Podiatrists specialize in the examination, treatment and prevention of diseases and malfunctions of the foot and its related structures. Podiatric medicine is concerned with many different types of foot problems including walking disorders in children, ankle injuries among adolescents, fractures among athletes, bunions and hammer toes among adults and care of foot ulcers, toenails and infections among diabetics. Depending on the condition, Podiatrists may fit corrective devices, prescribe drugs, order physical therapy or perform surgery.
Podiatrists are trained to identify systemic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. If they find symptoms of a systemic disorder, the patient will be referred to a medical doctor while continuing to treat the foot problem.
To be licensed to practice podiatry, an applicant must graduate from an accredited college of podiatric medicine and pass the examination of the National Board of Podiatric Examiners.