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Become A Foot And Ankle Surgeon

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Working As A Foot And Ankle Surgeon

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Processing Information
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • $119,340

    Average Salary

What Does A Foot And Ankle Surgeon Do

Podiatrists provide medical and surgical care for people with foot, ankle, and lower leg problems. They diagnose illnesses, treat injuries, and perform surgery involving the lower extremities.

Duties

Podiatrists typically do the following:

  • Assess the condition of a patient’s feet, ankles, or lower legs by reviewing his or her medical history, listening to the patient’s concerns, and performing a physical examination
  • Diagnose foot, ankle, and lower leg problems through physical exams, x rays, medical laboratory tests, and other methods
  • Provide treatment for foot, ankle, and lower leg ailments, such as prescribing special shoe inserts (orthotics) to improve a patient’s mobility
  • Perform foot and ankle surgeries, such as removing bone spurs, fracture repairs, and correcting other foot and ankle deformities
  • Advise and instruct patients on foot and ankle care and on general wellness techniques
  • Prescribe medications
  • Coordinate patient care with other physicians
  • Refer patients to other physicians or specialists if they detect larger health problems, such as diabetes
  • Conduct research, read journals, and attend conferences to keep up with advances in podiatric medicine and surgery

Podiatrists treat a variety of foot and ankle ailments, including calluses, ingrown toenails, heel spurs, arthritis, congenital foot and ankle deformities, and arch problems. They also treat foot and leg problems associated with diabetes and other diseases. Some podiatrists spend most of their time performing advanced surgery, such as foot and ankle reconstruction. Others may choose a specialty such as sports medicine or pediatrics.

Podiatrists who own their practice may spend time on business-related activities, such as hiring employees and managing inventory.

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How To Become A Foot And Ankle Surgeon

Podiatrists must earn a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree and complete a 3-year residency program. Every state requires podiatrists to be licensed.

Education

Podiatrists must have a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from an accredited college of podiatric medicine. A DPM degree program takes 4 years to complete. In 2014, there were 9 colleges of podiatric medicine accredited by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education.

Admission to podiatric medicine programs requires at least 3 years of undergraduate education, including specific courses in laboratory sciences such as biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as general coursework in subjects such as English. In practice, nearly all prospective podiatrists earn a bachelor’s degree before attending a college of podiatric medicine. Admission to DPM programs usually requires taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Courses for a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree are similar to those for other medical degrees. They include anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathology among other subjects. During their last 2 years, podiatric medical students gain supervised experience by completing clinical rotations.

Training

After earning a DPM, podiatrists must apply to and complete a 3-year podiatric medical and surgical residency (PMSR) program. Residency programs take place in hospitals and provide both medical and surgical experience. They may do additional training in specific fellowship areas, such as sports medicine or pediatrics.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Podiatrists in every state must be licensed. Podiatrists must pay a fee and pass the American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam (APMLE), offered by the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners. Some states also require podiatrists to take a state-specific exam.

Many podiatrists choose to become board certified. Certification generally requires a combination of work experience and passing an exam from the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, the American Board of Podiatric Medicine, or the American Board of Multiple Specialties in Podiatry.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Since podiatrists provide care for patients who may be in pain, they must be able to treat patients with compassion and understanding.

Critical-thinking skills. Podiatrists must have a sharp, analytical mind to correctly diagnose a patient and determine the best course of treatment.

Detail oriented. To provide safe, effective healthcare, a podiatrist should be detail oriented. For example, a podiatrist must pay attention to a patient’s medical history as well as current conditions when diagnosing a problem.

Interpersonal skills. Because podiatrists spend much of their time interacting with patients, they should be able to listen well and communicate effectively. For example, they should be able to tell a patient who is slated to undergo surgery what to expect and calm his or her fears.

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Foot And Ankle Surgeon Typical Career Paths

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Foot And Ankle Surgeon Demographics

Gender

Male

51.4%

Female

43.2%

Unknown

5.4%
Ethnicity

White

53.0%

Asian

17.7%

Hispanic or Latino

14.9%

Black or African American

11.7%

Unknown

2.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

100.0%

Foot And Ankle Surgeon Education

Schools

Temple University

16.7%

New York College of Podiatric Medicine

8.3%

Saint Louis Community College

4.2%

Wheaton College (Illinois)

4.2%

University of Florida

4.2%

Sullivan College of Technology and Design

4.2%

Micropower Career Institute, Manhattan

4.2%

Womack Army Medical Center

4.2%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

4.2%

Des Moines University - Osteopathic Medical Center

4.2%

Robert Morris University

4.2%

Sonoma State University

4.2%

Austin Community College

4.2%

Western Pennsylvania Hospital

4.2%

Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania

4.2%

Pittsburg State University

4.2%

University of Maine at Presque Isle

4.2%

New York School for Medical and Dental Assistants

4.2%

St. Luke's Medical Center

4.2%

American College

4.2%
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Majors

Podiatric Medicine

30.0%

Biology

10.0%

Veterinary Science

6.7%

Kinesiology

6.7%

Medical Assisting Services

6.7%

Health Sciences And Services

3.3%

Physician Assistant

3.3%

Drafting And Design

3.3%

Nursing

3.3%

Business

3.3%

Medical Technician

3.3%

Secretarial And Administrative Science

3.3%

Mechanical Engineering

3.3%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

3.3%

Zoology

3.3%

Health Care Administration

3.3%

Dental Assisting

3.3%
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Degrees

Other

33.3%

Bachelors

26.7%

Doctorate

26.7%

Associate

6.7%

Masters

3.3%

Certificate

3.3%
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Real Foot And Ankle Surgeon Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Orthopedic Trauma and Foot and Ankle Surgeon Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center, LLP Henderson, NV Oct 01, 2015 $240,000
Orthopedic Trauma and Foot and Ankle Surgeon Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center, LLP Las Vegas, NV Oct 01, 2015 $240,000
Orthopedic Trauma and Foot and Ankle Surgeon Nevada Orthopedic and Spine Center, LLP Las Vegas, NV Oct 01, 2012 $240,000
Foot and Ankle Surgeon Pacific Orthopaedic Associates Alhambra, CA Nov 01, 2011 $225,000

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Top Skills for A Foot And Ankle Surgeon

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  1. Ankle
  2. Hospital Surgery
  3. Surgical Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Involved with UTHSCSA resident education during their foot & ankle rotation.
  • Complete surgical treatment involving multiple surgical procedures of skin, soft tissue and bone in an inpatient and outpatient setting.
  • Conduct evaluations and medical diagnosis of foot and ankle pathologies.
  • Administer treatment by way of prescription medications, injections, orthotics, physical therapy, casting and wound care.

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