Podiatry is the medical specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot and ankle resulting from injury or disease. Podiatrists study the structure and function of the foot and ankle, and the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect them. The importance of podiatry lies in its ability to improve the quality of life of patients by alleviating pain and improving mobility, overall health, and quality of life by treating the lower extremities.
It takes a lot to become a podiatrist and be considered an expert on all things related to the foot and ankle.
Becoming a Podiatrist
Podiatrists complete study and training in an accredited podiatry school after four years and become Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.). The study involves two years of classroom instruction and another two years of laboratory work and practical experience. After completing podiatry school, candidates need to undergo one to three years of a podiatry residency program, wherein they gain surgical and medical experience.
To become licensed to practice podiatry, candidates need to pass the APMLE, or American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam. The certifying agency in podiatric surgery is the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, for podiatrists who would like to become board-certified.
What Podiatrists Can Do For You
Feet are interesting in that they provide a lot of information as to your overall health. In some cases, they show the earliest signs of disease. Podiatrists will make the appropriate referral if they identify signs of disease in your feet.
For diagnostic purposes, podiatrists use X-ray, ultrasound, and laboratory tests. The can treat acute and chronic cases, such as:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Corns and calluses
- Ingrown toenails
- Heel pain
- Heel spurs
- Ankle sprains and fractures
- Arthritis of the big toe and ankle
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hammertoe and claw toe
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Congenital deformities
Treatments that podiatrists design are highly individualized to the patient. Each case will be evaluated on an individual basis, which greatly improves patient outcomes. Podiatrists treat patients by prescribing medication, providing footwear recommendations and custom orthotics (devices that support, align, or correct the function of the foot and ankle), and performing in-office procedures and surgery. They are also up-to-date on the latest techniques that can be used to treat many foot and ankle conditions.
In addition to their knowledge and expertise, podiatrists also have the following traits: compassion, critical-thinking skills, and interpersonal skills. Since they see patients who are in pain, they develop their bedside manner to provide high-quality care in a professional and comfortable environment.
Taking good care of your feet is just common sense. Having healthy feet means you can enjoy a physically active and happy life.
Podiatrist in Naples, FL
Dr. Henry Kurtis Biggs is a board-certified and fellowship-trained joint replacement surgeon at The Joint Replacement Institute who is also trained in podiatry. He provides non-surgical and surgical treatments for patients with foot and ankle issues to get them back to normal again, all while maintaining his supportive and compassionate nature.
Let Dr. Biggs diagnose your podiatric problem and design a treatment plan that works only for you. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Biggs, call our office today at (239) 261-2663 or use our convenient online request form.