A podiatrist is a health care expert who specializes on the foot and the ankle. Podiatrists prevent, diagnose, and treat foot problems, such as sprains, fractures, bunions (misaligned big toe joints that become swollen and tender), heel pain / spur (inflammation and thickening occurring on the bottom of the foot), warts, corns, neuroma (enlarged nerves commonly between the third and the fourth toes), calluses, and other related cases.
To become one of the foot doctors, an individual must first finish a 4-year bachelor's degree from a university, then transfer to a Podiatric Medical School that offers a Doctorate degree on Podiatry. After they have achieved their doctorate degree, one must go through hospital-based residency programs, which runs from two to three years. This process will tell the individual if he / she would be qualified to become a full-time podiatrist. After completing the 2- to 3-year course, they will have full medical and surgical privileges for the treatment of the foot and other related problems, though there are specified variations from state to state. Podiatrists treat a wide range of people from children to adults, from couch potatoes to athletes, and many more.
There are categories into which a podiatry is further explained. These categories are diabetic foot care and wound care, pediatric foot care, biomechanics, and surgery. Many diabetics end up in podiatry hospitals since the future effects of diabetes are peripheral neuropathy and ulcerations, which involve the feet. Podiatrists use the modern and the most advanced wound machines to heal and help people with foot wounds that may cause later infection. Ointments and dressings are also applied to the wounded foot.
Meanwhile, podiatrists can also be consulted by pediatric patients who are having trouble in toe walking. Since they specialize on the foot and the ankle and biomechanics, which are the abnormal foot function that may cause pain due to tendonitis, heel pain, and many others, a podiatrist can help lessen these foot deformities of the patient. Lastly, a podiatrist is licensed to do surgeries. Foot surgery can range from simple ingrown toenails, to bunions, and hammertoe (toe is bent in a claw-like position) correction, up to amputations of infected parts of the foot.
Podiatrists, unlike other medicine specialists, must be knowledgeable about dermatology, surgery, pharmacology, radiology, and neurology since these specializations are somewhat concerned with the foot and the ankle. They even treat fractures, skin and nail diseases, tumors, and ulcers. Podiatrists write their own prescriptions, read the x-rays of their patients, and perform their own surgeries. They also prescribe therapies and perform diagnostic procedures such as ultrasound and laboratory examinations. There are more than 17,800 practicing podiatrists in the United States that you can find in a podiatrist directory.