The Vale Clinic

What is the difference between Podiatry and Chiropody?


What is the difference between Podiatry and Chiropody you say? well there is absolutely none, sorry to burst your bubble so early on. 

Thankfully, the idea that a Podiatrist is more qualified than a Chiropodist is a dying myth.

The titles Podiatrist and Chiropodist are protected under the law, and can only be used by registered healthcare professionals.

The term Podiatry, was first used in the United States dating as far back as the early 20th century. Chiropody is an older term, and is commonly used in the UK.

The root word ‘pod’ seen in chiropody and podiatry comes from the Greek word ‘podos’ meaning foot.

3 Key Historical facts

  • Historical artefacts with reference to the profession, were first seen in ancient Egypt.
  • Hippocrates, a Greek doctor who was known as the ‘ father of medicine’ was the first to describe conditions in the foot.
  • The first Society of Chiropody was set up in the UK in 1912, at the London Foot Hospital; and the first School of Podiatry opened its doors in 1919.

The rest is history to be told, and history in the making.

Studying Podiatry in the UK

In the UK, Podiatrists go to college to complete an undergraduate degree in Podiatric Medicine.

Many go on to postgraduate study, specialising in different aspects of the profession.

  • Biomechanics –  is the study of the mechanics of the foot and its associated structures
  • Arthritic feet
  • The high risk foot, such as seen in diabetes
  • Podopaediatrics – children’s feet
  • Dermatology – skin disorders affecting the feet
  • Podiatric surgery
  • Forensic podiatry
  • Sports podiatry

In the UK, approximately two thirds of Podiatrists work in the National Health Service NHS, and the remaining third work in private practice.

Podiatry is a caring profession, and every podiatrist strives to improve the health and quality of life of individuals, in the community they serve.

My career has spanned over a decade working in the national health service, and in recent years I have gradually moved into private practice.  I get the job satisfaction of being able to help others in my work everyday.  I can say, I am proud to be an ambassador of the Podiatry profession.


To find out more on careers in Podiatry, visit The College of Podiatry website.

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