The Orthopaedic Distinction

Orthopaedic surgeons who specialize in the treatment of foot and ankle problems are medical doctors (MD or DO) and their medical school education covers all fields of medicine. They work with physicians of many other specialties, including internal medicine, pediatrics, vascular surgery, endocrinology, radiology, anesthesiology, and others. Medical school curriculum and post-graduate training provides the solid clinical background necessary to recognize medical problems, admit patients to a hospital when necessary, and to contribute significantly to the coordination of care appropriate for each patient (click here to read the AOFAS position statement on podiatry).


Each Active Member of AOFAS has the following credentials:

  • Completed four years of medical school. The curriculum covers basic and clinical sciences, surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine and all other medical specialties.
  • Completed post-graduate orthopaedic surgery residency training for five or six years.
  • Many orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons also complete advanced fellowship training in foot & ankle surgery.
  • Satisfactory completion of the national medical licensing examination
  • Continuing medical education credits over a specific time period.
  • Board certification - satisfactory completion of written and oral examinations by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery or the American Osteopathic Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Each member must hold membership in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
  • Position statement regarding surgical care of the lower extremities published by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

aaos.jpgWhen selecting a medical provider to care for your feet and ankles, be sure and ask them about:

  • Medical school education
  • Post-graduate residency training
  • Areas of practice specialization
  • Experience in your prescribed treatment (surgical and/or non-surgical)