The APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) recently released the following regarding Podiatry Profession:
• Doctors of podiatric medicine are podiatric physicians and surgeons, also known as podiatrists,
qualified by their education, training and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg.
• Doctors of podiatric medicine receive medical education and training comparable to medical
doctors, including four years of undergraduate education, four years of graduate education at
one of eight accredited podiatric medical colleges and three years of residency training.
• Doctors of podiatric medicine are uniquely qualified among medical professionals to treat the
foot and ankle based on their education, training and experience.
• Podiatry is to the foot and ankle what ophthalmology is to the eye, cardiology is to the heart or
otolaryngology is to the ear, nose, and throat.
• By virtue of their education, training and experience, doctors of podiatric medicine can:
o Perform comprehensive medical history and physical examinations
o Prescribe drugs and order and perform physical therapy
o Perform basic and complex reconstructive surgery
o Repair fractures and treat sports-related injuries
o Prescribe and fit orthotics, insoles, and custom-made shoes
o Perform and interpret X-rays and other imaging studies
•Doctors of podiatric medicine are authorized to practice podiatric medicine by state statute and are regulated and licensed to practice podiatric medicine in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
• Forty states have podiatric licensing boards. In the remaining 10 states, podiatric medicine is regulated by medical licensing boards.
• Podiatrists are defined as physicians by the federal government and in most states. In the few
states that do not use the term “physician” in the definition, podiatrists are licensed to diagnose
and treat the foot, ankle and lower extremity.
Podiatric Medical Education
• Doctors of podiatric medicine receive basic and clinical science education and training comparable to that of medical doctors:
o Four years of undergraduate education focusing on life sciences
o Four years of graduate study in one of the eight accredited podiatric medical colleges
o Three years of postgraduate residency training
• The education, training, and experience podiatrists receive in the care and treatment of the lower extremity is more sophisticated and specialized than that of broadly trained medical sub-specialists.
Podiatric Residency Training
During residency, podiatrists receive advanced training in podiatric medicine and surgery and serve clinical rotations in anesthesiology, internal medicine, pathology, radiology, emergency medicine, and general surgery, as well as elective rotations. Podiatric residency programs are three years in length and are provided in a hospital setting. During residency training, podiatric residents have substantial involvement in more than 1,000 foot and ankle surgical procedures performed on more than 600 patients. The surgical case load related to the lower extremity and the intensity of surgical involvement afforded podiatric residents far exceed those provided to orthopedic residents in four to six years of broadly-based residency training programs. The education, training, and experience podiatrists receive in the care and treatment of the lower extremity is more sophisticated and specialized than that of broadly-trained orthopedists.
Council on Podiatric Medical Education
The Council on Podiatric Medical Education (Council) is recognized by the Council for Higher Education
Accreditation and the US Secretary of Education as the accrediting agency for first professional degree programs in podiatric medicine. For 90 years, the Council has served to evaluate and promote the quality of doctoral education, postdoctoral education, board certification and continuing education for doctors of podiatric medicine. Compliance with standards and requirements set by the Council ensures a degree of uniformity upon which residency programs, certifying boards, state licensing agencies, and other credentialing entities can rely.
As of 2008, the Council accredited eight colleges of podiatric medicine. To achieve accreditation, colleges of podiatric medicine must provide classroom curricula and clinical education experiences that enable podiatric medical students to achieve specific competencies set forth by the Council. As of 2008 the Council approved 240 healthcare institutions as sponsors of podiatric medical residencies. To receive approval, residencies in podiatric medicine and surgery must meet the standards and requirements established by the Council. As of 2008, the Council recognized two certifying boards: the American Board of Podiatric Surgery (ABPS) and the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine (ABPOPPM).
National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners
The National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners (NBPME) is the national testing agency for podiatric
medicine. NBPME examinations are designed to measure the knowledge necessary to perform
at the level of minimum competence as a newly licensed podiatric medical practitioner. Passing the NBPME examination has been accepted by most state licensing entities as a requirement for obtaining a license to practice podiatric medicine in a given jurisdiction.
Certification in podiatric surgery or podiatric orthopedics and primary podiatric medicine attests to the achievement of individual podiatrists in possessing higher levels of knowledge and skills beyond those needed for minimal entrance into the profession. Over 5,000 hospitals and third party payers annually verify the credentials of ABPS board certified and qualified podiatric surgeons.
Dan Preece, DPM
Dan Preece, DPM & Darren Groberg, DPM