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Podiatrist

   

Podiatrists, also known as Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (PDMs), are physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating disorders of the foot. As the nation becomes more active, the need for professional foot-care will become even more important to maintain a health lifestyle. Podiatrists treat food ailments such as corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, tumors, ulcers, fractures, arch problems, shortened tendons, skin or nail diseases, and deformities and infections. They use various methods to address these problems including physical therapy, drugs, surgery, as well as other mechanical and electrical methods. They also use computers and other high-tech devices, such as a force plate. Patients walk across a plate that is connected to a computer, which measures attributes such as pressure points and weight distribution. From these measurements, podiatrists can design the correct orthotic device or recommend other treatments or therapies. Podiatrists also advise patients on any continued treatment that they may need and proper foot-care to prevent any problems from reoccurring. They often consult with other physicians when symptoms in the feet indicate more serious problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, or kidney disease. Podiatrists may specialize in a variety of areas including podiatric surgery, orthopedics, podopediatrics (children), and podogeriatrics (elderly).


Work Environment:

The majority of podiatrists work in private practice or in partnerships and multispecialty group practices. These practices usually have a few assistants and other administrative staff. Podiatrists may also be employed in hospitals, nursing homes, health maintenance organizations, the U.S. Public Health Service, and long-term care facilities.

High School Preparation:

Students interested in a career as a podiatrist should take high school courses in algebra, biology, chemistry, English, social studies, geometry, trigonometry, humanities, health occupations/medical professions education, speech, psychology, history, and computer skills.


College Requirements:

Individuals interested in podiatry must first complete at least 90 semester hours of undergraduate study, including pre-med science courses. Prerequisites for admission to a college of podiatric medicine are an acceptable grade point average and a suitable score on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Colleges of podiatric medicine offer a 4-year program that is similar to other schools of medicine. Upon graduation, students must complete a residency program that lasts from 1 to 3 years and pass written and oral examinations to obtain a license. Mississippi, along with every other state, requires podiatrists to pass written and oral examinations to obtain a license, which is required to practice as a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM).

Students interested in podiatry should contact schools for information on admission and course of study.

For educational institutions in Mississippi
offering this course of study click here.

Career Outlook:

Employment opportunities for podiatrists are expected to be excellent over the next decade. There is expected to be a 10 - 20% increase in number of new positions opening for these foot specialists. The rising elderly population will be a major source of new employment because older people have more wear and tear on their feet and tend to be more prone to foot ailments. Also, people of all ages are leading more active lifestyles that will also require more podiatric care. Employment in this sector should also rise due to the fact that insurance companies cover most medical and surgical foot services. Due to the relatively small size of the profession, retirement and other job vacancies will not affect employment very much.
 

 

Salary:

 

Average Annual Salary

$103,100

 

Salary Range

$79,700-$161,000

 

Professional Organizations:

 

American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (AACPM)
15850 Crabbs Branch Way, Suite 320
Rockville, MD 20855

Phone: (800) 922-9266

Fax: (301) 948-1928
www.aacpm.org

 

American Podiatric Medical Association
9312 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: (800) ASK-APMA

Fax: (301) 530-2752
www.apma.org

 

Mississippi Podiatric Medical Association
1814 Mission 66
Vicksburg, MS 39180
Phone: (601) 638-7520

Fax: (601) 638-7541
 

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