American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine

Practitioners of podiatric medicine treat a variety of ailments and employ innovative techniques to improve the overall well-being of patients. The Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) is a vital member of the health-care team. He or she is often the first to detect symptoms of diabetes or cardiovascular disease because of the human foot's interrelation with the rest of the body.

What does a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine do?

In an average day a DPM may:

  • Diagnose foot ailments such as tumors, ulcers, fractures, skin or nail diseases, and congenital or acquired deformity such as weak feet and foot imbalance.

  • Use innovative methods to treat conditions such as corns, calluses, bunions, heel spurs, ingrown toenails, arch problems, shortened tendons, cysts, bone disorders, and abscesses.

  • Design corrective orthotics, plaster casts, and strappings to correct deformities.

  • Design flexible casting for immobilization of foot and ankle fractures, sprains, or other injuries.

  • Correct walking patterns and balance, and promote the overall ability to move about more efficiently and comfortably.

  • Provide individual consultations to patients concerning continued treatment of disorders and preventive foot care.

  • Refer patients to other physicians when symptoms observed in the feet indicate disorders, such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, or kidney disease.

Where do DPMs work?

DPMs are licensed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and practice in a variety of settings including:

  • Private or Group Medical Practice

  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)

  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs)

  • Hospitals and Extended Care Facilities

  • U.S. Public Health Service

  • Department of Veterans Affairs

  • Armed Forces

  • Municipal Health Departments

  • Health Professions Schools


Like other physicians, DPMs have a responsibility to protect their patient's health and promote their safety through competent practice. An increasing number of states require residencies and/or other postgraduate training before physicians earn their professional licenses.

In order to receive board certification, all podiatric physicians must complete a three year residency at an accredited progam.

Professional Representation

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) is the professional organization for DPMs. The APMA represents approximately 80% of DPMs throughout the Country.

The mission statement for the organization states "(t)he American Podiatric Medial Association, Inc. is committed to advancing the profession of podiatric medicine for the benefit of its members and the public by ensuring the highest quality foot and ankle care".