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07/22/2021    Alan Sherman, DPM

Demographic Distribution of Foot and Ankle Surgeries Among Orthopaedic Surgeons and Podiatrists: A 10-Year Database Retrospective Study

This is looking more and more like a year of
self-examination for podiatry and orthopedic
surgery. We are both facing a task force to
examine whether they need to finally recognize us
as peers. Sure, they hope they don’t and we hope
they do. The Foot & Ankle Specialist article
reported in PM News #6,998 illustrates that some
orthopedic surgeons are willing to fairly measure
us against themselves and report the facts as
such. This seems to me much different than the
way we were largely regarded and dismissed by
them during the past 3 decades. It is now about
competition and turf and you know, it’s a game of
king of the hill. They’ve long wanted to put us
down to raise themselves up.

That tendency seems to be endemic to human
nature, like greed and violence. But they are
having a tougher time doing that as the years go
on and we have advanced and grown. They are
REQUIRING a thorough comparison of our education
and standards to theirs BEFORE they let us take
their exam, the USMLE. But it’s as much an
examination of themselves as it is an examination
of us. They are asking themselves, have these
guys actually caught up to us?

They are asking themselves, are we no longer
better than these guys? This is good. They are
not coming to us for status, we are coming to
them. That’s why they are making the rules. It’s
the way it always is and must be. If all that
comes out of this is the recognition that our
schools are not up to their standards, fine. We
then have the opportunity to raise our standards
to meet theirs. We may need to fight to make that
examination fair. So we will fight. But at least
the discussion is open and ongoing. Both sides
are coming together with pride in their
respective accomplishments, the knowledge of how
they serve the public health and the desire to
protect their turf and acknowledge who their
peers are.

The ball will be in our court. As long as we know
the rules, we can follow them, train some more if
we need to, and ultimately, be accepted as
equivalent.

Alan Sherman, DPM, Boca Raton, FL


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