“The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone,
The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone…”
Every morning when you get up to go brush your teeth, 26 bones are shifting, 33 joints are moving and 20 muscles tendons are constantly contracting in your foot alone, on every single step, and on every single push, all within a matter of seconds.
Isn’t it astonishing that you are this amazing complex being, and you are doing all of this with little to no thought? Do you enjoy walking? Do you enjoy playing your favorite sport? Do you enjoy being able to dance, jump, kick and explore the world thanks to your feet? Now let’s imagine all those freedoms taken away from you. That would mean no more jogging, no more soccer, no more yoga, etc. Think about it: the number one thing that makes you happy, and then, “BOOM”, that thing is taken away from you. How would you cope with that for the rest of your life?
I’m here to tell you that being able to walk, being able to get from point A to point B, is a blessing, not a guarantee. Something as small as being able to wiggle your toes, getting out of bed in the morning or walking your kids to the park can be life changing if you don’t have the capability to do so.
You only get one pair in your life, so don’t take your feet for granted. Just like the tires on a car, you place a lot of miles on your feet, and eventually they are going to need a checkup before they fall apart on you. They do so much for you- it is absolutely amazing how your entire body rests on just a fraction of your total mass, and yet this is what propels you, what moves you, what causes you to jump high and what stabilizes you in an upright position. It is only right that you return the favor by providing your feet with proper health care.
That is why I choose to dedicate my career to this special part of the body through podiatry, the study of the foot and ankle. Studying for your D.P.M., or Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, is a four year degree followed by three years of residency. While currently I am only a first-year student, I already cannot get enough of this specialized field.
When I first stepped into a podiatry clinic, there was a whole level of uniqueness, comfort and happiness that I did not find when shadowing in pharmacy, dentistry or pediatrics. What sold me on podiatry was the in-depth communication and interaction that you have with your patient; you actually get the opportunity to know them as a person.
As a dentist, you rarely talk to your patient because you have tools in their mouth, and in most of general medicine, you perform a surgery without any attachment to the patient under the knife. In podiatry you work on a patient’s foot, so there is no obstruction of face-to-face communication. You get to connect with your patient, understand their occupation, get a glimpse of their lifestyle, and hear about their hobbies in order to restore them to a full, healthy life.
Podiatrists are some of the happiest doctors performing miracles on a daily basis by getting their patients back to an active lifestyle. Foot health is a very serious matter, and addition to taking care of your feet, you should consider podiatry as a choice for your future medical profession; it certainly changed my life, and I know it could do the same for you.
-Roberto De Los Santos, CSPM student class of 2018