What is a Podiatrist? Explained by Our Tennessee Podiatrist, Dr. Jamil Hossain

What is a Podiatrist?

DPM, Also known as Doctor of Podiatric Medicine is a physician and a surgeon who treats the foot, ankle and all related structures of the leg. A podiatrist is trained and licensed to diagnose and treat, in conservative or surgical manner, any ailment, trauma or pathology of the feet and ankle. Podiatric service is considered a specialty.

A podiatrist is trained in a rigorous manner prior to receiving a practicing license in the United States. In order to be accepted in a podiatry school, a physician must complete four years of undergraduate/University level degree with certain pre-requisite courses. Additionally, a standardized test such as MCAT is required prior to admission.

Podiatry school consists of fours years, two of which is mostly spent in an academic setting and the final two years focus mostly on clinical rotations, hands on training, and strengthening the candidate in all aspects of medicine. At the end of the second year, the student doctor sits for Part 1 of the Podiatry Boards. A second board exam is taken after completion of four years of Podiatry school.

A candidate graduating with a doctorate degree from podiatry school receives the DPM title after their name.

A surgical residency, which is medical training consisting of three years, is required for any practicing podiatrist. A residency program is usually affiliated or located within a hospital in combination with private practices. The internship, or the first year of residency, consists of inpatient care of patient, internal medical training and initial surgical training. A third Podiatric Board exam is usually required after the internship year. The second year of residency dives directly into advanced surgical training, and rotations through other specialty such as plastic surgery, anesthesia and emergency room to name a few. Third year focuses mainly on advanced and complex cases such as trauma, reconstruction surgery along with hands on training on management of residents. During this time, a surgeon begins to prepare for their Qualification Boards exam.

A successful completion of a three years residency program with passing of all three boards will validate a candidate to practice in the United States.

Podiatry is a very broad field and is affiliated with a wide array of pathology. A typical in-office consultation can involve a routine checkup for a diabetic foot, wart, callous, ingrown nail, thickened nails or consult for orthotics or custom insoles, shoes and shoe adjustment. More involved in-office visits will require procedures including injections, casts, X-ray, and use of durable medical equipment to offload injury such as CAM walker and ankle brace. An in-office visit is quick, and usually covered by all insurances. A podiatrist is also authorized to prescribe medications as necessary.

A podiatrist is also a surgeon, and can perform both elective and non-elective (such as trauma) Surgery of the Ankle and foot. Surgery takes place in a hospital or outpatient surgery center. Most of the procedures are same day surgery and the patients are sent home with instructions, follow-up appointments and medications. Sometimes surgery can be complex and will require a short hospital stay during the post-operative period. During that time, a podiatric physician will care for the patient with a team of doctors, nurses, and therapists. This is also the same for someone who is admitted for a severe pathology and requires care in a hospital. A podiatrist can attend to that patient at the hospital as well.

Wound care is becoming a very important part of podiatric medicine and as such, a large part of both training and practice. A podiatrist is trained in all aspect of wound care, diabetic limb salvage, and surgery requiring infection control including amputation. A podiatrist can perform wound care treatment in office, at a wound care center, in an operative room, emergency room or at the hospital, depending on patient’s need.

If you think you need the help of a podiatrist for your Ankle & Foot needs, don’t hesitate to call your local podiatrist. Typically, you will not require a referral to make an appointment. Also, you can use your own health insurance for your visit, which can be verified by your podiatrist’s office.  Your podiatrist is part of the medical community and will work with you to keep your primary care provider informed of your treatment plan.


Dr. Jamil Hossain is a leading Podiatrist in Franklin, TN who specializes in both conservative and surgical treatments for all foot and ankle conditions. The mission of Dr. Hossain and the Ankle & Foot Centers of America is to provide the highest level of podiatric care to every patient who enters their practice.

For more information concerning any foot or ankle aliment, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hossain for further evaluation, please call our Franklin, TN office at 615-814-0885. Also, you can click HERE to make an appointment online now!


Ankle & Foot Centers of America – Tennessee
1909 Mallory Lane, Suite 100
Franklin, TN 37067
Phone: (615) 814-0885
Fax: (615) 814-0056

Click Here to learn more about Dr. Jamil Hossain

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If you are suffering from foot and ankle pain, and need an industry-leading physician to treat your ailments, then make an appointment today! Come see our team for a complete foot and ankle exam!

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