A medical expert of the human foot and ankle.
WHAT IS A PODIATRIST?
The Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) is the expert in one of the most intricate and complex anatomical structures ever designed—the human foot and ankle. Podiatrists are the only health care professionals whose training focuses exclusively on the foot, ankle and related body systems.
As a specialist in foot care, the podiatrist receives extensive training in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of foot and ankle disorders by medical and surgical means. Podiatrists complete a lengthy, rigorous course of education, training and testing in a wide variety of disciplines including biomechanics, orthopedics, radiography, pharmacology, sports medicine, dermatology and surgery.
After obtaining an undergraduate degree, the podiatric doctor spends four years in a college of podiatric medicine to obtain a doctorate degree. Podiatrists must further their training with a 2-3 year residency in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at an accredited hospital program.
The podiatric physician cares for people of all ages, treating any foot and ankle problem. The common disorders include bunions, heel pain/spurs, hammertoes, neuromas, ingrown toenails, warts, corns and calluses. The podiatric physician also treats sprains, fractures, infections, along with injuries of the foot, ankle and heel.
Although wondrous in design and function, the human foot can also be struck by many ailments, some of which can be life-threatening. Many physical disorders first manifest themselves in the foot and podiatrists are often the first healthcare professionals to diagnose these disorders.
Podiatrists play an important role in the care, treatment and management of the diabetic, elderly and circulation-impaired. The diagnosis, intervention and treatment by podiatrists may save patients from amputation, restore mobility or prevent other serious, more costly problems by early detection and appropriate treatment.