WHAT IS A PODIATRIST?
There is no difference between a Chiropodist and a Podiatrist, the term Podiatrist is just the more modern name for the same discipline.
It is estimated that the average person will walk approximately 115000 miles in a lifetime and factors such as footwear, man made surfaces and disease can all have detrimental affects on the feet, thus creating the need to seek the services of a Podiatrist who is specially trained to deal with foot health issues.
A Podiatrist’s role is to try to ensure that any foot problems are diagnosed and managed in the best possible way in order to achieve maximum benefit for the patient, or simply to keep healthy feet healthy.
WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS THAT ARE TREATED BY A PODIATRIST?
A Podiatrist can treat a range of foot problems such as thickened, in growing or fungal nails, corns, callus, verrucas, bunions, abnormal foot function (e.g. fallen arches, flat feet e.t.c.), cracked heels, Plantar Fasciitis(heel pain) and so on.
WHAT DOES A PODIATRY APPOINTMENT INVOLVE?
The Podiatrist will ask about any foot problems you have been having and then treat them accordingly, most general problems causing discomfort such as corns or callus e.t.c. will be dealt with during a routine appointment which normally takes around 30 minutes.
If the problem is of a “functional” nature such as excessive pronation (collapsing arches/in- rolling) then it may be necessary for a longer appointment so that range of joint motion and Gait can be assessed. This in turn may lead to the provision of orthotics to try to manage the problem and alleviate the pain it has been causing in the lower limb and/or lower back.
Orthotics are devices that are worn inside the shoe and are designed to bring about normal foot function as much as possible.
Even if you don’t have any serious foot issues, it is a good idea to occasionally book a routine appointment in the same manner as a dental check-up, to have callus removed, heels smoothed, nails tidied and generally make the feet feel good.
AM I ELIGIBLE FOR NHS PODIATRY?
Podiatry is provided free by the NHS but is usually only available to those referred by a GP or practice nurse and those eligible for referral are generally from groups considered to be at a higher risk of developing foot problems, such as Diabetic and Rheumatoid patients.
Even if you are referred on health grounds, appointments are often infrequent and you should therefore only seek the services of an HCPC registered podiatrist for the extra treatment needed.
HOW DO I FIND A PODIATRIST?
The website of the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists or The Health And Care Professions Council(HCPC) will provide a list of registered Podiatrists in your area.
Richard Harris is a member of the Society and registered with the HCPC, no.CH09863