How to Differentiate a Podiatrist From a Chiropodist?


The terms podiatrist and chiropodist can often lead to confusion since both deal with the subject of feet. However, the two specialists have very different methodologies and missions. How to stop this confusion? Or in other words, how do we differentiate between a podiatrist and a chiropodist?

What Do These Two Words Mean?

The first difference between the podiatrist and the chiropodist lies in the definition of each term.

The Podiatrist

The podiatrist is a specialist who relieves foot discomfort by providing foot care. This includes superficial foot care. The podiatrist is not actually a medical specialist and does not practice an activity that requires medical qualification. In short, the podiatrist provides non-medical foot care (soles of the feet).

The Chiropodist

The chiropodist is a physician whose area of expertise is the relief of foot pain. He or she is licensed to practice podiatry and may offer services in a health center or clinic in his or her own name. In summary, the chiropodist is a medical professional skilled in the treatment of foot pain and aches.

What Qualifications are Required?

To practice as a podiatrist or chiropodist, it is necessary to have a training path specific to each of the exercises. In this also lies another distinction of the two specialists.

Qualification of a Podiatrist

Podiatry is not an official medical discipline. Indeed, there is not really a recognized training to train podiatrists. This means that the podiatrist does not know anything about foot surgery. However, there are private structures that provide some tips in podiatry.

Anyone interested can therefore be trained and then practice as an independent. For the conditions and modalities of the training, one can search for training institutions on the internet or in his region. There is probably a training structure everywhere.

Qualification of the Chiropodist

The chiropodist is first of all a specialist who has obtained his doctorate in podiatric medicine. The doctorate is obtained after 4 long years of well-structured training in order to acquire the necessary skills to be able to intervene in the event of a foot problem. The chiropodist practices within a recognized and regulated framework and is called to observe certain professional requirements.

What Does Each One Treat?

Obviously, since the qualifications are not the same, the fields of intervention of the podiatrist and the chiropodist differ. Each one exerts in its field without confusion of mission.

Foot Care
Foot Care

The Podiatrist

The podiatrist is limited to superficial foot care, including pedicures and non-medical foot baths. The podiatrist may in fact perform toenail trimming. The podiatrist actually deals with the aesthetic side of the feet.

In short, the podiatrist takes care of the aesthetic aspect of the feet by implementing tricks such as pedicure, foot baths.  He can prescribe for example orthopedic shoes for the good of his patients’ feet.

The Chiropodist

The podiatrist intervenes at the limits of the podiatrist’s services. In the case of an emergency situation such as a foot injury or serious infection, the chiropodist comes into play. He or she may use certain techniques to exercise his or her expertise. The chiropodist professional treats musculoskeletal pain, dermatological disorders and nail problems such as ingrown toenails, nail fungus, traumatic nails, etc.

Some of the techniques used by the chiropodist include:

-Surgical debridement of calluses and corns;

-Application of prescription creams and ointments;

-Medical trimming of painful or deformed nails;

-Removal of plantar warts;

-Installation of a therapeutic bandage.

Did you have any idea about the difference between a podiatrist and a chiropodist? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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