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What is a podiatrist?

What is a podiatrist?

Podiatrists are degree level trained health care professionals who specialise in the lower limb (from the hip down) but predominantly focus on the feet.

Some practitioners like to use the title Chiropodist but for the purposes of PodiPedia, we will stick with the title Podiatrist (Pod-eye-ah-trist) and the term Podiatry (Pod-eye-ah-tree).

The terms chiropody or chiropodist might be used by non-podiatrists too, so we advise that if you are unsure about a practitioners level of qualifications, then just ask them, and you can also check the HCPC register. From our experience, most people are proud to share information about the training they have done and qualifications that they have, so don’t be afraid to ask.

What do Podiatrists Do?

Their scope of practice is large, the list to your right discusses many of the more common areas of podiatric practice. The profession is also constantly growing and developing to be able to offer you the most up to date and effective care.

If you find a Podiatrist on the database, have a look at their website and see what treatments and services they may offer.

Why See A Podiatrist? 

If you have a foot problem or related issue, there are many people out there who may be able to help you and offer various services, however, there are differences between the training courses and qualifications that people complete.

This is where Podiatry comes in. Podiatric training is extensive in terms of length and depth of qualifications, skills and knowledge. Podiatrists are bound by many regulations and are held to very high standards.

Consider things like health and safety, sterilising instruments, infection control, data protection, diagnostic skills, treatment skills… the list is endless… and Podiatrists should be operating at the highest levels in all of these areas, and are held accountable by professional bodies.

This is why it is a great idea to see a Podiatrist when you have a problem or need treatment, and why we have set up this website for you to find an HCPC registered Podiatrist (Find a Podiatrist Near Me).

The HCPC is the Health and Care Professions Council and is the regulator of health and care professions in the UK. You can find more information here.

Do Podiatrists Specialise?

Yes, many do. In private practice, many podiatrists will be happy and confident to treat most conditions, however some have narrowed their scope of practice to only include a few of the points to the right. Our database allows you to find a podiatrist near you and then you can look at the range of services they offer. If you are unsure whether they are the best person to see, just call or email them or have a look at their website and we expect they will happily advise you.

Podiatric Surgery:

Podiatric Surgery is an extension of Podiatry and Podiatric Surgeons are also regulated by the HCPC. These professionals have undergone many years of additional surgical theory and practical training and are experts in surgical techniques associated with the foot and ankle. They are different to orthopaedic surgeons. There is more information on this here.

You can search for Podiatric surgeons on the Find a Podiatrist link too.

What is an FHP and what is a Podiatry Assistant? 

A Foot Health Practitioner (FHP) is someone who has completed some level of training in foot health but they have not completed a podiatry degree. They may well have completed additional courses to enhance their skills and services. They are not able to register with the HCPC.

A Podiatry assistant is someone who has trained to work usually alongside a Podiatrist and can carry out certain treatments and other clinical roles too.

If you find a Podiatry clinic through the PodiPedia directory, it is possible that they may employ or work alongside FHPs, Podiatry Assistants, or perhaps people in other “non-podiatry” foot or health roles.

Please speak with the podiatrist or practice manager to understand more about the staff they employ or the team they with work with. PodiPedia is not responsible for who you see. In order for a Podiatrist to register on the site, they must be HCPC registered, but they can register their clinic which may employ or incorporate other members of staff who are not Podiatrists. This is usually because they have been able to create a wonderful team of people who work together to look after your needs, but it is important to check who you are seeing and they should be happy to be transparent about their qualifications, skills and experience as you are entitled to know.

Treatments offered by Podiatrists

This predominantly focuses on the management of corns, callus, verrucae and other Skin Conditions that can affect the feet and lower limbs.

Podiatrists specialise in the treatment of toenails and conditions that affect them. Have a look at some common toe nail problems.

This focuses on pains and problems associated with your bones, joints, muscles and other soft tissues. Have a look at this link for more information on common conditions.

Many podiatrists offer nail surgery for ingrowing, involuted or thickened and deformed toenails. These operations are usually done using local anaesthesia and with or without the use of a chemical called phenol. We will be adding a link here to a video on nail surgery.

There are many treatment options for verrucae (verrucas / warts) and they can be very hard to treat. This link takes you to a page with more information on verrucae.

There are many treatment options for fungal nails, and they can be very hard to treat.
This link takes you to a page with more information on.

Your podiatrist will look at the way you walk or run to help them identify the cause of pains or problems. There are many forms of gait analysis. It is worth looking on a podiatrist’s website to see what they offer.

Many Podiatrists treat children as well as adults. There are some conditions that only affect children or seem to affect children more. This link takes you to more information on children’s feet.

Podiatrists are the best people to see about getting foot orthoses or insoles to help if you have pains and problems. This link takes you to more information on foot orthoses, insoles and other devices.

Podiatrists are experts at offering advice on the best footwear for your feet and we can often modify your footwear or alter the way you lace it to help with your foot pains or problems.

Podiatrists manage a lot of patients who present with complex medical conditions that affect the feet, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. This link takes you to a page with more information on medical conditions.

Podiatrists can refer or help you get access to different sorts of imaging such as X-rays or MRI scans which may be needed to help diagnose and manage your pains and problems. More and more Podiatrists are training in the use of ultrasound scanning too.

Podiatrists can refer you to other health and fitness professionals to help with diagnosis or management of your pains and problems. Follow this link to see a blog post on different health and fitness professionals we often work with or refer to.

This list is not exhaustive and there are many other treatments that podiatrists can offer. If you want to find a podiatrist near you then you can look at their website to find out more about what they specifically offer and possible information on prices.