A specialist in the medical care and treatment of the foot is a podiatrist.
In some regions, podiatrists can also handle sports injuries, ulcers, and other ailments affecting the ankles and lower limbs.
Podiatrists attend podiatric medical schools. Additionally, they finish several years of training in clinics and hospitals.
Please continue reading to discover what podiatrists perform, the diseases they treat, and other information.
Podiatrists can treat numerous ailments.
A podiatrist is a medical professional who treats injuries and illnesses that mostly affect the foot. However, where they practise, they can occasionally identify and treat issues with the ankles and lower limbs.
Before beginning patient care, podiatrists participate in intensive educational and training programmes.
Doctoral degrees in podiatric medicine are awarded to podiatrists by approved universities. Despite a thorough understanding of human anatomy and physiology, their training is focused on treating the lower extremities, particularly the feet.
During residency training, podiatrists acquire practical experience in medical facilities like hospitals and clinics. In addition, they must pass a series of board certification tests after finishing this course. The letters DPM, which stands for Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, are used after the name of a completely licenced podiatrist.
If a person has pain, numbness, or swelling in their foot, they may want to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist.
Foot injuries, such as broken or fractured bones and sprains and strains, can be diagnosed and treated by podiatrists.
Arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout-related foot pain and inflammation diabetic foot disorders, including infections, chronic ulcers, and nerve damage or neuropathy structural foot abnormalities, including hammertoe, flat feet, and high arches nail conditions, such as ingrown nails and nail infections, and causes of heel pain, such as plantar fasciitis.
Some foot doctors manage a range of common foot ailments compared to primary care physicians. Others focus on particular subspecialties of podiatric care, like sports medicine or wound care.
Other subspecialties in podiatry include:
- child welfare
- elderly care
- neurological foot problems
- food circulatory conditions
- inflammation and autoimmune disorders
- either regular surgery or cosmetic surgery
Podiatrists typically analyse the patient’s medical background and present symptoms to start the diagnosis process.
The foot is subsequently given a fundamental physical examination. They search for oedema and skin discolouration throughout this examination. People might be asked to move their feet and toes in various directions or circle around.
Before reaching a final diagnosis, they could advise more testing based on their preliminary findings. The following diagnostic equipment is available to podiatrists:
- X-rays, ultrasounds, bone scans, CT scans, and MRI scans are examples of imaging tests. These examinations detect blood vessel blockages, bone fractures, and other structural issues.
- Blood tests look for infections, autoimmune, inflammatory, or rheumatologic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
- In quantitative sensory testing, the ability of the nerves to detect changes in temperature and vibration is recorded using a specific computer system. Podiatrists use this test to identify hypersensitivity, diabetic neuropathy, and other nerve diseases of the foot.
- How effectively muscles react to nerve impulses is measured by electromyography (EMG). To detect electrical activity in the muscle tissue during the test, professional medical inserts one or more electrodes—thin needles used to record electrical activity—into the muscle. Results from an abnormal EMG test indicate a nerve issue and can help your podiatrist determine the best course of treatment.
A podiatrist can suggest treatment after making a diagnosis. Depending on the nature and severity of the condition, a podiatrist may collaborate with a different expert or an entire healthcare team.
Podiatrists can treat the following conditions:
- Corrective footwear orthotic devices, such as insoles and braces, joint injections, joint suction, and the setting of fractured bones prescription drugs such as analgesics, antibiotics, and antifungals corticosteroid, or cortisone
- Podiatric doctors use various surgical techniques to treat tendons and ligaments that are irritated or damaged.
- Set shattered bones
- Eliminate tumours, bone spurs, and bunions
- Debridement of diseased, infected, or dead tissue treats structural flaws, including flat feet and hammertoes.
- education necessary
Podiatrists must meet the following educational and training prerequisites:
- Bachelor’s degree, four years
- Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree, four years
- 3-year residency programme; state licence to practise; national board certification
- After completing their residency, podiatrists who pursue a specific speciality in podiatric medicine must undergo a fellowship programme. During the fellowship, podiatrists gain hands-on experience in their area of speciality. Additionally, they must succeed on certification tests in their subspecialties.
Do doctors practise podiatry?
A doctor of podiatric medicine is known as a podiatrist. They are not, however, the same as physicians, commonly referred to as medical doctors (MDs).
Although technically not doctors, podiatrists must meet equivalent educational and training standards to medical doctors. Podiatrists are trained in the foot, ankle, and lower leg conditions.