Who are podiatrists and what do they do?


Have you ever heard of someone with problems with their lower legs or feet? Well, podiatrists are the go-to guys for these kinds of issues. They not only treat the feet, but also other health issues such as diabetes or general lower limb injuries.

Podiatrists; are they doctors or not?

Are they doctors? Yes, but they go to different schools than standard medical doctors. Podiatrists attend special schools and associations. Their names are prefixed by DPM for Doctor of Podiatric Medicine as opposed to the normal MD for Medical Doctor. They are skilled enough to prescribe drugs, fix or reset broken bones, order X-rays and lab tests, and even perform surgery. They work hand-in-hand with other specialists when a patient has issues with their lower limbs or feet. In most countries, podiatrists are recognised and regulated by the state government.

Training of Podiatrists

Those who wish to become podiatrists have to have a passion for science. In college, they pursue chemistry, biology and physics, among other science courses in readiness for a special podiatry school. A bachelor's degree in biology or any courses similar are usually favourites for those who wish to be podiatrists. Podiatry school, just like many courses, has a syllabus that runs for four years. Their study mainly focuses on muscle work, bones and nerves. These are the vital parts that affect mobility in human beings. Besides that, podiatrists also learn about diseases that affect the lower limbs and feet, including how to prevent, detect and treat them. Treating some of these illnesses may require surgical skills, and so yes, they are also trained on how to perform surgery on the legs and feet. 

After podiatry school, podiatrists are required to work in a hospital for not less than three years – this may vary depending on the country or state. This placement is called residency. The graduates are expected to put into practice what they have learnt.  They interact with patients and specialists from other fields. These include (but are not limited to); pediatricians, specialists in infectious diseases, anesthesiologists and surgeons, too. The podiatrists can choose to specialise in a specific area, such as advanced certification in surgery on ankles and feet.

Some Health Issues Covered by Podiatrists

The practice of podiatrists is not limited to patients of any particular age. Podiatrists handle a lot of issues, including sprains or fractures, heel spurs, hammertoes or bunions, nail disorders, arthritis, and diabetes – and their related effects on the lower legs and feet.


3 May 2019

How a Podiatrist Can Help With Running Injuries

Hi, my name is Steve and I’m a keen runner. I’ve been running for fun for years. I love the buzz I get from a long run and the fact that my hobby helps keeps me fit. Last year, I started to experience problems with my feet and ankles. It started with just a few twinges and soreness but ended up getting so bad that I couldn’t run to my usual schedule any longer. I couldn’t work out what was going wrong, so a friend recommended I see a podiatrist. I was a bit sceptical at first; however, my podiatrist immediately identified some issues with my running gait and shoes that were causing my problems. I started this blog to pass on some of the advice I got for any other runners who are suddenly suffering from unexplained discomfort. Hope it helps keep you on the road!