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Do you ever regret becoming a podiatrist?

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by Tyson Smith, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. Tyson Smith

    Tyson Smith Member

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    Was it what you dreamt of doing growing up?

    What made you choose podiatry?

    Are you respected?

    And do you regret it?
  2. Podfhpchiro

    Podfhpchiro Member

    Hi i have been in the profession for 24 years most of them in the NHS.
    I remember the struggle i had to get into uni as a mature studend with no a levels and having to do them prior to getting in.

    I had done the SMAE course a few years before but it had not developed into a practice and seemed very slow to get patients.
    It was a big gamble for me as a mature student giving up work and the few patients i had as regulars but was hoping it would be worth it to go to uni.

    I remember my 1st day surrounded by young students fresh from a levels and my inner panic as i am not very academic but made frends with another mature student who had been a nurse.

    Over the next 3 years i struggled with the academic side and never understood biomec truth be known still to this day think it is an unnecessary complicated thing most of the time.

    I remember been so proud when i graduated me a chiropodist wow.
    I wore that badge with pride.
    I worked for many trusts and with some lovely mentors over the years.
    But wached slowly as the specialist areas developed hiving of large chunks of my day to day work as a senior ll chiropodist.

    First the nail surgery got moved and got a lead with assistant which was a shame as
    Had always been part of the day to day routine clinic work.
    Then went the diabetic patients with a new found team along with the patients needing in biomec and insoles never seen the lab again!
    From then on been a generalist in the NHS was mainly what i did with the SMAE.
    Forced then to specialise went into diabetic care but only ever wanted to be back in my clinic doing what ever came though the door. Private practice never worked out for me could never get enough work.
    Now retired would i do it again yes as it was 30 years ago but no as it is these days.
    Like i said only wanted to be a chiropodist but guess everything changes
  3. Catfoot

    Catfoot Well-Known Member

    I never regret studying Chiropody (as it was then).
    It was a very interesting, comprehensive course (1,500 supervised clinical hours) and it's always earned me a good living.
    My only mistake was to stay in the NHS putting up with cr@ppy bosses for as long as I did.
    Private practice opened many doors for me - way to go IMO !
  4. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member


    Was it what you dreamt of doing growing up? No.

    What made you choose podiatry? I needed to do something after leaving school as my first choice of textile designer was kaput, I got a detached retina and ended up in hospital and missed the course beginning. Meantime met the girl of my dreams and just wanted to get myself a profession. My sister shared a flat with pods (chiropodists) said I would fit in perfectly as they were mad as hatters. She was right. Enjoyed the training and revelled in the clinical practice, but teaching and management were my true calling.

    Are you respected? Not sure - never asked anyone and was never told by anyone. I had confidence in my own abilities and always had a plan . I retrained several times and always had expanded horizons. Along the way I met a lot of good people , some of which have remained friends for life.

    And do you regret it? No. If I had my time again I would like to have been an art historian/auctioneer.

  5. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    Do I regret it: no. While of my nearly 44 years graduated, I practiced really only for the first 4, it did open other pathways which took me to a very satisfactory career. Whenever I now talk to students about my work, I always slide in some comment along the lines of: "do not anyone tell you differently, a degree in podiatry (I prefer podiatric medicine) can take you anywhere you want to go.
  6. Was it what you dreamt of doing growing up?

    When I was 12 years old, and playing lots of baseball, I dreamed of being a Major League Baseball player like my idol of the time, Willie Mays. When I got to high school and started running long distance, and then saw American athletes Frank Shorter and Dave Wottle win gold medals in the marathon and the 800 m races in the 1972 Munich Olympics, I dreamed of going to the Olympics as a long distance athlete representing the USA. I never dreamed of being a podiatrist and didn't even know about podiatry until I read about podiatrists treating running injuries when reading Runner's World magazine while in high school. When I went to undergraduate college at UC Davis, and running cross-country and track for their teams, I thought that becoming an exercise physiologist would be something I would enjoy, but wasn't very sure. But I majored and got my BS degree in Animal Physiology since I was starting to think about possibly going to medical school or podiatry school. I only decided on podiatric medicine as a career because I couldn't think of anything better that I was interested in. Never dreamed about becoming a podiatrist.

    What made you choose podiatry?

    My mother didn't want me to be a podiatrist since she said it was too expensive and the training was too long and thought I should instead be an athletic trainer or physical therapist. I did very much like the idea of treating athletes. At the age of 19, being a college runner doing 70-85 miles per week of running training, and getting injured every 3-4 months due to my heavy training mileage, I went to a local podiatrist who made some Rohadur orthoses for me that cured me of my running injuries for the next 2 years. I was very impressed that this person and correctly-made foot orthoses could make such a difference in my running injuries and running career. As a result of this positive experience with a local podiatrist and his custom foot orthoses for my running injuries, I thought that maybe this podiatry thing could be a good job treating runners so that they could continue running without injury. That is about all I knew about it when I applied to podiatry school in 1978, during my senior year at UC Davis. Basically, applying to podiatry school was a pragmatic decision I made based on what interested me at the time and what was readily available to me. I really wasn't 100% certain that podiatry would be a good career for me, but I couldn't think of anything better to do after graduating from UC Davis with only a BS degree.

