A person’s feet are assigned with a very important job — supporting one’s entire body. They provide stability and act as shock absorbers. For such small packages, there is a lot inside one’s feet, such as 26 very small bones, 33 joints, over 100 tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Healthy feet are important to one’s overall well-being and how they feel. When a person’s feet ache it makes it difficult to focus on other things, let alone go about their day. Being such an important part of one’s body, feet need expert care from a Podiatrist, a doctor specializing in all aspects of foot, ankle, and leg care.
A doctor that specializes in the diagnosis of and treatment for conditions affecting the feet, ankle and lower extremities is referred to as a podiatric physician or surgeon, or simply, “foot doctor”. Podiatrists are the best qualified medical professionals to care for one’s feet. In the United States, people that want to study podiatric medicine must first complete four years of undergraduate studies, followed by four years at a podiatric medical college and then an additional three to four years of residency in a hospital.
Upon graduation, they are awarded the diploma of Doctor of Podiatric Medicine or DPM. Once completing their residency, podiatrists may choose to pursue board certification through any number of specialty boards, such as the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine, or the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. Many podiatric doctors choose to specialize in areas such as reconstructive foot and ankle surgery, podiatric orthopedic, sports medicine, podiatric rheumatology, dermatological podiatry, diagnostic pedoradiologist, or gerontological podiatrist.
A podiatric surgeon is a Podiatrist that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle disorders. They care for bone, joint, ligament, tendon, and muscle conditions of the foot and ankle, including any structural deformities such as hammertoes, bunions, flat foot or arch deformity, and bone spurs. They treat pinched nerves, heel pain, arthritis, congenital deformations and skin and nail conditions. It is not uncommon for podiatric surgeons to be consulted in emergencies for accident-related or traumatic injuries involving broken bones and dislocations. You can also follow them on Twitter.