ARE PODIATRISTS REAL DOCTORS?
THEY CALL THEMSELVES DOCTORS BUT THEY ARE NOT PHYSICIANS. THEY DON'T GO TO MEDICAL SCHOOL RIGHT?
The best way to think of podiatrists is in the same vein that you think of dentists. We are anatomical specialists, like dentists. Accordingly our study is geared towards the foot from day one,BUT, podiatrists also take courses in general anatomy, general medicine, radiology, etc.
My podiatry school is part of the Rosalind Franklin School of Medicine in Illinois.
Unlike dentists (as far as I know), podiatry students do hospital rotations in various fields, primarily the ones that relate to the foot like metabolic medicine, orthopedics,dermatology, neurology, radiology, etc.
After graduation, podiatrists are required to do a hospital based residency ranging anywhere from one to three years based on what the podiatrist eventually wants to do in practice.
Podiatrists do surgery in hospitals, write prescriptions including a narcotics lic.
Here in NJ where I practice podiatrists are under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Medicine, therefore we are subject to the same rules and regulations as medical doctors.
The problem with podiatry is an identity crisis. Over the last 30 years or so, we have probably been the fastest growing medical profession and with that we carry the stigma of our predecessors as chiropodists.
Some of the things we have brought to the medical arena include:
The ability to do same day surgery. We were doing it long before allopathic medicine.
The ability to do procedures with just local anesthesia.
We were the front runners in sports medicine.
We rewrote the book on biomechanics of the lower extremity.
Wound Care. Podiatrist (as well as other physicians) have been at the forefront of developing new high tech wound dressings.
Podiatrists have designed many new orthopedic surgical equipment and implant devices.
So, based on that description, you may draw your own conclusions.
Marc Mitnick DPM