Podiatry, also known as podiatric medicine, deals with the diagnosis and the surgical or medical treatment of foot, lower extremity (legs), and ankle disorders. The podiatry degree holder specializes in utilizing various methods to gauge a patient’s condition and provide the appropriate treatment to prevent or cure any problems including the identification and correction of weakened bones.
Conditions such as bunions, heel spurs, arthritis, arch issues, and even deformities can be treated by a podiatrist. You should know that this particular branch of medicine is actually a graduate level and that you should already have obtained a related bachelor’s degree.
You should have also passed the Medical College Admission Test or MCAT prior to admission to a podiatry degree program. While the majority of podiatrists choose to major in mainly science-related specializations, this is not required generally. If your bachelor’s degree is unrelated to podiatry, you will have to complete several science courses before you entering podiatry school.
Before you can practice podiatry, however, it is necessary for you to obtain the specialized, four-year medical degree to become a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). Podiatry is a very hands-on field of science and podiatry students are required to complete clinical rotations within the DPM program to have in-person experience in the treatment of patients in hospital settings.
After obtaining your DPM degree, there are additional requirements depending on the state where you live in or plan to practice in. You need to pass the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners (NBPME), for instance, to be issued a license to practice podiatry in some states. But even before all that, you have to ensure that you choose a podiatry school with current curriculum and updated facilities.
Residency for two to four years is required for a podiatry degree and because the success rates for residency placements vary, it is best to attend colleges or universities with high placement rates at private practices or a wide range of government hospitals. As residents, the future podiatrist will probably focus on particular areas like the feet, ambulatory care after surgery, ankles, and gait, among others.
Best Schools Offering Podiatry Degree Programs
Since diabetes and heart conditions usually produce medical conditions in the ankles and feet, the student should choose a podiatry school which integrates clinical research and practice with other medical disciplines like cardiology, orthopedics, and neurology. Those who want their DPM degrees in combination with other fields can choose colleges or universities that offer programs for dual degrees.
Schools that offer a podiatry degree with the largest student enrollment include Temple, Midwestern, and Barry Universities in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), Downers Grove (Illinois), and Miami Shores (Florida), respectively. The Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago is one of the best institutions offering a podiatric degree.