Why do we need DPM’s?

It’s finally here! We just got to the few lectures that we have this semester about the foot! The podiatry students are loving it! I had one of the DO students ask me last week why we really need podiatrists to have their own program and degree of DPM. Honestly it was a hard question to answer because in the context he asked it in, it was almost as if he was assuming that an MD or a DO could be doing the same things that podiatrists do. In a way, he was correct but also incorrect and I will explain why. He was correct because Podiatrists get a very similar education as MD’s and DO’s since they are generally considered physicians. Their training does not vary until the second year of medical school. Both sets go through different types of rotations in residency and get training all throughout the body and in multiple specialties. So why would you want to go to a DPM instead of a DO for your sub 1st met ulcer or your nasty case of Plantar Fasciitis? let me answer that by asking this now. Why wouldn’t you go to your primary care doctor to get your teeth cleaned or your eyes checked? Now does your primary care doctor have training and teaching about eyes and teeth? Yeah, he probably does. But you would still go and see a dentist for your teeth and an optometrist for your eyes. Neither of those are MD’s or DO’s. So. If you want the best foot and ankle care that you can get, you go to the best physicians and surgeons trained specifically to treat your feet! Yes, a DO or MD has been taught about the foot and ankle but DPM’s take entire semester long courses on lower limb anatomy and biomechanics of the lower limb to just mention a few of the specialized courses that they take. They also get special training in foot and ankle surgery and wound care that other physicians might not have. DPM residencies are designed specifically for DPM’s so that they can get an incredible about of experience doing foot and ankle surgery as well as treating patients and increasing their knowledge of foot and ankle care after their 4 years in medical school. So, there you have it. That is why we have DPM’s and why I wouldn’t want to go to anyone else for my foot and ankle care.

Considering the season, I just want to say how thankful I really am for this opportunity to be in medical school. I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again. I catch myself multiple times sort of taking a step back and looking into my situation and I am still amazed that I’ve been able to make it here. I wouldn’t change a thing either. I’m thankful for my classes, my tests, Des Moines University, hours and hours of studying, learning so much more than I ever thought I could learn, and even the cost (debt) of medical school so that I understand the value of the education that I am getting. I have so many things to be thankful for, including this experience. I definitely know that I am blessed, and I don’t take it for granted for a second.

This week try and do the same. Take a step back and look and see where you are. Try and find what you are thankful for about your life right now. You might not be thankful for everything but there is always good, even in the worst of times. Find what you are thankful for today and hold tight to it. Don’t ever take it for granted. Cherish it and let yourself enjoy it.

Happy Thanksgiving

Levi Smith, PMAC & Pediatric Medical student at DMU

Levi worked as a medical assistant for nearly 4 years at Pueblo Ankle and Foot Care while he finished his pre-med degree and upon completion applied and waited to be accepted into medical school. During this time, he developed a passion for Podiatry and was accepted into the Podiatry Doctorate program at Des Moines University.

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