What Is a Podiatrist?
A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM), also known as a podiatric physician or surgeon. Podiatrists diagnose and treat conditions of the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg.
What Are the Qualifications of a Podiatrist?
Podiatrists are the most qualified doctors to care for your feet. They complete four years of training in a podiatric medical school and three years of hospital residency training. This training is similar to that of other doctors.
Podiatrists can specialize in many fields, including surgery, sports medicine, wound care, pediatrics (children), and diabetic care.
Doctors of podiatric medicine have the education, training, experience, and licensure to:
- perform comprehensive medical history and physical examinations;
- prescribe drugs and order and perform physical therapy;
- perform surgeries ranging from basic to complex reconstructive surgery;
- repair fractures and treat sports–related injuries;
- prescribe and fit orthotics, durable medical goods, and custom–made shoes; and
- perform and interpret X–rays and other imaging studies.
Are Podiatrists Board Certified?
Podiatrists can earn board certification with advanced training, clinical experience, and by ultimately taking an exam. The American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery and the American Board of Podiatric Medicine are the two primary certifying boards for the field.
Look for the “DPM”
Feet are complex anatomical structures, all-in-one stabilizers, shock absorbers, and propulsion engines that are instrumental to overall health and well-being. They require expert care. Be sure you’re seeing the most qualified health-care professional to treat your feet by looking for the letters “DPM” after his or her name. The DPM means a physician has completed years of rigorous foot and ankle training in podiatric medical school and hospital-based residency training, making him or her uniquely qualified to care for this part of the body.