Podiatric medicine, or podiatry, is the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of conditions associated with the foot and ankle. Students earn a degree from a college of podiatric medicine and gain hands-on training in medical facilities to prepare for a career as a podiatric doctor or physician. Read this article to learn about the field of podiatric medicine.
Podiatric medicine is a branch of health care dedicated to conditions of the foot and ankle. Podiatric physicians diagnose and treat foot ailments and deformities related to disease and injury. Additionally, they are trained to examine the foot to detect potential bodily disorders.
Students who study podiatric medicine can expect to take general science courses in biochemistry, physiology and neuroscience. They must also take specialized courses in podiatric medicine and surgery, medical imaging and sports medicine. Clinical rotations are required in a variety of different capacities, including radiology, surgery and wound care. Podiatrists are prepared to work in an assortment of settings, such as private offices, nursing homes, hospitals and sports training centers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), podiatrists can expect to see a 9% employment increase between 208 and 2018. The obesity epidemic in America is one reason for this growth. As people get larger, their risk of diabetes increases. Podiatry is a lucrative job; podiatrists earned an average annual salary of $133,410 in May 2010.
A career in podiatry requires a degree from a college of podiatric medicine. To qualify, students must first acquire at least three years of undergraduate credit, though most complete a bachelor's degree. Prerequisite coursework includes basic and organic chemistry, biology and physics. A college of podiatric medicine is a 4-year degree program that leads to a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. The first two years focus on course and laboratory work, and the last two years include a clerkship where the student gains hands-on patient care experience.
After podiatric school, graduates complete a residency training program approved by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education. Residency is 2-4 years of interdisciplinary practice that often includes internal medicine, general surgery, radiology and anesthesiology. Students may also be required to complete medicine clerkship programs.