A podiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the care of foot and ankle problems. Specifically, they target issues including, but not limited to, sprains and fractures, warts, fungal toenails, heel pain, and bunions. They find and diagnose foot related medical issues by using methods such as medical exams, x-rays, and laboratory tests.
A physician may refer you to a podiatrist if you have foot and ankle problems that require extensive care and attention. Podiatrists can prescribe medications and treatments such as special shoe inserts to help with mobility or advice about general wellness. If they find evidence of a larger problem such as diabetes, they may refer you to another physician. Some podiatrists focus in on specialties such as sports medicine.