ORLANDO, FLA. — Pedorthists and podiatrists can and should work together, according to a presenter at the Pedorthic Footcare Association and American Podiatric Medical Association Combined Meeting, here.
Louis J. DeCaro, DPM, of DeCaro Total Foot Care Center and president of the American College of Foot and Ankle Pediatrics, said the merging of the Pedorthic Footcare Association (PFA) meeting with the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Annual Symposium makes perfect sense for this reason.
“Podiatry is all about biomechanics, and pedorthics is all about biomechanics. So, I think there is no better reason to get the two professions together so that we can learn together,” he said.
Additionally, podiatry and pedorthics complement one another because they require different skill sets.
“A lot of my [podiatrist] colleagues want to do everything, but what they do not realize is that time is money,” DeCaro said. In fact, he added, some podiatrists do not even know what pedorthists do. “[Pedorthists] possess skills that many podiatrists do not.”
One barrier to collaboration, according to DeCaro, is the variety of terms used among different industries. Sometimes different groups of practitioners use different terms to describe the same issue.
“To effectively link up, we really need a common language,” he said.
DeCaro said an understanding of biomechanics is the key to creating that common language.
Louis J. DeCaro
“In podiatry, there is a lack of really good biomechanics understanding,” he said.
DeCaro collaborates frequently with pedorthists, both in his office and through referrals. He said pedorthists can provide expertise in providing information on and adjusting shoes; customizing shoes; working with sandals (it is often difficult for patients to find sandals in which orthoses can fit, he said); ordering and adjusting braces; adjustment capability / understanding of materials; and measuring, casting and evaluating gait. If more podiatrists utilized pedorthists in these areas, DeCaro said, both parties would improve their efficiency.
A specific expertise pedorthists can provide is in working with children, DeCaro said.
“Pedorthists can really complement podiatrists by understanding a little bit about kids and providing for them services that podiatrists do not want to do, are not skilled to do or [that] the pediatricians do not even refer to.”
DeCaro recommended both working together in the office and developing partnerships outside of the office to complement one another’s work independently. – by Amanda Alexander
DeCaro L. Podiatric and pedorthic camaraderie 2015. Presented at: Pedorthic Footcare Association and American Podiatric Medical Association Combined Meeting; July 23-25, 2015; Orlando, Fla.
Disclosure: DeCaro reports no relevant financial disclosures.