or the Podiatric Health Section Newsletter, Winter 1998-1999 that: “The Podiatric Health Section has lacked a dynamic agenda in the past.”. There is some evidence that certain presidents of the American Podiatric Medical Association, and their administrations, did not fully understand the role that should be played by podiatrists in improving the Nation’s foot health, and consequently they did not provide an adequate level of support for activities in APHA.12 Fortunately, the APMA presidencies of Dr.Marc Lenet and later Dr. Terence Albright provided excellent support and the Podiatric Health Section increased its membership by over 100 members. Dr.Jeffery M. Robbins was (and remains) director of the entire department of podiatry services for the Veteran’s Administration, and he brought this considerable administrative skill to his chairmanship of the Podiatric Health Section. He worked hard to ensure that foot health, particularly that of diabetics, was included in the goals advocated and published in Healthy People 2010. As podiatry enters the 21st century it appears that it has rediscovered its mandate to improve the Nation’s foot health. In a telephone interview which this author conducted recently with the incoming Chair-Elect of the Podiatric Health Section of the APHA, Patricia Moore, D.P.M., there are exciting plans being made now to create a textbook of podiatric health directed toward an audience of other health professionals, and greater emphasis will be placed on podiatrists participation in other sections of APHA.







            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.”. 13 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 history14, 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.15

            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.

            These were watershed events in the history of podiatric medicine because in the words of Leonard Levy, D.P.M., M.P.H., “...they began providing the basis for establishing legitimacy to the call by the profession for parity with medicine.”.17 In 1967 two separate national changes in policy had a significant impact on the development of podiatric medicine. In 1967 Congress amended the Medicare Act of 1965 to include podiatry. This permitted podiatrists to qualify for payment as did the other physician categories: M.D., D.O., D.D.S. This same year, “...the then Joint Commission on Acreditation of Hospitals issued a bulletin permitting hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals to allow qualified podiatric physicians to perform surgery without having a scrubbed-in ‘physician-surgeon’ in the operating room who was a member of the active medical staff.”Ibid,17

            The growth of post-graduate training programs for podiatrists was slow. The first residency program was opened in 1958 in Philedelphia at St.Luke’s and Children’s Medical Center.Ibid,17 However, it required another thirty years before all graduating  podiatric medical students received residencies.18

            Given that podiatry began as chiropody with ‘knife-in-hand’ cutting corns and

calluses, it should not be surprising that most board certified podiatrists are, in fact, board                                                             

 certified in foot surgery.Op.Cit. The road to a place alongside orthopedic surgery, establishing podiatric surgery as a legitimate specialty area was a long, slow road. One significant step along this road took place in 1942 when the American College of Foot Surgeons was organized. Almost immediately, rigid requirements for membership included both a written and an oral examination.19 A corps of competent podiatric surgeons ( still called Doctors of Surgical Chiropody) lectured throughout the U.S. and trained other surgeons. A State Supreme Court decision in Michigan (Fowler vs. State Board of Pharmacy) gained the right for podiatrists (chiropodists) to prescribe narcotics to relieve the pain of their postoperative patients, thus allowing more extensive surgical operations.

            “The renaissance of podiatric surgery occurred with the opening on June 4, 1956 of Civic Hospital in Detroit, Michigan which was the first podiatry hospital in the United States.”Ibid,19 This hospital had 18 beds and a fully equipped operating room. It quickly became a center for postgraduate education and training in the science and art of podiatric surgery, providing alumni who greatly advanced the state of podiatric surgery, often establishing residencies in their hospitals around the country.

            Fortunately for podiatric medicine and surgery, two podiatrists at the California College of Podiatric Medicine, Drs. Merton L. Root, and Thomas E. Sgarlato, became intrigued with the pioneering research of Verne T. Inman, M.D., who was unraveling the mysteries of human gait. Both Dr. Root and Dr. Sgarlato began to study the biomechanics and kinesiology of the human gait cycle, including pathological conditions that appeared

in the foot. Both began to lecture widely in this country, greatly helping podiatrists to base both their conservative and their surgical treatments on scientific understandings of the complex patterns of human locomotion.

