What does a Podiatrist do?
A podiatrist (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle disorders. The podiatrist works closely with other health professionals to treat and control disease and often becomes a vital and sometimes lifesaving link in the health care team. Some podiatrists specialize in areas ranging from sports medicine to podiatric surgery to orthopedics or biomechanics.
What might a Podiatrist do in a workday?
- diagnose foot ailments, such as tumors or ulcers, fractures, skin or nail diseases, and congenital or acquired deformities.
- treat deformities, such as flat or weak feet and foot imbalance, using mechanical and electrical methods.
- treat conditions, such as corns, calluses, bunions, heel spurs, ingrown toenails, arch problems, shortened tendons, cysts, bone disorders and abscesses, if necessary, by surgical methods.
- fit corrective inserts called orthotics, design plaster casts and strappings to correct deformities and design custom-made shoes.
- design flexible casting for immobilization of foot and ankle fractures, sprains or other injuries.
- design mechanical devices to correct walking patterns and balance and to promote the overall ability to move about more efficiently and comfortably.
- refer patients to other physicians when symptoms observed in the feet indicate disorders such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease or kidney disease.
Developing a Career as a Podiatrist
Most podiatrists work in private practice, with hospital privileges for surgery and consulting.
How much salary do Podiatrists make?
Average Salary Range
How do I become a Podiatrist?
To become a podiatrist, students must complete a minimum of 90 undergraduate semester hours and four years of study at one of nine podiatric medical schools. They also must pass national and state board examinations and complete three years of postgraduate training in a podiatric medical and surgical residency program.
Where else can I learn about becoming a Podiatrist?
Virginia Podiatric Medical Association
3733 Benson Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609
American Podiatric Medical Association
9312 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD 20814-1621
American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine
15850 Crabbs Branch Way
Rockville, MD 20855
State License Requirements for Podiatrists
A license is required to practice Podiatry in the state of Virginia. For more information on licensure, applications and forms, visit www.dhp.virginia.gov/medicine.
Virginia Board of Medicine
9960 Mayland Drive
Henrico, VA 23233
Phone: (804) 367-4600