#1
Old 07-03-2018, 12:54 PM
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Podiatrist = quack?

Is there any reason that you know of why the field of podiatry might be considered as quackery? I confess I had never encountered this view until quite recently when a coworker mentioned he had an appointment with his podiatrist and another coworker piped up with a "why would you do that? If you really want to see a quack why not just go see a chiropractor?"

He may have meant that particular podiatrist was a quack, but I didn't get that impression. That or I missed an earlier exchange between the two of them. My question for you, however, are podiatrists looked down on by the AMA for some reason?
#2
Old 07-03-2018, 01:08 PM
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It's real - they are doctors (more or less) that specialize in feet. Never used one myself, but it's not like chiropractic or acupuncture. It's science-based.

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Shodan
#3
Old 07-03-2018, 01:13 PM
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I went to a podiatrist. He has a medical degree, just a specialist in feet and ankles. He removed a bunion...nothing I would ever recommend!
#4
Old 07-03-2018, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Cardigan View Post
Is there any reason that you know of why the field of podiatry might be considered as quackery?
Only if you have webbed feet.
#5
Old 07-03-2018, 01:39 PM
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Not so much looked down on by the AMA as society in general; I often hear them referred to in the same terms and sense as chiropractors. To me they always seemed something like osteopaths and some other fringe-AMA-sometimes-accepted specialists with good and bad and some better than others. But in the interest of full disclosure I do see a chiropractor maybe once every few years and have nothing against them either as a whole.
#6
Old 07-03-2018, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by gnoitall View Post
Only if you have webbed feet.
This is so awesomely horrible.

Nice job.
#7
Old 07-03-2018, 01:46 PM
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My Dad's podiatrist was the one who first brought it to our attention that his blood pressure in his feet was dangerously low, and led to us finding out he has a block in his heart that is going to require a valve replacement. So yeah, I count podiatrists as Real Doctors. There's all sorts of valuable medical things they do.
#8
Old 07-03-2018, 01:49 PM
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Possibly the coworker in the OP was thinking of a refelxologist and not a podiatrist?
I've seen a podiatrist recently for foot pain and he seems legit enough but someone recommended a reflexologist and reading about them seemed like a lot of woo non-sense.
#9
Old 07-03-2018, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Athena View Post
My Dad's podiatrist was the one who first brought it to our attention that his blood pressure in his feet was dangerously low, and led to us finding out he has a block in his heart that is going to require a valve replacement. So yeah, I count podiatrists as Real Doctors. There's all sorts of valuable medical things they do.
Definitely. Especially if you're diabetic, they can perform foot-saving surgery, such as cleaning out bone infections. Very important if you don't want to lose your feet.
#10
Old 07-03-2018, 01:57 PM
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I think it's considered a sort of easy, high-paying specialty: it pays better than family medicine or ob/gyn or pediatrics and also has much better hours.
#11
Old 07-03-2018, 02:23 PM
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25 years as an RN:

Podiatrists are Medical Doctors with their scope of practice limited to the foot (or ankle or calf depending on the state). Like all doctors, some are good and some are bad. I have been to podiatrists before and have had great service and results.

Chiropractors, IMHO, are overwhelmingly quacks. Maaaaaaaaaybe 25% operate honestly, the rest are in it for the easy money.
#12
Old 07-03-2018, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Profound Gibberish View Post
25 years as an RN:

Podiatrists are Medical Doctors with their scope of practice limited to the foot (or ankle or calf depending on the state). Like all doctors, some are good and some are bad. I have been to podiatrists before and have had great service and results.

Chiropractors, IMHO, are overwhelmingly quacks. Maaaaaaaaaybe 25% operate honestly, the rest are in it for the easy money.
There are some chiropractors who are good humans trying to do good work, maybe that's your 25% figure, but they are limited by being in an inherently invalid field to begin with. Whatever good they do is in spite of chiropractic, not because of it.

If chiropractic schools are getting away from teaching chiropractic, and teaching something else instead, that would probably be a good thing.
#13
Old 07-03-2018, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by DavidwithanR View Post
There are some chiropractors who are good humans trying to do good work, maybe that's your 25% figure, but they are limited by being in an inherently invalid field to begin with. Whatever good they do is in spite of chiropractic, not because of it.

