Welcome to the Podiatry Arena forums

You are currently viewing our podiatry forum as a guest which gives you limited access to view all podiatry discussions and access our other features. By joining our free global community of Podiatrists and other interested foot health care professionals you will have access to post podiatry topics (answer and ask questions), communicate privately with other members, upload content, view attachments, receive a weekly email update of new discussions, access other special features. Registered users do not get displayed the advertisements in posted messages. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our global Podiatry community today!

  1. Everything that you are ever going to want to know about running shoes: Running Shoes Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Have you considered the Critical Thinking and Skeptical Boot Camp, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Have you considered the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Have you considered the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
Dismiss Notice
Have you liked us on Facebook to get our updates? Please do. Click here for our Facebook page.
Dismiss Notice
Do you get the weekly newsletter that Podiatry Arena sends out to update everybody? If not, click here to organise this.

Who was the very first podiatrist?

Discussion in 'Podiatry Trivia' started by perrypod, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. perrypod

    perrypod Active Member

    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    King Laius of Thebes consulted an oracle, he was informed that it was his destiny to be killed by his son. This son would then marry his own mother: Jocasta. Laius decided that his son should die, so he crippled the child by ordering a servant to pierce his ankles with spikes, then bind his legs together with leather throngs. The poor infant was left alone to die on the side of a desolate mountain without access to podiatric care. Podiatrists, after all, had not yet been invented.
    A passing shepherd found the injured baby and took him to Corinth where he was adopted by King Polybus and his queen. Despite the lack of podiatry, he made a good recovery and they reared him to become a prince. They named him Oedipus which translates as 'swollen foot'.
    Later in the story, after killing King Laius and before inadvertently marrying his own mother, Oedipus had a bit of a problem getting through the gates of the city of Thebes. On guard at the city gates was a sphinx with a body of a lion and the head and torso of a woman. No one was permitted to either enter or leave Thebes without correctly answering the riddle that she asked them:- "What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three legs in the evening?"
    Anyone who could not give her the correct answer, she killed and ate. Oedipus, unknown even to himself, was a naturally gifted podiatrist. He knew far more about the principles of gait analysis than those that had proceeded him and had no intention of being turned into fast food. He answered the question correctly:- "Man crawls on all fours as a baby, walks on two legs as an adult and uses a cane as a third leg in old age". This I think suggests that Oedipus had the potential to practice podiatry. This puts his reputation in a different perspective from patricide and incest, for which he remains universally famous.
  2. Jeremy Long

    Jeremy Long Active Member

    Does this mean that the Italian Ice Mummy was the very first orthotist? prior to his demise over 10,000 years ago, he filled the inside of his leather boots with straw to gain an accommodative orthotic.

    As far as I can find the first cosmetic prosthetic was a wood and leather hallux fit to a queen of Egypt. Apparently women didn't want unsightly feet during sandal weather in past millenia, either!
  3. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member


    I think you may find King Laius, or Laios of Thebes was a divine hero and mythical character as was Oedipus. The Greeks certainly put a lot of store on feet and their Classic mythology abounds with references to them. A derivation of the word Chiropodist is thought to have come from Chiron a mythical centaur with the power for healing the lame. Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) is thought to have invented the skin scraper which would become the surgical scalpel. Corns and callus were clearly in evidence but bare in mind too there were sumptuary laws which prevented women form wearing more than three garments of clothing; hence shoes (sandals) took a lower profile than in today’s Sex and the City fashionista. Most certainly foot physicians were known in Ancient Egypt and are clearly depicted on pyramid walls. Centuries of fighting in bare feet must have resulted in gross foot injuries which required TLC so podiatrists (treaters of the foot) probably predate this by millennium.

    In Egyptian society only high born women wore shoes of any description but interestingly enough the ANKH is thought to be a flattened simple thong like sandal. The ANKH is thought to be one of the oldest symbols meaning life. A common belief in Mediterranean antiquity was the shoe protected the living from Hell (or equivalent). The thought of being buried incomplete is also a common taboo and prosthetic toes might have been a funereal adornment as opposed to a functional prosthesis.

    As to an iceman with straw in his shoes – the example highlights just how clever ordinary people are who will instinctively do what is necessary to be comfortable.

  4. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    I have placed this here, simply because I could not work out how to place a "new" post - and I am not computer phobic. We were at the country museum of Mount Morgan today, and saw this wonderful certificate on the wall - signed by no other that W. Scholl himself. Draw your own conclusions.......... Rob

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  5. SingaPod

    SingaPod Member

    I must say the packing your shoes with straw thing is something that is still alive and well in a way.

    I work in Singapore and it is not unusual to find patient's having used the ubiquitous little packs of tissues to fashion crude digital seperators and to cushion bunnions or the heel......
  6. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member

  7. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Oedipus, a traumatological - orthopaedic case? - Essay on an unfortunate figure from antiquity
    Markus L R Schwarz
    Z Orthop Unfall. 2022 Aug;160(4):369-376.

Share This Page