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The scope of podiatric practice has changed significantly in the past couple of decades. Despite the increased quality of training, many people outside of podiatry may not realize what our scope of practice entails.
We conducted a survey consisting of 10 items and asked internal medicine residents at Rush University Medical Center and patients whether they would feel comfortable consulting podiatrists, or being treated for each issue.
The results for residents are as follows: 1) toenail fungus, 35% yes and 65% no; 2) diabetic wound care, 87.5% yes and 12.5% no; 3) bunion surgery, 90% yes and 10% no; 4) ankle fracture surgery, 25% yes and 75% no; 5) calcaneal fracture surgery, 50% yes and 50% no; 6) tarsal tunnel nerve surgery, 62.5% yes and 37.5% no; 7) lower extremity arterial bypass, 5% yes and 95% no; 8) below-knee amputation, 5% yes and 95% no; 9) transmetatarsal amputation, 67.5% yes and 32.5% no; and 10) venous stasis wound care, 65% yes and 35% no. The results for patients are as follows: 1) toenail fungus, 72.5% yes and 27.5% no; 2) diabetic wound care, 70% yes and 30% no; 3) bunion surgery, 62.5% yes and 37.5% no; 4) ankle fracture surgery, 57.5% yes and 42.5% no; 5) calcaneal fracture surgery, 55% yes and 45% no; 6) tarsal tunnel nerve surgery, 50% yes and 50% no; 7) lower extremity arterial bypass, 32.5% yes and 67.5% no; 8) below-knee amputation, 27.5% yes and 72.5% no; 9) transmetatarsal amputation, 52.5% yes and 47.5% no; and 10) venous stasis wound care, 32.5% yes and 67.5% no.
Internal medicine residents and patients do not have an accurate perception of the scope of podiatric medicine. This proves that, as a profession, we need to raise awareness about what the podiatric scope of medicine actually entails.
Rush University Medical Center, Oak Park, IL.