What is Podiatric Medicine?
Podiatric Medicine is a field of medicine that strives to improve the overall health and well-being of patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with the foot and ankle. Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) are physicians and surgeons who practice on the lower extremities, primarily on feet and ankles. The preparatory education of most DPMs includes four years of undergraduate work, followed by four years in an accredited podiatric medical school, followed by a hospital-based residency. DPMs are licensed in all 50 states and The District of Columbia to diagnose and treat the foot and its related or governing structures by medical, surgical or other means. The vast majority of states also include ankle care as part of the podiatric physician's scope of practice.
In addition to private practice, podiatrists serve on the staff of hospitals and long-term care facilities, on the faculties of schools of medicine, as commissioned officers in the Armed Forces and the US Public Health Service, in the Department of Veterans Affairs, and in municipal health departments. Podiatrists may also be members of group medical practices. The skills of podiatric physicians are in increasing demand because disorders of the foot and ankle are among the most widespread and neglected health problems facing us today.