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  • Writer's pictureLouise Fordham

Foot Care Professionals Decoded: Podiatrist vs. Chiropodist – What Sets Them Apart?

Introduction to Foot Care Professionals

When it comes to taking care of our feet, it’s important to seek the expertise of a qualified professional. However, navigating the world of foot care professionals can be confusing, especially when faced with terms like podiatrist and chiropodist. What exactly is the difference between these two professions? In this article, we will decode the roles of podiatrists and chiropodists, exploring their similarities and differences, so you can make an informed decision about your foot care needs.

What is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a medical professional who specialises in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of foot and ankle disorders. Podiatrists undergo extensive training and education to obtain their degree. This rigorous program typically takes four years to complete and includes both classroom learning and clinical rotations.

Podiatrists are equipped to handle a wide range of foot-related conditions, including but not limited to, ingrown toenails, bunions, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, foot deformities, and sports injuries. They are skilled in performing surgical procedures, prescribing medication, and providing orthotic devices to alleviate foot problems. Podiatrists also play a crucial role in managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, as they are trained to identify and treat foot complications that may arise. In the UK a Podiatrist is the newer terminology for what used to be called a Chiropodist who are trained more recently than a Chiropodist.

What is a Chiropodist?

A chiropodist, on the other hand, is a foot care professional who focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of foot disorders. The term "chiropodist" is primarily used in the United Kingdom and some other countries, while "podiatrist" is more commonly used in the United States and Canada. Chiropodists undergo similar training and education as podiatrists. Chiropodists provide a wide range of services, including routine foot care, nail care, callus and corn removal, and the treatment of minor foot ailments. They often work closely with other healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive foot care for their patients.

The Difference Between a Podiatrist and a Chiropodist

The primary difference between a podiatrist and a chiropodist lies in the scope of practice and the level of medical training. Podiatrists have a broader range of skills.

Another distinction between podiatrists and chiropodists is the terminology used to describe their profession. While podiatrists are more commonly recognised in the United States and Canada, chiropodists are prevalent in the United Kingdom and some other countries. However, it's important to note that the training and qualifications of these professionals are often equivalent, regardless of the terminology used.

Common Conditions Treated by Podiatrists and Chiropodists

Both podiatrists and chiropodists are well-equipped to handle a wide range of foot conditions. Some of the common conditions treated by these foot care professionals include:

  1. Ingrown toenails: Podiatrists and chiropodists can diagnose and treat ingrown toenails, providing relief from pain and preventing infection.

  2. Bunions: These painful bony bumps on the joint at the base of the big toe can be effectively managed by both podiatrists and chiropodists.

  3. Plantar fasciitis: This condition involves inflammation of the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. Podiatrists and chiropodists can provide treatment options to alleviate pain and promote healing.

  4. Heel pain: Whether it's due to plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, or other causes, podiatrists and chiropodists can diagnose and treat heel pain effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions About Podiatrists and Chiropodists

Q: Can a podiatrist or chiropodist help with my foot pain?

A: Yes, both podiatrists and chiropodists are trained to diagnose and treat foot pain. They can provide a comprehensive evaluation of your condition and offer appropriate treatment options to alleviate your foot pain.

Q: Do I need a referral to see a podiatrist or chiropodist?

A: In most cases, you do not need a referral to see a podiatrist or chiropodist. However, it's always a good idea to check with your insurance provider or healthcare system to understand their specific requirements.

Q: How often should I visit a podiatrist or chiropodist?

A: The frequency of your visits will depend on your specific foot care needs. For routine foot care, such as nail trimming or callus removal, visiting a Podiatrist or chiropodist every few months may be sufficient.


In conclusion, both podiatrists and chiropodists play crucial roles in the field of foot care. While their titles and terminology may differ based on geographic location, their dedication to promoting foot health remains the same. Understanding the difference between podiatrists and chiropodists can help you make an informed decision when seeking professional foot care. Remember to consider your specific needs, the qualifications of the foot care professional, and seek recommendations if necessary. By choosing the right foot care professional, you can ensure that your feet receive the expert attention they deserve.

CTA: If you are experiencing foot pain or need routine foot care, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with a qualified podiatrist or chiropodist today. Your feet will thank you!

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