How are Chiropody and Podiatry Different?
What is Chiropody and Podiatry and how are they different?
Chiropody is a healing profession dedicated to feet. Podiatrists and chiropodists are both members of the chiropody field, and in Ontario, Canada they are regulated by the same governing body. But what differences separate the chiropodist and the podiatrist?
The worldwide educational requirements of chiropody professionals are not streamlined and this is why there are 2 titles. In the province of Ontario specifically, a licensed chiropodist has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sciences and another 3 years of chiropody training. In the United States the term chiropody isn’t used. Instead, the foot and lower-limb specialist field is called podiatry, and post-graduate training is 4 years. That additional year of education in the United States includes procedures that aren’t part of the Ontario chiropody program.
Feet, legs of little peopleSince chiropody schools are few and far between, (for example the Toronto, Ontario chiropody school is the only English-speaking program in Canada), many students study in the United States or Britain. Upon moving or returning to Canada, medical practitioners in any field who are licensed internationally must apply for a province-specific license in order to practice there. For many years, graduates of American podiatry schools were granted the license of Podiatrist in Ontario due to that extra year of study. However, as of July 31, 1993 the Province of Ontario put a cap on podiatry licensing, and ever since all those who graduate from either podiatry or chiropody programs worldwide are licensed as chiropodists in Ontario.
Having said that, while all podiatrists are chiropodists, chiropodists are not podiatrists. A quick online search may tell you that the titles are interchangeable, but this is false.
With all of the same training of a chiropodist, podiatrists – of which there are still about 50 in Ontario –are additionally licensed to diagnose complications related to and perform surgeries on bones of the forefoot, to own, order, and take radiographs, and to prescribe medications beyond those that chiropodists can. And that is the difference between podiatrists and chiropodists.
Your chiropodist is a fully-trained foot and lower-limb specialist who carries out treatment for complex injury, chronic conditions, and disease. Caring for the feet is no small feat! Chiropodists treat and heal using physical therapies including shockwave and laser, soft-tissue surgical procedures, by fitting and providing orthotics, and providing routine and palliative care for conditions that are incurable such as complications of the lower limbs due to diabetes.
Educating you, the patient, is key to successful chiropody care. Your chiropodist spends a great deal of time getting to know you and your regular routine so that they can customize not only your treatment but make sure you understand what you can do at home to adjust bad habits and prevent future injury. If you need medical attention beyond their scope, your chiropodist will refer you to your medical doctor or to an orthopaedic surgeon – it’s as simple as that because your best health is top priority.
When should you see a chiropodist? For treatment of any lower-limb and foot injury or disease, including:
• Foot and ankle pain
• Chronic pain management
• Mobility issues
• Foot-related disease impairment including from diabetes
• Warts, calluses and corns
• Foot-related physical therapy
• Orthotics or braces
• Toe nail fungus