Why podiatry? What advice would you give an undergraduate student interested in this profession?
Podiatry allows physicians to do everything from providing orthotics and expands to performing surgery for various foot deformities. However, one of the most interesting aspects of this field is how foot and ankle surgeons can help patients increase their quality of life through consistent evaluation. For patients who have a history of diabetes and peripheral neuropathy, podiatrists can dramatically improve their standard of care by creating a comfortable environment where questions can be asked. Along with preventative measures, foot and ankle surgeons can perform significant surgeries that may alleviate chronic foot pain. Regardless of the type of surgery, podiatrists have the opportunity to help their patients maximize lower extremity function, all while preventing dangerous outcomes.
Podiatrists have the opportunity to help their patients maximize lower extremity function
If an undergraduate student was interested in this field, I would recommend taking the time to gain as much experience as possible through shadowing before entering podiatry school. By observing both the clinic and the operating room, the student can have the opportunity to recognize how diverse and multi-faceted this field is. Even within the clinical setting, foot and ankle surgeons are exposed to dermatology, wound care, casting, orthotics, nail care, diabetic foot risk evaluations, and so much more. By entering the inpatient ward, the student can understand how podiatrists have a significant role in medical emergencies when it comes to evaluating ankle trauma cases, necrotizing fasciitis, and gas gangrene. I would also recommend that the student observe allopathic and osteopathic physicians in order to understand what makes podiatry so unique compared to other fields in medicine. By entering the field with a comprehensive understanding of podiatry, the student will have a better idea of the responsibilities of foot and ankle surgeons.
I continue to be drawn to podiatry due to the diversity of care within the field itself, and the ability to increase the quality of life for patients. If undergraduate students can increase their exposure to the field before they start training, I believe they can truly understand all of the wonderful opportunities podiatry brings.
Western University of Health & Sciences College of Podiatric Medicine, Class of 2021