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About podiatry

In the UK podiatry is simply the new name for chiropody. The name was changed to podiatry in 1993 as it's the international recognized name for a foot specialist and also as it's slightly more appropriate; 'podiatry' refers just to feet while 'chiropody' refers to both feet and hands.

What is a Foot Health Practitioner (FHP)?

  • Although often confused with podiatrists/chiropodists due to offering similar services at the same prices the two should not be confused.
  • FHP training courses provide from as little as 1 week of practical training rather than the typically 3 year full time degree courses of podiatrists.
  • FHPs are not registered with the governments Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
  • It is not uncommon for people and advertising websites to wrongly refer to FHPs as chiropodists so it is best to check carefully. If the words Chiropodist or Podiatrist are not mentioned on their website it will usually be because they are not legally abe to use it themselves.

It's not just the name Chiropody that has changed. Podiatry is a constantly evolving profession, the extensive training given to students over the 3 or 4 years of their full time course and the continuing education after graduation enable Podiatrists to treat a vast array of foot and lower limb problems. Along with the most obvious treatments for corns and hard skin, specialties exist within the profession for almost any lower limb problem.

A common area of practice within podiatry, this deals with problems arising from the way your joints are aligned and your muscles function. Pain from poor alignment can affect not just your feet but your knees, hips and lower back.

This deals with the diagnosis and treatment of lower limb disorders in children many of which are biomechanically related.

An increasing amount of foot surgery is being performed by specially trained Podiatrists, usually on a day care basis under local anesthetic, meaning no over night stays in hospital and minimal disruption to your everyday life. Their practical experience and knowledge of interacting associated foot problems enables them to provide a well considered care plan for your problem.

These are specially shaped insoles that aim to reduce the symptoms resulting from biomechanical problems. Often these are used for controlling excessive pronation, commonly known as flat feet or fallen arches, but they can be useful for many other conditions.

High risk patient management
The largest group is patients with diabetes who benefit greatly from regular foot care and advice, but also those with arthritis, neurological or vascular conditions tend to have 'high risk' feet and should see a Podiatrist regularly.

Sports injuries
Often working alongside physiotherapists the Podiatrist's knowledge of lower limb function and orthotic treatments are put to good use in diagnosing and treating many lower limb sports injuries.

Podiatry should be your first port of call if you have a foot problem & you do not need a referral from your GP to seek a private consultation. (If your GP needs to be involved your podiatrist should contact them following your initial assessment.)