Podiatrists have the same rights to prescribing, administering, and dispensing medication that all licensed physicians do. However, podiatrists are limited to prescribing medications that treat their patients' foot conditions. For example, while your podiatrist is able to write you a prescription for anti-depressants, he or she is unlikely to do so since it would have little effect on your feet—and your pharmacist has the ethical right to refuse to fill such a prescription.
Types of Medications Your Podiatrist May Prescribe
Unlike prescriptions written by your general practitioner, the medications for your foot condition will usually be short-term and used in conjunction with other therapies. For example, your podiatrist may prescribe:
- Antibiotics. Patients with diabetic ulcers may need a course of antibiotics to stop an infection from spreading, while some patients are prescribed antibiotics after foot surgery to protect against infections.
- Topical treatments. Prescription-strength sprays, foams, ointments, or lotions containing salicylic acid and urea may be prescribed to remove warts, calluses, or scaly skin on the feet.
- Anti-fungals. Topical antifungal creams can be an effective treatment for fungal nails or athletes foot. If a patient's foot skin or nail condition does not improve with topical treatment, a podiatrist may prescribe an oral antifungal.
- Pain relievers. Foot and ankle surgeons are permitted to prescribe pain relievers (including opioid medications) for post-operative pain. Before prescribing pain drugs, podiatrists typically perform a thorough assessment of the patient's risk factors, current medications, substance abuse history, and likelihood of managing pain effectively with other methods.
Whether you have an ongoing condition or need immediate intervention for an injury, the foot and ankle specialists at Greater Washington Advanced Podiatry are here to help. We offer free initial consultations to determine the root cause of the problem, and create a customized treatment plan to get you back on your feet as soon as possible. Simply fill out our online contact form or call us at (301) 515-FEET to set up your first visit.