            Podiatric surgeons learned early the great importance of intense postoperative                                                                 

care, and since many of their surgeries were performed in outpatient settings, an early emphasis was placed on ambulatory care. By 1974, Kaplan could claim in his historical review of podiatric surgery that “...the majority of foot surgery is now being performed by podiatrists.”Ibid,19 

            Most developed counties have professions of chiropody or podiatry. Many countries have several colleges of podiatric medicine which have welcomed guest lecturers from America podiatrists whose surgical experience has had a leavening effect on the evolution of the profession in these countries. For example the city of Perth in Western Australia is permitting a rapid growth of surgical skills among its podiatrists. This author had the privilege of participating in the surgical training of one Australian podiatrist who came to Cleveland, Ohio through a fellowship program of the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. For six months this author guided his surgical fellow through of all the surgeries which were scheduled through his office. Correspondence with the Australian surgical fellow told a story of considerable development of his surgical practice after he returned to his home. However, at that time in the provinces of New South Wales and Victoria, podiatrists still had not achieved the right to prescribe narcotics, relying entirely on their anesthesiologists for this necessary postoperative

service to their patients. And so, step by step, podiatry grows internationally by a winding path not unlike that followed by American podiatry.
























An ancient healing art has evolved in America to become a highly complex surgical subspecialty. The advances that podiatry has made in the 20th century are unquestionable. Modern American podiatrists with advanced postgraduate training are some of the finest foot and ankle surgeons in the world. However, despite these advances there are some questions that remain.

            Some skilled podiatric surgeons wonder if it makes any sense to have a separate branch of medicine for the care of the foot. Such a division has worked well for dentistry, but, perhaps, not so well for podiatry. Podiatry does not stand side by side with medicine as dentistry does. Even a cursory look at medical literature, or medical research, or medical schools will confirm this. These podiatrists can often be found advocating that podiatric medicine be subsumed under the allopathic umbrella. They argue that podiatrists should attend standard allopathic medical schools and then specialize in podiatric surgery , podiatric orthopedics, podiatric primary care, or podiatric public health. This would, they believe, eliminate the confusion that sometimes surfaces regarding a podiatrist’s education and training, and podiatrists’ role in the developing healthcare complex.

            Other podiatrists counter that such an abdication would wipe out entirely the special affection which so many patients feel for their ‘foot doctor’. They claim that such a change would lose that body of knowledge which excels at treating human foot problems without surgery! These doctors and educators, including surgeons as well as non-surgeons, lament their impression that as young podiatrists gain more and more years of postgraduate education, and master increasing complex surgical skills, they grow farther and farther away from the core techniques (and values?) that created the enduring and beneficial profession of podiatry. Only time will answer this.


John D. Waddell, D.P.M.

Diplomate, American Board of Podiatric Surgery

Board Certified in Foot and Ankle Surgery

Fellow, American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons

Board Certified, American Board of Quality Assurance


Please contact me at:     john.waddell@case.edu

to offer criticism and corrections which will be incorporated in future chapter revisions. Thank you.
































1. Viehe RB, Diabetic Foot Care: podiatric physicians are the experts.

     J Am Podiatr Med Assn. 2002 Sep; 92 (8) : 477

2.  This author does have a colleague practicing in the same city who routinely removes

     warts from patients’ hands by laser surgery, in addition to his foot surgical practice.

3.  American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society

     2517 Eastlake Avenue East, Suite 200

      Seattle, WA 98102         www://aofas@aofas.org

4.  For example, the three year podiatric surgical residency at the University of Chicago

     offers a fellowship year in Europe with the orthopedic surgeons who originated the

     modern concepts and techniques of using metal screws and plates to fixate fractures.

5.  Viehe RB, How Else Have We Arrived

     J Am Podiatr Med Assn.  2002 Oct; 92 (9) : 528-9

6.  United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

     Occupational Outlook Handbook       www.bls.gov

7.  Allan H. Fisher, Jr., Ph.D.

     Al Fisher Associates, Inc.

