Commentary by William H. Sanner, DPM
 Ochsner Clinic Foundation of Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Merton L. Root’s vision for the podiatry profession was precision. Precise definitions. Precise quantification of deformity. Precise individualized treatment designed to nullify the forces that cause pathology. In this brief article, Root for the first time addresses his entire profession with his vision. Although the concepts in this essay may seem commonplace now, his ideas were revolutionary at the time.

Before Root, the fields of orthopedics, physical therapy, and podiatry used jargon that was ill-defined at best. Subsequently, communication among podiatrists and among professions around the world improved as his definitions were accepted. Precise definitions may have been Root’s greatest contribution.

Root envisioned creating a unique treatment plan, including surgical and mechanical modalities, specific to each individual patient’s morphology and associated abnormal forces. A parallel can be drawn...

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