Our feet are extremely important, and if something goes wrong with them then it can cause issues for our whole bodies – from our legs, to our hips, to our backs. These problems can seriously affect the quality of our lives. This is where a chiropodist can help.
But what, exactly, does a chiropodist do? For many the word is familiar and they’re vaguely aware it has to do with feet, but beyond that they’re not really clear on the role of a chiropodist.
The Most Overlooked Part Of Your Body…
To fully understand what a chiropodist is, you first need to have a clear understanding of the beating your feet take throughout the course of your life. The average person will walk around 6,000 steps a day. That’s over 1.5 million steps in the course of a year. If you pointed yourself in one direction (and somehow learned to walk on water) the number of steps you took in a lifetime would take you all the way around the world five times.
And that’s just steps taken. Consider the additional trials your feet face in the form of uncomfortable and ill-fitting shoes, running, playing sports, and other high-impact exercise, and the innumerable blisters, calluses, corns, bunions, nail problems, cracked heels, and sprained ankles we endure throughout a lifetime.
Despite this brutal treatment, your feet are probably the most neglected part of you. They’re also one of the most important. If you’ve ever experienced foot issues you’ll know how debilitating it is when you can’t walk properly, both in a physical sense, and in terms of the mental toll it takes.
That’s where your chiropodist comes in…
What Is A Chiropodist?
Chiropodists are highly trained medical practitioners who are trained to treat injuries and other afflictions with the feet and lower limbs. You might know them by their more modern name – podiatrists. Chiropodists and podiatrists are exactly the same, but the term ‘podiatrist’ has been used more often in the UK since the 1990s. Regardless, your chiropodist should be a member of the College of Podiatry, which is the regulatory body for podiatrists and chiropodists in the UK.
What Does A Chiropodist Do?
Chiropodists are skilled in the treatment of all kinds of foot problems, and can deal with a wide range of issues – from nail-cutting to surgeries. They’re able to assess your feet when you know there’s something wrong, but aren’t sure what it is. By identifying and treating any issues your chiropodist will keep your feet in top working condition. They can also go beyond this, and identify areas that may become problematic in the future. This allows you to get proactive in your foot care and solve issues before they become actual problems. That way, you don’t need to spend weeks and a lot of pain or discomfort recovering from something; that thing never has chance to progress to the point it bothers you.
Here are some of the most common issues that chiropodists deal with on a regular basis:
Corns and Calluses
These are hard or thick areas of skin on the foot. Whilst they’re generally not serious, they can cause significant pain and discomfort when you walk. A chiropodist can remove these corns and calluses, allowing you to walk more freely. They can also advise you on how to manage your corns and calluses, including the safe removal of calluses at home, and why it’s a really bad idea to emulate all those TikTok videos showing surgical removal with a blade.
Fungal infections, including athlete’s foot, can cause rashes which itch, sting and burn. It’s infectious and often recurs if it isn’t treated properly. A chiropodist will not only treat the infection, but will also investigate the cause to ensure that it’s less likely to come back.
Fungal infections in your feet can be responsible for all kinds of unpleasantness, from smelly feet, to a painful burning sensation in your foot at night.
Verrucas are often likened to ‘standing on a needle’. They can be very painful and are infectious. However, they can take a long time to go and over-the-counter medications often make no difference. Chiropodists have access to a range of excellent treatments, such as Swift Microwave Therapy, which is one of the quickest, most efficient and effective available. Another option is verruca needling.
Your chiropodist will be able to diagnose your verruca (which could also be a wart), and recommend the best course of treatment. They’ll be able to tell you why verruca socks are a bad idea, and what you can do instead. They will also be able to assess if your verruca is infected, and whether or not you need additional treatment (such as antibiotics) to deal with that.
When Should I See A Chiropodist?
It’s not normally recommended to wait until you’re experiencing pain to visit a chiropodist. Visiting regularly – as you would with a dentist – can help to ensure that your feet are in top condition, and will help to prevent future problems.
