A wel­come step: Po­di­a­try gets rec­og­nized

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By JUDY SIEGEL

Af­ter stand­ing in the line for years with other health pro­fes­sions wait­ing for the Health Min­istry to pre­pare rules re­gard­ing the pro­fes­sion of foot and an­kle treat­ment, the Knes­set La­bor, So­cial Wel­fare and Health Com­mit­tee on Wed­nes­day com­pleted reg­u­la­tion of po­di­a­trists (chi­ropodists).

The com­mit­tee ap­proved per­mit­ted ac­tiv­i­ties of po­di­a­trists and po­di­atric sur­geons (qual­i­fied to per­form mi­nor op­er­a­tions for bone, joint, liga­ment, mus­cle and ten­don pathol­ogy). As a re­sult, the pro­fes­sion will be rec­og­nized and su­per­vised by the min­istry, and ther­a­peu­tic stan­dards will be set. Those who work in the pro­fes­sion will re­ceive an Is­raeli li­cense and new im­mi­grants who have worked in their coun­try of ori­gin will also be able to work in Is­rael. In ad­di­tion, hos­pi­tals will be able to em­ploy po­di­a­trists.

Com­mit­tee chair­man MK Eli Alalouf (Ku­lanu) called on the min­istry to work to­ward open­ing a vo­ca­tional po­di­a­try school in Is­rael: “Why should stu­dents go as far as Europe and the US? There is no rea­son why Is­rael should not open the first school in the Mid­dle East for foot medicine.”

Po­di­a­try (called podol­ogy in many non-English-speak­ing Euro­pean coun­tries) is a branch of medicine de­voted to the study, di­ag­no­sis, and med­i­cal and sur­gi­cal treat­ment of disor­ders of the foot and an­kle. The term came into use in the early 20th cen­tury in Amer­ica, to re­place the orig­i­nal term chi­ropodist, which was be­ing con­fused with chi­ro­prac­tor; it is now used in many coun­tries around the world, in­clud­ing in the UK and Aus­tralia.

“Pod” means “foot” and “chiro” means “to use hands to heal.” Po­di­a­trists are not physi­cians, but they treat struc­tural de­for­mi­ties, in­clud­ing bunions, ham­mer­toes, painful flat-foot and high­arch de­for­mity, skin and nail con­di­tions, bone spurs, nerve en­trap­ments, heel pain, de­gen­er­a­tion and arthro­sis (the most com­mon type of arthri­tis) of the joints of the foot and an­kle, con­gen­i­tal de­for­mi­ties and trauma-re­lated in­juries.

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