According to the APMA, American Podiatric Medical Association: “A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM), also known as a podiatric physician or surgeon. Podiatrists diagnose and treat conditions of the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg.”
When treating patients, this system is also known as the lower extremity. Podiatric physicians are uniquely qualified among medical professionals to treat the lower extremity based on their education, training, and expertise. Podiatrists are defined as physicians by the federal government.
A DPM is a specialist in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of lower extremity disorders, diseases and injuries. A podiatric physician works independently, utilizes x-rays and laboratory tests for diagnostic purposes, prescribes medications, orders physical therapy, sets fractures, and performs surgery. As part of a healthcare team, the DPM works closely with other health professionals to treat and control the disease.