Podiatrists are medical professionals that treat foot and lower limb ailments. They can treat both injuries and problems from chronic illnesses such as diabetes. They may be referred to as a podiatric physician or a doctor of podiatric medicine.
Podiatrists are doctors who did not attend standard medical school. They have their specific educational institutions and organisations. They also have “DPM” (doctor of podiatric medicine) instead of “MD” after their names (medical doctor).
Podiatrists can perform surgery, repair fractured bones, give medications, and arrange lab tests and X-rays. But, they frequently collaborate with other specialists when it comes to your feet or lower legs.
What Type of Education and Training Do They Have?
Students who aspire to be podiatrists learn biology, chemistry, and physics in college, along with additional scientific studies, to prepare for podiatry school. Most obtain a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related science discipline.
They then attend podiatry school for four years. They investigate how your bones, nerves, and muscles interact to help you move. They also research the diseases and traumas that might damage your foot. This includes how to identify and treat them and how to repair the foot surgically if necessary.
After graduating from podiatry school, students work in a hospital for three years. This is known as a residency, and they apply what they’ve learned. They also collaborate with doctors from other specialities, such as surgeons, anesthesiologists, paediatricians, and infectious disease experts.
They can get advanced foot and ankle surgery certifications after completing their residency.
What Conditions Can They Treat?
Podiatrists treat patients from all ages for a variety of foot-related disorders, including:
- Fractures and sprains. Podiatrists commonly treat these common ailments in the foot or ankle. They also work in sports medicine, treating athletes’ foot ailments and prescribing strategies to avoid them.
- Bunions and hammertoes. These are issues with the bones in your foot. A bunion occurs when the joint at the base of your big toe expands or becomes misaligned. This causes the toe to flex toward the others. A hammertoe is one that does not flex correctly.
- Arthritis. This is caused by inflammation, oedema, and joint wear and tear. Each foot contains 33 joints. To treat your arthritis, a podiatrist may offer physical therapy, medications, or special shoes. Surgery may be possible if alternative treatments do not work for you.
- Growing discomfort. A podiatrist can help if your child’s feet point inward, seem flat, or their toes do not line up properly. They may suggest workouts, insoles, or braces. They may also advise surgery.
Why Should You Visit a Podiatrist?
Feet are complicated structures with several bones, tendons, and ligaments that must all function in unison to keep you moving.
When you experience the following symptoms, see a podiatrist:
- Foot ache.
- Toenails that are thick or discoloured.
- Your skin has cracks or cuts.
- Wart-like growths.
- Your soles are scaling and peeling.