Podiatrists

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Also known as:
Chiropodist, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, Foot and Ankle Surgeon, Foot Doctor, Foot Orthopedist, Orthopedic Podiatrist, Podiatric Physician

ABOUT PODIATRIST CAREERS
Video transcript

We tend to take our feet for granted. Day after day, the 26 bones in each foot do their duty, but sometimes, those bones, along with the muscles, nerves, ligaments, blood vessels, and skin that comprise our feet, need some attention. That's when it's time to march into the office of a podiatrist.

Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in the care and treatment of feet. They treat everything from bothersome corns and calluses to fractures and infections related to diabetes. As a medical doctor, a podiatrist can prescribe medication, order X-rays and lab tests, apply treatment, or, with certification, perform surgery. They may fit corrective inserts, design plaster casts and strapping to correct deformities, and design custom-made shoes.

Heading toward this career means taking pre-med classes in college, followed by the medical college admission test, then podiatric medical school, and after that (in most states), a hospital residency program. Once licensed, many podiatrists have their own offices or join a physicians' group.

Certification is also available for specialties such as orthopedics, primary medicine, or surgery. Some develop subspecialties such as sports medicine, treating the injuries of athletes, ballerinas, and everyday joggers. In every case, it helps to have good personal skills, as well as a medical degree. Patients rely on podiatrists to keep them on their feet.

SNAPSHOT
Diagnose and treat diseases and deformities of the human foot.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Educate the public about the benefits of foot care through techniques such as speaking engagements, advertising, and other forums.

Treat deformities using mechanical methods, such as whirlpool or paraffin baths, and electrical methods, such as short wave and low voltage currents.

Perform administrative duties, such as hiring employees, ordering supplies, or keeping records.

Make and fit prosthetic appliances.

Correct deformities by means of plaster casts and strapping.

Diagnose diseases and deformities of the foot using medical histories, physical examinations, x-rays, and laboratory test results.

Refer patients to physicians when symptoms indicative of systemic disorders, such as arthritis or diabetes, are observed in feet and legs.

Prescribe medications, corrective devices, physical therapy, or surgery.

Surgically treat conditions such as corns, calluses, ingrown nails, tumors, shortened tendons, bunions, cysts, or abscesses.

Treat bone, muscle, and joint disorders affecting the feet and ankles.

Advise patients about treatments and foot care techniques necessary for prevention of future problems.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Therapy and Counseling Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
TOP SKILLS
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.