Reaching full potential is something a trainer likes to see in a trainee, a therapist likes to see in a client, a teacher likes to see in a student, a parent likes to see in a child, and a doctor likes to see in a patient. Reaching full potential gives satisfaction. Falling short of this can lead to dissatisfaction but provides room for improvement. Realizing what “full” potential is, however, very subjective and relative. Human potential is variable and can vary in the very individual over time; leave alone the variability based on different physical, emotional, spiritual, cultural, religious, developmental, and regional identities to name a few. Measuring and comparing something tangible is easy. Measuring something as intangible as human potential, health, or illness is on the other hand quite challenging. Nevertheless, we attempt to measure, we attempt to compare, and it is easy to do so when we quantify quality with a unit or a number. That is what we do when we use a variety of outcome measurement tools or scoring systems to measure health or success following clinical interventions. There are some aspects about health and illness that are tangible that can be objectively measured, such as an angle after flat foot correction, but objective improvement does not necessarily guarantee subjective improvement. Nevertheless, ensuring that our patients reach their full potential and achieve the best scores remains our omnipresent goal. And toward this goal, we keep refining our surgical techniques, keep testing existing and new ideas, and keep exploring ways to define and measure success and of course always hoping that our patients reach their ‘full’ potential. We are grateful to Dr Eillis and other authorities in different corners of the world, authors who bring some of these efforts to light in this issue of the Techniques in Foot & Ankle Surgery.
Vinod K. Panhbhavi, MD, FACS