A podiatrist, or podiatric physician and surgeon, is a specialist who provides medical and surgical care of foot and ankle problems. A podiatric physician is a physician in every sense of the word. Podiatric physicians and surgeons like other physicans in other specialties complete pre medical training in colleges and universities around the world; complete the MCAT or Medical Colleges Admissions Test, complete 4 years of medical education and then successfully complete post medical school residency training. Podiatrists 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 and all manner of foot and ankle reconstruction.
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, and all other foot and ankle condition.
- Provide the highest quality wound care of the foot and ankle. In fact podiatric physicians are uniquely qualified to render wound care for the salvage of the diabetic or vascularly compromised foot and ankle.