Foot Healthcare: What is the Difference Between a Podiatrist and a Chiropodist?
Here at Medstars, we are often asked this question. It can be really hard for people who aren’t familiar with healthcare to work out who is who. Of course, this makes it difficult to know what type of independent healthcare provider they need to see. So, here is our quick guide to knowing your foot healthcare providers.
Podiatrists are trained professionals who deal with foot health.
The College of Podiatry, the body responsible for education and continuing professional development of podiatrists in the UK, says that they work on assessment, diagnosis and treatment of the lower limbs. In other words, everything to do with feet. That includes how you walk (your gait), your nails, including nail surgery, providing advice on shoes, dealing with painful, cracked skin, or removing hard skin from feet, and helping you to take care of your feet.
They often work with people who have arthritis, diabetes, and sports injuries, as well as those who have had nail surgery. Podiatrists can be particularly important in helping older people to stay mobile and therefore independent. However, they work with people of all ages.
A chiropodist is exactly the same as a podiatrist.
‘Chiropodist’ is the term that used to be used in the UK. The rest of the English-speaking world used the term ‘podiatrist’. The term ‘chiropodist’ has largely fallen out of favour in the UK too, and you will generally find that these independent healthcare providers now call themselves ‘podiatrists’.
Both ‘podiatrist’ and ‘chiropodist’ are regulated terms.
This means that anyone calling themselves a podiatrist or a chiropodist will be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.
By contrast, anyone can call themselves a foot health specialist.
This is not a ‘regulated term’. If you go to see an unregulated foot health specialist they may not necessarily have received any kind of training. We cannot stress strongly enough that seeing an unregulated foot health specialist means that you may receive unsuitable treatment, and serious problems may go undiagnosed. A qualified and regulated practitioner of foot health in the UK will call themselves a podiatrist or a chiropodist.
If you need foot healthcare, there are three good ways to find it. You could ask your GP to recommend someone. You could use the website of the Society of Podiatrists and Chiropodists to find a local podiatrist. Finally, you could use an online private healthcare platform such as Medstars but do check that, like Medstars, the online source you use only lists regulated health practitioners. [/full_width]
You can book a consultation with podiatrist Mr Mark O’Sullivan, who has specific expertise in biomechanics, foot dermatology, heel pain, sports injuries and toenail surgery, here.