Perspective from CPMA member Dr. Andrew Berliner, DPM.
In the realm of healthcare, the field of podiatry plays a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of individuals by caring for their feet. Over the years, podiatry has evolved significantly, with advancements in surgical techniques and an increasing focus on specialized areas of foot care. Dr. Andrew M. Berliner, a seasoned podiatrist, is concerned about the changing landscape of podiatry, particularly in Connecticut. Dr. Berliner believes that there is a noticeable shift in the priorities and expertise of the newer generation of podiatrists, potentially leaving a gap in other vital care that patients require.
Dr. Berliner's perspective is grounded in his vast experience, having trained in the 1970s when the practice of podiatry encompassed a wide spectrum of patient care. Podiatrists of his era were trained to handle routine/general care, biomechanics, dermatology, and surgical procedures. This comprehensive training allowed them to offer a holistic approach to podiatric care. However, Dr. Berliner observes that the landscape of podiatry is changing rapidly, and the emphasis on surgical skills has become predominant among recent graduates. While surgical expertise is undoubtedly valuable, there is a growing concern that the essential aspects of podiatry, such as diabetic and routine care, may be overlooked.
One of the primary issues Dr. Berliner highlights is the imminent shortage of podiatrists specializing in diabetic and routine care in Connecticut. With seasoned podiatrists retiring, including two full-time practitioners in his area, there is a risk that the next generation of podiatrists may not prioritize these fundamental aspects of podiatric care. This trend raises questions about who will provide the necessary diabetic and routine care for patients in the future.
Dr. Berliner urges the podiatry community and the healthcare system to reevaluate the importance of all aspects of podiatric care. While it's admirable that orthopedic practices are integrating podiatry into their services, it is essential not to overlook the crucial role that podiatrists have played for decades in providing general care. Diabetic patients in particular require specialized care to prevent complications, and routine care is essential to maintain overall foot health.
The changing landscape of podiatry is not unique to Connecticut, and we’re seeing a similar shift nationwide. As new podiatrists emerge with advanced surgical skills, the challenge is to ensure that the comprehensive care that podiatry traditionally offers does not diminish. One way to address this concern is by encouraging educational institutions and training programs to maintain a balanced curriculum that places equal importance on surgical skills and general foot care.
Dr. Berliner's concerns about the state of podiatry in Connecticut reflect broader issues in the field. While surgical skills are undoubtedly valuable, there is a growing need to ensure that the next generation of podiatrists continues to prioritize diabetic and routine care. As the podiatric community evolves, it is crucial to maintain a balance between specialized skills and general care to provide the best possible foot health care for all patients. Dr. Berliner's concerns serve as a reminder that podiatry's roots in comprehensive patient care should not be forgotten as the profession continues to progress.