When did podiatrists first use local anaesthetic?

Certainly before it came to be included in the Medicine’s Act modified from 1968. It was in fact more than 10 years later. Most podiatrists would agree that the advent of local anaesthetic, that is the ability to produce numbness in and around a painful part of the foot, impacted on the profession of podiatry significantly. Today all podiatrists can offer essential care with this pain relieving medication legally. However it was not something that just happened overnight. The profession of podiatry actually fought against itself at one point which seems bizarre by today’s attitudes of doing the right thing for the patient. This historical fact was uncovered in a PhD thesis by Dr Alan Borthwick.

In 1978 schools of chiropody (as they were called before the term podiatry) introduced the local anaesthetic certificate as part of the three-year diploma course (DPodM). This has now been replaced by the BSc (Podiatry) degree, but ’78 was a momentous occasion, not that we as students quite realised we were the first cohort at London Foot Hospital to acquire this skill formally. The year before, I recall, a good friend (and best man at my wedding) had to come back after qualifying to take the course as an add-on… and pay for it out of his own pocket. How lucky we were. Soon after, Part A (theory), then Part B practical local anaesthetic courses were run to allow previously qualified podiatrists to upgrade. It may seem strange that we started with the toe block as shown.

This picture came from a u-tube film of a patient taking his own video footage so no copyright needed as the event is in the public domain! Thankfully, today, podiatrists can offer patients a range of different methods of treating without pain.

I am proud to publish Mr Ralph Graham’s, FCPodS, account of the hidden workings behind acquiring local anaesthetic for podiatrists which reveals some interesting historical facts. Ralph Graham was one of the founder members of the leading groups at the time that facilitated these changes.

The article mentioned is only available to registered podiatrists and students signed up to my Busypencilcase Communications articles.

Thanks for reading ‘When did podiatrists first use local anaesthetic’ published by David Tollafield. To become a signed-up podiatrist send an e-mail ‘sign-me up’ to busypencilcase_rcb@yahoo.com or apply from this website. Non registered (UK) podiatrists are able to sign up if sponsored by a UK registered podiatrist.