How qualified is a foot doctor anyway? It takes a minimum of 10-12 years to become a Podiatrist, so you can be sure that by the end of that time, your feet are in good hands.
Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) are licensed to examine and perform procedures on the foot, ankle, and some parts of the lower extremities. The process to become a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine is similar to that of a Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) in that you must receive a Bachelor’s Degree, attend a 4-year Podiatric Medical School to receive a Doctorate in Podiatric Medicine, pass a minimum of 3 qualifying board exams, and complete a 2-4 year podiatric medical residency program.
Podiatric Medical School
After completing a Bachelor’s Degree with appropriate prerequisites and taking the MCAT, an aspiring Podiatrist must attend one of nine nationally accredited Podiatric Medicine schools. These schools all have four-year educational programs that include both didactic coursework as well as hands-on clinical education. During Podiatry school, students take 2 major board exams, one clinically based, and the other theory based. You must pass these exams and earn your Doctorate before being accepted into residency.
I attended the California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM) at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, CA. One of the advantages of that program is the early approach to clinical education. At CSPM you have more opportunities to perfect the skills you’ll be using daily at an earlier point in your education.
Podiatric Medicine Residency
There are over 200 residency programs in the country, most of which are 3-year programs with the first year focused on general hospital rotations in departments such as orthopedic surgery, general medicine, trauma surgery, emergency services, & more in addition to podiatric surgery. The second and third year of residency are focused primarily on the practice of podiatric medicine. As a resident, you are able to treat patients and perform procedures and surgeries, but everything you do is supervised by a licensed Doctor of Podiatric Medicine.
The residency I attended was based out of Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Vallejo, CA. I rotated through four main hospitals and worked roughly 80 hour workweeks. Second and third year residents receive only four regularly scheduled days off per month and are on call every other week. It was a grueling schedule, but because there were so many patient cases, I was able to hone and practice the skills I use in my profession now every day.
During residency, a final board examination is administered to allow you to practice Podiatric Medicine. Once you’ve passed this exam and completed residency, you are usually a decade older, have a mound of student loan debt, more gray hair (or in my case, no hair!), but are considered a full-fledged Podiatrist.
So when you make an appointment with me, Dr. Jack Andrew Harvey, or any other local podiatrist, you know you’re trusting your feet to the care of an experienced professional who has studied and practiced for at least 10 years to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to keep you on the move.
This blog article and the views expressed therein were written by Jack Andrew Harvey, DPM of San Joaquin Foot & Ankle and are not affiliated with any other organization or entity. For more information on the services Dr. Harvey provides, or to schedule an appointment call (209) 823-2700 or click here to send a message to our office. San Joaquin Foot & Ankle is conveniently located at 1210 E. North St. in Manteca, CA across from Doctors Hospital of Manteca.