Until the turn of the 20th century, podiatrists were separate from organized medicine. They were independently licensed physicians who treated feet, ankle and related leg structures. Lewis Durlacher was the first to recognize the need for a protected profession. There are records of the King of France employing a personal podiatrist, as did Napoleon. President Abraham Lincoln suffered greatly with his feet and chose a podiatrist (then calle chiropodists) 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. The first society of chiropodists was established in New York in 1895 with the first school opening in 1911.
Podiatry or Podiatric Medicine is devoted to the study and treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle, and the knee, leg and hip, i.e. the “lower extremity.” The professional care of feet was in existence in ancient Egypt. Egyptologists believe tending feet probably spanned the whole of Egyptian civilization. Corns and calluses were described by Hippocrates who recognised the need to physically reduce hard skin and removal of the cause. He invented skin scrapers for this purpose. Aulus Cornelius Celsus, a Roman scientist and philosopher, gave corns their name..It may be removed in the course of time by paring away the prominent part constantly with a scalpel or rubbing it down with pumice. The same thing can be done with a callus.
Podiatrists are devoted to the study and medical treatment of disorders of the lower extremities. The term “Podiatry” originated in the United States and is now the accepted term in the English speaking world for all graduates of podiatric medical schools who have earned one of the following degrees: D.P.M., D.P., B.Pod., Pod.B, or Pod.D.