You need your feet for your whole life; therefore, you must see a specialized care provider that can keep your feet healthy. A chiropodist can do just that. The human foot has 33 joints, 26 bones and over 100 tendons, ligaments and muscles. With an estimated 300 or more possible ailments for the foot alone, it is almost impossible for a general practitioner to diagnose and care for the feet.
What Does A Chiropodist Do?
Chiropodists are medical professionals that treat and maintain the health of your feet and ankles. They can care for minor ailments such as heel pain, bunions, ingrown toenails, as well as more serious issues including sprains, infections or fractures.
The terms chiropodist and podiatrist are used interchangeably in the rest of the world and they mean the same; podiatrist is the more modern term. Both deal with the assessment and care of the feet and ankles. However in North America, specifically in the United States, a podiatrist is a foot surgeon. They have foot surgeons doing both the podiatry AND podiatric surgery. In the British Commonwealth, (here in Canada) we have orthopedic surgeons who conduct any bony and sometimes joint surgeries. All other minor and soft tissue surgeries like cysts, nails, muscles, tendons and ligaments can be seen by a podiatrist or in Canada (a chiropodist).
These professionals are essentially ‘foot specialists’ who:
- Treat individuals with specific health issues like arthritis, diabetes and sports injuries
- Prescribe patients with necessary medications to treat ailments of the foot or ankle
- Prescribe therapies for treatment
- Diagnose and treat fractures, deformities, tumors, ulcers, and skin or nail diseases
Major foot and ankle surgeries are not performed by a podiatrist or chiropodist. Instead, these are diagnosed and prescribed by them and then performed by an orthopedic surgeon.
Why You May Need A Chiropodist
There are health professionals out there that offer care for the feet and ankles, including general practitioners, chiropractors, and alternative medicine providers. These professionals are only trained in the basics of foot and ankle care. A chiropodist receives years of extensive training focusing on the foot and ankle region. Alternative medicine providers or wellness practitioners don’t have the capacity to prescribe certain orthotics either. This is an important fact to be aware of if you are using insurance to purchase custom orthotics; your insurance provider will most likely require a prescription from a specialist.
All medical practitioners are required to take continuing education and fulfill a certain amount of hours per year. Imagine for instance, all the courses that chiropodists are enrolled in are foot related, whereas other health professionals have to take courses in all of their other areas of concern. There is only so much continuing education one can take before their yearly requirement is fulfilled. We will have much better training and in the diagnosis, adjustment, troubleshooting of prescribing for all things involved for your feet; including custom orthotics.
Because the foot and ankle region is so complex, it is important to seek advice from a professional with focused training. If you notice pain, swelling or discomfort in your feet or ankles, a chiropodist can determine and treat the issue for long-term relief. Most insurance providers will cover the cost of treatment.