What is a Podiatrist?


Dear Foot Blogger Chick,
You often write that we should go to “our friendly local podiatrist”.  What is a podiatrist and why go to a podiatrist?
Need to Know
Dear Needy,
This is a great question!  I had not even thought about people not realizing what a podiatrist is or how someone becomes a podiatrist.
A podiatrist is a medical doctor. A podiatrist has specialized in the study of the foot, ankle and lower leg.
How do you become a podiatrist?  You might be surprised by the course of study that your friendly local podiatrist has taken.  Before going to one of the seven accredited schools of podiatric medicine (yes, you read that right – there are only seven accredited schools in the United States!) a student must have graduated from a university and taken and achieved a good score on the medical school admission exam.
During the first two years of podiatric school, the curriculum is much like the medical school curriculum.  Core classes in general sciences such as anatomy, chemistry, pharmacology and pathology.  Then in the third and fourth years, the student goes through clinical rotations.  During those rotations, the student receives training in taking patient histories, performing exams, reading test results, and diagnosing patient’s ailments.
After finishing the four year podiatric school, the student is then granted a Doctor in Podiatric Medicine.  (DPM).  Don’t think that that is the end of the educational process.  Most doctors will then go on and do a 1-3 year post-doctoral residency program and will need to be certified to be specialist in primary podiatric medicine, orthopedics, and/or podiatric surgery.
Every podiatrist must be licensed in the state where they work.  Part of that licensure includes continuing education classes each renewal period.
In other countries there may be professionals that take care of feet but they may not be trained or have the professional scope that the U.S podiatrist has achieved.  In England and Australia, there are professionals called chiropodists but their training is not as broad as it is in the U.S.
At Evanston Podiatric Surgeons, for example, Dr. Hussain and Dr. Bochat have both gone beyond the basic education required so that they can provide the best service.  For a review of their qualifications, please click on this link We Care For Your Feet – Intro.
Why go to a podiatrist?  This is probably explained best in the preceding paragraphs.  If you are experiencing problems with your feet, ankles, or lower legs why not see someone who has been trained specifically to know all about those particular areas.  They are familiar with all the nerves, tendons, ligaments and every part of a foot and ankle.  That is what they see daily, even hourly.  So why wouldn’t you go to a podiatrist?
I like to go straight to the person in the know – for feet and ankles that is a podiatrist!
Just another note…  I read an article recently that talked about a study regarding what makes a patient feel better. (I know, they will study anything.)  This particular study found that when the doctor pays attention and the patient feels that the doctor is listening and caring about them that the patient will recover faster.  It is an extension of the thought that we all want to be heard and feel like our needs are being met.  When I read this article, I thought about Evanston Podiatric Surgeons.  They care, they listen, and they are very friendly.  So, if you need to see a podiatrist, I recommend that you visit their office.  Check out their web site Evanston Podiatric.
Your pal,
Foot Blogger Chick
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to send them to footbloggerchick@gmail.com or leave them in the comment section below.  I am not a doctor but I check with one before answering questions.
Trivia Question of the week – In honor of President’s Day – Three presidents were avid collectors and players of marbles.  Name the three presidents.
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Follow us on twitter – @EvPodiatric and the answer will be tweeted on Friday morning as well.


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