Podiatry is that health occupation that is focused on the treating and prevention of conditions of the feet and related conditions. The foot is such a sophisticated part of the body with so many bones, muscles, ligaments that will get subjected to all the stresses from running and walking; let alone being squeezed into the dark and moist climate of the shoe that it needs a entire profession specialized in the issues with it. The issues can vary from modest skin complaints such as ingrown toenails to orthopaedic problems such as plantar fasciitis and to fractures of the bones of the feet.
The specific scope of practice of a podiatrist will vary from country to country with some countries like the USA where they have full surgical and medical privileges to manage the problems of the foot to some places in Europe where they can only use limited methods to deal with superficial disorders of the skin and nails. The training required to be a podiatrist is very different among nations. In the USA, you first need an undergraduate degree, then a 4 year post graduate podiatry degree and then a 2-3 year post degree residency. In some regions in Europe, its simply a community college one year undergraduate qualification. What a podiatrist is able to do is determined by the extent of the education and the law.
Podiatrists can use a variety of different techniques to treat problems of the foot. This may range from a straightforward scraping of skin disorders to foot orthotics for musculoskeletal disorders to reconstructive surgery for fractures. What is used is dependent upon the above scope of practice and training that the podiatrist has received. Many podiatrists will also have various special interests such a diabetes or sports medicine and they will often be found working in multidisciplinary teams working in those areas. Probably the best contribution that podiatrists make to the health care system is in disciplines like diabetes where proper foot care and the treatments for foot conditions result in substantial savings to the health system in the protection against amputations.
Have you conisdered as career as a Podiatrist?