Q. What is a Podiatrist?
A. A Podiatrist is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). The medical care that Podiatrists provide is referred to as podiatric medicine and surgery, and includes the medical, surgical, and mechanical care of the foot and ankle. The foot and ankle is a complex structure comprised of bones, nerves, tendons, muscles, and joints.
Q. What is the difference between a podiatrist and a doctor of general medicine?
A. Podiatrists are specially trained in the care of orthopedic deformities, diseases, and injuries of the foot and ankle. This includes birth deformities, growth deformities, work or sports injuries, fractures, bunions, hammertoes, heel spurs, ankle trauma, ingrown nails, arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, and peripheral vascular disease.
Q. When should I go to a podiatrist and when should I consult an orthopedist for my foot and ankle problems?
A. Over the past decade, medical care has become very specialized. A podiatrist is board certified in all problems relating to the leg, ankle and foot. Any leg, ankle or foot concerns can be treated by a podiatrist-a specialist in this area.
Q. What training/education do podiatrists receive?
A. Most podiatrists complete a 4-year undergraduate college education. After graduation, there is four years of Podiatric Medical School. After completion of medical school, a podiatric surgeon participates in a surgical residency program or postdoctoral education to prepare for the specialty of podiatric surgery. After Several years of clinical experience and practice in accredited hospitals, a podiatric surgeon may apply for board certification.
This pre-certification clinical experience requirement assures that a board certified podiatric surgeon brings significant experience to the care of your foot and ankle problems.
Q. What ongoing training is required of podiatrists?
A. Once board certified, Doctors of Podiatric Medicine Diplomates are required to participate annually in continuing education in subject areas relevant to the practice of podiatric medicine and surgery. Additionally, every 10 years Diplomates must take a written examination to assess their current level of podiatric expertise.