Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM)
What is A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) Degree?
Podiatry is the branch of medicine that has to do with the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal conditions of the foot, ankle, and other lower extremities. The treatment may at times involve surgery, rehabilitation, or the fitting of orthotic devices. Podiatrists also treat the day-to-day problems that can occur with toenails, corns, and calluses. So, yes, podiatrists are real doctors, physicians, and they are the only medical professionals who specialize in treating the foot and ankle.
To become a Podiatrist, you need to complete a 4-year Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from one of the podiatric colleges after completing a Bachelor’s degree, likely in one of the sciences. It’s sometimes possible to get into a DPM program with only 3 years of undergraduate work in lab sciences and general education, but most Podiatrists complete Bachelor’s degrees first. Applicants for DPM programs complete the same entrance exam that most medical schools require.
Part of the DPM program involves clinical rotations to gain some experience in the methods of the field, and then grads with DPMs go on to serve a 3-year residency before going into practice. They may complete specialty training such as treating patients who suffer from diabetes. Podiatrists need to pass a licensing exam, and sometimes an area-specific exam, to be licensed. Some will go on to become board certified by one of the national boards.