Podiatry vs. Chiropody
Many people ask what the difference is between these two professions. In reality there is not much difference at all.
What is the difference between chiropody and podiatry?
The title ‘Podiatrist’ or ‘Chiropodist’ is a somewhat protected title. This means you cannot call yourself either title without being registered with the Health Care and Professionals Council (HCPC). A qualified podiatrist or chiropodist has either gone through a ‘Grandparenting scheme’ with the HCPC (and therefore have been qualified for at least 3 years and can show extended learning) or have studied for 3 years to gain a degree (BSc) in Podiatry. They both specialise in deformities of the lower limb.
In recent years. the programme of learning has advanced to that of Degree level, a course spanning 3 years, encompassing the entirety of the lower limb, dermatological conditions, sports and musculoskeletal podiatry (including gait analysis), paediatrics and nail surgery. The title ‘Podiatrist’ is given to this lower limb specialist.
Therefore, in reality the two titles are correct, “podiatry” encompasses more advanced procedures such as nail surgery and biomechanical assessments that the more traditional ‘chiropodists’ are not trained to carry out.
Podiatrists are autonomous healthcare professionals who aim to improve the mobility, independence and quality of life for their patients.
They assess, diagnose and treat people with problems of the feet, ankles and lower limbs. This can include providing the following services:
- Essential foot care for anyone of any age with mild to severe foot pathology or symptoms. This also includes caring for an elderly or disabled person unable to reach their own feet
- Vascular and neurological assessments, as well as wound management for a patient with diabetes with an ulcer under their foot
- Nail surgery using a local anaesthetic for a teenager or adult with an ingrowing toenail
- Adult and (if the practitioner is competent) paediatric biomechanical assessment leading to prescription and manufacture of orthotics, for a patient who has a problem with walking style or pains in their legs
- Provide care and advice to patients with rheumatoid arthritis, who have severe pains in their feet and who find wearing shoes difficult
- Rehabilitation and treatment planning for an athlete with a recurring knee, ankle or foot injury
Who can be registered as a Podiatrist or Chiropodist?
Only podiatrists (or chiropodists) who have achieved the BSc in Podiatry may be registered with the Health Care and Professionals Council (HCPC). Always check that your podiatrist is HCPC registered. If they are not, it could mean that they are not fully trained and are practising under the title ‘Podiatrist or Chiropodist’ illegally.
- An average adult takes approximately 18,000 steps a day
- In a life time we walk about 70,000 miles, equivalent to 4 times round the world
- 75 to 80 percent of adults will suffer from lower limb problems at some time in their life
- 62% of all sports injuries affect the lower limb