Podiatry, also known as podiatric medicine, is the branch of medicine that deals with the illnesses and disorders of the feet, ankles, and lower leg. A physician that specializes in podiatry is called a podiatric physician. Podiatric physicians usually study or practice other areas and sometimes specialize in surgery, sports medicine, biomechanics, geriatrics, internal medicine, diabetes, vascular medicine, neurology, pediatrics, dermatology, orthopedics or primary care.
The scope of podiatry is very wide. Most podiatrists are trained to do the following procedures:
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be needed to fix bones or muscles. Podiatric physicians can also perform reconstructive surgery.
- Sports medicine treatments and rehabilitation: Some sports, because of their nature, tend to cause leg injuries, so it’s a good idea for some teams or areas to have a podiatric physician available.
- Physical examinations and medical history records: Some sports or jobs require the evaluation of a podiatric physician.
- Prescription of custom-made shoes, insoles, and orthotics: Most places will require a prescription before manufacturing special shoes, soles, and other types of walking aids.
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation: Some patients require short or long-term rehabilitation. A podiatric physician can set a program or work with the patient while he or she performs it.
- Ordering x-rays and analysis: In many instances, the structure of the bone has to be analyzed before a next step can be taken.
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