What Is a Podiatrist?

foot doctor inspecting patient's wrapped foot

Simply put, a podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in feet. They are also referred to as doctors of podiatric medicine, as DPM will appear after a podiatrists’ name. Podiatrists are physicians and, in some cases, surgeons who are able to treat feet, ankles, and other sections of the leg.

What Are the Qualifications Required for a Podiatrist?

Similar to other medical professionals, a podiatrist is required to complete four years of education and training at a podiatric medical school, which is followed by another three or more years of residency training to be completed in clinics and hospital settings.

Once they have passed the necessary exams, podiatrists receive certification via the American Board of Podiatric Medicine. In some cases, additional training will take place if the podiatrist wishes to focus on a specific area.

Qualifications for podiatric surgeons are somewhat different, as they specialize in foot surgery. Podiatric surgeons need to pass a series of exams in general foot health along with surgery for various types of injuries and conditions. The American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery is responsible for certifying podiatric surgeons.

All podiatrists must be licensed to practice within the state where they work and are prohibited from practicing without a license. To stay in practice, a podiatrist will also need to renew his or her license once every few years and keep up with the latest medical procedures through annual training.

The podiatrists at Missouri Foot and Ankle have vast knowledge of foot conditions and with years of experience treating foot pain, you can count on us to help solve your foot problems.

Why Should You See a St. Louis Foot Pain Doctor?

While you might simply visit your family doctor for many conditions, you may also need to visit a podiatrist if you experience any pain or a type of injury in the foot, ankle, or another connecting area of the leg.

Certain conditions that may warrant a visit to a St. Louis podiatrist could include:

Flat Feet

For flat feet, individuals may benefit from wearing orthotics including foot braces and other types of support, which can help arch the foot and provide additional support for injured or weak ligaments in the feet. A trained podiatrist can take molds of your feet to customize the size and shape of the brace.


Over time, diabetes can cause damage to the feet, which can result in pain, numbness, or even ulcers. A podiatrist and other specialists will be able to help treat these conditions if you have foot problems because of diabetes.

Infected Toenails

You might need to see a podiatrist for certain conditions causing infection in the toenails. If they are yellowed, thick and /or deformed, antifungal medication may be able to treat an infection.

Problems with Ankles

For ankle pain, you may need to see a podiatrist to determine the specific ankle disorder and appropriate treatment. In some instances, you may also need to undergo physical therapy to make a full recovery depending on the condition if you need to strengthen your muscles.

When to Visit a St. Louis Podiatrist

There are many other foot conditions and injuries that require expert care. A reputable foot doctor in St. Louis will be able to diagnose the condition and provide the right treatment. If you’re experiencing severe or mild pain, swelling, numbness, infection, etc. we can help get you back on your feet!

Visit the trusted podiatrists in at MO Foot & Ankle in St. Louis! Contact us today!