Training of a Podiatrist
A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) practices the medical, surgical, and biomechanical treatment of the human foot, ankle, and associated structures. Although we specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of problems affecting the foot and ankle, Doctors of Podiatric Medicine are also highly trained health care providers. We see people of all ages and are often the first medical specialists to diagnose systemic problems that affect the feet and ankles such as diabetes, gout, hypertension, immunodeficiencies, and arthritis. Four years of medical school is typically followed by 2 or 3 years of residency that certifies these doctors to function as partners in the larger medical community. Podiatric physicians (podiatrists) are the only medical professionals who exclusively specialize in treating the foot and ankle.
What does a podiatric physician do?
- Diagnoses lower extremity pathology such as tumors, ulcers, fractures, skin and nail diseases, and congenital and acquired deformities.
- Makes independent judgments, prescribes medications, utilizes x-rays, MRI, ultrasound and other laboratory tests for diagnostic purposes, and orders physical therapy.
- Treats conditions such as: corns, calluses, bunions, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, ingrown nails, cysts, bone disorders, and infections of the foot.
- Fits corrective inserts called orthotics that address walking patterns to improve the overall ability of effective and efficient ambulation.
- Provides consultations for the patient and for referring physicians regarding prevention of podiatric problems and possible treatments.
- Performs surgical correction of the foot including: hammertoes, clawtoes, bunions, fractures, infections, ruptured ligaments and tendons, and neuro-vascular abnormalities of the foot.
These are a few good websites describing foot health and care. I believe in preventive health care and hope that you will follow some of the advice in these sites for taking care of your feet and ankles. For more extensive information on general medical problems, go to Medical Resources.
American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopedics & Medicine (ACFAOM)
ACFAOM is an education, research and advocacy organization, which does the following:
- Promotes understanding of the valuable services rendered by podiatrists who devote most of their practice to podiatric orthopedics and primary podiatric medicine.
- Endeavors to advance standards of practice and quality of podiatric care.
- Works to promote establishment of residencies and to encourage certification in podiatric orthopedics and medicine.
- Seeks to standardize nomenclature, teaching methods, and approaches to diagnosis and treatment.
- Promotes and encourages publication of research findings.
- Serves as the "educational arm" of the advanced medical and orthopedic aspect of the podiatric profession.
You can view this website at http://www.acfaom.org
American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)
The American Podiatric Medical Association is the national organization that represents its member podiatric physicians from across the country. The APMA also has more than 20 affiliated and related organizations. These organizations focus their attention on education, research, and specialty areas of interest, such as dermatology, pediatrics, radiology, and sports medicine, among others. The APMA is broadening its focus by bringing more foot health care information to the Internet to better serve the public. You can access this website at http://www.apma.org.
This is an informative website that discusses diabetes and many related conditions. Foot care is a particular challenge if you have this disease. You can access detailed information on foot care as it relates to diabetes at this link, http://diabetes.about.com/cs/footdisease/index.htm.
American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS)
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons is the professional organization for podiatric surgeons, doctors of podiatric medicine (DPM) who are graduates of four-year podiatric medical colleges and have completed surgical residencies. In addition to setting standards and sponsoring research, this organization strives to provide continuing information to consumers relating to foot health, foot and ankle deformities, care of the diabetic foot, congenital deformities, and foot and ankle disorders caused by diseases such as arthritis, trauma, aging, and sports injuries. Check out this site at http://www.acfas.org.