If chiropractic schools are getting away from teaching chiropractic, and teaching something else instead, that would probably be a good thing.
No, there are some who only practice the evidence based aspects. What this basically amounts to is doing physical therapy exercises. Which, yes, means they are just unlicensed physical therapists. But, if you can afford one but not the other, I can see why people would choose them.

That said, I would put that number lower than 25%. More like half of that, at most. I mean, you can even find medical doctors who don't use exclusively evidence-based treatments.
#14
Old 07-03-2018, 07:12 PM
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I’ve had two major foot surgeries done by a podiatrist. They are not quacks, although I’m sure there are a few out there. The doctor that did my surgeries was also the most down to earth guy you’d meet, and one of the best in his field, other podiatrists go to listen to him at conferences and he wrote parts of the textbooks used. So, I guess you could say he knew what he was doing, but he’s not the only one.
#15
Old 07-03-2018, 07:49 PM
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I think the difference is that they don't go to regular medical school and therefore are not MDs or DOs, but rather DPMs. That does NOT mean that they are not doctors. I put them on a level with dentists. Rather than do 4 years of medical school after college, they do 4 years of podiatry school followed by a residency. So, instead of learning all the parts of the body, they spend the same amount of time but they concentrate on the feet just like a dentist concentrates on the teeth (In medical school anatomy, we shared cadavers with the dental students. We did one week of head/neck and the rest of the semester on the rest of the body. They did one week on the body in general and the rest of the time only on head and neck). If you have a foot problems, I would suggest that a podiatrist is better trained than any standard medical specialist. They do their surgical residencies in the same programs as orthopedic surgeons and are every bit as good or better at surgical problems of the feet. Some of the stigma may also be the feeling that they settled for podiatry because maybe they could not get into a general medical school. I don't think that is generally true today. I suspect they just like feet, just like most dentists go into dentistry because they like working on teeth, and not because they could not get into medical school. (Seriously, I roomed with a dental student and they were all like the little elf in Rudolph-'I just really really want to be a dentist-it's all I ever wanted to do!")

Last edited by psychobunny; 07-03-2018 at 07:49 PM.
#16
Old 07-03-2018, 08:34 PM
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I have the world’s tallest podiatrist. So I got that going for me.
#17
Old 07-03-2018, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by psychobunny View Post
I think the difference is that they don't go to regular medical school and therefore are not MDs or DOs, but rather DPMs.
Most are, but the podiatrist I visit is also a medical doctor. He earned his M.D. first before continuing his studies in the field of podiatry.
#18
Old 07-03-2018, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
I have the world’s tallest podiatrist. So I got that going for me.
How many feet?
#19
Old 07-03-2018, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
I have the world’s tallest podiatrist. So I got that going for me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by running coach View Post
How many feet?
Two?
#20
Old 07-03-2018, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychobunny View Post
I think the difference is that they don't go to regular medical school and therefore are not MDs or DOs, but rather DPMs. That does NOT mean that they are not doctors. I put them on a level with dentists. Rather than do 4 years of medical school after college, they do 4 years of podiatry school followed by a residency. So, instead of learning all the parts of the body, they spend the same amount of time but they concentrate on the feet just like a dentist concentrates on the teeth (In medical school anatomy, we shared cadavers with the dental students. We did one week of head/neck and the rest of the semester on the rest of the body. They did one week on the body in general and the rest of the time only on head and neck). If you have a foot problems, I would suggest that a podiatrist is better trained than any standard medical specialist. They do their surgical residencies in the same programs as orthopedic surgeons and are every bit as good or better at surgical problems of the feet. Some of the stigma may also be the feeling that they settled for podiatry because maybe they could not get into a general medical school. I don't think that is generally true today. I suspect they just like feet, just like most dentists go into dentistry because they like working on teeth, and not because they could not get into medical school. (Seriously, I roomed with a dental student and they were all like the little elf in Rudolph-'I just really really want to be a dentist-it's all I ever wanted to do!")
This is all correct. They are doctors who can diagnose, operate, and write prescriptions within the bounds of their training and license, just like dentists can.

My parents go to one to trim their toenails, because they can't anymore (ETA: Medicare does pay for this service), and podiatrists may also sub-specialize in pediatrics, sports, diabetic pathology, etc.

