Though there is little recorded early history of the podiatrist (from Greek podos, "foot" and iatros, "doctor") in Texas,
early doctors in the area doubtlessly treated feet. Before the modern specialty developed, foot practitioners were called chiropodists (from
Greek chiros, "hand" + podos) because they treated both feet and hands. Abraham Lincoln had his own chiropodist.
Official recognition of podiatry as a profession occurred with the enactment of the first state regulation by New York in 1895. Nationally,
there were only a few colleges teaching podiatric medicine, with none in Texas. On October 22, 1917, those who had set up practice in Texas had
their earliest recorded meeting, in a room donated by the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. They called the group the Texas Chiropodist Society. The
second annual meeting of the Texas Chiropodist Society was held at the Rice Hotel in Houston on October 7-8, 1918, when the prime concern of
the members was to introduce a bill in the next legislative session to provide for a state law to regulate the practice of chiropody.
On March 5, 1919, the Texas legislature first considered laws to regulate the practice of chiropody. At that time, twenty states and the
District of Columbia had enacted laws regulating the practice of chiropody. That bill was defeated in 1919, and again in 1921.
Two years later, in 1923, legislation adding podiatric medicine to the Texas Medical Act was passed as HB 487 of the 38th
Legislature. Texas began licensing podiatric physicians (chiropodists) in 1923, with the creation of a regulatory board under the jurisdiction
of the State Board of Medical Examiners. Legislation passed in 1939, established an independent board comprised of licensed physicians and
chiropodists who would, in turn, license other chiropodists and regulate “podiatric medicine” in Texas. The new board was named the Texas State
Board of Chiropody Examiners. Governor W. Lee (Pappy) O’Daniel appointed the first Board Members.
In 1950, an attorney general's ruling stated that a chiropodist was a physician within the meaning of the Narcotic Drug Law. The Chiropody
Practice Act, amended in 1951, defined a chiropodist as "anyone who treats or offers to treat any disease, physical injury or deformity or
ailment of the human foot by any system or method." In 1985, Senate Bill 655 broadened the definition of "Medical Staff" to include
qualified podiatrists on hospital staffs.
In 1967, the name was changed to the Texas State Board of Podiatry Examiners, and in 1996, underwent an additional name change to its
present form; the Texas State Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners.
Podiatrists perform full treatments of the human feet and ankles through such modalities including full prescriptive authority, performance
of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and relative anesthesia in office, clinical, hospital and surgical settings. There are
8 nationally accredited
Colleges of Podiatric Medicine in the United States who follow standardized models of education and training set forth by the American
Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), the state component of which is the Texas Podiatric Medical Association (TPMA).
Operations of the Board are supported entirely annual fees collected by the Board from each licensee.
SOURCE: Texas Podiatric Medical Association; Texas State Board of Podiatric Medical
Examiners; the Handbook of Texas Online, a joint project of The General Libraries at the
University of Texas at Austin and the Texas State Historical Association.