Podiatry or Chiropody? (2022)

Unfortunately, the professional title "Podiatrist" does not mean the same thing from province to province across Canada. The professional title "Podiatrist" originated in the USA and served to identify those foot specialists trained only within the USA that attained the post graduate doctoral degree, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). The prerequisite to entry was a science baccalaureate degree and MCAT exam. The schooling was provided through, at one time, autonomous Colleges of Podiatric Medicine but more recently the podiatry programs at several of these College transferred over to be incorporated within bona fide universities with medical faculties such as Temple in Philadelphia, Finch in Chicago and others. Most all US states require post graduate hospital residency training for licensure, typically two years, but the push is on to very soon increase that to a three year minimum requirement. Furthermore, most state hospitals require this level of residency training for privileges within the hospital.

All this background information is very easily accessed by internet searching any one of many US podiatry websites including that of the American Podiatric Medical Association, the Council on Podiatric Medical Education (they independently accredit the various podiatry programs across the US), or any of the US schools of Podiatric Medicine.

(Video) What is the Difference Between a Podiatrist and a Chiropodist

So back to the mish mash that is Canada. In Canada, health care of course falls under provincial jurisdiction. That means that within each province, where the profession is regulated, that province can define "podiatrist" as they choose. Accordingly, in B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec these provinces have defined a Podiatrist as one who holds the academic degree "Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM)" obtained from one of the US podiatry programs OR from the relatively new (5 years?) program at the University of Trois Rivieres in Quebec. In B.C. and Alberta, podiatrists there enjoy an expansive scope of practise that includes the ordering of the wide gammit of diagnostic tests, broad drug prescribing privileges and a complete scope for surgery of the foot and ankle, hospital privileges. This scope in these two provinces is akin to what is practised in the USA. Unquestionably podiatrists in these provincial jurisdictions practice with the broadest scopes available in Canada.

(Further research possible through BC or Alberta Podiatry Association websites and the University of Trois Rivieres website.).

(Video) Chiropodist or Podiatrist? What is the difference?

In Ontario, because the provincial government at the time believed pursuing salaried, hospital employed chiropodists working under the oversight of medical doctors in hospital clinics to be the way of the future, they promoted the profession of chiropody. Quite deliberately they did so in 1993 by placing a restriction on any Podiatrists (DPMs) seeking to come to ON to practise thereafter by preventing them from calling themselves podiatrists and by greatly limiting their scope of practise. That is, these individuals would be registered as chiropodists and they would also have to practise under the more restricted scope for chiropodists.

Chiropody in Ontario began in 1981 as a two year post high school diploma program at a community College in Toronto called George Brown College with some courses as well through Toronto Institute of Medical Technology (which some years later changed its name to The Michener Institute) and a clinic at Toronto General Hospital. The clinical component was taught by imported UK chiropodists. Some years later in and around 1993 the chiropody program divorced itself from George Brown College and soon thereafter the TGH teaching clinic was also closed. I believe that sometime at the turn of 2000 the chiropody program became 3 years in length, post high school, but within the last 3 years the Michener chiropody program has moved to require a baccalureate degree prerequisite but not specifically in the sciences.

(Video) Open House 2018 - Chiropody

(These facts can be further explored at the following resources: The Michener Institute website; the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association website; the College of Chiropodists of Ontario (regulate podiatrists and chiropodists) website and the Ontario Society of Chiropodists website.)

Jump now across the ocean to the UK. Sometime in the late 1980's interest in adopting the USA derived term for foot practitioner arose within the ranks of the chiropody profession. Sometime in the 1990's the title of the UK national association changed to include both of the terms - chiropodists and podiatrists. Over the years the didactic training also evolved and accordingly so did the diploma titles. For a while in the 1990s the national association conferred upon state registered chiropodist graduates the non-academic designation "[b]Diploma of Podiatric Medicine[/b]" abbreviated as D. Pod. M. . In time, the academic program names were changed to "Podiatry" and the 3 year baccalaureate conferred from the UK universities was "Bachelor of Science - Podiatric Medicine" (BSc. Pod. Med.). Nonetheless, an item by item comparison on issues such as scope of practise, drug prescribing privileges, the ability to order diagnostic testing (including just plain radiographs), surgical privileges, hospital privileges and a host of other such related items clearly illustrates the large discrepancy in the level of practise of UK trained Podiatrists in their "home" (the country in which they were educated) jurisdiction compared to that of USA trained Podiatrists in their home jurisdiction. That fact is indisputable.

(Video) CA Jafari Podiatry & Chiropody

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba the migration there to meet the demand for footcare was filled in the early days entirely by Brit trained chiropodists. In more recent years, several Ontario trained chiropodists have also migrated there to practise. To this day, no US trained DPMs practise in either of those provinces likely because of the limited scope in those provinces that was tailored around the UK chiropody footcare model.

Very curiously, and maybe some in the medical commumity out there can answer for me how in the public interest this is permitted, all the footcare practitioners in that province that are licensed to practice whether they originated from the more recent UK baccalaureate podiatry program or even as far back as the post high school Michener chiropody program, have the provincially sanctioned right to call themselves Doctor?!? (I believe that the same holds true for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia although I am not exactly sure if "podiatry" is a regulated profession in those provinces; namely, anyone with any qualifications can hold themselves out to be called a "Podiatrist" and "Doctor" there.) I know of no other jurisdictions in the civilized world where this kind of liberty is permitted. "Doctor" for individuals that hold academic diplomas that do not say doctor anywhere on the piece of paper. Someone explain that to me please.

