Podiatry and chiropody FAQs

Your Podiatry & Chiropody Questions Answered

What is podiatry, and how can a podiatrist help?

A podiatrist is a specialist foot health professional who deals with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and lower limbs. He or she provides a medical service for the feet and foot-related conditions.

A podiatrist has skills in general foot treatments, but may also have particular sub-specialist interests and skills – such as skin problems affecting the feet, nail surgery, biomechanical assessments or foot posture-related pathologies.

Podiatry/chiropody is a medical treatment and not a cosmetic service, however, after treatment the feet will often look much better and feel more comfortable as well.

At the Fleet Street Clinic, we work closely with colleagues in other, related disciplines, such as physiotherapy, osteopathy, podiatric surgery and dermatology. The extensive facilities of Fleet Street Clinic mean that medical and nursing support are available on site, which helps resolve problems quickly and effectively.

What is the difference between a podiatrist and a chiropodist?

Both terms refer to practitioners who specialise in diagnosis and treatment of foot conditions. Chiropody/chiropodist have been titles used chiefly in the UK while podiatry/podiatrist are used in the rest of the English-speaking world. Increasingly, the term podiatrist is being used in Britain.

Since July 2005 both terms have been protected titles which means that they can only be used by practitioners who are registered with the Health Professions Council. Registration is itself dependent upon successful completion of a recognised course of training and a commitment to continued professional education.

The Fleet Street Clinic employs only registered, experienced practitioners so you can have confidence in the treatment and advice you receive.

What conditions can a podiatrist / chiropodist assist with?

Treatment, assessments & advice related to:


  • corn and callous
  • verrucae (plantar warts)
  • skin disorders/infections
  • nail pathology
  • footwear advice
  • foot health education and self care advice


  • nail surgery
  • cryotherapy
  • biomechanical assessments
  • sports injury management
  • orthotic devices
  • advice on systemic disorders that may affect the feet including
    • diabetes
    • arthritic conditions
    • conditions affecting the circulatory, nervous and musculoskeletal systems.


  • foot pain and injuries including sprains, heel pain, stress fractures, Achilles
  • tendinopathy
  • foot / posture related injuries such as ankle, shin, knee, low back pain

What is an orthotic?

Orthotics are inserts put into the shoe to re-align the foot, to take pressure off certain areas of the foot, or to increase comfort.

What are the different types of orthotics/insoles?

  • Insoles

Insoles can be simple constructions which aim to cushion, support and relieve pressure from painful sites on the foot. They may be full-length devices or shorter versions, as appropriate. They are useful as temporary solutions to acute problems/injuries, or where control of joint motion is not required or possible e.g. in a very rigid foot. They are especially suitable for older patients where the ‘natural’ padding of the foot is thinner, protecting sites from painful pressure.

  • Temporary or ‘off-the-shelf’ orthotics

Mass produced orthotics are an economical and effective option for some conditions, especially for injury or pain that does not require specific or aggressive control of foot motion, or for those conditions requiring only short-term use of orthotics. Depending on the materials involved, the average life span of ‘off-the-shelf’ orthotics is six to twelve months. They may be full or part-length depending on what is appropriate, or will be better accommodated in footwear.

  • Semi-customised devices

Greater accuracy of fit and prescription can be achieved using the thermoplastic insole, which can be modified to the individual needs of the patient. This makes them a cheaper alternative, since the podiatrist uses an existing device and, by heating up the material of which it is made (thermoplastic), can adapt it to the shape of the foot. These can be a useful short-term solution where more control is required.

  • Prescription/custom made orthotics

So-called ‘functional’ orthoses are prescribed after a bio-mechanical assessment and/or gait analysis has been carried out, followed by plaster casting (taking a mould) of the feet. They are made at a laboratory using your podiatrist prescription to align the structure of the foot in its most functionally efficient position. The orthotic, moulded from the cast, is designed to stabilise the foot and to prevent it from moving into an unbalanced position while walking or running. Prescription orthotics are usually made of a long lasting thermoplastic with a shock absorbing covering. This is the most specific and accurate way to have a controlling orthotic made. They are used for foot deformities, severe foot posture disorders and for those wishing to have a custom made orthotic. Devices last for years and can be modified at any time.


For further details on podiatry and foot care appointments call us today on 020 7353 5678 or request an appointment online here.

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