FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM), a physician and surgeon who treats the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg.
Feet are complex anatomical structures, all-in-one stabilizers, shock absorbers, and propulsion engines that are instrumental to overall health and well-being. They require expert care. Be sure you’re seeing the most qualified health-care professional to treat your feet by looking for the letters “DPM” after his or her name. The DPM means a physician has completed years of rigorous foot and ankle training in podiatric medical school and hospital-based residency training, making him or her uniquely qualified to care for this part of the body. Find an APMA member podiatrist near you.
Podiatrists complete four years of training in a podiatric medical school and three years of hospital residency training. Their training is similar to that of other physicians. Podiatrists may go on to complete fellowship training following their residency.
Podiatrists can focus on many fields, including surgery, sports medicine, wound care, pediatrics, and diabetic care.
Podiatrists can earn board certification with advanced training, clinical experience, and by ultimately taking an exam. The American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery and the American Board of Podiatric Medicine are the certifying boards for the field.
BECOMING A PODIATRIST
Podiatrists, or Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs), complete a similar course of study to other physicians. This includes four years of college study, four years in a podiatric medical school, followed by a three-year hospital-based residency.
The United States has nine accredited podiatric medical schools. Many students choose a career in podiatry because it affords the opportunity to practice medicine in a hospital system or private practice, and for the opportunity of collaboration with so many other medical disciplines in the care of the patient.