Podiatrist and Chiropodist: What’s The Difference?

Difference Between Podiatrist & Chiropodist | Dundas University Health Clinic

Podiatrist and Chiropodist: How Do They Differ? An Overview

Trick question, because there is essentially no difference between a podiatrist and chiropodist! Both terms are used interchangeably to describe the same thing. Both are foot doctors who look at foot problems and care for the health of feet. A podiatrist or chiropodist helps with common foot problems, including ingrown toenails and bunions.

The term chiropody has been used over many decades to describe someone who specialises in the health and well-being of feet. The term podiatrist is a more modern name and was created more recently, to recognise a specialist in the field.

A podiatrist/ chiropodist can be consulted for advice and treatment for painful feet, thickened or discoloured toenails, cracks or cuts in the skin, growths such as warts and verrucas, scaling or peeling on the soles, and other foot-related problem.

Podiatrists can help with complex foot problems, including preventing, diagnosing and treating injuries related to sports and exercise.
Podiatrists can also supply orthotics, which are tailor-made insoles, padding and arch supports to relieve arch or heel pain. The orthotic is put into the shoe to realign the foot, take pressure off vulnerable areas of the foot, or simply make the shoes more comfortable.

A single podiatry session is recommended even if your feet are, by and large, in good condition. A podiatrist can help with removing any hard skin on your feet or having your toenails clipped. A podiatrist can also offer personalised advice about footwear (do take your shoes with you for the consultation) and check that you are caring for your feet properly.

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Chiropodist?

Establishing that there is no difference between a podiatrist and chiropodist, these trained healthcare professionals diagnose and treat abnormal conditions of the feet and lower limbs. They also help prevent and correct deformity, keep you mobile and active, relieve pain and treat infections. Podiatrists can offer advice on looking after your feet and what type of shoes to wear.

They also treat and reduce common foot problems such as…

  • Toenail problems, such as thickened toenails, fungal nail infections, and ingrown toenails
  • Corns and calluses (hard skin)
  • Verrucas
  • Athletes foot
  • Smelly feet
  • Dry and cracked heels
  • Flat feet
  • Bunions
  • Heel pain
  • Ageing feet
  • Blisters
  • Gout
  • Sports injuries

Difference Between A Podiatrist And A Nail Technician

A podiatrist has the required professional medical qualification. They are qualified to treat a wide range of foot ailments. A nail technician specialises in enhancing the beauty of your nails, including shaping and colouring. They do not treat the surgical management of nails nor are they qualified to treat common foot ailments.

How Does Podiatry Differ From Orthopaedics?

While there is no difference between a podiatrist and chiropodist, an orthopaedic surgeon, on the other hand, deals with skeletal problems in the whole body. In many cases, registered podiatrists work along with an orthopaedic surgeon to treat skeletal problems in the feet which need surgical intervention.

How Do Podiatrists Remove A Callus?

While there are many over-the-counter treatments for painful corns/ calluses, problems can arise if you have diabetes, heart problems or circulatory disorders. In such cases, it is important to seek specialist help from a podiatrist.

Here are some of the ways a podiatrist is likely to remove a callus…

  • In case of mild corns or calluses, your podiatrist may suggest changing your shoes. Specially created shoe insoles may also be recommended to ease the pressure off of the callus area
  • You podiatrist may apply patches to your skin to help soften the hard area. This will help the removal of the callus.
  • Larger corns and calluses are mostly reduced with the help of a surgical blade. The podiatrist will carefully shave away the thickened, dead skin. This procedure is painless because the skin is already dead. In this way, the corn or callus is gently removed.
  • Additional treatments may be needed if the corn or callus recurs.
  • Cortisone injections in the foot or toe may be given if the corn or callus is causing serious pain. In cases that do not respond to conservative treatment, surgery may be required.

Is Wearing Shoes Too Often Bad For Your Feet?

Wearing shoes is not the problem; wearing badly-fitting shoes is usually the culprit. Wearing tight or poorly-fitting shoes can lead to foot pain, painful foot deformities like corns and calluses, ingrown toenails, peripheral neuropathy, and infections, etc.

How To Deal With Foot Pain?

A trained podiatrist will be able to correctly identify the cause of foot pain. The source of foot pain is generally difficult to pinpoint as the foot is a complex mechanism. It is composed of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons. Sometimes foot pain can also be caused by problems in the upper leg, hip or lower back. A podiatrist would be able to make out the exact part of the foot that is experiencing pain, its cause, and how best to treat the pain.

Can Wearing High Heels Daily Injure Your Feet?

High heels worn on a daily basis can cause immense damage to your feet. Wearing high heels artificially shifts your weight forward onto the ball of the foot. In order to maintain a balance, the knees and hips push forward. The back gets extended as well. In time, the natural cushioning of the ball of the foot begins to wear out. Wearing high heels can cause plantar fasciitis, which is the inflammation of the fascia or connective tissue that joins the heel to the toes. High heels increase the strain on the heel of the foot. This leads to discomfort in the heel, a burning feeling, or soreness in the sole of the foot.


A chiropodist podiatrist is highly recommended for specialised foot and ankle care. A chiropodist/podiatrist specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of foot problems and conditions related to the lower legs. With podiatrists treating everything from bunions to infected toenails, those with foot problems are sure to receive the best solution to their foot issues from a chiropodist/ podiatrist.