Frequently Asked Questions

What is podiatry?

Podiatry is a branch of medicine devoted to the study, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot and lower limb. Within the field of podiatry, practitioners can focus on many different specialty areas including surgery, sports medicine, biomechanics, geriatrics, paediatrics, diabetes and rheumatology.

What is the difference between a podiatrist and chiropodist?

Technically there is no difference between a podiatrist and a chiropodist. Podiatry is simply a more modern term adopted in the UK, along with many other countries, to reflect the advancements of treatment and regulatory changes within the profession.

There is, however, a perception that chiropody is the diagnosis and treatment of more general foot complaints, such as corns, verrucae and fungal infections, while podiatry is involved in more specialist areas such as biomechanics and surgery.

The most important thing when considering chiropodic/podiatric treatment is whether the practitioner is fully qualified and a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered practitioner. Historically an individual may have had as few as six weeks training before being able to set up practice and call themselves a chiropodist or podiatrist. Now, as a minimum, they must undertake a three-year university degree including practical training and be registered with the Health Professionals Council before they are permitting to use the terms podiatrist or chiropodist.

For those who do not meet these minimum criteria they must use another term with the most common being a Foot Health Practitioner. The use of either podiatrist or chiropodist or the adjectival form by a non-registrant is unlawful.

What is biomechanics?

In relation to podiatry biomechanics is the way in which the muscles, bones and joints of the feet and lower limb interact and move. Podiatrists look at functionality specifically in terms of impact absorption and propulsion. The movements of the foot are defined as pronation and supination, which are directly related to absorption and propulsion respectively.

Absorption and Pronation: This is the movement that occurs as the weight of the person moves from the outside of the heel to the inside of the forefoot. It is this movement, which enables, the foot and leg adapt to different surfaces and absorb the impact of placing the foot down. While a degree of pronation is required for walking and running too much, or not enough, pronation can cause strain and injury.

Propulsion and Supination: After absorbing the impact of placing the foot down supination commences. This is when the forefoot makes contact with the ground and pushes forward to leverage the heel off the ground moving the body weight to the front of the foot and toes. Supination is necessary to create the propulsion required for walking and running but too much, or not enough, pronation can decrease the ability of the foot to function normally and result in injury or pain.

Podiatry can assess the biomechanical function of the foot and lower limb and treat abnormalities and malfunction as part of a rehabilitation programme after sustaining an injury or via a preventative care strategy to avoid strain and injury.

How long is an appointment?

A first (routine) appointment/assessment is 20 minutes to allow us time to evaluate your condition before recommending and undertaking any form of treatment. Subsequent appointments can vary and will depend on the type of treatment required.

Can I use my private health insurance?

Yes, as long as you have approval from your provider. We are recognised by most major health insurers.

How often will I need an appointment?

The frequency of your appointments will be determined by the nature of the problem. For an injury it is common for several treatments to be needed initially and then repeat visits are determined by the speed of the healing process.

Some people, however, choose to make regular visits to their podiatrist as part of a preventive care programme every 6-12 weeks as way of maintaining fitness and performance and avoiding injury.

Do I need a referral from a Doctor?

No, you can contact us directly.

Do you carry out surgery?

Yes we carry out nail surgery.

Are home visits available?

Yes for those who are housebound or difficulties leaving their home. We have associates who undertake home visits.