The Greek word 'ortho' means straight and 'pedics' comes from the Greek 'pais' meaning children. For many centuries, orthopedists have been involved in the treatment of crippled children.
Orthopedic surgeons were the specialists who cared for the children who had crooked spines and other musculoskeletal deformities. Over the years, the field has expanded to encompass many subspecialties and the treatment of a wide variety of musculoskeletal disorders in patients of all ages.
A specialist in foot problems can either be an orthopedic surgeon who has specialized in the treatment of foot and ankle disorders, or a podiatrist. A podiatrist is a doctor who has gone to a podiatry school to train in the treatment of foot and ankle disorders.