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What is Podiatrist Malpractice?

All medical professionals, including podiatrists, may commit medical malpractice by providing negligent care which harms a patient. Podiatrists must live up to a “standard of care” which requires them to act in accordance with certain standards of what other podiatrists would do. Podiatric malpractice occurs when a podiatrist fails to competently perform his or her duties resulting in harm to the patient. Mistakes could cause a failure to diagnose cancer or cost a patient’s leg. If a physiotherapist falls short and the patient is harmed, there may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Foot and ankle negligence and malpractice does occur – in this article a doctor allegedly failed to treat a foot infection, requiring amputation – you can read more here.

What Is Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a doctor who studies and treats the foot, ankle, and lower extremity. Podiatrists are also known as podiatric physicians, podiatric surgeons, and doctors of podiatric medicine. Although podiatrists are doctors and have the ability to do surgery, they do not have medical doctor degrees and have a limited scope of practice. Many podiatrists choose to focus on a subspecialty such as diabetic foot care or sports medicine.

Podiatrists diagnose illnesses, treat injuries, and perform surgery. In order to diagnose and treat a patient, a podiatrist should listen to the patient’s concerns, conduct a physical examination, consider all medical conditions (such as diabetes), and consider a patient’s medical history. If necessary, they may order tests such as x-rays, MRIs, and medical laboratory tests. Treatment may include physical therapy, special devices such as shoe inserts, laser treatment, or surgery. If necessary, a podiatrist may refer a patient to another doctor.

Podiatrists treat a wide variety of foot and lower leg ailments. Podiatry treatment may be needed for reasons such as:

  • Ingrown toe nails
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Nail fungus
  • Bunions
  • Heel spurs
  • Arch problems
  • Ankle and foot injuries
  • Deformities
  • Infections
  • Foot ulcers
  • Hammer toes
  • Corns
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Skin problems
  • Vascular (blood flow) problems
  • Diabetic foot care
  • Oncology
  • Muscle problems
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy

How Foot Doctor Malpractice Occurs

The feet and ankles have 52 bones, 33 joints, nerves, arteries, muscles, and tendons. As such, doctors must apply their years of training, observational skills, and good decision-making in order to ensure quality treatment. Unfortunately, these doctors sometimes mess up and their patients suffer the consequence. Some ways that this may occur include:

  • Failure to conduct a proper physical examination
  • Failure to obtain or consider a patient’s medical history
  • Medication Errors
  • Failures to diagnose medical conditions
    • Cancer
    • Plantar fasciitis
    • Diabetes
    • Infections
  • Surgical Errors
    • Technical surgical errors
    • Unnecessary surgery
    • Failure to follow proper surgical procedures
    • Surgical errors causing nerve or tendon damage
    • Misplaced surgical hardware
    • Failure to sterilize equipment
    • Failure to follow-up after surgery
  • Use of too much laser energy
  • Lack of experience
  • Distraction
  • Too much focus on profit
  • Doing more than skill level allows
  • Failure to refer to a specialist
  • Failure to recommend necessary medical procedures
  • Improper application of short leg casts
  • Failure to obtain informed consent
  • Failure to treat foot ulcers
  • Failure to consider diabetic and other risk factors

Consequences of Podiatric Malpractice

Despite the fact that podiatry only treats the feet and lower leg, podiatric malpractice can have serious complications which can harm the whole body, limit mobility, and even lead to death. These consequences include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Infections
  • Amputation
  • Loss of mobility
  • Chronic pain
  • Failure to treat dangerous conditions and diseases
  • Complications from unnecessary surgery
  • Surgical devices left in the body
  • Removal of too much bone
  • Nerve injury
  • Tendon injury
  • Muscle injury
  • Need for further surgery

Did You Suffer Due to a Failure to Podiatrist Malpractice?

Our firm has the background and experience to determine whether a podiatrist has committed medical malpractice and what parties should be held responsible. It is generally challenging to prove that any type of medical malpractice has occurred. You not only need to show that something went wrong, but also that the podiatrist failed to follow the “standard of care” and that the failure led to your harm. This is difficult and requires medical experts to prove.

In order to prove that medical malpractice has occurred, we develop a plan that gives you the best chance to discover the truth and get you the compensation you deserve. Our plans frequently include getting the medical records quickly and having those records reviewed by medical experts. We choose our cases carefully so we can give every client and case the personalized attention needed to pursue the best outcome.

If you believe that you have been the victim of a podiatrist’s malpractice and our investigation supports that the podiatrist fell short of his or her responsibility, we can help you get the compensation you need and deserve to help offset your bills, lost wages, future lost wages, pain, and suffering.


If you believe that a podiatrist failed to act competently resulting in serious harm, contact Gupta Law Group for a free consultation. We help people and families throughout Illinois and Indiana. Call us or email us to schedule a free consultation. Cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, which means that you owe us nothing unless your claim is successful and results in compensation.