What is the difference between chiropody and podiatry? Podiatrist Kent - Paul Miller Podiatry
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What is the difference between chiropody and podiatry? Podiatrist Kent

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What is the difference between chiropody and podiatry? Podiatrist Kent

When you see a podiatrist or chiropodist, they will perform an initial assessment of your feet, ankles, lower limbs and gait which will include investigating how you stand, walk and move. Once your assessment has been completed, your podiatrist or chiropodist will recommend appropriate treatment options. If you are looking for a podiatrist near you, then Paul Miller Podiatry is a professional foot care specialist with decades of experience, click here to get in touch today. 

What is the difference between chiropody and podiatry?

The difference between chiropody and podiatry is that chiropodists are trained in the assessment and treatment of the lower limb, whereas podiatrists have additional skills in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Chiropody is the medical practice of treating disorders of the foot and ankle.
  • Podiatry is the medical practice of treating disorders of the foot and ankle, and also the lower limbs.
  • Chiropodists are trained in the assessment and treatment of the lower limb, whereas podiatrists have additional skills in diagnosis, treatment and management of musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis or fractures, including fitting orthotic devices that support weak or painful joints by improving alignment.

podiatry kent

Podiatrists have a far more extensive range of skills compared to chiropodists.

Podiatrists have a far more extensive range of skills compared to chiropodists. They are trained in the assessment and treatment of the lower limb, whereas chiropodists have additional skills in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries.

History of Podiatry in the UK

Podiatry is one of the oldest professions in the UK. It was officially recognised as a profession in 1918 after many years of resistance by the medical fraternity who did not believe chiropody could be taught clinically.

The history of podiatry begins with the first chiropodists. In 1881, James William King published a book called “Chiropody” that discussed foot and shoe care. His book was one of the first written on the subject and is considered by some to be the beginning of modern-day podiatry. King helped establish what became known as The National College of Chiropody (NCC), which was founded in 1895 in London and formed under an Education Committee led by King. This organization would later become a professional body for chiropodists to join, and it still exists today as part of Podiatry UK. If you are interested you can read about the history of Podiatry here.

In 1900, Henry Bardsley opened his own practice in Bristol after qualifying from The National College of Chiropody with distinction. He then went on to teach at various schools across England until he retired from practice following World War II. During this time period, there were many other notable men who contributed greatly toward advancing the field including John Gossage, Leslie Hales-Smith, Harold Bowers, Charles Windsor Smith, Harold Aldridge, Harry Haynes, and Montague Howard Barlow.

The profession of chiropody/podiatry started primarily with the need to treat foot problems of soldiers during the first world war. Chiropodists, who were mostly women at that time, were employed as a VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) during that period. In 1918, two VADs in Scotland wrote an article in one of the daily newspapers about their WWI experiences. It was then reported that Winston Churchill read the article, thought it was interesting and asked his staff to arrange for an interview with them when he visited Scotland sometime in 1919. As a result of this meeting, he had his foot treated by these two VADs and become a regular patient after that.

Most people refer to both podiatrists and chiropodists as “foot specialists”.

You may have come across the term “foot specialist” used to describe both podiatrists and chiropodists. This is a common misconception, as podiatrists are trained in much more than just foot care.

Podiatrists have a far more extensive range of skills compared to chiropodists, including treatment for conditions such as:

  • pain in the lower limbs (legs)
  • sports injuries (foot and ankle)
  • gait problems

How to get qualified as a Podiatrist

In the UK, you can’t study Podiatric Medicine as a standalone degree; you must complete a 3-year BSc first before completing 2 years of MSc training. If you’re interested in becoming a podiatrist, it’s important to know that you can’t study podiatry as a standalone degree in the UK (you must complete a 3-year BSc first before completing 2 years of MSc training). Once you’ve completed your BSc and MSc degrees, you must then register with the HCPC as a podiatrist.

In contrast, chiropody is available for study as either an undergraduate or postgraduate course. To qualify as an osteopath (chiropodist), candidates need to complete an undergraduate degree followed by 2 years of postgraduate training.

How to become a chiropodist

If you are thinking of becoming a chiropodist, it is important to consider what your training will entail.

The University of Manchester offers the following information on its course website:

“Our three-year BSc Podiatry degree course is designed to teach you how to be an effective podiatrist and teach you a range of skills such as taking foot and knee casts and using specialised equipment. You’ll also learn about anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and pharmacology; analyse patients’ gait mechanics; provide expert advice on management strategies for foot disorders affecting individuals with diabetes or those who have suffered accidents such as fractures or burns; assess risk factors associated with the development of conditions such as osteoarthritis; assess the condition of patients with neurology problems before prescribing footwear or other aids.”

How does it work when you visit a podiatrist or chiropodist?

When you see a podiatrist or chiropodist, they will perform an initial assessment of your feet, ankles, lower limbs and gait which will include investigating how you stand, walk and move.

When you see a podiatrist or chiropodist, they will perform an initial assessment of your feet, ankles, lower limbs and gait which will include investigating how you stand, walk and move. This is to determine if there are any problems with your feet or lower limbs that may cause pain elsewhere in the body. The chiropodist or podiatrist will also recommend appropriate treatment options for the problems found during the assessment.

Once your assessment has been completed, your podiatrist or chiropodist will recommend appropriate treatment options. Your doctor may suggest:

  • Self-care treatments such as footwear advice, advice on how to take care of your feet at home, and lifestyle changes such as avoiding high heels or wearing special insoles in shoes.
  • Specific treatments from a podiatrist or chiropodist that require them to carry out specific procedures (such as surgery).

In the UK, all registered “chiropodists” are actually “podiatrists” – it’s just an old name for their profession!

The first thing to know is that in the UK, all registered “chiropodists” are actually “podiatrists” – it’s just an old name for their profession!

In fact, the only way to become a registered chiropodist is to complete a 3-year BSc Podiatry degree and then register with the HCPC. Chiropody has been taught as a standalone qualification for many years, but this was phased out in 2005 and no new courses are being offered at present.

Conclusion

So there you have it, the difference between chiropody and podiatry. We hope that now you know more about this interesting topic and can understand why they are both important for people who have foot problems. Paul Miller Podiatry we offer a comprehensive range of services including Nail Surgery, Diabetic Foot Care and Biomechanics. From babies to the most senior of citizens, we are a family friendly practice providing the best possible care for patients of all ages. Some may require us to visit them in their own homes and we are more than happy to arrange this when you contact us. Read more on our about us page.