The Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.) treats injuries, deformities and diseases of the ankle, foot, and lower extremities. To treat these problems, podiatrists prescribe drugs, order physical therapy, set fractures, and perform surgery. They also fit orthotics and design plaster casts and strappings and custom-made shoes. Podiatrists may use a force plate to help design the orthotics.

To diagnose a foot problem, podiatrists also order x-rays and laboratory tests. The foot may be the first area to show signs of serious conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Podiatrists consult with and refer patients to other health practitioners when they detect symptoms of these disorders. Some specialize in surgery, orthopedics, primary care, or public health. Besides these board-certified specialties, podiatrists may practice a subspecialty such as sports medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, radiology, geriatrics, or diabetic foot care.

Students apply to podiatry school using the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine Application Service

This health profession description is from the U.S. Department of Labor occupational outlook handbook