What is Podiatry?

Podiatry focuses on the foot and ankle, but Podiatrists often treat problems in other areas of the body such as the legs, knees, hips or lower back, indirectly, as, when we move, the way the rest of the body moves affects the foot and ankle and the way the foot and ankle moves can affect the rest of the body. You can find more information about Podiatry as a profession via our representative body, The Royal College of Podiatry’s website, www.rcpod.org.uk.

What qualifications does a Podiatrist have?

Podiatrist and Chiropodist are protected titles in law. It is illegal to refer to yourself as a Podiatrist or Chiropodist without being appropriately qualified and regulated. To qualify as a Podiatrist, it is necessary to complete a 3-year BSc(Hons) Degree. To practice as a Podiatrist, it is necessary to be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). The HCPC audits our practice and regulates our conduct. You can check our registration with the HCPC here.

What is the difference between a Chiropodist and a Podiatrist?

The terms Podiatrist and Chiropodist are interchangeable. Podiatry evolved from Chiropody and is now a much broader profession. In essence, ‘Chiropody’ is part of what a Podiatrist does in terms of treatments. Chiropody involves the treatment of skin and nail conditions that affect the feet such as corns, painful hard skin and in-growing toenails. However, Podiatry encompasses a much wider range of treatments and specialities such as Diabetic foot problems, sports injuries, musculoskeletal pain, Forensic Podiatry and children’s foot problems. Podiatrists work in specialist fields such as sport, surgery, Orthopaedics, clinical gait analysis and much more as can be seen here. At Walkrite, we specialise in Musculoskeletal Podiatry, but we have a lot of experience in other areas and will still carry out Chiropody treatments where required.

What is the difference between a Podiatrist and a Foot Health Practitioner?

Podiatrists / Chiropodists are not the same as some other clinicians that will treat foot problems such as ‘Foot Health Professionals / Practitioners’ (FHP’s). FHP’s treat foot problems but they are not regulated by law and their training is not standardised. The Professional Standards Authority has issued guidance for patients if you are unsure as to what type of clinician you should be seeing for your foot problem.

Are Podiatry clinics regulated?

Our practice is regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council. The treatments that we deliver have to comply with best practice and evidence-based medicine. We are also currently working towards practice accreditation with the Royal College of Podiatry. We hold all relevant business insurances and indemnity insurance but we can also be audited by the HCPC and they protect our patients should there be any issues with their treatment. Clinicians who are not regulated by bodies such as the HCPC offer no such protection and, if treatment goes wrong, there will be no regulating body to make a complaint to who can then take action against that clinician. Learn more about the HCPC and the importance of seeing a regulated clinician here.