I live in a city that has a college of chiropractic, and it seems like there's one on every street corner. I worked with a pharmacist who went to chiropractic school (and is now retired from both professions) and he was criticized early on for suggesting that a certain set of symptoms warranted a referral to an MD. They are useful for certain back and neck problems, but a lot of what they do is indeed "woo". I mean, veterinary chiropractic? Adjustments for newborns (one of my FBFs posted a picture of her grandson getting one, before he was a week old, and he definitely didn't like it!)? Nobody suggested that I see one after my cancer diagnosis, but then again, they probably know me better than to do that.

OTOH, I have a friend who, when she was in college, was having chronic migraines that nearly caused her to drop a semester and lose her job, and she saw an ad for free adjustments done by students and decided she had nothing to lose. And she didn't; after that first adjustment, she never had another migraine.

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 07-03-2018 at 11:01 PM.
#21
Old 07-04-2018, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by running coach View Post
How many feet?
Excellent!
#22
Old 07-04-2018, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
Possibly the coworker in the OP was thinking of a refelxologist and not a podiatrist?
I've seen a podiatrist recently for foot pain and he seems legit enough but someone recommended a reflexologist and reading about them seemed like a lot of woo non-sense.
A friend of mine, one of the smartest guys I ever knew, became a reflexologist and married a chiropractor. I don't spend a lot of time with him anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gnoitall View Post
Only if you have webbed feet.
::golf clap::

Quote:
Originally Posted by running coach View Post
How many feet?
::golf clap::

Last edited by Defensive Indifference; 07-04-2018 at 09:04 AM.
#23
Old 07-04-2018, 01:10 PM
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I'm sure the foot massage feels good, but doing this for, say, your liver? Gah.

Not long after Viagra was launched, the president of said chiropractic college was found dead in his home from a heart attack, and a report said that he did have some in his house. One of my co-workers said, "You mean, they don't have an adjustment for that?"
#24
Old 07-04-2018, 01:35 PM
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I saw a podiatrist for plantar fasciitis maybe 15 years ago and he prescribed shoe inserts which I still wear and the problem has not returned. He has moved, but following the advice of my doctor (who sent me to him in the first place) I went to a second one a few years ago who examined my feet and the inserts and said they still fit. No charge! Of course, she'd have been happy to prescribe and sell me new ones, but was a professional and did not. I would never call it quackery.

Many, but not all chiropracters are quacks. I was told this by my own chiropracter who cannot recommend a replacement for him when he finally dies of cancer. I gather he is CTD. Too bad, he kept my back healthy and never went into treating anything else.
#25
Old 07-04-2018, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by eenerms View Post
I went to a podiatrist. He has a medical degree, just a specialist in feet and ankles. He removed a bunion...nothing I would ever recommend!
Do you mean you wouldn't recommend having a bunion removed, or you wouldn't recommend having a bunion?
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#26
Old 07-04-2018, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by psychobunny View Post
I think the difference is that they don't go to regular medical school and therefore are not MDs or DOs, but rather DPMs. That does NOT mean that they are not doctors. I put them on a level with dentists. Rather than do 4 years of medical school after college, they do 4 years of podiatry school followed by a residency.
My uncle has been a podiatrist for over 50 years. He's an MD. He works on the leg from just below the knee to the tips of the toes; surgery, skin conditions, and everything in between.

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#27
Old 07-05-2018, 07:44 AM
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I've never been to a podiatrist, but I know a podiatrist.

I once asked him, "what, other than plantar warts, ingrown toenails, bunions, and athletes foot do you deal with?"

He replied, "fuck you".

For what it's worth.
#28
Old 07-05-2018, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I've never been to a podiatrist, but I know a podiatrist.

I once asked him, "what, other than plantar warts, ingrown toenails, bunions, and athletes foot do you deal with?"

He replied, "fuck you".

For what it's worth.
It's not worth much.

They also diagnose and treat skin, soft tissue and bone infections, including osteomyelitis and gangrene. They do surgical interventions and repair, including amputations and corrective procedures like bunionectomies, fascial releases, open reduction and internal fixation of bone fractures, and a lot more. They prescribe specific orthotics for a wide variety of foot disorders and malformations. Their care is often critical in preventing amputations, especially in diabetic patients.

I send my patients to podiatry far more often than I send them to hand surgeons. I rely on our local podiatrists a LOT.
#29
Old 07-05-2018, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
It's not worth much.

