Are you interested in training to become a podiatrist? It is a well-paid career to move into especially if you have a medical background or an interest in the human body.
A podiatrist’s main role is to diagnose and help treat people with feet and lower limbs problems and they specialize in these types of common issues. Podiatrists can also be known as podiatric physicians or a doctor of podiatric medicine.
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Are Podiatrists Also Doctors?
Although a podiatrist can call themselves doctors, or doctors of the feet they do not have the normal training and education that other doctors undertake and they do not go to a standard medical school.
Podiatrists have their own schools, education, and their own professional body associations which are distinct from other medical doctors.
Among other things podiatrists are licensed to practice to perform procedures including x-rays, prescribing drugs, surgery, and resetting broken bones. Patients are normally referred to them after seeing a general practitioner due to the fact they are experts in the field of feet.
Although they do not undertake the same education as other medical doctors their education is still thorough and can take longer than three years to fully complete and be able to practice.
What Education And Training Is Needed?
The education and training needed can vary from country to country but most qualifications once completed can be used and accepted in most countries.
In the United Kingdom, you will need to undertake a degree in either a Bachelor of Podiatric Medicine or Bachelor of Podiatry, both of which include long courses and lots of hard work to complete.
To be accepted to take either of these courses you will first need at least three A-Levels which must include biological science, along with at least five GCSEs that most have graded between A and C.
So becoming a fully trained podiatrist is a long process and not something that can be completed overnight or in a short space of time. It will take hard work and dedication to become fully trained so you will need to go into it with your eyes wide open and a good determined attitude.
How Long Will It Take To Become Fully Trained and Qualified
As mentioned above the training to become a podiatrist is very thorough with a lot of work needed. In the United Kingdom if you were to train full time you can expect it to take a minimum of two to three years of study to complete and longer if training only part-time, roughly four to five years.
In the United States Of America, students would need to go to podiatry school for four years where they will study all aspects of the feet, bones, muscles, and nerves. They also learn all about illness and injuries that can affect the feet and ankles and treatments to help such injuries.
Once they have completed their four years they then move onto what is called a residency, in which they work in a hospital for a minimum of three years where they put to practice everything they have learned so far.
What Type Of Injuries And Illness Would do Podiatrist Treat?
Podiatrists mainly deal with problems people have with their lower limbs, mainly the feet and ankles. Common problems that they will deal with will include:
- Nail Disorders
Such as ingrown nails, fungus between the toes and nails, and nails that do not grow straight such as nails that are digging into the skin.
- Sprains And Fractures
Podiatrists will often deal with sprains and fracture injuries to the feet, especially with athletes and people who play a lot of sport, as this is a common injury they can sustain.
Diabetics, especially if their condition is not well controlled, can end up with foot problems due to bad circulation caused by the high glucose levels that are in their blood. All diabetics, both those who suffer from type one and type two will need to regularly have their feet examined by an expert such as a podiatrist.
Unfortunately, as we all get older arthritis can be a common problem, particularly in the foot area. Physical therapy and drugs can help alleviate some of the pain for those that suffer from arthritis which a podiatrist can help with.
Are Podiatrists Well Paid?
As podiatrists are specialists in their field and have undertaken long extensive training they are relatively well paid, depending on which country they work.
Although they do not earn as much as a plastic surgeon, a cardiologist, or a radiologist, podiatrists that are in the top field of their game can earn an extremely good living from practicing.
The entry-level podiatrist starting work in the United Kingdom can expect a yearly salary of above 25k but someone working at the highest level can expect 100k a year.
In Australia, they can expect to earn upwards of 70k a year and in the United States Of America on average a podiatrist can earn roughly 140k a year.
What Can You Do To Look After Your Feet At Home
There are many things you can do to help prevent you from ever needing to see a podiatrist by taking good care of your feet and ankles.
Moisturizing your feet daily can really help your skin and prevent it from drying out and cracking. Use a special foot moisturizer for best results but even basic hand or face cream can do the trick.
Always make sure the footwear you use is well protected and gives ample support to both the ankle and foot. Many people’s foot problems result from them wearing footwear that isn’t suitable.
Make sure to regularly check your feet for any swelling, skin irritation, and bruising or cuts. If you do suffer from any of these, give your feet plenty of rest, making sure to keep them raised to help the blood circulate.
To Sum Up
Training to become a podiatrist will take many years of hard work and dedication but it is definitely a worthy field to get into as they help so many people each year with their foot problems.