The Profession

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Who They Are

Podiatrists treat corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, bunions, heel spurs, and arch problems; ankle and foot injuries, deformities and infections; and foot complaints associated with diseases such as diabetes. Source: U.S. Department of Labor

What They Do

To treat these problems, podiatrists prescribe drugs, order physical therapy, set fractures, and perform surgery. They also fit corrective inserts called orthotics, design plaster casts and strappings to correct deformities, and design custom-made shoes. Podiatrists may use a force plate to help design the orthotics. Patients walk across a plate connected to a computer that "reads" the patients' feet, picking up pressure points and weight distribution. From the computer readout, podiatrists order the correct design or recommend treatment. Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Where They Work

Most podiatrists work in the offices of other healthcare professionals. Some work in hospitals or for the government. Finally, some podiatrists choose to own their own private office. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


Podiatry as a profession is growing about as fast as the national average. In the next 10 years, about 600 new podiatry positions are expected to become available.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


After completing a bachelor’s degree, those interested in becoming podiatrists go on to attend a podiatric medical school. Most podiatric medicine programs involve two years of classroom instruction and two years of clinical learning. After completing this four year program and earning a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree, students are required to complete a two-year residency. Finally, DPMs must pass Board Certifications and become licensed in their state of practice. DPMs may continue on and choose to specialize in one of nine areas: Medicine, Radiology, Orthopedics, Biomechanics and Sports Medicine, Anesthesia and Surgery, or Community Health, Jurisprudence, and Research. Source: American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine

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