical residency at Southern Arizona VA Medical Center, and has a thorough understanding of the complex problems associated with foot and ankle traumas and diabetic complications of the lower limbs.
Dr. Hall takes pride in training in and applying technologically advanced therapies to help his podiatric patients. He is board qualified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, and is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association and the Kansas Podiatric Medical Association.