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
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
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
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.
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".