Chiropodist or Podiatrist?

One way of preventing foot problems in general and toenail problems in particular is to see your podiatrist regularly. Outside of the USA, podiatrists are often known as chiropodists. However, podiatrists can be hard to find - for example in the whole of the United States there are only 9 Colleges of Podiatric Medicine with around 15,000 registered practitioners. Whereas, for example, in the UK, for a much smaller population, there are 13 schools of podiatry with over 12,500 registered members! Go figure!

Why See A Podiatrist?

Podiatrists are valued health professionals, and help maintain your foot health. They specialize in foot, ankle and lower leg problems, and may deal with anything from toenail fungus and ingrown toenails to "minor" surgery. It is especially important for diabetics and the elderly to see a podiatrist regularly to prevent problems before they arise.

Education And Training

Although podiatrists are not full M.D's, they are nevertheless specialists in their own right and are licensed as such. The training program is rigorous and usually takes four years to complete the degree plus clinical practice time under supervision. After receiving their qualification of DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) in the United States or a BSc in Podiatry in the UK, many podiatrists continue with their studies and go on to become specialist podiatric surgeons. This requires a lot of extra training and additional qualifications and registration.

License and Registration

All podiatrists in the United States must be licensed to practice by the individual State and are usually members of the main professional organization, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). In Britain they must be registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC) and are usually members of one of the professional organizations like the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists.

Not all podiatrists are also podiatric surgeons and the type of foot surgery permitted and general requirements for podiatric surgeons vary from state to state. Make sure that your podiatrist or podiatric surgeon is properly qualified, licensed and registered to practice in your state. Similar requirements apply in the UK, Canada and Australasia.

Finding A Podiatrist

To find a podiatrist contact the relevant podiatric professional association and they will help you find a podiatrist near you. Don't let embarrassment about the state of your feet prevent you from seeing a podiatrist! Remember, the podiatrist is a professional and deals with feet every day. He/she will have seen feet like yours before, so feel confident and book an appointment. Don't let the problem get worse, get help and advice from the professionals; after all that's what they've trained for.

And remember "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" so to keep your feet healthy between podiatrist visits - bookmark our site.

We have lots of tips on dealing with the dreaded toenail fungus!