By: Hannah Istre, MS-2.
Hannah Istre is a second-year podiatric medical student at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine (TUSPM). She is currently a mentor for PrePodiatryLife/Hallux Magazine.
Why Podiatry? This is a question that I have been asked a million times because most people just cannot understand why I would want to work with feet for the rest of my life (as feet are typically associated with negative opinions such as “stinky” or “ugly”). When I get asked this, I usually tell the person to just think about all the daily activities we perform that involve use of our feet and how difficult these activities would be if they had foot pain or improperly functioning feet. People typically don’t acknowledge the importance of feet until they start to experience foot pain in even the simplest daily activities such as walking. Our feet are the foundation of our body, and without a solid foundation, the rest of the structure fails. I want to be able to provide as many people with a solid foundation so that their bodies can function at peak capacity and they can live life to the fullest. This simple explanation usually provides a lot of clarity and insight as to the importance of Podiatry and why I chose to pursue this field.
People typically don’t acknowledge the importance of feet until they start to experience foot pain in even the simplest daily activities such as walking.
If I had to give any advice to an undergraduate student interested in Podiatry, I would definitely tell him or her to get into shadowing local Podiatrists so that they can be exposed to the numerous different subspecialties within Podiatry. When I shadowed my local Podiatrist, I was able to see the numerous in-office procedures that could be performed along with a few surgeries such as amputations and bunion repairs. I was not totally aware that Podiatry was so hands on outside of the operating room, and this really sold me on the profession. I also got to see the progression of patients over the period of a few months. There is one patient I particularly remember that first came into the office in a wheelchair and unable to walk due to a perpetuating wound, but after months of treatment, this patient was able to progress to crutches and eventually to full weight bearing without anything but a normal shoe. This was a life changing moment for this patient, and it showed me that I want to continue to be part of moments like this for my future patients.
Our feet are the foundation of our body, and without a solid foundation, the rest of the structure fails
I would also recommend that the student get involved in volunteering opportunities that involve foot healthcare. In Philadelphia, students can participate in Best Foot Forward Philly which allows interaction between the homeless population and volunteers to treat minor foot issues. I think that this is such a valuable opportunity for the student to see the importance of foot care, along with actually having some hands-on experience before starting Podiatry school to make sure that this field would be a good fit.
I would also recommend that the student get involved in volunteering opportunities that involve foot healthcare.
By Hannah Istre, MS-2
School: Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine
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