A podiatrist is a health professional who can assess, diagnose, treat and manage conditions of the feet and lower limbs. A podiatrist has an extensive scope of practice including -
- Assessment and treatment of common foot complaints such as verrucae and corns (see Common foot problems)
- Assessment of the structure, alignment and function of the feet and legs with appropriate treatment such as insoles, stretching and strengthening exercises to correct any abnormality (see Biomechanics and orthotics)
- Nail surgery using local anaesthetics
- Management of patients at high risk of foot problems such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and peripheral vascular disease (see Diabetes, arthritis and ageing)
- Advice on prevention of foot problems and how to keep your feet in good health (see Top tips for healthy feet)
What is the difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist?
There is no difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist. The term chiropodist has been traditionally used in the UK, whereas podiatrist is recognised and used more internationally. Increasingly, chiropodists in the UK are being referred to as podiatrists and many people in the profession refer to themselves as both.
Both chiropodist and podiatrist are protected titles and can only be used by people registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC). The HPC regulates the chiropody and podiatry profession and ensures that all of its members meet their standards for training, professional skills, behaviour and health.