How do I Become a Foot and Ankle Surgeon?

Florence J. Tipton
Florence J. Tipton
A foot and ankle surgeon might specialize in treating sports injuries or children.
A foot and ankle surgeon might specialize in treating sports injuries or children.

The requirements to become a foot and ankle surgeon may vary based on the country where you live. Depending on the requirements where you live, you may spend between six and 14 years in a combination of classroom and medical facility training. This period may also consist of specialized training in a foot and ankle specialty. Essentially, you will need to devote years of study for an undergraduate degree, pass entrance exams to attend medical school, and serve a surgical residency term.

Foot and ankle surgeons require many years of education.
Foot and ankle surgeons require many years of education.

Becoming a foot and ankle surgeon is an admirable profession that requires years of preparation. Once your medical training is complete, you will have an opportunity to help patients who have suffered traumatic injuries. In some cases, you may even treat patients who have lived with a disability since birth.

To become a foot and ankle surgeon in the U.S., you first have to complete a four-year undergraduate degree at an academic institution. Undergraduate school in the U.S. is generally four years of preparation that lays the foundation for becoming a foot and ankle surgeon. You may take essential biology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology courses in addition to general studies.

Similar courses are usually required in other countries during the first few years of pursuing an undergraduate degree. The primary difference is that students in other countries such as China combine medical school training with the undergraduate degree, so applying to medical school is not necessary. In these countries, you may begin the rigorous training that most U.S. medical students experience in the latter years of completing the undergraduate degree.

In order to be accepted into a U.S. medical school, you have to pass the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), which is a standardized admissions test. The school may also consider your overall GPA (grade point average), a written essay, an interview with faculty, and your volunteer work. During medical school, you can expect to receive additional classroom instruction and participate in clinical rotations.

After medical school, you will begin a four-year residency program. The residency program focuses on the different conditions that may lead to foot and ankle surgery. The majority of your time is usually spent in a hospital or clinic. Years spent in the residency program typically provide more hands-on experience, which increases your knowledge and skill to become a foot and ankle surgeon.

Some people who become foot and ankle surgeons may also have a sub-specialty in addition to general practice. These sub-specialties concentrate on treating a specific group such as athletes or children. Adding a sub-specialty may require an additional year of training in a fellowship or similar program.

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    • A foot and ankle surgeon might specialize in treating sports injuries or children.
      A foot and ankle surgeon might specialize in treating sports injuries or children.
    • Foot and ankle surgeons require many years of education.
      Foot and ankle surgeons require many years of education.