They also diagnose and treat skin, soft tissue and bone infections, including osteomyelitis and gangrene. They do surgical interventions and repair, including amputations and corrective procedures like bunionectomies, fascial releases, open reduction and internal fixation of bone fractures, and a lot more. They prescribe specific orthotics for a wide variety of foot disorders and malformations. Their care is often critical in preventing amputations, especially in diabetic patients.

I send my patients to podiatry far more often than I send them to hand surgeons. I rely on our local podiatrists a LOT.
Cool!
I had no idea, and that was the kind of answer I was expecting, I guess. Still, I'm guessing the things I mentioned are their bread and butter.
#30
Old 07-05-2018, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by nearwildheaven View Post
I'm sure the foot massage feels good, but doing this for, say, your liver? Gah.
Just to clarify, a podiatrist wouldn't massage your foot to fix your liver, but a reflexologist would.
#31
Old 07-05-2018, 09:30 AM
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They are credentialed differently from other medical doctors mostly due to a quirk of history. In the UK, chiropodists (the predecessors to podiatrists) were not doctors, and were not required to obtain a post-secondary degree until relatively recently. Originally they were more like pedicurists than physicians. That hasn't been true for at least 50 years, though. Podiatrists hold a doctorate in podiatric medicine, which is similar to a typical medical degree except as described by psychobunny.

A significant part of my job is detecting quackery, and I've never had any reason to place podiatry in that category. The ABPM (American Board of Podiatric Medicine) board certification exam is generally held to be just as difficult as the ABFAS (American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery) exam (which is taken by orthopaedic foot/ankle specialists). I know a guy who took both, albeit 20 years apart, and said as much.
#32
Old 07-05-2018, 09:35 AM
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I visited a podiatrist for a while for a plantar wart, a bunion and some vague but sharp foot pain which turned out to be caused by calluses. They cut and froze the wart, sympathized about the bunion and filed off the calluses which really helped. But the wart kept returning and it wasn't worth the cost for what amounted to buffing a callus. The copay alone was basically the price of a full pedicure.
#33
Old 07-05-2018, 09:38 AM
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No offense to your co-worker, but what a stupid thing to say. Perhaps they are not aware of how complex the inner workings of the feet and ankles are. Whom do they suppose tends to those when things go wrong?
#34
Old 07-05-2018, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Quoth kayaker:



I once asked him, "what, other than plantar warts, ingrown toenails, bunions, and athletes foot do you deal with?"

He replied, "fuck you".

For what it's worth.
Huh, I would have thought that that would be the purview of a urologist.
#35
Old 07-05-2018, 01:52 PM
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An older term for "podiatrist" is "chiropodist". I wonder if someone confused "chiropodist" with "chiropractor" leading to the exchange heard by the OP. Although since the coworker actually mentioned the word "chiropractor" it's hard to see how that could explain this. My father was a podiatrist BTW. As far as I know, he wasn't a quack.
#36
Old 07-05-2018, 02:05 PM
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I have seen several. I was referred by my primary doctor. I had intense heel pain. One tried to correct with a shot. The other with a custom made shoe insert.

The shot did not work. The insert did.
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#37
Old 07-05-2018, 03:34 PM
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The podiatrist I went to to fix my ingrown toenail (painful but worth-it procedure!) spends a lot of his time working at the old folks home down the street. Like someone else said, one of the things they do is cut toenails which is important for people with bad circulation. I’m sure part of the deal is that he gives his patients’ feet a once-over as he trims. A foot infection - which can easily be caused by an ingrown or overgrown nail - can really run rampant on someone who has little to no feeling in their feet. Their services are also very important for diabetics.

I just went to a different podiatrist last month (new insurance) for what I thought was a splinter in my foot. I’m not afraid to dig splinters out but now that I’m diabetic I didn’t want to mess around with possibly messing up my foot. The problem was actually a wart, which he removed, but I’m glad it was done professionally.
#38
Old 07-05-2018, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Typo Negative View Post
I have seen several. I was referred by my primary doctor. I had intense heel pain. One tried to correct with a shot. The other with a custom made shoe insert.

The shot did not work. The insert did.
I got orthotics from an "As Seen on TV" section of a Walgreens a long time ago. No more plantar fasciitis, and no huge cost for custom.
#39
Old 07-06-2018, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
Just to clarify, a podiatrist wouldn't massage your foot to fix your liver, but a reflexologist would.
Exactly. Sorry I didn't clarify it.
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