Podiatric medicine is both a health care profession and a medical specialty. Podiatric physicians specialize in the medical and surgical management of disorders of the foot/ankle that may be associated with other aspects of the lower extremity or general medical conditions.

As the U.S. population continues to increase and the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and addresses chronic diseases, such as diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, obesity and hypertension, individuals are encouraged to maintain an active lifestyle. This will increase the demand for podiatric services. The spectrum of conditions treated by podiatric physicians includes, but is not limited to the medical, mechanical, and surgical treatment of skin and nail disorders, developmental foot/ankle deformities, trauma and sports related injuries, wounds associated with diabetes and the loss of sensation, arthritic conditions, infection management, and common foot/ankle conditions affecting adults and children.

The education of a podiatric physician includes four years of podiatric medical school followed by a three-year medical and surgical residency program. Fellowships in specialized areas are available for individuals who choose to further their knowledge and expertise.

Although the practice of podiatric medicine is focused on the foot/ankle, the education and training of a podiatric physician does not limit their ability to diagnose general medical conditions and assist patients access medical care. In this manner, not only are podiatric physicians able to promote the overall health and well-being by addressing foot/ankle conditions, but they are also able to do so while working with other health care professionals for the benefit of the patient.

There are approximately 18,000 podiatric physicians practicing in the U.S. The profession is supported by the American Podiatric Medical Association and complementary state professional organizations. The American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery and the American Board of Podiatric Medicine oversee certification of podiatric physicians. Podiatric physicians also participate in a variety of practice settings, such as multi-specialty groups, podiatric group practices, orthopedic groups, institutional practices, academic affiliations, and individual private practice. In 2022, US News and World Report ranked podiatric physicians in the top 20 paying jobs in the United States.