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What is a Pediatric podiatrist (Child podiatrist)? A pediatric podiatrist is a DPM physician who cares for foot and ankle conditions and diseases in children. The pediatric podiatrist looks after cases such as Pes cavus, Club foot, Equinus deformity, Congenital flat foot, Calcaneal spur, Splay foot, Congenital and acquired flat foot, Metatarsus adductus, etc.
Pediatric podiatrists are not MDs, rather they are DPM. DPM stands for doctor of podiatric medicine. These are the healthcare providers who diagnose and treat conditions solely of the feet and ankles. DPM is a healthcare field and should not be confused with alternative or chiropractic treatments. Most DPM undergo extensive training which includes four years of podiatric school plus two to three years of residency to earn the title of DPM. They can use Dr. with their name but they also have to mention DPM at the end of their name in order not to confuse people into thinking that they are physicians. Learn more about DPM here.
Podiatrists have extensive knowledge of the feet and ankle area and are allowed to practice independently. They are also allowed to perform foot and ankle surgeries.
What is pediatric podiatry?
Pediatric podiatrists specifically are the physicians who further sub-specialize in podiatry. They are then licensed to take care of the ailments and conditions that affect the feet of neonates or children. In most cases, pediatric podiatrists will work side by side the pediatric orthopaedic surgeons. In most hospitals, the orthopaedic team does include some podiatrists who look after the foot problems affecting many patients such as diabetic foot, etc. Children don’t usually develop diabetic foot or similar conditions that are very common in adults. As the anatomy and physiology of children differ considerably from adults, they have a drastically different ailment profile. So, they need specialized care, hence the need for a separate subspecialty called pediatric podiatry.
It is generally wise to visit a pediatric podiatrist rather than a general podiatrist as pediatric podiatrists are better trained to deal with the conditions affecting children. Most centres don’t have pediatric podiatrists so you may have to go to a tertiary level centre.