What is a podiatrist?
A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the care, treatment and prevention of foot and ankle disorders. This includes conditions of the skin to level of bone.
Podiatry and diabetes
A person with diabetes should have a health team that includes a podiatrist. Diabetics have many foot conditions, such as pressure wounds, ulcers, general foot care and skin conditions.
Wounds can develop after trauma, puncture and burns. Ulcers may develop in those with diabetes with poor circulation.
Those with diabetes need yearly foot exams that check for circulatory, neurological and dermatological status of a diabetic foot. A yearly diabetic foot exam by a podiatrist helps reduce the opportunity for diabetic wounds to develop.
Additional foot, ankle and skin conditions
Most people will suffer from a condition affecting their nails and skin, such as an ingrown toenail, fungal toenail or injury to the nail.
Calluses are usually treated in a conservative manner in the office of a podiatrist, however, for certain individuals in a very short period of time a simple callus can become an ulcer. Simple calluses and life-threatening ulcers are both conditions treated by a podiatrist.
In addition, there are hundreds of skin conditions that may be treated by a podiatrist. The most common conditions are athlete’s foot, warts, dry feet and corns.
A podiatrist is a physician who understands the anatomy and function of the various muscles and tendons. In the most efficient manner, podiatrists can diagnose and treat sports injuries. Common conditions include fractures, sprains, heel pain, and tendonitis and nerve inflammation.
Foot and ankle surgeries
Surgery of the foot and ankle may involve surgery related to the skin, such as warts, moles and infections, and areas under the skin, such as cysts, tendon and bone. Surgery can be performed in a podiatrist’s office or a hospital. Most podiatry surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis.
Podiatrists enter a four-year medical school with the initial two years involving basic medical science. The final two years of medical school emphasizes the conditions and treatment of the lower extremities. Postgraduate residency training is another one to three years. Doctors of podiatry can specialize in pediatrics, geriatrics, surgery, biomechanics, and orthopedics, wound care or primary care medicine. Podiatrists are on staff at hospitals and work with other medical professionals in the overall care of their patient.