Visiting your doctor about your foot problem may result in your case being referred to a chiropodist or a podiatrist. Both offer specialist care for feet disorders, the difference between them is that podiatry can offer diagnosis and treatment for both minor and major problems whereas chiropody offers advice and treatment for only minor problems.

What is Podiatry?

Podiatry is a branch of medicine that is specific to the examination, diagnosis and treatment of problems regarding the foot ankle and lower leg. Podiatry is carried out by podiatrists who are qualified their field.


Gaining a qualification in podiatry or podiatric medicine requires the person studying to achieve an undergraduate degree. The degree will require a full time study course over a period of three years, during this time you will be needed to partake in and assist other podiatrists in their work.

A course studying podiatry is broken up into three levels; each level will have different modules for study.

  • Level 1- This level is dedicated to developing the core transferable skills of podiatry.
  • Level 2- Explores the development of core skills in the specialist areas of practice.
  • Level 3- Will focus on decision making and problem solving solutions as-well as patient management.

Upon completion of the degree you will be free to find work in a number of sectors, or continue your studying to be able to undertake surgical operations. The areas in which podiatrists can generally find work are:

  • Primary Care
  • Sports medicine
  • Physiotherapy
  • Paediatrics
  • Biomechanics
  • Geriatrics

Services at a Podiatric clinic

Upon referral from your doctor your podiatrist can provide expert diagnosis and assessment on your foot problem. GP referral is not needed to book an appointment with a podiatrist and there are many private clinics that provide a wealth of services including evening and weekend appointments and home visits.

Your appointment will begin with a consultation to discuss what the problem is; this is followed by an assessment in which you will be thoroughly tested to work out the extent of the problem. Your assessment will begin with the checking of medical records and medical history (this will only take place with your consent) this is because certain medication can affect the feet or maybe thin out the blood.

You will be examined with tests carried out to discover the motion of joints at the big toe, ankle and hip any lack of movement in any of these areas can be the cause of foot problems. Problems related to this area are known as biomechanical. This is when there are joints that are not aligning properly and they are having an adverse effect on your feet. Treatment for such problems involves specialist insoles or custom made orthotics, worse cases may require surgery.

For lesions such as athletes foot and verrucae`s treatment may be carried out through the use of prescribed oral medication teamed with medicated bath soaps. Regular appointments will be made to check on the progress of the treatment, photographs may be taken to refer to at each stage.