Dr. Anson K. Chu Richmond va foot & ankle foot and ankle surgeonYour foot and ankle are highly intricate, with 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments working together. When you have injuries or conditions in the foot or ankle, It is essential to see a physician with highly specialized knowledge and experience in that part of the body.

How Do You Choose Who To See? 

First, let’s look at the similarities and differences of the three types of providers.

Podiatrists

A Podiatrist, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.), is the only health care professional whose total training focuses on the foot, ankle and related body systems. A podiatric doctor spends four years in a college of podiatric medicine to obtain a doctorate degree followed by a post-graduate residency program at an approved hospital or university. Each podiatrist must pass national and state examinations to be licensed by the state where they will practice.

  • Treat the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg
  • Complete 6-7 years of medical training
    • Four years of medical training in podiatry 
    • Three years of hospital residency training in podiatry
  • Treat bones, soft tissues, and joints in the foot and ankle, as well as other biomechanical and skin conditions
  • Differentiated physicians with all training geared toward foot and ankle
  • Typically treat: 
    • Ingrown toenails
    • Calluses
    • Fallen arches
    • Heel spurs
    • Deformities of the feet
    • Common foot and ankle injuries
    • Treatment for foot problems related to diabetes and other systemic illnesses

Orthopedic Surgeons

An orthopedic surgeon or orthopedist is a person who specializes in both surgical and nonsurgical approaches to treating a variety of musculoskeletal issues, such as sports injuries, joint pain, and back problems. Orthopedists complete medical school, followed by a five or six-year orthopedic residency at a hospital. Orthopedists treat a variety of conditions that relate to the musculoskeletal system. Conditions involving direct trauma or repeated trauma due to overuse of a bone, joint, muscle, or tendon will benefit from treatment by an orthopedist.

  • Treat bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles that make up the musculoskeletal system
  • Complete 10+ years of medical training
    • Four years of medical school 
    • Five years of residency in orthopedic surgery 
    • One year of education within an orthopedic subspecialty
  • Diagnose orthopedic problems, perform or prescribe treatments, and assist with rehabilitation
  • Develop long-term strategies to treat illnesses, disorders, and issues relating to your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles
  • Typically treat:
    • Torn or broken (ruptured) ligaments
    • Torn or broken tendons
    • Broken bones that won’t heal with just a cast

Foot and Ankle Surgeon – The Best of Both Podiatry and Orthopedics

Foot and ankle surgeons are both podiatrists and surgical specialists, making them experts in torn tissues and broken bones of the foot and ankle. Their exceptional knowledge and expertise in foot and ankle surgery result from the high volume of cases and time focused on the foot and ankle in residency programs for podiatric surgeons.

  • Complete 10+ years of medical training
    • Four years of medical training in podiatry 
    • Three years of hospital residency training in podiatry and orthopedic surgery
    • One or more years of fellowship training within an orthopedic subspecialty
  • Focuses on the parts of the foot and ankle that pertain to the bones, soft tissues and joints
  • Diagnose foot and ankle problems, perform or prescribe treatments, and assist with rehabilitation
  • Highly specialized in treating the foot and ankle
  • Typically treat:
    • Torn or broken (ruptured) ligaments of the foot or ankle
    • Torn or broken tendons of the foot or ankle
    • Broken bones of the foot or ankle that won’t heal with just a cast

Bottom Line – Choose a Foot and Ankle Surgeon!

If you needed heart surgery, you wouldn’t see a general physician to perform your heart surgery; you would want an expert in heart surgery. Same with your feet and ankles! Because Podiatric Foot and Ankle Surgeons focus on the foot and ankle specifically, they are the correct providers when you need care involving the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues of the foot and ankle and lower leg. 

Podiatrists are experts in feet and ankles but don’t tend to focus on breaks or tears. Orthopedic surgeons may have some experience or training in the foot and ankle. Still, it does not compare to the depth of training in the foot and ankle that a foot and ankle surgeon receives over many years of schooling, residency and fellowship.

What Will Your Foot and Ankle Surgeon Do:

Just because foot and ankle surgeons are experts in foot and ankle surgery, it does not mean they only do surgery. They diagnose and treat conditions affecting people’s feet and ankles, both the simple and the complex. Knowledgable and experienced providers consider nonsurgical treatments first, and only after those are exhausted is surgery considered.

G2 Orthopedics and Sports Medicine’s Foot and Ankle Surgeon – Dr. Anson Chu

Dr. Anson Chu is a fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon. He attended podiatric medical school at Rosalind Franklin University and completed a comprehensive surgical residency program at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, where he served as Chief Resident. Dr. Chu trained under renowned foot and ankle surgeons at the Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Center in Columbus, OH. Later, he completed his fellowship in foot and ankle reconstructive surgery at Coordinated Health-Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem, PA. Over the course of this fellowship, Dr. Anson Chu focused on primary and revision total ankle replacement, trauma and acquired deformities, treating Lehigh University athletes across all sports.

If you have any questions about Dr. Chu, our services, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chu, visit G2 Orthopedics and Sports Medicine online or call our practice at 804-678-9000.