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Podiatry is the study and care of feet and lower legs. Individuals in this field specialize in treating ailments affecting feet, utilizing a variety of methods to diagnose and gauge the dangers present and work to provide treatment in order to cure or prevent further problems. This may including identifying support problems, weakened bones, and other factors that could cause additional medical problems in the spine or other parts of the body.
Education and Schools
Podiatry is a graduate level education that confers onto the student a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree upon completion. Individuals should have a related undergraduate level degree and have performed well on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to be admitted into a program. Individuals will study a variety of topics in order to round out their education and prepare individuals with the knowledge necessary to diagnose and treat ailments.
A curriculum will include:
Individuals will apply to medical schools that offer programs in podiatry. As such, individuals should make certain that the facilities and curriculum offered are current and relevant. Practical experience during education is invaluable, and schools with high ratings in this regard are more desirable. Additionally, schools that have large numbers of graduates defaulting on loans are also less desirable.
The number of jobs for podiatrists is expected to increase over the next decade as more and more individuals gain access to healthcare, and the aging of the United States population results in pain and other ailments related to the foot and lower leg. Podiatrists are also seeing increased participation in group settings, and as such are becoming more common in the overall treatment and assessment of patient health.
The American Podiatric Medical Association is a professional organization the provides protection and advancement of podiatric interests, as well as maintaining resources that allow for updates and advancements in procedure and education for practicing podiatrists.