Simply put, a podiatrist is a foot doctor. He or she specializes in examining, diagnosing, and treating problems related to the feet of his or her patients. These can include problems like breaks and sprains, but they are more likely to be related to comfort issues, such as bunions, corns, and blistering. A podiatrist will typically examine a patient's problem, administer testing, and treat the problem. In some situations, the podiatrist may also refer a patient to an orthopedist for more extensive care.
Many people rely on being on their feet to earn a living and enjoy life. However, foot conditions can prove problematic. A podiatrist will typically listen to the complaints his or her patients present, and then perform a full examination. He or she will then recommend treatment, which can include drug therapy, orthotic devices, behavioral changes, and surgical repair. A podiatrist is licensed to perform these surgical procedures on feet, often under a local anesthetic.
A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatry and must undergo much of the same rigorous education that any medical doctor does. This typically includes post-graduate medical school related to podiatry, as well as testing and board certification after earning a degree. Most podiatrists work in a doctor's office or other clinical environment during regular hours of the work week.
Refer patients to physicians when symptoms indicative of systemic disorders, such as arthritis or diabetes, are observed in feet and legs.
Advise patients about treatments and preventative foot care techniques.
Prescribe medications, corrective devices, physical therapy, or surgery.
Diagnose and treat bone, muscle, skin and joint disorders affecting the feet.
Make and fit prosthetic appliances.