Podiatric medicine, otherwise known as podiatry, is the field of medicine that deals with diagnosis, treatments and surgical procedures of the ankle, foot, and lower extremity and studies the structure of the leg. The physician of this branch of medicine is called a podiatrist. Before being commonly known as a podiatrist, a practitioner was called chiropodist.
A lot of other branches of medicine come in use alongside podiatric medicine. For example, physiology, physical assessment, biochemistry, sports medicine and various others. A podiatrist is likely to undergo training for the various sub-branches of medicine before becoming a specialist in the field.
This field is fairly new in comparison to the rest of medicine. The first group of podiatrist/ chiropodists came into being in 1895. A podiatrist is responsible for performing reconstructive surgeries on the leg region, prescribe medication and therapy, perform physical examinations and prescribe casts and prosthetics and more.
Podiatric medicine uses a variety of diagnostic imaging techniques to assess the damage to the bone and nerves. Some commonly known examples are X-rays, ultrasound, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), etc.
One of the most important fields of podiatry is podiatric surgery. A specialist in this area performs complex surgeries to reconstruct and restore full function to the foot and ankle. This can be a result of congenital disabilities, trauma, sports injuries and also complaints of joint and ligaments problems. A podiatrist who specializes in childcare is called a podopaediatric.
Podiatry is crucial in the sports industry, and almost every international sports team may have a podiatric specialist as part of the team who deals with players and athletes and field injuries. Physical therapy is also a very important specialization that deals with post-op therapy and more.