What is a Podiatrist?

What is a Podiatrist?


A Podiatrist is the foremost authority and medical specialist of one of the most intricate and complex anatomical structures ever designed -- the human foot and ankle.

Marrying the mechanical complexity and precision of a Swiss watch with the structural strength of a cantilever bridge, the human foot is a bioengineering masterpiece. It is a complex marvel of 26 bones (one-quarter of all the bones in the human body), 33 joints and more than 100 ligaments and tendons, all linked and served by a vast network of nerves, muscles, blood vessels, soft tissue and skin, working in unison to provide the support, strength, flexibility and resiliency needed for things most of us take for granted, such as balance, walking, running and jumping. The podiatrist is the medical expert of this wonder of nature.

Examination of children's feet is an integral part of podiatry. Frequently, children have structural imbalance of the feet that may go unrecognized and can lead to other deformities and imbalances within the skeletal system. When detected early, these imbalances of the feet, some of which are related to the bone structure, are treated so that a sturdier foundation can be provided for during later years.

A podiatrist is the only medical specialist educated, trained, licensed, and certified for exclusive treatment of the foot and ankle.

In order to receive the degree of doctor of podiatric medicine, podiatrists must successfully undergo a lengthy, rigorous course of education, training and testing in such diverse areas as biomechanics, orthopedics, radiography, pharmacology, sports medicine, dermatology and surgery.

Although wondrous in design and function, the human foot can also be struck by numerous ailments, some of which are life-threatening. Additionally, many disorders first manifest themselves in the foot.

Podiatrists are often the first healthcare professionals to diagnose these disorders.

Podiatrists also play a critical role in the care, treatment and management of the diabetic, elderly and circulation-impaired. The diagnosis, intervention and treatment by podiatrists may save patients from amputation, restore mobility or prevent other serious, more costly problems, by early detection and appropriate treatment.