Podiatric medicine, as it is medically called, is a branch of medical sciences primarily focusing on the study of human movement, particularly the foot and ankle. As a podiatrist, one is responsible for treating corns, calluses, bunions, ingrown toenails, and arch problems; performing surgery; prescribing drugs and physical therapy; working with ankle and foot injuries and infections; correcting deformities by using plaster casts and strappings; and fitting corrective shoe inserts or orthotics. Being educated and trained under state-of-the-art techniques in surgery, orthopedics, physical medicine, dermatology, and rehabilitation, a podiatrist plays a major role in detecting serious health problems which otherwise go unnoticed most of the times. Given the fact that people are now concentrating more on their feet, the career of a foot specialist is one of the sought-after options to excel in. These healthcare professionals can, undoubtedly, embark you on a flourishing and fruitful life ahead.
Candidates must have passed the 10+2 level of examination, or its equivalent, from a recognized board, with Physics, Chemistry, and biology as compulsory subjects, in order to seek admission in a Bachelor’s degree program in medicine. They are required to take and qualify in the medical entrance examination, conducted by various institutions across India. On obtaining an undergraduate medical degree, candidates can apply for a post graduation program in podiatric medicine. Podiatric medicine is offered as a four-year program, which follows a curriculum similar to the one followed at other medical schools. The first two years educate students on basic sciences, such as anatomy, chemistry, pathology, and pharmacology. The later two years comprise of clinical rotations at private practices, hospitals, and clinics. Here, the interns are taught the basic and modern ways of noting down general and podiatric histories, performing routine physical examinations, interpreting tests and findings, making diagnoses, and carrying out therapeutic procedures.
Graduates who successfully complete the podiatric medicine course are awarded with the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree. This is followed by 2-4 year residency program at a hospital wherein podiatrists are taught how to execute surgery and other medical processes, like anesthesiology or radiology. It is during this period that one has to choose his specialized field, namely, geriatrics, pediatrics, biomechanics, surgery, sports medicine, dermatology, radiology, orthopedics, and primary care. After completing the residency program, podiatrists are licensed to practice in their chosen field. Simply having the passion to study podiatric medicine will not help one thrive in this field. One should possess high level of patience, manual dexterity, and aptitude, apart from in-depth knowledge and training in the concerned specialized field. Individuals with excellent communication and great interpersonal skills are usually preferred.
Podiatrists can find several employment opportunities at hospitals, assisted living facilities, medical schools, veteran’s hospitals, and physical therapy clinics. Being highly flexible, podiatrists earn the advantage of spending a larger amount of time with family and friends. Besides, they usually work for 30-60 hours per week. Apart from working with large hospitals, podiatrists can also practice solely. Those working for themselves can set up their own clinics, thereby deciding and making their own schedules, unlike following the pre-set timetables established by hospitals and health centers.
Top Colleges Offering UG/PG/Other Courses
Relatively a new entrant in India, not many institutes offer courses in podiatric medicine. Exclusive programs are conducted at just a handful of hospitals and clinics in the country. Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Hospital, Bangalore is the first one-of-a-kind foot clinic that offers programs in diabetes and non-diabetes - the art of better feet care. Diabetic Foot Society of India at Ahmedabad instructs doctors and nurses on the modern and advanced ways of treating ailments and problems of the feet and ankles. Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kochi is the first and only institute in India that runs courses in diabetic foot management and surgery. The courses conducted are one-year program in diabetic foot management for nurses, one-year program in diabetic foot surgery for surgeons, and two-year diabetic educators program.
Since podiatric medicine is a new field in India, there is plenty of room for fresh graduates and newly licensed podiatrists. With the constant demand for services from these health professionals, job opportunities are ample in the market. As a beginner, one can earn around Rs. 10,000 per month while working at a hospital. Remuneration is higher while practicing in partnership rather than solo practice. Such candidates can easily fetch Rs. 30,000 per month, or even more, in the beginning. With higher qualification, experience, and position held, podiatrists can generate revenue in lakhs of rupees per month.