Podiatry
Podiatrist

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Salary: $78,298 - $138,901
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Hourly: $31.48 - $104.13
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Outlook: 2 Stars
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Length of Training: 8+ years
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Career Explorer
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Roadmap
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Doctors of podiatric medicine (DPM) diagnose and treat foot disorders resulting from tumors, ulcers, fractures, deformities, skin and nail diseases. These doctors use medical, surgical, mechanical, and electrical methods to treat injuries and disorders of the foot and ankle. They may treat foot and ankle fractures, sprains, or other injuries. Some DPMs design and develop mechanical devices to correct walking patterns and balance problems. The foot is often the first area to show signs of serious disorders such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Because the DPM may be the fist healthcare provider to detect symptoms of these disorders, he or she is a vital link in the healthcare team and may refer patients to other physicians when appropriate. People planning a career in podiatry should have scientific aptitude, manual dexterity, interpersonal skills, and good business sense.

Areas of Specialization
While podiatric medicine is already a medical specialty, many practitioners can focus on a particular area of podiatric medicine. These options can include surgery, sports medicine, biomechanics, geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics, and primary care. Specialties require several years of study beyond the doctor of podiatric medicine degree. Specialty residencies include primary care podiatric residency, podiatric orthopedic residency, and podiatric surgical residencies. These residencies take two to three years to complete. Upon completion of residency training, podiatric physicians take oral and written national board exams for certification in one of the profession’s specialties. Podiatrists may also practice a subspecialty such as sports medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, radiology, geriatrics, or diabetic foot care.

Work Environment

Podiatric physicians may work in private or group practices, health maintenance or preferred provider organizations, hospitals and extended care facilities. They may also work in public health facilities, higher education as faculty and researchers, and for the U.S. Public Health Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to private offices and HMOs, podiatric physicians serve on the staffs of hospitals and long-term care facilities, on the faculties of schools of medicine and nursing, and in municipal health departments. They can also be commissioned officers in the Armed Forces. Many podiatrists today are also members of group medical practices.