What is a chiropodist?

A chiropodist is a foot health professional. They cannot legally be called a doctor; however, they may sometimes be referred to as podiatrists. You can consult a chiropodist for foot pain, injury, or foot pathologies. A chiropodist has a global vision of the health of the feet and the lower kinetic chain. This ensures that you receive the most effective treatment to control your symptoms and target the source of your problem. 

What is the role of a chiropodist?

You may wonder what the difference is between a chiropodist and a podiatrist. In Ontario, it is more common to refer to a chiropodist than a podiatrist. So what is the difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist? A chiropodist is trained to prevent and assess foot conditions. They have an excellent knowledge of the biomechanics and pathologies of the lower limbs. They can treat mechanical dysfunctions of the feet and ankles and dermatological problems. These include lesions and infections of the skin and nails. 

Podiatrists require four years of university education and are qualified to perform certain bone surgeries. They may also use medical imaging, unlike chiropodists. The difference in the title is due to where and when the degree was obtained. Before 1982, individuals who wanted to practice podiatry in Ontario had to graduate in the United States. Upon completing their studies, they were given the title of a podiatrist. Since 1982, this title has been replaced by the chiropodist title; it is no longer necessary to complete chiropody studies outside the province.

What is involved in chiropody training?

In Ontario, a chiropodist is a foot health professional who has studied for three years after completing a bachelor’s degree. Chiropody professionals must be a member of the College of Chiropodists of Ontario, ensuring their level of excellence. Chiropodists typically graduated in Ontario after 1993, usually after university studies in a related field. Some professionals complete their training by specializing in a particular area to better prevent or mitigate certain disorders. 

Who can be treated by a chiropodist?

Anyone with foot problems can visit a chiropodist, whether for a routine visit, skin surface treatment, rehabilitation or minor surgery. Although there is no age restriction, seeing a chiropodist as soon as a patient can walk is ideal. Problems with balance or flat feet start early. If in doubt, as soon as your child takes their first steps, you can schedule a visit for a chiropody examination. From an early age, wearing orthotics helps to correct gait and posture. Chiropodists also offer a variety of other foot care for children

Seniors will also benefit from consulting their chiropodists, if only to ensure that their joints are functioning correctly. Preserving their mobility is valuable for maintaining physical fitness and independence. Conditions such as diabetes or arthritis, exacerbated by age, can significantly impact foot health and reduce mobility. People with diabetic feet may also want to consult a chiropodist to prevent infections and chronic pain.  

In the working population, women are more at risk of developing foot problems under certain conditions. Wearing high heels, for example, particularly affects the arch of the foot and the lower kinetic chain, creating back pain. Pregnancy is also a period during which women can suffer from the effects of poor circulation. This often directly impacts the legs and feet, creating swelling and heaviness. 

Finally, athletes can find solutions to traumas created by repeated shocks, ill-fitting shoes or injuries related to their practices. Interestingly, in the context of rehabilitation, a chiropodist’s work can complement the physiotherapist’s. 

Reasons to consult a chiropodist

A chiropodist knows more about the conditions affecting your feet than your general practitioner. You must tell them about your health history and current condition during your first visit. This will guide them in understanding your problem and the treatment you will receive. This is especially true for seniors. As you age, your immune system may weaken, and you may need to undergo several treatments. Good communication with your healthcare professional will help you avoid drug interactions. 

A regular check-up of the condition of your feet can help you prevent the onset of otherwise hard-to-treat problems. The foot supports your body weight and ensures your mobility. Whether you are suffering from pain, a deformity, or a lesion of the skin or nails, consulting a chiropodist is important. These signs can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious pathology. In addition, an untreated problem can affect your posture and balance. To save yourself the hassle of a major operation, make an appointment if your foot shows any abnormalities. If your foot is swollen, red or hot, or if an injury is slow to heal, a consultation in a clinic is necessary. Persistent pain with or without fever is not a symptom to be taken lightly. Finally, if the condition of your nails or skin deteriorates (scaling or deep cracks), seek the advice of a chiropodist. 

What can a chiropodist treat?

A chiropodist is trained to evaluate and treat foot trauma, injuries, and pathologies related to the lower limbs. You do not need to have chronic pain to schedule your consultation. Pay attention to your foot discomfort or pain because the sooner it is treated, the less likely it will worsen. An illness, an activity-related injury, or even wearing the wrong shoes can cause foot discomfort. Underfoot pain can often be misinterpreted as temporary. However, any symptom should be taken seriously. Pain in the heel, under the arch, or on the top of the foot will likely persist if left untreated.

A distinction should be made between dermatological disorders that affect the skin and nails and neurological, vascular and musculoskeletal disorders. There are creams and drug treatments for dermatological problems for corns and calluses. For plantar warts, there are topical treatments or the proven SWIFT method. Unlike cryotherapy, it does not damage the tissue and heals quickly. This method stimulates the patient’s immune system to fight the virus that causes a plantar wart. 

A chiropodist may recommend custom-made orthotics and prescribe rehabilitation sessions to correct biomechanical conditions like flat feet. If you are experiencing muscle pain, your chiropodist may prescribe medication or musculoskeletal treatment. By targeting the sore muscle, this treatment helps to stop the pain signals and relax the muscle so that it can function properly. 

For treating certain disorders affecting the nerves of the foot, particularly tendonitis, and depending on the equipment available in the clinic, the chiropodist may use Shockwave therapy. This therapy significantly reduces pain and has the advantage of being non-invasive. For athletes and very active people, this means that they can continue enjoying their sports and leisure activities without having to take a break. 

But the range of ailments a chiropodist can treat does not end there. In more severe cases, your healthcare professional may also perform soft tissue surgery on your foot. 

Find a FootNetwork chiropodist 

FootNetwork is a group of independent clinics. The group’s chiropodists make it a point to keep up to date on the best care techniques. Their priority is to help you maintain healthy feet and an excellent quality of life. Contact them for information or to make an appointment.  

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