A career in sports medicine with a specialization in podiatry can be lucrative, provide unique challenges on a daily basis and truly give you a feeling of satisfaction because you know that you're helping people deal with injury, pain and other problems that affect their mobility and quality of life. You can benefit from doing a little self-evaluation before you choose to embark on getting educated for this career. While many people with different strengths can succeed in the field of sports medicine, you'll set yourself up for success if you can confidently say that you meet the following criteria.
An Athletic Background
While you don't have to be an athlete to succeed in sports medicine, it will certainly help. Your athletic prowess doesn't have to be remarkable — you don't have to have been a scholarship athlete or even played for a competitive team — but it will help you if you've played various sports and worked out. The bulk of your patients will be coming to you with athletic-related complaints. Whether you've dealt with such issues yourself in the past or you simply know how important it is for a jogger to be able to move without heel pain, for example, you'll be able to better understand (and empathize with) your patients as you help them regain their health.
Training In Kinesiology
Having received some formal education in kinesiology will be immensely beneficial as you pursue an education in sports medicine. As a study of the body's movements and mechanics, kinesiology provides you with a thorough understanding of how bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments work in various movements — including within the context of sports and fitness activities. Those who have studied kinesiology have experience in understanding a patient's gait, for example. This is critical for those who wish to work in sports medicine with a concentration in podiatry, given that being able to assess a patient's gait and point out potential issues will be a big part of your job.
A Positive Experience As A Patient
Although it's never ideal to have been injured while playing a sport, having been through such an experience as a patient can often help you succeed in sports medicine. For example, if you broke a leg in a sport accident as a teenager, you'll have a first-hand understanding of what a future patient with the same injury is going through. You'll be able to recall the positive role that a sports medicine professional played in your recovery and work to play the same role for your patient.
For additional info on what criteria would be helpful if you're pursuing a career in sports medicine with a specialization in podiatry, contact a podiatrist in your area.