     406 New Mark Esplanade

     Rockville, MD  20850-2735

8.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

     1600 Clifton Rd.

      Atlanta, GA 30333       www.cdc.gov

9.  Helfand AE, Hausman AJ, A Conceptual Model for Public Health Education in     

     Podiatric Medicne, J Am Podiatr Assn. 2001 Oct; 91 (9): 488-95

10. Rowena A. Wilson, R.N., M.P.H. J Am Podiatr Assn. 1977 Jul; 67 (7) 463-4

11. Helfand AE, History of the Podiatric Health Section of APHA as recorded by

      the American Podiatric Medical Association on their website: www.apma.org/phshis

12. Personal Correspondence

13. Dagnall JC, The History of Podiatry; J Am Podiatr Assn. 1976 Dec; 66 (12) 944-5

14.  Bates JE, Podiatric Medicine: History and Education; J Am Podiatr Assn. 1975 Nov;

      65 (11) 1076-7

15.  Viehe RB, The Effectiveness of Organized Podiatric Medicine. J Am Podiatr Assn.

       2003 Mar-Apr; 93 (2): 165-6












Sources for Further Information



American Podiatric Medical Association                                   Tel:  1 301 571 9200   

9312 Old Georgetown Road                                                    Fax:  1 301 530 2752

Bethesda, Maryland   20814                                                     Email:  askapma@apma.org

USA                                                                                        Website: www.apma.org



Affiliated and Related Organizations



American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine                      Tel:  (301) 845-9887

P.O. Box 723                                                                           Fax: (301) 845-9888

Rockville, MD  20848-0723  USA                                           Website: www.aapsm.org



American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine          

3525 Ellicott Mills Drive, Suite N                                              Tel:  (206) 682-8741

Ellicott City, MD  21043-4547  USA                                       Website:  www.acfaom.org


American College of Foot and Ankle Pediatrics             Tel:  (410) 772-9245

P.O. Box 33                                                                

Burtonsville, MD  20866  USA


American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons             Tel:  (847) 292-2237

515 Busse Highway                                                                  Fax:  (847) 292-2022

Park Ridge, IL  60068-3262    USA                                        Website: www.acfas.org



International Directory


Sociedad Científica de Podología de la República Argentina     

Libertad 174 2º - 3º Piso                                                          Tel:  54 4382 9173

Capital Federal (C.P.:  1012)                                                    Fax:  54 4381 7342

Republica Argentina, America Del Sur


Australasian Podiatry Council                                        Tel:  03 9416 3111

41 Derby Street                                                                        Fax:  03 9416 3188

Collingwood, Victoria 3066                                                      Website: www.apodc.com.au



Associação Brasileira De Podólogos-ABP                                Tel: 55 22 4422.7500

Av. Prestes Maia, 241 - 21º Conj. 2111                                   Fax: 55 11 3311.7557

São Paulo – SP – Brazil                                                           


Canadian Podiatric Medical Association                                    Tel:  1 416 927 9111

900-45 Sheppard Avenue East                                     Fax:  1 416 733 2491

North York, Ontario

Canada, M2N  5W9


Fédération Nationale des Podologues                                       Tel:  33 1 44 79 90 91

17 rue de l’Echiquier                                                                 Fax:  33 1 44 79 08 02

75010 Paris, France


Zentralverband Der Medizinischen Fußpfleger Deitschlands E.V. (ZFD)

Johannisstr. 12                                                              Tel:  49 02302 83781

D 58452 Witten, Germany                                                        Fax:  49 02302 88537


The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists                               Tel:  44 020 7234 8620

1 Fellmongers Path, Tower Bridge Road                                   Fax:  44 020 7234 8621

London SE1 3 LY, England                                                     



Israelic Podiaric Medical Association                            Tel:  972 2 625 4162

P.O. Box 37166                                                                       Fax:  972 2 625 9282

Jerusalem, Israel


Associazione Italiana Podologi-A.I.P.                           Tel/Fax:  39 06 228 20 23

Via dei Berio 91

00144 Roma, Italy


Nederlandse Vereniging van Podotherapeuten               Tel:  31 033 465 55 51

P.O. Box 1161                                                                         Fax:  31 033 465 05 01

3800 BD Amersfoort



The New Zealand Society of Podiatrists Incorporated   Tel: 64 4 9142000

P.O. Box 24-139                                                                    

Royal Oak, Auckand  New Zealand                                        


Singapore Podiatry Association                                     Fax:  65 6259 3175

Orchard Post Office

P.O. Box 410              

Singapore  912314


The South African Podiatry Association                                    Tel:  27 11 406 2233

P.O. Box 29139                                                                       Fax:  27 11 401 0675

Johannesburg 2131, South Africa




Federación Espaňola de Podólogus                                           Tel:  34 1 531 50 44

San Bernardo, 74, bajo dcha                                                    Fax:  34 1 523 31 49

28015 Madrid, Spain