About Podiatric Profession
From Chiropody to Podiatry: Podiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of foot disorders. It originated along with dermatology and dentistry as part of cosmetology, the external care of the body. Chiriatry (care of the hands) and Podiatry (care of the feet) eventually became combined to form chiropody. This designation held until the 20th century. The term chiropody has not been used in America for more than 30 years, although it is still used in the United Kingdom.
Our Feet Work Hard: Along with our eyes and hands, our feet do more work than most parts of our body, so it’s little wonder that things sometimes go wrong. Our feet are also mirrors of our general health—signs of diabetes, arthritis, circulatory and neurological diseases often appear first in the feet.
Don’t Ignore Your Feet: Our feet help us balance, and carry us the equivalent of five times around the earth in an average lifetime. In return, we rarely give them the attention they deserve, hiding them away in shoes and forgetting about them … until they rebel. Proper foot care is essential to healthy, painless feet, and should be as much a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth. It’s never too early or too late to start caring for your feet.
Podiatrists are Trained Doctors: Podiatrists are trained in the medical and surgical treatment of the foot and ankle. A Podiatrist is by definition “a person qualified to diagnose and treat foot disorders.” The profession has grown from the ‘Corn Cutters’ who predate the 17th century to the “Chiropodist,” whom prior to 1912 learned their trade by serving under a preceptor.
Podiatry Recognized in 1939: The American Medical Association formally recognized Podiatry in 1939, and since this time the profession has grown rapidly. The modern specialty of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery requires a minimum of three years of college education and completion of the M.C.A.T. (Medical College Admission Test) before an applicant will be considered for acceptance to one of the seven colleges of Podiatric Medicine.
Course of Study for the DPM: The training for the student of Podiatric Medicine includes studies in the basic medical sciences (i.e., Anatomy, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Physiology, etc.). There is, of course, more emphasis on those areas reflective of the human lower extremity in normal and abnormal form and function. Diagnosis and treatment skills are developed in the third and fourth years in the clinical and hospital setting. The basics of surgery is also learned during this period.