Podiatry is the medical specialty focused on treating medical ailments, specifically diseases and injuries, affecting the feet and ankles. Healthcare professionals with degrees in podiatry are called podiatrists.
Podiatrists generally work with patients who have diabetes, pain in their feet, arthritis, sport-related injury, and deformities like ingrown toenails or bunions. Depending on the patient’s case at hand, a podiatrist’s work can vary greatly. Podiatrists may spend time with patients providing consultations or work behind the scenes creating orthotics and casts.
Want to help patients get back on their feet? Read about podiatry education requirements below!
Podiatry Medical School and Residency
The first step to earning any U.S. medical degree is to complete an undergraduate degree. While many students follow a pre-med education track, some choose to earn degrees in science-centric specialties like biology, chemistry, or physics. The goal of undergraduate education is to build a solid base in anatomy and physical science.
Post-graduate podiatry training varies from that required by other medical specialties. Rather than attending medical school, individuals looking to specialize in podiatry must apply to and attend an accredited podiatric medical school. At present, there are nine accredited podiatric medical colleges within the U.S.
Following podiatry school, an individual must complete a three-year residency program before applying for a license and board certification. While healthcare professionals in other specialties must complete the United States medical licensing examination, podiatry hopefuls take a two-part National Board exam instead.
As with other areas of medicine, podiatry can be broken into sub–specialties. Broad subspecialties include surgery, orthopedics, and public health. These subspecialties require additional training to become a certified specialist. Subspecialty training programs last one to two years.
Practicing as a Physician
Podiatrists can enjoy a healthy work-life balance as many of the cases they attend to are not urgent. Many podiatrists work regular weekday hours.
The median annual income for U.S. podiatrists in 2020 was around $148,000. On average, podiatrists make less than the lowest paying medical specialties.
Many podiatrists choose their specialty because they enjoy helping patients feel better instantly. By addressing and correcting pain in the feet and ankles, podiatrists can build-out plans that peovide relief. With care from podiatrists, patient mobility increases. This can help those who like to stay active to have a greater quality of life.
Interested in learning more about podiatry? Participate in a podiatry clinical experience