Podiatrists diagnose, treat and prevent disease or injury of the feet. They may use surgical, medical or physical means. Demand for podiatrists is great; studies estimate there is only one podiatrist for every 23,000 patients. Specialists within the field include podiatric medicine, surgery, podogeriatrics, podopediatrics and podiatric sports medicine.
Podiatric medicine is a four-year course of study, with two years of basic medical sciences and two years of clinical training. For licensure, podiatric physicians must complete their degree and residency and must pass state and national board examinations. Satisfactory completion of the national boards is required for state licensure. About two-thirds of the states require at least one year of postdoctoral work before licensure. Doctors of podiatric medicine are licensed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.