In the past decade, the term podiatrist has been more widely used than “foot doctor.” While this was not always the case, the world is becoming more and more educated with each passing day. A podiatrist or DPM (doctor of podiatric medicine) is a medical specialist in foot and ankle conditions. Their duty is to diagnose and treat these problems to the best of their ability.
Podiatrists must complete an undergraduate degree before earning their doctorate in podiatry at graduate school. They are educated in all of the body’s systems for comprehensive treatments. Following the acquisition of their doctorate, a residency is completed. In order to practice podiatry, a foot specialist must take certification exams, and be licensed by the state in which they are practicing.
The APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) estimates that there are more than 18,000 podiatrists in America today. As our population is rapidly aging, there is more of a need for them than ever before. Exercise and fashion are growing trends in America that often lead to the need for podiatric medical care. People who have experienced a foot condition before are at an increased risk to suffer one again.
Podiatrists treat many common conditions such as:
Activity in the field
A podiatrist’s education is never finished. These foot health specialists are constantly consulting with patients and other experts in order to learn the most innovative and efficient ways of treating foot conditions. As these physicians learn more, they implement new technologies and techniques into their diagnoses and treatment of foot conditions. This is especially important as a podiatrist needs to stay up-to-date on current diseases and conditions outside of their field of expertise. Specialists in foot health are acutely aware that the health of the feet are directly related to the health of the rest of the body.
For diagnostic processes, podiatrists utilize a variety of tools such as CT scans, X-Rays, MRIs, and ultrasounds in addition to physical examination. These scans offer the podiatrist a detailed overview of what is happening inside the body. Once the appropriate diagnostic is complete, the podiatrist will prescribe the most efficient treatment. For certain infections, a culture or blood test may be required. The feet are often the first part of the body to show symptoms of diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, or even heart disease.
Treatments for many foot conditions include prescribed medications and remedies such as physical therapy. Podiatrists are also experts in prescription shoe inserts and custom orthotics which aid in the correction of abnormal foot structures. Surgery may also be performed in more extreme cases.
Upon detecting a foot problem, it is vital to your health to contact us as soon as possible. Even the smallest foot conditions can develop into serious conditions when ignored. Your feet deserve special attention from our foot care specialist. If you have any questions regarding podiatric medicine or foot conditions, call our office in Medford, OR at 541-776-3338. Or you can also schedule an appointment with Dr. Evan Merrill online.