Understanding the Difference Between a Podiatrist and a Chiropodist

Understanding the Difference Between a Podiatrist and a Chiropodist

August 10, 2023


When it comes to foot and ankle care, you may have heard the terms “podiatrist” and “chiropodist” used interchangeably. While these professions share similarities, it’s essential to understand the subtle differences to make informed decisions about your foot health. In this post, we will explore the distinctions between a podiatrist and a chiropodist.


A podiatrist is a healthcare professional who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions affecting the feet and ankles. They undergo extensive medical education and training, usually completing a bachelor’s degree before attending a four-year program at podiatric medical school. After graduation, podiatrists may undertake further residency training in specific areas of foot and ankle care.

Their expertise covers a wide range of foot-related issues, including foot deformities, infections, sports injuries, diabetic foot care, and complex surgical procedures. Podiatrists are also trained in biomechanics, allowing them to evaluate and address gait abnormalities, casting for custom orthotics, measurements for ankle foot orthoses, in addition to providing appropriate footwear recommendations.


Chiropodists receive training and qualifications similar to podiatrists. They focus on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of foot conditions, including routine foot care, nail disorders, corns, calluses, and plantar warts. Chiropodists offer advice on foot health and can provide specialized foot care for diabetic patients.  They are also qualified to perform minor surgical procedures for ingrown toenails.

Main Differences:

  1. Scope of Practice: Podiatrists have a broader scope of practice, including advanced procedures and surgical interventions. Chiropodists often focus on primary foot care and may not perform complex surgeries.
  2. Education and Training: Podiatrists undergo comprehensive medical education, earning a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.) degree. Chiropodists receive specialized training and may hold various diplomas or certificates.


While the terms “podiatrist” and “chiropodist” are closely related and describe professionals who specialize in foot care, there are subtle differences in their scope of practice and training. Podiatrists have a wider range of expertise, including advanced surgical procedures of complex foot conditions, while chiropodists often focus on routine foot care. Understanding these distinctions can help you make an informed choice about the right healthcare professional for your specific foot and ankle needs.