Podiatric medicine or podiatry is a field of medicine that strives to improve the overall health and well-being of patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing, and treating conditions associated with the foot and ankle. Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) are physicians and surgeons who practice on the lower extremities, primarily on feet and ankles.
Podiatric physicians are licensed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to diagnose and treat the foot and its related or governing structures by medical, surgical, or other means. The vast majority of states including Illinois also include ankle care as part of the podiatric physician's scope of practice. As with all medical specialists, including podiatric physicians, the scope of medical and surgical patient care must be consistent with the individual doctor’s education, training and experience.
Podiatric physicians practice in group medical practices or as solo practitioners. Podiatric physicians also have hospital appointments. They hold faculty appointments at schools of medicine and teaching hospitals, serve as commissioned officers in the Armed Forces and the U.S. Public Health Service, and are employed in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Additionally, medical specialists routinely refer patients to podiatrists.)
The podiatric physician cares for people of all ages, treating any foot problem. Common disorders include bunions, heel pain/spurs, hammertoes, neuromas, ingrown toenails, warts, corns and calluses. The podiatric physician also renders care of sprains, fractures, infections, and injuries of the foot, ankle and heel. If your podiatric surgeon is certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, he or she has successfully completed a credentialing and examination process and has demonstrated knowledge of podiatric surgery, including the diagnosis of general medical problems and surgical management of foot diseases, deformities, and trauma of the foot, ankle and related structures.