A question I hear a LOT from patient's is "why podiatry?" Why would I want to see feet all day? The answer is a little different for every podiatrist, but for me, podiatry is the profession I feel I am meant to be in for a few reasons.
In High School, all I knew was that I wanted to be done with school as soon as possible and working. You're probably laughing because you may realize that at this point, when all is said and done, I was in "school" or in training for my career for 11 years after I was thinking that to myself. I went to college and applied to the Athletic Training program. I was accepted and began my coursework, studying anatomy, kinesiology, physiology, physical exams, exercise medicine, and rehabilitative techniques. I LOVED this program and in a major of only 26 students per year I had a lot of hands-on learning and close peers to study with. I really enjoyed the classes, the information, the skills I learned in diagnosing and rehabilitating athletic injuries - but when it came time to start interning at the local high schools and at my college (Northern Illinois University) I got a clearer picture of what my day-to-day life would look like.
I have a great respect for the profession and gladly tell people that I have kept up my athletic training certification, but I was looking for something a little more. The nature of many athletic training jobs is waiting for someone to get hurt to put into action all that you've learned. I am not one for waiting around and I was not as enthusiastic as some of my cohorts to watch high school volleyball/baseball practice a few hours a day.
My family had always had a plethora of foot conditions and plus - I saw a LOT of foot and ankle injuries during my program at NIU (a LOT more than tooth injuries). My mom had conveniently looked into podiatry schools and mentioned that there was one right in Chicago whose application deadline had not yet lapsed. The application fee wasn't a big deal and the information they needed was easy enough to compile. I put all my papers together and sent them in hoping that I would hear good news back.
As fate would have it, I got an interview, got accepted, and even got a scholarship to podiatry school. Apparently somebody had better ideas than I about where I was meant to be. I looked ahead, excited to start more school! Imagine that.
There are many great things about podiatry and I've come to appreciate a lot of them along the way. While it is a specialty, podiatry possesses a wide variety from day to day. We treat conditions of the skin, nails, muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and so on. I find the patients have been the most rewarding part for me. Helping someone feel better or recover from an injury is a unique experience and there are sometimes when patients are so appreciative for something that you felt was really easy to do. I am so glad to be in this profession and look forward to continuing to helping people through their foot conditions for years to come.