A podiatrist is a doctor and surgeon who deals with conditions of the feet, ankles, and legs. This may involve complications related to injuries, wounds, structural problems, or diabetes and other diseases. A podiatrist works at a medical institution such as a hospital, clinic, or private practice. This doctor sees patients for evaluation and diagnoses. The podiatrist will then assign treatment, whether it be medication, surgery, therapy, or a combination of treatments. A podiatrist needs to be able to document medical notes and records. This doctor may also look at patient records in order to better determine the issue the patient is facing. Being a podiatrist may involve working on a team, including other doctors, surgeons, and nurses. This is generally a full-time position, and hours and days of work often vary. Some travel may be necessary in order to visit patients in various medical institutions.
The position requires four years of medical training and additional education related to podiatry. After that, the podiatrist will have clinical practice under supervision for approximately three years of residency, and next are exams required to acquire certification. The podiatrist must have obtained a medical degree from an accredited school, determined by the Council of Podiatric Medical Evaluation and the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. The podiatrist must also have a current and valid certification to practice. The podiatrist should keep up with the latest developments in the field in order to be able to implement new practices. Ongoing training and education is often necessary.
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.