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 high-arch 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.