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Podiatrists, or doctors of podiatric medicine, are specialists in diagnosing and treating disorders and diseases of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. They treat bunions, calluses, corns, warts, ingrown toenails, heel spurs, arch problems, and ankle and foot injuries. Podiatrists also treat deformities and infections. A podiatrist may prescribe treatment by medical, surgical, and mechanical or physical means.
The human foot is a complex structure, containing 26 bones plus muscles, nerves, ligaments, and blood vessels. The 52 total bones in your feet make up about one-fourth of all the bones in your body. Because of the foot's relation to the rest of the body, it may be the first body part to show signs of serious health conditions, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Podiatrists may detect these problems first, making them an important part of the health care team. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there are about 8,850 podiatrists working in the United States, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) estimates the number at 15,000.