Almost every medical profession has its fair share of grossness and unbelievable moments. It's par for the course when dealing with people's health. When it comes to podiatrists, you could argue that they have it extra bad for the simple reason that they specialize in feet. Most people would probably agree feet can be one of the human body's most disgusting parts. People often neglect or ignore their feet, which can suffer badly from some common diseases and become a hotbed for unsanitary practices.
Let this post serve as a warning to anyone looking to enter the field of podiatry - it's a reminder to keep your feet clean and healthy. Otherwise, you could end up being another true horror story told by these real-life podiatrists who shared their experiences with Reddit, Podiatry Today, and the Student Doctor Network (SDN).
Bad Bunion, Beautiful Shoes
From Kathleen Satte of Podiatry Today:
I had worked up a very fragile patient with [type 1] diabetes, a 34-year-old woman, time and time again for bunion surgery, only to get to the morning of surgery and find that her glucose had skyrocketed to 800 or more, or had plummeted to 30 or 40.
Her sugars were a nightmare, but I knew that if I didn't fix her bunion, there would come a time when she would develop peripheral arterial disease, a severe deformity, and an ulcer. Then we would all kick ourselves for not having taken the time to repair the bunion when we had a chance. But when would we ever get that chance?
After months of trying, the perfect window came and we jumped through it. We went through all of the post-operative instructions. She expressed full understanding. She was an educated woman as well.
On the day of her post-operative visit, I was standing in the hallway working on a patient's chart. I hear the staccato of heels coming my way. I casually look up, expecting to see a drug company representative. But who do I see walking toward me in 4-inch heels?
Yes, it was my brittle diabetic on her first post-op visit. Yell. Scream. Throw things. I could not believe my eyes.
She had taken off the bandaging and had worn a shoe that was beautiful, but not for her foot. She said it had been so long since she could wear an attractive shoe and she wanted to do so. The amazing thing is that her foot did not get infected, we did not lose correction, and all things worked out in the end. God is good.
A Woman's Leg Stripped To The Bone
From Redditor /u/Grey111:
One bad case I remember was a woman... sent in from another podiatrist who was in a rural area. He didn't know what to do with her anymore. I walk in and (due to diabetes, she can't feel her legs) her left lower leg and ankle have been stripped to the bone by infection and surgical debridement.
There were all sorts of those rubber tourniquets they use for squeezing your arm when taking blood, laced throughout her foot and what remained of her Achilles tendon. This was just so we could identify what was left. She seriously looked like one of those Krokodil addicts.
The smell was unbelievable. Apparently, the doctor out in the country had been administering antibiotics and doing minimal surgery in his office trying to save this ankle. The poor woman ended up with a below-knee amputation.
A Bowel Evacuation
From SDN forum user Ezj391:
I was debriding a sacral decubitis ulcer with a general surgeon in the OR. Then the circulator nurse decided to leave and take a coffee break. The patient then proceeded to [lose his bowels] over the surgical site. It just kept coming.
The surgeon kept yelling for the nurse, but she was out. She finally came back after about 10 minutes.
Good Thing He Didn’t Swallow
From Redditor /u/mimikiners:
Before this fellow can be discharged, he needs a podiatry consult. His black, gnarled feet have thick, yellow, big toe nails that have grown in a circle and are now piercing the bottom of the toe. Podiatrist intern comes in, starts a foot soak, and precedes to tackle those nails with something that can only be described as modified tin snips.
Now you know how some people have that habit of opening their mouth when concentrating really hard? Yup, he clipped that nasty nail and it flipped right into his mouth. We shared the sink.