A podiatric physician is a physician in every sense of the word. Like physicians in other specialties, podiatric physicians must complete pre medical education in colleges and universities throughout the world. Following undergraduate pre medical studies podiatric physicians complete the MCAT or Medical College Admission Test and then begin 4 years of medical education after which medical and surgical residency training is completed. Podiatric physicians are required to take state and national exams, as well as be licensed by the state in which they practice.
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, there are an estimated 15,000 practicing podiatric physicians in the United States. Podiatric physicians are in demand more than ever today because of a rapidly aging population. In addition, according to the association, foot and ankle disorders are among the most widespread and neglected health problems affecting people in this country.
Typically, podiatric physicians:
Consult with patients and other physicians on how to prevent foot and ankle problems.
Diagnose and treat tumors, ulcers, fractures, skin and nail diseases, and deformities.
Perform surgeries to correct or remedy such problems as bunions, clawtoes, fractures, hammertoes, infections, ruptured Achilles, and other ligaments and tendons.
Prescribe therapies and perform diagnostic procedures such as ultrasound and lab tests.
Prescribe or fits patients with inserts called orthotics that correct walking patterns.
- Treat conditions such as: bone disorders, bunions, corns, calluses, cysts, heel spurs, infections, ingrown nails, and plantar fasciitis.
- Provide world class wound care for the salvage of the diabetic and vascularly compromised foot and ankle