A Podiatrist is a physician certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. Certification by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery requires graduation from podiatric medical school, completion of podiatric surgical residency, practice experience in surgical case submissions, and written and oral examinations.
Podiatry is a branch of medical specialists that studies, diagnosis, and treats the foot, ankle and lower leg. Originally known as chiropodists in ancient Egypt, podiatrists hold a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.) degree.
In order to become a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, an individual must first successfully complete a four year Bachelor of Science program, usually pre-med. To be accepted into podiatric medical school, the applicant must have an acceptable score on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and pass multiple interviews. After 4 years, podiatric medicine students must pass two national board exams to graduate. Graduates then continue their education in residency programs at leading hospitals and clinics to gain experience in procedures and surgeries of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. Students spend from 1-4 years in a residency program, depending on their chosen specialty.
Podiatrists are the only medical specialists educated, trained, licensed, and certified for exclusive treatment of foot and ankle surgeries, diseases, and deformities. All states allow podiatrists to work on the foot and individual states regulate practice on the ankle, mid-calf, or entire leg.