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?

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.


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!

Only if you have webbed feet. :wink:

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.

This is so awesomely horrible.

Nice job. :slight_smile:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!")

I have the world’s tallest podiatrist. So I got that going for me.

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.

How many feet?

Two? :smiley:

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. :smack: 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. :cool: