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What Is A Podiatrist And When Should I Visit One?

what is a podiatrist

You might not have come across the term ‘podiatrist’ before, but they’re extremely important for your health. So what is a podiatrist, and when should you visit one?

What is a podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a medical specialist who can help with problems with your feet or lower legs. Podiatrists need to have completed a podiatry degree which is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). During their training, they will undertake a large amount of practical training with patients. When they have finished their training, a podiatrist needs to continuously update their knowledge and skills throughout their career and stay registered with the HCPC.

A podiatrist can treat a huge variety of problems with your feet and lower legs, including but not limited to:

  • Toenail reconstruction – the restoration of a previously damaged nail for cosmetic purposes.
  • Verruca and wart removal.
  • Nail surgery – perhaps to correct ingrowing toenails or to remove damaged/diseased toenails.
  • Corns, verrucas, fungal infections.
  • Orthotics – these are custom made insoles that reduce symptoms from biomechanical problems.

What’s the difference between a podiatrist and a chiropodist?

There is no difference! ‘Podiatrist’ is the most common and up-to-date term. The name was changed in the UK in 1993 because podiatry is the internationally recognised name for a foot specialist. 

When should you visit a podiatrist?

A podiatrist can treat any number of foot health issues, so whether you have pain while walking or smelly feet, an appointment with one is sure to help you! You don’t need a referral from a GP to seek a private consultation, so you can book an appointment at your leisure. It’s worthwhile to book an appointment even if you don’t think you have any issues – just like you would with a dentist. The podiatrist will be able to check your general foot health and recommend any treatments or therapies to keep them in tip top condition.

How can I be certain I’m going to get the correct and safe treatment?

Because many podiatrists are private practices rather than part of the NHS, it can seem tricky to tell whether you’re going to get quality treatment. Don’t worry, though – all you need to look out for is if the podiatrist is registered with the HCPC. You can check the register online. To be registered, the podiatrist will need to have proven that they completed the correct qualifications and are continually updating their skills.

Additionally, you can check whether they are accredited by the College of Podiatry. This is the ‘gold standard’ for podiatry practices because gaining accreditation is a rigorous process. Here at Northwich Foot Clinic and Physio, we have been accredited for over five years.

Ready to book your appointment?

You can do so today! Either use our online booking form, or give us a call on 01606 45077 and we can discuss all of your foot health needs. 

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