Have you ever wondered, "What is a Podiatrist? What exactly do they treat? Are they a "real" doctor? If you have foot or ankle pain or problems and are unsure of who to see for the condition, the following information may help answer some of your questions.
Q: What is a Podiatrist?
A: A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM), also known as a podiatric physician or surgeon. Podiatrists are qualified by their education and training to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot and ankle. Podiatric physicians are uniquely qualified among medical professionals for specialized care solely dedicated to the structures of the foot and ankle and diseases that can affect these lower extremities.
What are the qualifications of a podiatrist?
Podiatrists are defined as physicians by the federal government and in most states, including Nebraska and Iowa. DPM’s receive medical education and training comparable to MD’s, including four years of undergraduate education, four years of graduate education at one of eight accredited podiatric medical colleges and post graduate training. Within the field of podiatry, practitioners can choose to have a general practice treating multiple areas or may choose to focus on a specialty area, including surgery, sports medicine, biomechanics, geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics or primary care.
Are all podiatrists board certified?
A majority of podiatrists are board certified, although board certification is not required to hold a license and practice as a podiatrist. Certification is considered to be an earned credential for those podiatric physicians who have achieved certain levels of skill and ability based upon completion of specific advanced training and clinical experience and examination. There are only two certifying boards recognized by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA); the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine (ABPOPPM) and the American Board of Podiatric Surgery (ABPS). There are other certifying boards for podiatry; however, they have not met the required standards to be recognized by the APMA.
Who is Steven D. Meinhold, D.P.M.?
Dr. Meinhold has practiced podiatry in Omaha, NE since 1984. He treats a variety of conditions dealing with the foot and ankle; including bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, plantar fasciitis and nail conditions to name a few. As a member of the American Diabetic Association, he provides foot and nailcare as well as education to many suffering from diabetes.
Dr. Meinhold graduated from Milikin University and continued his education at William Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine. He is board certified by the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine. He holds privileges at Immanuel Hospital, UNMC, Advanced Surgery Center and Omaha Surgical Center, as well as providing care in multiple outpatient clinics throughout eastern Nebraska.
Did you know the rate of amputations for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than that for people without diabetes? The good news is there are steps you can take to help ensure you continue to walk through life with happy, healthy feet. Avoiding foot health complications often associated with diabetes starts with an understanding of how diabetes affects your feet. If you choose to follow your understanding with a plan to take better care of your feet, you can significantly reduce your risks of foot calluses, deformities, ulcerations and amputation. Having a comprehensive footcare program can reduce the risk of diabetic amputation by as much as 85%. And your feet will continue to take you wherever you want to go!
Elevated blood sugar levels can cause damage to nerve endings. This leaves many diabetics with a loss of protective sensation that can put your toes and feet at risk. When you combine a loss of sensation with improper or ill-fitting footwear, sores may develop because of rubbing, slipping, or shearing. Simply put, your nerve endings cannot feel what is happening to your feet. Therefore they can’t send the proper messages to your brain when your feet need special attention or protection. Prescription diabetic footwear can help provide the extra protection your feet need. By visiting a professional, like Dr. Meinhold or his staff, who is trained to properly fit diabetic shoes you further diminish the chance of complications and are taking an active role in your managing your diabetes.
Diabetic shoes are specially constructed to protect your feet. They are also “extra depth” to accommodate special inserts, which are heat molded to your feet or custom made. Special features and materials combine to provide your feet with the extra protection they need. When people hear the term “therapeutic shoes” they often think of ugly, bulky old shoes. Today’s diabetic shoes come in many different colors and styles to fit your lifestyle-just like regular shoes. You can protect your feet without sacrificing fashion.
Taking care of your diabetes means making healthy lifestyle choices to keep your blood sugars under control. Work with a healthcare team that includes a podiatrist for your footcare program. For more information regarding a diabetic footcare plan designed for you or information regarding diabetic shoes contact Dr. Meinhold’s office today!
I have severe pain in my foot that continues to get worse. I have had x-rays taken and nothing appears to be wrong. Is there any other way to find out what might be causing all of this pain?
Yes, there is another alternative. Diagnostic ultrasound is used to diagnose soft tissue problems of the foot and ankle such as inflammation or tears in ligaments, inflammation or pinching of nerves, tendonitis and abnormal growths. It can also be used to find pieces of glass, wood or metal from puncture wounds which can be a frequent, hard to find reason for foot pain. Diagnostic ultrasound can find areas of localized infection, show if tissue is being pinched between bones and can even be used to guide the placement of an injection to ensure that medication is placed precisely where it needs to be for maximum effectiveness and pain relief.
At Dr. Meinhold’s office, our diagnostic ultrasound machine is one of the most technologically advanced machines available. Testing is quick and painless. Results are available immediately and you are able to see the problem when the ultrasound is being performed. We can even give you a hard copy of the image. There is no radiation or side effects with this machine as there are with other diagnostic tests.
If you are looking for a knowledgeable professional with experience in treating foot and ankle problems, please contact Dr. Steven Meinhold’s office to schedule an appointment.