Podiatry or podiatric medicine is a branch of medicine devoted to the study of, diagnosis, and medical treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle, and lower extremity. The term podiatry came into use in the early 20th century in the United States and is now used worldwide with countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia. A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), is a specialist qualified by their education and training to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle, and structures of the leg. Podiatric physicians have extensive background knowledge in human anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, sociological and psychological perspectives, general medicine, surgery and pharmacology. Specialist podiatric physicians are podiatrists who are qualified by additional postgraduate training or fellowship training and experience in the specialised field.
Within the field of podiatry, US trained podiatric physicians rotate through major areas of medicine gaining exposure and practice to areas including but not limited to: surgery, sports medicine, biomechanics, geriatrics, internal medicine, diabetes, vascular, neurological, pediatrics, dermatological, orthopedics, or primary care.
Podiatry is practiced as a specialty in many countries including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In many English-speaking countries, the older title of "chiropodist" may be used by some clinicians. In Australia the title is podiatrist or podiatric physician and the specialist is the podiatric surgeon. In many non-English-speaking countries of Europe, the title used may be "podologist" " or "Podólogo". The level and scope of the practice of podiatry varies among countries. Podiatry is a high paying specialty and was listed by Forbes in 2007 as the 15th best paid profession in the United States.
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