Podiatry is a corner of medicine that most people don’t know much about. Even patients who have been seeing a podiatrist for years often don’t know the entire scope of the profession. A podiatrist (or DPM--Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) is a doctor who treats ailments of the foot and ankle. Schooling is similar to traditional medical school, with four years of medical education following a college degree. They are licensed to write prescriptions, run a clinic, and perform surgery, just like an MD.
After the four years of undergraduate education, podiatrists spend four years in graduate education at one of the eight accredited podiatric medical colleges. The curriculum is very similar to traditional medical schools, and some are even associated with a medical college or nursing program, with combined classes. During the first two years podiatry school students receive classroom education, including anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, and pharmacology. The third and fourth year consist of clinical rotations in private practices, hospitals, and clinics. Graduates then obtain the degree of Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). Podiatrists then go on to complete three years of hospital residency training.
There are many different areas of focus in podiatry, including surgery, sports medicine, biomechanics, geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics, dermatology, and primary care. The common disorders that podiatrists treat are bunions, corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, heel spurs, arch problems, warts, ankle and foot injuries, deformities, and infections. Podiatrists work closely with diseases such as gout and diabetes.
The majority of podiatrists are board certified. This is a certification that is earned by achieving certain levels of skill of specific advanced training and clinical experience. There are two different board certifications: the American Board of Podiatric Surgery (ABPS) is the certifying board for the specialty area of foot and ankle surgery, and the American Board of Podiatric Medicine (ABPM) is the certifying board for the specialty areas of podiatric orthopedics and primary podiatric medicine.
All of our podiatrists at Atlantic Foot and Ankle Specialists are members of the American Board of Podiatric Medicine. To learn about where all of our doctors went to medical school click here.