What is a Podiatrist
A podiatrist, also called a doctor of podiatric medicine, is a practitioner who provides diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems, such as bunions, heel pain, spurs, hammertoes, neuromas, ingrown toenails, warts, corns and calluses. A podiatrist also renders care of sprains, infections, and injuries of the foot, ankle and heel. In addition to undergraduate pre-medical training, podiatrists also attend graduate school for a four year doctor of podiatric medicine degree. 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 podiatrists in the United States. Podiatrists are in demand more than ever today because of a rapidly aging population. In addition, according to the association, foot disorders are among the most widespread and neglected health problems affecting people in this country.
Depending on the area where they practice typically, podiatrists:
- Consult with patients and other physicians on how to prevent foot problems.
- Diagnose and treat tumors, ulcers, fractures, skin and nail diseases, and deformities.
- Perform surgeries or treatments to correct or remedy such problems as bunions, clawtoes, fractures, hammertoes, infections, Achilles injuries , and other ligaments and tendons.
- Prescribe therapies and perform diagnostic procedures.
- Prescribe or fits patient 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.