What is a Podiatrist?
A podiatrist, DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) is the only health care professional whose total training focuses on the foot, ankle, and related body systems. As a specialist in foot care, the podiatrist receives extensive training in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of foot and ankle disorders by medical and surgical means. After obtaining an undergraduate degree, the podiatric doctor spends four years in a college of podiatric medicine to obtain a doctorate degree. Many podiatrists further their education by participating in a post-graduate residency program at an approved hospital or university. Following their doctorate degree, each podiatrist must pass national and state examinations in order to be licensed by the state in which he or she will practice.
Education and Qualifications of the Podiatric Surgeon
As in allopathic and osteopathic medicine, the podiatric specialist first trains as a generalist and then receives additional education and training to qualify in the specialty. Seven colleges of podiatric medicine award the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree to individuals who successfully complete the four-year college curriculum.

The DPM who wishes to specialize in foot and ankle surgery enters an accredited hospital residency program for up to three years. Podiatric surgery residencies emphasize foot and ankle pathology, diagnosis, and treatment, and also require clinical rotations to other departments. Hospital-based podiatric residencies are accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

DPMs who successfully complete residency training are qualified to sit for a certifying examination by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. Upon certification, they may apply to become Fellows of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).