The History of Podiatry

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The study of our feet isn’t a new concept. In fact, the specialization of podiatry has been developing since medicine began. Podiatrists are doctors who focus entirely on issues related to the feet, ankles, and sometimes-related matters that have to do with the leg. This is actually a huge job when you think about just how many things can go wrong with your feet. Not being able to walk severely limits our mobility, and this can put someone out of commission quickly. Many of us just expect our feet to get us where we need to go without much thought. Taking our ability to walk and get around for granted can make injuries to the feet all the more traumatic. It’s really an eye-opener when something happens that makes it difficult for you to complete even the simplest of daily activities. The medical profession recognized the importance of the feet, and created an entire area of study dedicated to keeping them healthy.

The ancient Egyptians recognized this, and archaeologists have discovered evidence of foot physicians dating all the way back to 2400 BC. Carvings on the wall of an Egyptian physician depict him caring primarily for issues related to the feet. Hippocrates, one of the most well known names in medicine, pioneered foot care for the ancient Greeks. He even developed a special instrument for removing painful calluses. This situation is understandable due to poor footwear, and a constant serious risk of infection. Many times, the most dangerous infection started in the feet. There also weren’t as many ways to get around, and this meant that keeping your feet healthy was incredibly important.

In the year 1895, a group of early chiropodists managed to organize the very first specialized group focusing entirely on the health of the feet. This is the profession that eventually grew into podiatry. Now, finding a foot doctor in Houston is a simple as opening the phone book or checking the Internet. Back then it was very difficult to find a doctor that had extensive knowledge about the feet and feet care. The Pedic Society of New York gave way to publications designed to focus on the study of the feet. By the year 1911, they had finally formed the first school created to educate medical professionals about the feet. Things only took off from here, and by the year 1924 the practice had gone international.

It continued to grow in popularity, and eventually developed into the American Podiatric Medical Association. Today, we understand just how important podiatrists are to the field of medicine. The feet often tell us things about our health that can act as early warning systems for disease. Even if you don’t suffer from chronic issues, it can be a good idea to check even minor problems out with the podiatrist.

Anyone who plans on specializing in podiatry has their work cut out for them. This isn’t just about learning everything there is to know about the foot. You have to understand how the foot interacts with the rest of the body. You also have to understand how different diseases and systems can cause symptoms in the feet, ankles and legs. Podiatry is an extremely complex and involved science.

It can also be broken down into several smaller specialties. Not every podiatrist specializes in surgery, just like with any other medical profession. There are even highly specialized doctors that help to develop prosthetics when feet are lost or portions of them are damaged. Learning about the medicine involved in podiatry is actually fascinating. Many of their practice are on the absolute cutting edge of the medical field, and they’re always taking advantage of new technology to improve podiatry as a whole.