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Someone interested in exploring a career path to become a sports podiatrist should possess a specific level of education and various skill sets. Attainment of a degree in podiatry and passage of a licensing examination are just a few of the requirements for someone looking to become a sports podiatrist. Other qualifications include an understanding of sports medicine principles, the ability to adapt to challenging situations, and good communication skills.
Sports podiatrists work with athletes to help ensure that their feet remain healthy. This can include treating specific problems athletes deal with, such as turf toe, and helping athletes deal with problematic injuries that can affect their participation levels in training and activity. Some of the tasks and responsibilities a sports podiatrist may undertake are designing shoe inserts, custom-made shoes, and other orthotics.
Those hoping to become a sports podiatrist will need to complete a significant level of education. Completion of a bachelor’s degree is often required for admission into a graduate-level college or university that specializes in podiatric medicine. Once accepted into a podiatric program, students must complete specific curriculum and clinical practice requirements to graduate. Podiatric degree programs typically last four years.
A student hoping to become a sports podiatrist will need to complete a residency program focused on sports medicine and treating the specific needs of athletes. This residency program is typically beyond the traditional two to four year residency most podiatrists undergo. These additional residencies typically last an additional year.
Individuals hoping to become a sports podiatrist must also typically pass a licensing examination. These examinations cover topics related to the general field of podiatry. Some licensing authorities may also require specific continuing education to keep up on changes in the fields of podiatry and sports podiatry.
Sports podiatrists must be able to adapt to changing environments and understand the basic needs of athletes. Someone hoping to become a sports podiatrist should understand the impact each sport can have on the feet of an athlete. They must also be able to understand the needs of each athlete and address individual concerns.
Podiatrists of all types should have excellent interpersonal skills. This includes the ability to communicate with a diverse population, ranging in age from young children to adults. In addition, sports podiatrists will need to be friendly and be able to put the patient’s health ahead of coach and team desires.