A podiatrist is a doctor who deals with lower extremities. In simpler terms, he/she treat disorders of the feet, ankles and related structures of the leg. Feet and ankle conditions such as bunions, ingrown toenails, athlete’s foot, flat feet, corns, and warts are all conditions that are best dealt with by a podiatrist. A podiatrist holds qualifications known as Doctor of Podiatric Medicine or DPM. Although all people can develop problems with their feet and ankles, a podiatrist is more likely to treat older individuals or athletes. These are more susceptible to injury or developing issues with their feet, ankles or lower structures of the legs.
The training that leads to specialization in podiatric medicine
As you might know, all specialist doctors start off by studying general medicine. The same case applies to Doctors of Podiatric Medicine. In America, they go through four years of general medicine and some four more years of Podiatric medicine. This training must be in a school that is accredited to offer Podiatric Medicine. The training does not stop there as they have to undergo a residency in a hospital for three to four years. Once a DPM has undergone all that, he/she can sit for a board certification and is now eligible for registration by the board of American Medicine and the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery if in America. Not for the faint-hearted, is it? However, the training and licensing requirements defer by the countries. Check the specific country requirements if you would like to pursue podiatry for a career. What procedures can podiatrists perform?
Now that a doctor has undergone the rigorous training and is licensed to be a DPM, the next big question becomes, what can they do? While it’s obvious that a licensed DPM should be able to treat the common podiatric conditions, not all Doctors of Podiatric Medicine are allowed to perform surgeries. Performing operations is dependent on the kind of certification that the doctor receives from the board. So even as you go to see that specialist in podiatric medicine, be careful on who performs the surgery on you.
Further specializations for Doctors of Podiatric Medicine
Specialization for DPMs does not just stop at certification by a board. They can specialize further. Medicine is a very broad area. Hence the specialization almost never ends. The following are the areas where podiatrists specialize in further;
- Wound care
- Sports medicine
- Diabetic care
All these areas present unique challenges that deserve further attention as per podiatric medicine requirements.
Podiatry like a well known practice like Podiatry One, is a critical part of human medicine. It is said that everyone experiences feet, ankles or structures of the leg-related issues at least once in their lifetime. Now that you know what exactly podiatrists do do not hesitate to see one next time you are experiencing a case of athlete’s feet or bunions or any other leg, ankle and structures of the legs problems. There is a directory for DPMs if you live in the USA.