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"What is the difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist?

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

As a trained podiatrist with an honours degree and a published paper on foot care for patients with Alzheimer's and Dementia, I have dedicated my career to providing high-quality foot care

services to the people of Penicuik. One question I am often asked is, "What is the difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist?" In this blog post, I aim to clarify the distinction between these two professions and explain the benefits of seeking professional foot care from a qualified podiatrist, especially for those with Alzheimer's or Dementia.

Chiropody and podiatry were once considered two separate fields, but over time, the two terms have become interchangeable. However, in the UK, the term "podiatry" is now the preferred name for the profession, and the majority of practitioners refer to themselves as podiatrists. Podiatrists are highly trained healthcare professionals who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of foot and lower limb disorders. They undergo extensive training in all aspects of foot care, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and biomechanics. Podiatrists are also trained to provide foot care for individuals with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and circulatory disorders.

In contrast, a chiropodist typically focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of minor foot conditions such as corns, calluses, and ingrown toenails. While some chiropodists may have received extensive training in foot care, many do not have the same level of education and expertise as podiatrists. It is essential to recognize that the level of education and training of a podiatrist is significantly higher than that of a chiropodist.

One reason why people with Alzheimer's or Dementia should seek foot care from a podiatrist is that they may have difficulty communicating their foot problems, or they may not be able to recognize them at all. A podiatrist has the skills and knowledge to identify and treat a wide range of foot and lower limb conditions, even if the patient cannot communicate their symptoms effectively.

Furthermore, people with Alzheimer's or Dementia are at a higher risk of developing foot problems due to mobility issues and poor circulation. Podiatrists can assess foot health and provide preventative measures, such as custom orthotics and footwear advice, to help prevent future foot problems. Regular foot care from a podiatrist can help prevent serious complications such as ulcers and infections.

It was when I was working in an NHS hospital for extreme cases of this condition that I realised the need for Podiatry as opposed to the simpler care that the Nurses were offering without the Podiatry specialism which is also lacked by many Chiropodists.

In conclusion, while the terms "chiropodist" and "podiatrist" may be

used interchangeably, it is crucial to recognize that podiatrists are highly trained healthcare professionals with a broad range of skills and expertise. As a podiatrist with a special interest in foot care for patients with Alzheimer's and Dementia, I am committed to providing the highest quality foot care services to help my patients achieve optimal foot health. Contact me today to schedule an appointment, and let us work together to keep your feet healthy and happy.

Ying Peng

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