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Is Podiatry the Best Kept Secret in Medicine?

Every year, thousands of students enter college with dreams of entering a health profession. Students say that income, opportunity, and respect are the top factors when choosing a prospective career; predictably, students seem to have a particular fond of popular fields such as medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy. However, there is one career in medicine that nobody seems to know about, podiatry. In fact, most of the readers of this very article are probably unfamiliar with the term podiatry. Dr. Ross Taubman, former president of the American Podiatric Medical Association, claims that podiatry is the “best-kept secret in medicine.” In this article, we will examine the field of podiatry to see why it might be so.

Podiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to the feet and ankle. In other words, they are doctors who specialize in feet. Just like traditional doctors, they can prescribe medicine, perform surgery, and make diagnosis on a variety of diseases. One of the surprising reasons that podiatry is still relatively unknown is that podiatry is a well-compensated field. According to a salary calculator powered by, the national average salary for podiatrist is over 200,000 dollars. This is comparable, if not higher, than many specialties within the more popular fields of healthcare, including medicine, dentistry, optometry, and pharmacy. Furthermore, a large portion of podiatrists own their own clinics meaning that if they have keen business acumen, they can potentially earn significantly more.

What about the schooling and education? Just like medical doctors, podiatrists must go to podiatry school for four years. After graduation, they must place into a residency program, lasting about three years, to learn to independently and confidently practice podiatric medicine. After residency, podiatrists can become even more specialized through fellowship programs.

Can podiatrists make a difference in society? The answer to this question seems to be a resounding yes. Podiatrists are highly trained professionals whose job enables them to diagnose and treat diseases. Whether through surgery, medicine, or preventive measures, podiatrists live a fulfilling life knowing that they are improving people’s quality of life.

However, despite all these positive attributes, the field of podiatry seems relatively unknown and unpopular to students. Some believe that this is an issue regarding respect. People, especially students, want to enter a profession which everyone knows and regards as highly respectful. When someone says they are a doctor or dentist, there is a certain type of admiration that is demanded from others around. Furthermore, popular TV shows such as House, MD and Grey’s Anatomy have made titles like “MD” even more attractive. Podiatry would not receive the same recognition by society. But podiatry seems to be on some kind of a rise. We can only hope that more people learn about this profession because the future of medicine is greatly enhanced by podiatrists.


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