(Video) What is the difference between a podiatrist and chiropodist? 🦶

There you have it. A brief novel on the hodge podge that is "podiatrist" across Canada. I encourage all interested parties to visit the websites listed and any others to become further enlightened on the subject.

The take home message, unfortunately, is that across Canada, unlike for any other health care profession in Canada, you cannot rely on the professional title alone to define your expectation of the training and/or the qualifications of the "podiatrist" you may be seeking treatment from. As a start one could investigate the academic degree, (and look very carefully at the letters and their arrangement too so as not to be mislead). For in Canada, from B.C. to Manitoba to Nova Scotia - a Podiatrist, is perhaps not a Podiatrist, is perhaps not a Podiatrist. Let the consumer beware.

(Video) Chiropodists & Podiatrists - The Chiropody Surgery


Podiatry or Chiropody? ›

The answer is that there is no difference, the 2 words are used interchangeably to describe the same thing… Essentially both a chiropodist and podiatrist are a foot doctor which both look at foot problems and care for foot health.

Why did they change chiropody to podiatry? ›

Confusion with Chiropractors: Around the 1950s and 1960s, chiropractic medicine was growing in popularity, and chiropodists were being confused with chiropractors. To avoid continued confusion with chiropractors, it was decided that they would adopt the term “podiatry” for podiatrists.

Do podiatrists cut toenails? ›

While you may be able to care for your toenails at home, you can also schedule a visit with the podiatrists at Certified Foot and Ankle Specialists to trim your toenails properly. It is during this visit that many overlooked preventive measures are performed.

Why would you see a chiropodist? ›

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. Some of the most common problems are: Corns and Calluses.

What will a chiropodist do to my feet? ›

Medical Pedicures

It can start with a relaxing footbath, followed by cutting and filing your nails, paying attention to problems such as corns, buffing your feet and applying a soothing cream. Just like nail bars, your chiropodist can also undertake the cosmetic changes such as applying nail varnish.

Can I get my toenails cut on the NHS? ›

Whilst we see and advise patients, we will not routinely see those unable to cut their own toenails. Toe nail cutting is considered as personal care; we are able to provide training for relatives/carers, alternatively there are Podiatrists/Chiropodists in the private sector who will provide this service.

How much do chiropodists charge UK? ›

An initial assessment costs £40, but follow up appointments or Routine Podiatry appointments have prices as follows: New Patient Assessment (30 minutes) - £55. Routine Podiatry - including corns and callus (30 minutes) – £45. Verruca treatment (20 minutes) - £30.

Why do elderly get thick toenails? ›

Both fingernails and toenails thicken as we get older. We only notice it with toenails because they're usually not filed and buffed as often as fingernails. The growth rate of nails decreases when people get older. This results in thickening because nail cells pile up.

Can podiatrist fix thick toenails? ›

Podiatry treatment for thickened toenails

Our podiatrists regularly reduce thickened toenails as part of a general foot care treatment (medical pedicure). This involves nail cutting, removal of corns and callus, followed by application of a heel balm, making your feet feel great again.

What do podiatrists use to cut thick toenails? ›

Heavy duty podiatry-grade toenail clippers: We recommend ClipPro nail clippers for our patients. The ClipPro Toenail Clipper is the best consumer nail clipper we have found for extra thick and irregular nails. Its jaw opens up to over 1″ wide and the top of blades is slightly curved to contour around your nails.

Who is more qualified chiropodist or podiatrist? ›

There is no difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist. The term chiropody has been traditionally used in the UK, but the term podiatry is recognised and used more internationally.

Do Chiropodists remove hard skin? ›

Shoes and socks should be removed, and the podiatrist will use a metal scalpel to begin removing the initial layers of hard or dead skin from the bottom of the feet. This is known as debridement, or the cutting away of thick and hard skin from the feet.

Is it worth seeing a chiropodist? ›

A chiropodist or podiatrist will be able to give you valuable insights about your foot care. Not only can they provide treatments to keep your feet healthy they can also spot possible problems that may develop into chronic and life changing conditions if left untreated.

Why is it called podiatry? ›

Until the turn of the 20th century, chiropodists—now sometimes known as podiatrists—were separate from organized medicine. They were independently licensed physicians who treated the feet, ankles and related leg structures.

What is the old name for a podiatrist? ›

A chiropodist was originally a hand and foot doctor, but in many parts of the world today chiropodist is used instead of podiatrist to designate a foot doctor.

Who invented podiatry? ›

Ancient Forms of Podiatry

The original scalpels were invented by Hippocrates to help scrape skin and remove these hard skin spots. Up until the 20th century, doctors who focused on feet, ankles, and legs were called chiropodists and considered separate from other types of organized medicine.

What does podiatry service mean? ›

The assessment focuses on the movement of the joints in the foot, foot posture and how this can affect the lower limb, including the knee and hip. Podiatrists are health care professionals who have been trained to prevent, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate abnormal conditions of the feet and lower limbs.


1. Chiropodists & Podiatrists - The Chiropody Surgery
2. Chiropodists & Podiatrists - East Ham Podiatry And Chiropody
3. Chiropody and Podiatry - Gillian A Michael BSc(Hons), M.Ch.S Chiropodist & Podiatrist & Associates
4. Chiropodists & Podiatrists - Advanced Chiropody And Podiatry
5. Difference Between Podiatrist and Chiropodist
(HealthCare Tips)
6. Introduction to Podiatry / Podiatry & Chiropody Clinic - PART ONE (1/8)
(Podiatry & Chiropody Clinic)

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