What is Chiropody?
The practice of chiropody is the treatment and prevention of diseases or disorders of the foot by therapeutic or orthotic means.
There is no significant difference between Chiropodists and Podiatrists in Ontario. Both professions are regulated by the College of Chiropodists of Ontario. Chiropodists and Podiatrists are both primary health care providers specializing in the assessment and treatment of lower limb disorders.
The difference in title in Ontario is determined by which country the chiropody or podiatry degree was obtained, as well as the time the professional registered to practice. No Ontario podiatrist designations have been granted since 1993.
The profession became known as chiropody in Britain since the mid 1800’s – Queen Victoria had a Surgeon-Chiropodist named Lewis Durlacher (1792 – 1864). The name was was derived from Latin, meaning “with hands, on feet.”
In 1980 the Ontario government adopted the UK foot care delivery model, and the term chiropodist has been used ever since to describe foot health professionals in Ontario.
What do Chiropodists do?
Chiropodists specialize in the recognition, assessment, treatment, and ongoing care of the foot and are an essential member of the health care team. A chiropodist has many skills and techniques that help patients eliminate foot pain, gain mobility, and maintain healthy feet.
In Canada, chiropodists and podiatrists (which are mostly interchangeable terms), are the only government health regulated foot professionals educated exclusively in the assessment and treatment of foot disorders.
Other regulated health professions may provide foot services, but they are not trained exclusively in the foot. There are also other professions which deal with the foot, but are not recognized and regulated by government standards.
Foot problems currently affect over half of the population. Prevention, assessment, diagnosis and treatment require expert care. Don't underestimate the importance of healthy feet! Foot deformities, infections and injuries not only limit your mobility, but can detrimentally affect your knees, hips, and other parts of the body.
How Can a Chiropodist Help You?
A chiropodist is an important member of the medical team – and is responsible for the early detection of many diseases and plays a key role in preventing and treating those aspects which affect the feet and lower limbs.
Studies in North America and Europe have shown that with regular treatments from a chiropodist and podiatrist, many elderly patients remain ambulatory, active and in their own homes for a longer period of time.
In diabetic patients, regular footcare can prevent serious complications such as ulceration; gangrene; loss of limbs and even loss of life associated with diabetic complications.
Active individuals of all ages can also benefit from the professional help of a chiropodist/podiatrist to prevent and treat various sports related injuries.
More than 80% of the population is expected to develop a foot problem at some point in their lifetime, and chiropodists are there to assess, treat, and prevent these problems!
Why did my doctor recommend I see a podiatrist?
This is a common mistake. But no new foot specialists have been regulated as a podiatrist since 1993.
Chiropodists (regulated designated term in Ontario since 1993 – present) and podiatrists (the term used for qualifying podiatry practitioners before 1993) are the only specialized and regulated foot health professionals in Ontario.
Chiropodists are often referred to as “foot doctors” but we are not medical doctors. They are foot specialists and foot care practitioners.
The majority of Chiropodists currently practicing have studied for 7 years or more – they hold post-secondary training and certification in chiropody and most hold a bachelor’s degree or University level education in the sciences. Current applicants for the Ontario Chiropody program must have a 4-year undergraduate university degree.
Chiropodists are regulated health professionals that play a key role in the health of individuals across Ontario.
Chiropodists provide assessment, treatment and management of acute and chronic conditions. They aid in the prevention of injury and disability and promote proper foot health and overall well-being.
Treatment of foot conditions
If you suffer from a common foot condition such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, ingrown toenails, flat feet, calluses, corns or warts, a Chiropodist can help. Podiatrists and chiropodists help individuals of all ages and with a wide range of health conditions.
We have trained extensively in the assessment, management and prevention of many types of foot conditions. We are also specialists in the prevention and treatment of foot injuries, foot trauma and wound care.
Prescriptions of drugs
Both chiropodists and podiatrists are allowed to prescribe drugs used to treat various foot conditions and disorders under the Regulated Health Professions Act. These include topical (creams, lotions, ointments), oral (pills, tablets) and injectable medications.
Some of the most common drugs that I prescribe for foot-related conditions are anti-fungals, cortisone and antibiotics. My patient’s health and safety is my highest priority, and to ensure that all drugs prescribed are appropriate for your health, I will always review your medical intake form and will discuss any concerns with you.
Custom orthotics can help to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with a variety of foot conditions such as flat feet, plantar fasciitis, over-pronation, diabetic feet, bunions and neuromas. Although some chiropractors and physiotherapists also dispense orthotics, chiropodists and podiatrists are the only regulated health professionals in Ontario, aside from medical doctors, who can prescribe custom orthotics. Seeing a registered chiropodist and podiatrist for your feet is the best choice.
Both podiatrists and chiropodists can perform soft tissue surgeries, skin surgery and nail surgery. However, podiatrists trained in the US before 1993 have a slightly expanded scope of practice that includes bone surgery in the foot. It’s important to note that in Ontario, most patients choose to see Orthopaedic Surgeons for foot-related bone surgery since the associated costs are covered by OHIP.
Healthcare professionals and Foot Specialists
Remember, no matter what title, both chiropodists and podiatrists are primary healthcare professionals specializing in the assessment and treatment of lower limb disorders.
Your patient intake form is the best way for us to get a comprehensive picture of your health and for this reason, we ask that you complete your intake form prior to your appointment. This ensures that we have enough time to familiarize ourselves with your health conditions and medications or discuss your health with your family doctor if necessary.