Podiatry is the term used for the branch of medicine dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders affecting the feet of patients. Podiatrists treat general problems including painful problems affecting the feet of patients during their daily routine and foot problems caused by sportspersons and dancers. They also treat skin problems in the foot and ankle and painful conditions affecting the feet of children.
Podiatry as a specialty medical discipline to treat feet was used in ancient Egypt around 2400 BC. Skin scrapers for the foot were invented by the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates. Medical care of the feet was called chiropody till the early 20th century. Chiropodists were given separate licenses to treat problems of the feet. In 1895 the first society of Chiropodists was formed in New York. In 1911, the first school dedicated to the training of chiropodists was established in the US. In the early 20th century the term podiatry replaced the name chiropody for the medical discipline dedicated to treating problems of the feet.
Podiatrists are foot physicians. They treat diseases and disorders affecting the feet of patients. American podiatrists need to complete surgical residencies to hold a doctor of Podiatric Medicine and they are qualified to perform surgical procedures on the foot and ankle. Podiatrists attend colleges dedicated to podiatric medicine. There are nine colleges in the US. Once podiatrists complete their training they receive the degree of Doctor of Podiatric Medicine and are given accreditation by the Council of Podiatric Medicine. Podiatrists can then become board certified by the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine or the American Board of Podiatric Surgery or both.
Podiatrists treat a wide range of problems affecting the feet of patients. Foot problems treated include wounds on the feet or ankles that do not heal quickly, painful foot and ankle joints, heel pain caused by heel spurs, foot or ankle sprains, strains or fractures and broken bones, corns and calluses, skin or toenail fungus including athlete’s foot, sports and dance injuries affecting the feet, foot problems of diabetic patients, painful shin splints, ingrown toenails, arthritic pain, conditions affecting children and bunions.
Podiatrists diagnose foot conditions. They order laboratory tests to understand the foot condition correctly. The prescribe medication, reset broken bones and perform surgical procedures to give patients long-term relief from foot problems.
There are many specialist centers and university departments in the US dedicated to podiatry research. These institutions including a center to improve the services of the foot doctor Pasadena MD in Pasadena, Maryland develop new innovations in podiatry and conduct clinical trials. The focus of these institutions is to develop devices, procedures, and medications that provide greater relief or eliminate medical problems affecting the feet.
The feet of patients carry and support the entire body and suffer wear and tear. Podiatry is an important branch of medicine that takes care of that important part of the body of patients-their feet.