What does a Podiatrist do?
Chiropodists and podiatrists, deal with the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of the lower limb are qualified to treat people with arthritis, diabetes, nail surgery and sports injuries. They work with people of all ages but play a particularly important role in helping older people to stay mobile and, therefore, independent.
What is the difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist?
There is no difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist. Podiatrist is the term used for chiropodists in other English speaking countries. Podiatry and Chiropody both refer to the branch of medicine devoted to the study, diagnoses and treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle and lower leg. However Podiatrists are qualified to practice anything beyond the most routine of procedures, so be sure you only visit a Podiatrist registered by the Health Professions Council- (HPC).
What letters of qualifications should I look for when I want to find a chiropodist?
The registration process for podiatrists has recently changed. Due to recent changes in legislation, common professional titles like ‘chiropodist’ and ‘podiatrist’ are now protected by law. Anyone who uses a protected title must register with the Health Professions Council (HPC). Registration with the HPC now replaces the previous system of state registration. Some podiatrists may continue to use the phrase “S.R.Ch. State registered chiropodist” after their name, but this phrase is in fact now defunct.
The phrases and letters you should now look for are:
- Registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC)
- M.Ch.S. Member of The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
- F.Ch.S. Fellow of The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
- FCPods Fellow of The College of Podiatrists of The Society of Chiropodists & Podiatrists
There may be one or more of the above phrases after the name. To verify that a practitioner is registered with the HPC you can access the HPC Online Register.
What is the cause of most foot problems?
Shoes that don’t fit properly are the source of many foot problems – the higher the heel, the worse the problems tend to be. Slip-on shoes are one of the worst culprits, as they cause the foot to slide forward and cramp the toes. Worst of all are court shoes, as they are low-fronted, giving no support to the foot, and tend to be too narrow in the toe box. If you have foot problems, it is important to look at the cause, which is most likely to be your shoes. For frequent, everyday wear, choose a low-heeled shoe – no higher than 4cm – which has a rounded toe.
Are verrucae catching, and can I go swimming if I have one?
A verruca is a viral infection and can be picked up from coming into contact with the virus. To try and avoid catching one try not to come into contact with the changing room floor by wearing something like flip flops in the changing room and to the pool edge. If you already have a verruca, keep it covered. Verruca socks are available, which are slim fit rubber socks that prevent the virus being spread or picked up. Various treatments are available but there is no 100% cure guarantee. If left untreated your body’s immune system can result in a child’s verruca resolving in a few months, while in an adult this process can take many years.
Do corns have roots?
A lot of people think that a corn has a root, and that you need to remove the root in order to get rid of the corn. This is not the case. A corn is simply made up of hard skin that occurs over a bony prominence such as a joint. It is usually the result of pressure or friction to the area. The central area of the corn that appears to go deeper into the toe, isn’t something growing from inside, but is where the area of pressure (usually from the shoe if it is on the toe) is greatest. The skin thickens as a result of too much pressure/trauma and makes it look like there is a core or root that needs removing.
What’s the difference between a verruca and a corn?
The usual test is to pinch the suspect area. Verrucae are usually more painful than corns when pinched. Corns and callous are more likely to affect weightbearing areas, whereas verrucae can appear on any area.
My feet hurt after standing on them all day and I can’t wait to kick my shoes off when I get home. What can I do to prevent this?
If your feet hurt something is wrong! More often than not the shoes are a poor fit or style. Whether you are at work, at home or playing sport or other activity, make sure you have the right shoe for the job. If you don’t your feet will let you know. If the arch or heel hurts on standing, your problem may be related to how your feet are aligned. This can be addressed by your Podiatrist.
I am pregnant and have recently started suffering from tingling and numbness on the soles of my feet. What could be causing this?
The increased weight could a factor but there are other possibilities. The baby could be pressing on a nerve and the tingling in the feet could be caused by this. Tingling can often be a mild form of neurological disturbance.
My feet tend to get very sweaty in summer, what can I do?
There are more sweat glands per inch of our feet than anywhere else in our body – so it’s not surprising that many people suffer from sweaty feet, especially in warm weather. For minor problems wash feet morning and evening in warm, soapy water, then dry thoroughly. You can also use an antibacterial wash, which helps deal with foot odour, too. Then apply surgical spirit and dust the feet with talc. Going barefoot whenever you can will help, as will wearing open-toed sandals. For more serious problems ask your podiatrist for Anhydrol Fort
How can I get rid of hard skin?
In summer, hard, cracked skin on the heels and balls of the feet are very common, and is often caused by wearing footwear which rubs the skin. Use an emery board or pumice to gently rub away the hard skin, then use a rich moisturising cream, such as an aqueous cream or E45 to soften the skin. Getting into a daily foot care routine will help. For more serious hard skin see a chiropodist/podiatrist for advice and treatment.
What causes Athelete’s Foot?
It’s caused by a number of fungal species which you can pick up from anywhere (typically communal areas such as pools, showers and changing rooms) or anywhere where you may walk around barefooted The fungus on each bit of skin that falls away from someone else’s feet can be picked up by you if you’re prone.
I recently watched a documentary where cosmetic surgery was used to make feet more attractive, would you recommend this form of treatment?
A referral to either a podiatric or orthopaedic surgeon is always a treatment option which you could discuss with your chiropodist. Members of the Society will have received as part of their knowledge of the various surgical procedures, healing times and complications. So you should discuss it with them.
It is however important to realise that with all surgery you would have to weigh up very carefully the benefits and risks involved. And sometimes there can be contraindications which would rule out surgery altogether, for example poor circulation.