Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Brief History of Podiatry in America

From: cwru.edu

(Excerpt) . . . Bates has pointed out that although podiatry may have a new name (see elsewhere in this chapter), “...and the recognition of podiatric medicine as a primary care profession is fairly recent,...podiatry, itself, is as old as any other branch of medicine.”. Humans have undoubtedly always suffered from foot problems since evolving to bipedal gait. Indeed, there is written documentation in an Egyptian papyrus of 1500 B.C.A., outlining a treatment for corns. Hippocrates advocated a sensible approach to corns (thick, hard skin which usually forms on the knuckles of the toes). He recommended a simple operative technique and getting rid of the cause (probably tight sandals or boots). There are records of the King of France employing a personal podiatrist, as did Napoleon. In the United States of America, President Abraham Lincoln suffered greatly with his feet and chose a podiatrist named Isachar Zacharie, who not only cared for the president’s feet, but also was sent by President Lincoln on confidential missions to confer with leaders of the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War.

According to Bates, the licensing of podiatrists began in 1895 in New York, and in that year, America’s first association of podiatrists was formed. In 1907 the association began publishing Pedic Items, the first professional journal on podiatry. The American Podiatric Medical Association was formed in 1912, and boasts the highest membership percentage of current medical associations.

Both traditional allopathic medicine and podiatric medicine required the wake-up call of a formal report to begin moving into the modern era. For medicine this came in the form of the Flexner Report published in 1910 which was initiated by the American Medical Association. The Flexner Report had major impact. Sub-standard medical schools closed, and those that remained became affiliated with universities, admission standards were raised, full-time faculty became the norm, and teaching included work in laboratories and hospitals instead of lectures only. Podiatric medicine had to wait until 1961 for an analogous phenomena with publication of the Selden Commission Report.16 By 1978 all the colleges of podiatric medicine agreed to adopt the exact same requirements as U. S. schools of medicine.


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