Podiatrists (or foot doctors) are healthcare professionals that diagnose and treat conditions of the ankle and foot. They provide medical and surgical care for problems or injuries that are related to the lower leg.
Some of the problems that podiatrists treat:
- Ingrown toenails
- Fractures, sprains, etc.
Podiatrists need to carefully listen to the issues of their patients and make a full examination in order to provide the best treatment. The treatment can include drug therapy, surgery or wearing orthoses.
Sometimes when the problem requires more extensive care, the podiatrist can refer a patient to an orthopedist.
The podiatrists usually work in an office within hospitals or clinics during regular hours of the workweek.
What Is The Average Salary For A Podiatrist In The USA?
The average salary for a podiatrist is $140k/year (as of 2022). The total cash earnings of the podiatrists range from $92K to $221K on the high end.
$92k - $221k
$2k - $56k
$0 - $24k
$97k - $237k
A podiatrist, no doubt, is one of the highest-paid jobs in the USA. They have a tendency to make more when working in private practice, though the majority works in larger medical facilities with other healthcare professionals.
A podiatrist’s average annual take-home is higher than a number of other medical occupations. The reason for this is that there’s a huge demand for podiatrists in America.
Why Go To Podiatrists?
There are many reasons why someone would go to a podiatrist for medical attention. Aspects of podiatry can break it up into 4 categories:
- diabetic wound care
- pediatric foot care
Many diabetic patients usually end up becoming routine patients at podiatry offices because of the negative effects of diabetes, including peripheral neuropathy.
Wound care of the foot is, in addition, an essential component of podiatry.
Podiatrists use a number of innovative wound systems, wound dressings, and medicated ointments to help treat individuals with foot wounds.
Many pediatric patients are also seen by podiatrists. The pediatric patients (children up to 18 years) are brought to a podiatrist for some type of biomechanical deformity like toeing walking, but in addition, usually come in with ingrown toenails or plantar warts.
Biomechanics includes abnormal foot function that may cause pain as a result of heel pain and additionally causes foot deformities like hammertoes and bunions.
Performing surgeries is an important element of any podiatrist’s expertise. A podiatrist is licensed to perform these surgical procedures on feet, often under a local anesthetic. Surgeries can range from ingrown toenails to amputations of infected portions of the foot.
Podiatrists are unlike any other specialty in medicine, and they need to understand a great deal about other specializations like dermatology, surgery, pharmacology, radiology, and neurology.
They write their very own prescriptions, interpret their very own x-rays, and perform their very own surgeries.
That’s why podiatry is a much-honored occupation and has been around for quite a while, even though many continue to regard it as a newer medical profession.
Podiatry in the USA as a whole is growing every day, probably due to the rising weight of the US public along with the rising number of diabetics in the States.
What Are The Main Responsibilities Of Podiatrists?
Podiatrists are mostly responsible for the following tasks:
- Listening to patients’ concerns about their lower extremities.
- Reviewing the patient’s medical history.
- Establishing diagnosis by performing physical examinations, laboratory tests, or x-rays.
- Providing treatment for a patient’s lower legs (foot or ankle) by prescribing medications or special shoe orthotics that improve a patient’s mobility.
- Performing foot or ankle surgeries, which include removing bone spurs, foot corrections, fracture repairs, or fixing ankle deformities.
- Providing advice and expertise to patients for proper foot and ankle care.
- Referring patients to other physicians in case of more serious health problems (diabetes or vascular diseases)
- Upgrading their knowledge by reading scientific journals, conducting research, and attending seminars in order to keep up with the latest achievements in their field.
Podiatrists who have their own clinics often spend time on business-related tasks, such as managing inventory, hiring employees, and other administrative tasks.
How To Become A Podiatrist?
To become a podiatrist, first, you must undergo a rigorous medical education.
Here are the steps that most aspiring podiatrists need to take in order to pursue this career:
- Obtain your bachelor’s degree – First, you need to get a bachelor’s degree that covers some basic medical courses such as biology, chemistry, physics, etc.
- Pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) – Aspiring podiatrists need to achieve a high score on the MCAT in order to be admitted into the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) program from an accredited college.
- Finish a Ph.D. in podiatric medicine – The next step after admission is to go through 4 years of Podiatric Medical School, where you are given a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree. Here you will study the important courses in anatomy, pathology, pharmacology, physiology, etc. And during the final 2 years, you will get practical experience under supervision.
- Apply for podiatric residency – After your Ph.D. degree, it’s time to complete a 3-year podiatric medicine and surgery residency program in a hospital. During the residency, students will get the necessary experience required in medical and surgical podiatry.
- Obtain licensure and certification – In order to get your license and practice podiatry, you need to pass the final American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam (APMLE) in your state.
What Skills Do Podiatrists Need To Have?
- Analytical skills – Podiatrists are required to have a highly analytical and critical-thinking mind in order to effectively diagnose a patient and provide the best treatment.
- Empathy and compassion – Podiatrists need to have an honest sense of empathy, understanding, and compassion when dealing with their patients who may be in a lot of pain.
- Attention to detail – In order to establish a correct diagnosis and treatment, a podiatrist needs to have a high level of attention to detail. He needs to carefully review the patient’s medical history and current conditions in order to provide the best care.
- Communication skills – Podiatrists communicate with patients on a daily basis, so they need to be able to clearly explain the situation and the treatment to the patient.
A podiatrist is not only one of the high-paying careers in America but also one of the top-paid jobs of the medical profession in America, no doubt due to their specialization in every problem about the foot.
If you ever experience any foot or ankle pain, do not hesitate to see a Podiatrist because they are specifically trained to take care of your foot and ankle problems.