Today’s Podiatrist: The Times They Are a Changin’

A podiatrist is a physician who specializes in medicine and surgery of the foot and ankle. It is a specialty that is often misunderstood. Many question their scope of practice, capability, the length/type of education and training required, and their abilities in treating patients. In this issue we will try to explain the podiatrist’s role and shed some light on the profession, as well as clear up some “myths” about podiatry and the treatment of feet in general.

Today’s podiatrist typically completes a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent from an undergraduate college or university. Then they matriculate into one of several specialized medical schools that focuses not just on feet, but also on general medical studies for the first two years, often alongside other students enrolled in MD or DO programs. The following two years of medical school focuses on medicine and surgery of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. During these years, students complete a series of month-long externship rotations at hospitals and physician offices, gaining additional training and experience. Nationwide student board exams are completed during these years as well. Upon completion of podiatric medical school, graduates earn a degree of Doctorate in Podiatric Medicine, or a “DPM” degree.

Today, podiatry graduates typically attend a 3-year foot and ankle surgical residency after podiatry school, with multiple rotations in other specialties, including orthopedic, general, vascular, and plastic surgery, as well as, dermatology, rheumatology, radiology, internal medicine, family practice, neurology, pathology, and behavioral medicine. During these rotations, resident podiatrists are trained to performing complete history and physical exams, order diagnostic tests, prescribe medications, perform surgery, and treat patients in hospitals, clinics, and offices alongside other DPM, MD, and DO residents in varying specialties. Again, nationwide examinations are held to establish residents as Board Eligible or Board Qualified. After residency, podiatric physicians generally require up to 7 to 10 years to become Board Certified.

Historically, podiatrists have had differing amounts of training. Basically, the number of years of residency completed and the amount of surgery performed during these years has increased over time. This may be why the profession is a bit misunderstood, where one podiatrist may not perform surgery, another in the same area may perform total ankle replacement surgery. A movement to bring uniformity to length and focus of residency training of podiatric physicians is in place, which may help alleviate any ambiguity among the profession.

Furthering confusion, each state determines the scope of Podiatry practice in relation to foot, ankle, and the lower leg. In Florida, podiatric physicians’ scope of practice includes surgical procedures involving bones below the knee joint, and non-surgical treatments of soft tissue structures that are below the hip joint, that insert into the foot, such as skin and tendons.

Many podiatric physicians perform general podiatry, where some may sub-specialize in dermatology, geriatrics, diabetic foot care, wound care, sports medicine, biomechanics, trauma, and orthopedic surgery. Most practice as solo practitioners or in small group practices, larger multi-specialty group practices, orthopedic group practices, and some are employed by hospitals. Several DPM’s also hold faculty positions at allopathic, osteopathic, and podiatric medical schools.

Today’s podiatrist diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions, employ a multitude of surgical and non-surgical treatment modalities, and play a key role in foot health, which is imperative for the complete healthcare of an individual. They treat patients of all ages, from infants to seniors. They are essential for the comprehensive and preventive care for many people who suffer from diabetes, neuropathy, and peripheral vascular disease, and save our country millions of dollars in healthcare each year for this reason. To the right is a list of the more commons conditions seen and treatments performed:

  • arthritis

  • blisters

  • bunions

  • calluses

  • deformities

  • dermatitis

  • diabetes-related conditions

  • dry skin

  • eczema

  • flat feet

  • foot and ankle fractures

  • foot odor

  • fungal infections

  • gout

  • hammertoes

  • heel pain

  • heel spurs

  • high-arch feet

  • hyperhidrosis

  • infections

  • ingrown toenails

  • injuries

  • laser therapy

  • metatarsalgia

  • nail disorders

  • neuritis

  • neuromas

  • neuropathy

  • obesity-related injuries

  • osteoarthritis

  • osteoporosis-induced fractures

  • pain

  • plantar fasciitis

  • psoriatic arthritis

  • rheumatoid arthritis

  • skin cancer

  • skin diseases

  • skin disorders

  • sprains / strains

  • spider veins

  • stress fractures

  • foot and ankle trauma

  • tendonitis

  • toenail fungus

  • tumors

  • ulcers

  • varicose veins

  • vascular insufficiency

  • vascular disease

  • warts

  • wounds

#arthritisblistersbunionsdeformitiescalluses #foot #Fracture #PlantarFasciitis #HeelPain #Neuroma #Achilles #Morton #bunion #Plantars #HeelSpur #Laser #Ankle #Skin #Heel #pain #Mortons #Strain #Wart #bunions #arthritis #hammertoe #Tendinitis #Ortho #Toenail #Warts #Toe #Fasciitis #hammertoes #DJD #Foot #surgery #Tendon #Sprain #Tendonitis #Plantar #Joint #Arthritis #Neuromas #PRP #Feet #Pain #Fascia

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© 2021 Dr. Daniel Pero, DPM, PA | Integrative Podiatry | Foot & Ankle Surgery | Varicose Vein Treatment | Laser | Amniotic Stem Cells & PRP | Regenerative Medicine

Integrative Foot & Ankle Jupiter Wellington West Palm Beach FL

To Schedule An Appointment in FL: Call (561) 293-3439


Medical & Surgical:
Achilles Tendon Surgery
Amniotic Injections
Arthritis Joint Surgery
Bunion Surgery
Cold Laser Therapy
Endovenous Vein Ablation
Ganglion Cyst Removal
Hammertoe Surgery
Heel Spur Surgery
Ingrown Toenail Removal
Nerve Decompression
Neuroma Surgery
Plantar Fasciitis Surgery
Plantar Wart Laser Removal
Platelet-Rich Plasma
PRP Injections
Stem Cell Injections
Toenail Fungus Laser
Varicose Vein Treatment
Alopecia Treatment
Botox for Hyperhidrosis
Bunion Removal
Cellulite Therapy
Endovenous Vein Ablation
Facial Peels & Foot Peels
Hair Restoration with PRP
Hammertoe Correction
Ingrown Toenail Correction
Keryflex Nail Restoration
Microneedling with PRP
Medical Weight Loss
Mole Removal
Plantar Wart Laser Removal
Platelet-Rich Plasma
PRP Facial Treatments
PRP Hair Treatments
Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins
Skin Tag Removal
Laser Spider Vein Removal
Toenail Fungus Laser
Ultherapy Skin Tightening
Varicose Vein Removal

Our Podiatrists are Foot Doctors and Foot & Ankle Surgeons that accept Medicare and Most Major Medical Insurance and PPO plans including AARP, Aetna, Anthem, BCBS, Blue Cross Blue Shield, CHAMPVA, Cigna, Coventry, Emblem, Florida Blue, GHI, Golden Rule, Humana Military, Multiplan, Tricare, & United Healthcare (UHC).

If your insurance is not listed, you may still have coverage subject to the availability of 'out-of-network' benefits.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have questions regarding your insurance coverage.

Areas Served: West Palm Beach, Century Village, Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, Palm Beach Shores, Singer Island, Lake Park, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Tequesta, Hobe Sound, Stuart, Palm City, Port St. Lucie, Loxahatchee, Loxahatchee Groves, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, Greenacres, Palm Springs, South Palm Beach, Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Worth, Atlantis, Lantana, Manalapan, Hypoluxo, Boynton Beach, Ocean Ridge, Delray Beach, Highland Beach, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Coral Springs, Parkland, Tamarac, Margate, Coconut Creek, North Lauderdale, South Florida

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