Find best-fit podiatric medical schools and get your personalized eRank.

Get Started

About the Profession

“Podiatrists provide medical and surgical care for people with foot, ankle, and lower leg problems. They diagnose illnesses, treat injuries, and perform surgery involving the lower extremities.

Podiatrists typically do the following:

  • Assess the condition of a patient’s feet, ankles, or lower legs by reviewing the patient’s medical history, listening to his or her concerns, and performing a physical examination
  • Diagnose foot, ankle, and lower leg problems through physical exams, x rays, medical laboratory tests, and other methods
  • Provide treatment for foot, ankle, and lower leg ailments, such as prescribing special shoe inserts (orthotics) to improve a patient’s mobility
  • Perform foot and ankle surgeries, such as removing bone spurs, fracture repairs, and correcting other foot and ankle deformities
  • Advise and instruct patients on foot and ankle care and on general wellness techniques
  • Prescribe medications
  • Coordinate patient care with other physicians
  • Refer patients to other physicians or specialists if they detect larger health problems, such as diabetes or vascular disease
  • Conduct research, read journals, and attend conferences to keep up with advances in podiatric medicine and surgery

Podiatrists treat a variety of foot and ankle ailments, including calluses, ingrown toenails, heel spurs, arthritis, congenital foot and ankle deformities, and arch problems. They also treat foot and leg problems associated with diabetes and other diseases. Some podiatrists spend most of their time performing surgery, such as foot and ankle reconstruction. Others may choose a specialty such as sports medicine, pediatrics, or diabetic foot care.

Podiatrists who own their practice may spend time on business-related activities, such as hiring employees and managing inventory.”¹

Education Requirements

Pathway to Become a Podiatric Physician

Licensing and Board Certification

“Podiatrists in every state must be licensed. Podiatrists must pay a fee and pass all parts of the American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam (APMLE), offered by the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners. Some states also require podiatrists to take a state-specific exam.

Many podiatrists choose to become board certified. Certification generally requires a combination of work experience and passing an exam. Board certification is offered by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, the American Board of Podiatric Medicine, and the American Board of Multiple Specialties in Podiatry.”¹

Compensation

Disclaimer: Compensation varies and may be impacted by a physician’s working environment, geographic choice, years of experience, or other factors.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Data

“The median annual wage for podiatrists was $129,550 in May 2018. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $52,060, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.

In May 2018, the median annual wages for podiatrists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

  • Offices of physicians………………………………………………. $151,580
  • Hospitals; state, local, and private………………………… $133,370
  • Federal government, excluding postal service……. $129,360
  • Offices of other health practitioners…………………….. $125,730″¹

Job Outlook

“Employment of podiatrists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.

As the U.S. population ages, the number of people expected to have mobility and foot-related problems will rise, and podiatrists will be needed to treat these conditions. For example, older patients who remain active may incur injuries through exercise, and require foot and ankle care from podiatrists. Growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, also may limit mobility of those with these conditions, and lead to problems such as foot ulcers and poor circulation in the feet and lower extremities. More podiatrists will be needed to provide care for these patients.

Job prospects for trained podiatrists should be good, given that there are a limited number of colleges of podiatry. In addition, the retirement of currently practicing podiatrists in the coming years is expected to increase the number of job openings for podiatrists.”¹

Work Environment

Lifestyle

“Most podiatrists work full time. Podiatrists’ offices may be open in the evenings or on weekends to accommodate patients. Self-employed podiatrists or those who own their practice may set their own hours. In hospitals, podiatrists may have to work occasional nights or weekends, or may be on call.”¹

Places Podiatrists Work

“Podiatrists held about 11,000 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of podiatrists were as follows:

Offices of other health practitioners 64%
Offices of physicians 10%
Federal government, excluding postal service 8%
Self-employed workers 7%
Hospitals; state, local, and private 6%

Podiatrists’ offices are included in offices of other healthcare practitioners.

Some podiatrists work in group practices with other physicians or specialists. Podiatrists may work closely with physicians and surgeons, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and medical assistants.”¹

Work Schedules

“Most podiatrists work full time. Podiatrists’ offices may be open in the evenings or on weekends to accommodate patients. Self-employed podiatrists or those who own their practice may set their own hours. In hospitals, podiatrists may have to work occasional nights or weekends, or may be on call.”¹

¹Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Podiatrists,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/podiatrists.htm.

Learn from current students, residents, and podiatric physicians and surgeons in the profession. 

Search using the hashtag #eQuezDPM

Explore best-fit podiatric medical schools and get your personalized eRank.

Get Started