    Are you respected?

    Respect is only earned after proving your abilities and moral ethics to the community at large over a given period of time. Respect is not gained automatically just because you have a title. I have practiced with orthopedic surgeons for the past 33 years and they treat me as their peers and respect my medical opinion. Earning the respect of others was never and still is not a large motivating factor for me for as long as I have been a podiatrist. Rather, I believe I have likely earned the respect of others because my treatments get people better and because I treat people and my patients right and with respect, like I would want to be treated myself.

    And do you regret it?

    Not a chance. Other than asking my lovely wife of nearly 39 years to marry me nearly four decades ago, my decision to become a podiatrist was the 2nd best decision of my life.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  7. Podfhpchiro

    Podfhpchiro Member

    Hi Kevin pardon my ignorance but what is an average day in the life of a podiatrist in the USA?
    Do you cut toenails and corns/callosities or do you have assistants to do this and just do surgery?
  8. What I do in my practice is not very common for American podiatrists.

    First of all, I have always practiced with orthopedic surgeons. For the first 16 years of practice, I worked with 3-4 orthopedic surgeons in an orthopedic surgery group practice. For the past 17 years, I have owned my own practice and have an orthopedic surgeon working in my office two half-days per week.

    I do cut toenails and corns and callouses, but this is less than 5% of my practice. Mostly I see sports injuries, people with mechanically-related foot, lower extremity and low back pain, and work related injuries such as ankle sprains, crush injuries, plantar fasciitis, etc. I see about 30 patients a day average, 3.5 days a week. The other half days are either my surgery days or spending a half day doing worker's compensation medical-legal evaluations. I am referred patients for custom foot orthoses from a 50-100 mile radius which makes up about 30% of my practice.

    I know of no other American podiatrist that has a practice quite likes mine. My practice is highly specialized and is probably not for everyone, but I enjoy the diversity and challenge of treating difficult-to-treat patients.
  9. Petcu Daniel

    Petcu Daniel Active Member

    This means an average of about 15-20 min / patient in 8-10 hours/day without any pause [transition time] between patients ! I suppose this include the fitting of the foot orthoses.
    How it looks those 15-20 min? How much biomechanical exam and how much fitting time?
  10. Podfhpchiro

    Podfhpchiro Member

    Hi Kevin
    Thanks for the informative day from your day to day practice.
    It is so diverse how we do things here in the uk.
    A lot of the complex patients that you see would see a number of professionals in the nhs along the way possible physio podiatrist and podiatrc surgery.
    I have always been jealous of the system in the usa but doubt i would have had the academic nonce to complete it.
    But to get back to the threds point i loved been involved in foot care at my level and its great that you enjoy your work.
    Maby i can pop in to your practice when on holiday in the usa to say hi.-)
  11. Many UK, Australian, Spanish and Italian podiatrists have visited my practice before. But it really is nothing too special. I see lots of patients with many different problems. Since I've done it so long (33+ years), I guess I am pretty efficient at what I do.
  12. Daniel,

    I see patients for 3.5 hours in the AM and for 3.5 hours in the PM. On those days that I see 30 patients, I am therefore seeing, on average, one patient every 14 minutes. Some appointments are 5 minutes, some are over 30 minutes and some days, I am working over into my lunch or past 5 PM. It all works out having three treatment rooms, going from room to room with no time in between patients, and using paper charts, instead of an EMR.

    I hand-write and/or dictate my chart notes at my lunch break and after 5 PM when I'm done seeing patients. On days with lots of orthosis eval/casting, or surgical procedures (i.e. warts, toenails) I see less than 30 patients per day. Sometimes I only see about 23-25 patients per full day. Busy days are over 30 patients per day. Biomechanical exam and casting is about 25 minutes. Orthosis fitting is generally only 5-10 minutes. Efficiency of staff and having multiple treatment rooms is the key to being able to see this many patients per day. I generally know a patient's diagnosis within 30 seconds of talking with them and looking at their feet... but this has only come with three decades of clinical practice.
  13. Petcu Daniel

    Petcu Daniel Active Member

    One more question: do you use a pressure platform? As I know your work I guess the answer will be 'no'! If this is the answer the I'll ask why? If the answer will be yes my question will be again: why?
  14. No, I don't use a pressure platform, in-shoe pressure analysis system, treadmill analysis, or video analysis in my office. I just do visual gait analysis. I guess I'm not very "modern", but the lack of technology in my office seems to have worked quite well for me and my patients for the last third-century.
  15. Podfhpchiro

    Podfhpchiro Member

    I was once told the best and most high tec devices we will ever have in podiatry are our hands our eye and ears.
    The rest just supports what we already have found

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