Podiatrists | Who Are They And What Do They Do?

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When your feet hurt, it is hard to do much of anything but sit. However, a podiatrist can get you moving again. Here's what you need to know.

What Is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. 

Most states require podiatrists to complete an undergraduate degree program in pre-medicine, followed by medical school at a college of podiatric medicine. After successfully completing medical school, a podiatrist must complete a postgraduate residency training program in an accredited program or at an accredited hospital. Podiatrists are licensed by state boards of podiatric medical examiners.

What Does a Podiatrist Do?

A podiatrist's scope of practice encompasses all aspects of foot, ankle, and lower leg care. In addition, a podiatrist provides preventive care advice and counsels patients on how to maintain good foot health. They may take x-rays, treat infections, perform surgery, prescribe medicine, or recommend exercises.

What Conditions Does a Podiatrist Treat?

Podiatrists treat a variety of conditions, including:

  • Athlete's foot. While common with athletes, anyone can get athlete's foot, a stubborn fungal infection of the foot that itches, burns, and produces painful blisters. Athlete's foot is highly contagious and is often contracted when walking barefoot in locker rooms and group showers. Podiatrists often prescribe medication to treat it.
  • Plantar fasciitis. This condition causes pain in the heel of your foot and is often caused by overuse. Podiatrists can prescribe treatment plans, including stretching exercises and supportive shoe inserts, to help.
  • Bunions, corns, and calluses. Growths on your feet caused by pressure or irritation, bunions, corns, and calluses can cause pain, lead to toe deformities, and make walking difficult. Podiatrists can advise you on how to prevent and manage these conditions.
  • Fungal nail infections and ingrown toenails. A podiatrist can help you treat and prevent these painful conditions, which may be caused by poor foot hygiene, trauma to the toe, or even an improperly sterilized salon.
  • Joint pain. Podiatrists can help you identify and manage the cause of your joint pain, which may be due to arthritis or another condition. They can also provide you with advice on how to improve your joint health and reduce pain.

If you are experiencing any of these or other foot, ankle, or lower leg conditions, we recommend you consult a podiatrist. With the help of a qualified podiatrist, you can improve your foot health and get back to living your life with ease.