Podiatrists (previously known as Chiropodists) assess, diagnose and treat abnormalities of the lower limb using a wide range of clinical and communication skills. They give professional advice on the prevention of foot problems and on proper care of the foot. A Podiatrist will treat patients of all ages from infants to the elderly. In the NHS particularly, staff see many patients at high risk of amputation for example those who suffer from arthritis or diabetes.
There is no difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist.
A Podiatrist may work in an acute hospital or clinic setting, a PCT run Health Centre or GP surgery or in patients homes, educational facilities and nursing homes
The Podiatrist is involved in a wide range of clinical conditions such as:
- Children sometimes have pains in their legs or feet as they grow or have problems walking.
- People with diabetes may have problems with the circulation or sensation in their feet.
- Sports men and women often suffer from injuries to their legs and feet.
- Dancers with long hours rehearsing and performing put stress through their feet that can cause injury.
- People needing minor surgery - some nail surgery or laser treatment
- People wanting advice - some people do not need treatment but just want advice about footwear or foot health.
Typical job roles will include
- Assess and treat footcare ailments, ranging from problems such as verrucas to deformity
- Analyse a persons walk or run and correct the anatomical relationship between the different segments of the foot. Orthotics-custom made soles-are often prescribed to achieve this
- Monitor and manage foot problems and deformities caused by diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Advise and treat patients at high risk of foot problems and amputation such as people who suffer from diabetes
- Nail surgery using local anaesthetics
A UK Podiatrist is registered with the Health Professions Council ( HPC ) and will generally have a BSc from a School of Podiatry at a University.
Once experienced, the podiatrist may choose to specialise in a particular area of practice; for example, biomechanics, working with children (podopaediatrics) or surgery.
Chiropodists have a vital role to play in assessing, treating and advising high-risk patients. Teaching or research are also options. They can also move into management, either within chiropody services or general management.
For more information you can contact:
Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
1 Fellmongers Path
Tower Bridge Road
Tel: 0207 234 8620
Fax: 0207 244 8621
Website: For non members: http://www.feetforlife.org/ and for members: http://www.scpod.org/
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