What does a Podiatrist do?
A podiatrist diagnoses, treats, and performs necessary surgeries concerning the lower legs, feet, or ankles. This involves giving medical care for such things as heel spurs, arthritis, or care for associated problems stemming from diabetes, as well as other ailments.
Complicated surgeries are sometimes needed like foot or ankle reconstruction. Some podiatrists choose to specialize in pediatrics or sports medicine.
How to become a Podiatrist
A podiatrist must hold a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine Degree (DPM) and complete a 3 year residency program. A DPM degree takes 4 years to complete. In addition, every state requires a podiatrist to be licensed.
At least 3 years of undergraduate education is needed for admission to Podiatric medicine that would demand courses in laboratory sciences like, physics, biology, chemistry, and general course study in subjects like English.
All aspirants earn a bachelor's degree before advancing to Podiatric medicine and then must take and pass a Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Other licenses, certifications, and registrations may be required in addition to testing for the American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam (APMLE) and paying the fee required.
Job Description of a Podiatrist
Podiatrists are responsible for the medical care of a patient's feet, legs, and ankles. They must make proper diagnoses of illnesses and injuries, as well as perform any surgeries required for the person being treated. He or she must listen closely to a patient, read their medical history, and make a physical examination in order to correctly assess and evaluate the condition of a patient.
A podiatrist must have medical laboratory tests done and X-rays given in addition to the examination. They are expected to provide treatment for any ailments, like improving mobility and instruction on techniques to help improve the patient's condition.
Some podiatrists specialize in advanced surgery for things like deformities or reconstruction of the leg, foot, or ankle. He or she must be able to prescribe medicine, coordinate with other physicians, or refer their patient to other specialists.
Remaining current in advances in Podiatric medicine is expected by attending conferences, reading journals, or conducting other research. A podiatrist must have compassion, interpersonal skills, and be a detail oriented person. It is important for he or she to be a critical thinker and a good listener.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 14 percent growth in 2014-2024 in this occupation which is faster than average for this career field.