24th September 2014

Many people are often confused about what makes a podiatrist or chiropodist and the difference between them. However, if you have some of the many common foot problems you may benefit from seeing one, and knowing more about them will only help you.

What's the difference?
A podiatrist or chiropodist both care for your feet and can help you. They are the same job role but calling someone a podiatrist is a more modern word for the profession and will probably be the most appropriate word for you to use. Doing a simple search online will help find professionals in your area and typing in either word should show you results for both.

What do they do?
A podiatrist is trained to deal with many common foot problems. This can be anything from ingrown toenails to bunions, and if you are having pain with your feet, they may be the best person to see. However, if you are worried you should see your GP first and they can tell you whether there is something medical or whether seeing a podiatrist will help ease your discomfort.

As podiatrists deal with the feet they can help with a range of issues, conditions and ailments involving this part of your body. This can be everything from skin problems such as athlete's foot or dry and cracked heels to having painful or recurrent corns, calluses and verrucas. However, many people may not know that a podiatrist will also be able to help if you are worried about having smelly feet or flat feet. These can not only be the source of embarrassment, but the latter can also cause problems with your posture that can affect your back and spine.

They can also advise you on the best shoes and socks to wear if you have consistently had problems with your feet over a long period of time. 

How can a podiatrist help?
If you have pain in your feet or something that is causing you discomfort such as scaling, peeling, warts or any other foot-related problem, the podiatrist can advise you about the problem and any lifestyle changes you may be able to make to stop the problem. The professional will also be able to supply orthotics, which are tailor-made insoles, padding and arch supports to relieve arch or heel pain. These can make a real difference to people who suffer pain with their feet as they can be slipped into your shoe to re-position your feet or take pressure away from vulnerable parts of your foot.

Even if you aren't in pain, you may benefit from seeing a podiatrist to make sure you are wearing the right shoes for your posture and have any hard skin removed.