What is a Podiatrist?

The human foot is a biological masterpiece. Its strong, flexible, and functional design enables it to do its job well and without complaint—if you take care of it and don’t take it for granted.

The foot can be compared to a finely tuned race car, or a space shuttle, vehicles whose function dictates their design and structure. And like them, the human foot is complex, containing within its relatively small size 26 bones (the two feet contain a quarter of all the bones in the body), 33 joints, and a network of more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments, to say nothing of blood vessels and nerves.

What is a podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM), also known as a podiatric physician or surgeon, qualified by their education and training to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg. Podiatrists are uniquely qualified among medical professionals to treat the foot and ankle based on their education, training and experience.

When you think of a podiatrist, a foot doctor may immediately come to mind. But did you know that today’s podiatrists are so much more? Today’s podiatrists are doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs), also known as podiatric physicians and surgeons, qualified by their education and training to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg.

Whether it’s a sports injury, diabetes complication, pediatric deformity, or heel pain, today’s podiatrist is uniquely qualified among medical professionals to treat the foot and ankle. In fact, DPMs receive medical education and training comparable to medical doctors, including four years of undergraduate education, four years of graduate education at one of nine podiatric medical colleges, and two or three years of hospital-based post-graduate residency training. All podiatrists receive a DPM degree.

What are the qualifications of a podiatrist?

Podiatrists are defined as physicians by the federal government and in most states. DPMs receive medical education and training comparable to medical doctors, including four years of undergraduate education, four years of graduate education at one of eight accredited podiatric medical colleges and two or three years of hospital residency training. Within the field of podiatry, practitioners can focus on many different specialty areas, including surgery, sports medicine, biomechanics, geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics or primary care.

What does today’s podiatrist do?

Whether you need medical or surgical treatment for your foot or ankle, you can find a podiatrist who meets your needs. Today’s podiatrist is a specialist, highly skilled at keeping patients of all ages pain-free and on the move.

  • sports medicine
  • geriatrics
  • pediatrics
  • wound care
  • dermatology

When should I see today’s podiatrist?

Foot pain is never normal. A DPM can thoroughly examine, diagnose, and treat pain and other foot conditions, providing state-of-the-art medical and surgical solutions. Meeting patients’ varying needs, from athletes and accident victims to people with diabetes or a fashion footwear focus, today’s podiatrist can prescribe a treatment that is right for you. Licensed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, there are approximately 15,000 podiatrists practicing in the United States.

Information collected from the American Podiatric Medical Association, Inc

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