How Much Does It Cost To Visit A Chiropodist?
If you choose to visit a private chiropodist, make sure that their prices are clear and up-front. At Northwich Foot Clinic, our prices are available on our website here and there are no hidden charges – so you always know what to expect.
Footcare Tips From Your Local Chiropodist
Ensuring the health and well-being of your feet doesn’t just stop at a chiropodist’s office. Regular foot care can make a significant difference in how you feel day-to-day. Here are some practical and straightforward tips from our expert chiropodists:
Daily Inspection: Make a habit of checking your feet every day. Look for any signs of cuts, blisters, redness, or nail problems. This is especially important for those with diabetes.
Wash Regularly: Clean your feet daily using lukewarm water and mild soap. Avoid soaking for prolonged periods as it can strip your feet of natural oils.
Moisturise: After washing, dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes. Then, apply a good foot cream or moisturiser, but avoid applying between your toes to prevent fungal infections.
Trim Nails Properly: Cut your toenails straight across and avoid trimming them too short. Rounded or too short nails can lead to ingrown toenails.
Choose the Right Footwear: Invest in good quality shoes that fit properly. Shoes that are too tight or unsupportive can lead to various foot problems. Also, avoid wearing the same pair daily; let them air out.
Avoid Walking Barefoot: Even at home, walking barefoot can expose your feet to potential injury and bacterial or fungal infections.
Wear Breathable Socks: Choose socks made of materials that wick away moisture. This can prevent athlete’s foot and other fungal conditions.
Stay Active: Regular exercise can help promote good circulation in your feet. Activities like walking or swimming are particularly beneficial.
Avoid High Heels: If you wear high heels regularly, make sure to alternate with more comfortable footwear. Constantly wearing high heels can lead to various foot and posture problems.
Seek Professional Help for Foot Pain: If you’re experiencing consistent foot pain or notice any abnormalities, don’t ignore it. Book an appointment with your chiropodist to get a professional evaluation.
Remember, your feet bear the weight of your entire body, so it’s vital to give them the care they deserve. With a few daily habits, you can ensure they remain in top condition and serve you well throughout your life.
Finding A Chiropodist
You can find a chiropodist near you through the search function on the College of Podiatry website. Northwich Foot Clinic has been providing chiropody services to the people of Cheshire, Staffordshire and beyond for over 8 years, and we have treated thousands of happy customers. To book your appointment, head to our booking page today.
We get a lot of common questions around chiropody and the role of a chiropodist. We don’t want you to have any concerns over your visit or treatment, so here are all the answers. If you have a question that isn’t covered here, please, let us know. We’ll happily answer and add it!
What’s the difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist?
While the terms are often used interchangeably, there’s technically no difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist. In the UK, ‘podiatrist’ has been the more commonly used term since the 1990s, but both refer to professionals trained to treat feet and lower limb conditions.
How often should I visit a chiropodist?
It’s recommended to visit a chiropodist at least once a year for a general check-up. However, if you’re experiencing specific issues or discomfort, it’s best to consult with your chiropodist for a recommended frequency.
Can chiropodists treat ingrown toenails?
Yes, chiropodists are trained to treat ingrown toenails and can provide both non-surgical and surgical solutions depending on the severity.
How can I find a reputable chiropodist in Northwich, Cheshire?
You’re in the right place! Northwich Foot Clinic is a trusted facility in Northwich, Cheshire, with highly trained chiropodists ready to assist you. Ensure any chiropodist you visit is a member of the College of Podiatry for professional and reliable service.
Do I need a referral to see a chiropodist?
In most cases, you don’t need a referral to see a chiropodist. However, if you’re seeking treatment through the NHS, a referral might be required.
What can I expect during my first chiropodist appointment?
During your initial visit, the chiropodist will discuss your medical history, inspect your feet, and provide a diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
Are treatments by chiropodists painful?
Most treatments are pain-free or cause minimal discomfort. If a procedure might cause pain, your chiropodist will discuss anaesthetic or pain-relief options with you.