A guide to podiatry

Published on 21/9/2021
Reviewed on 27/9/2023 by Bryony Rhodes-Wort

Your questions about podiatry/chiropody answered by our Clinical Product Team here at Simplyhealth.

What is podiatry?

Podiatry involves the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions related to the foot, ankle, lower limb, and associated structures. It encompasses both conservative care for existing complaints, and corrective management for acute and chronic conditions.

What's the difference between podiatry and chiropody?

Chiropody and podiatry are often seen as one and the same thing, and this can cause some confusion. Podiatry is the modern-day medical name for the pre-existing profession of chiropody.

The name was changed in the UK to podiatry in 1993 and is the internationally recognised name for a foot specialist.

What can podiatry help to treat or identify?

Podiatrists can treat a comprehensive list of complaints. Podiatry services can help with musculoskeletal conditions, as well as the management of corns, callus and ingrown toenails.

In the table below, we break down what's covered in both conservative and corrective podiatry treatment.

Podiatry also plays an important role in the management of long-term health conditions such as:

  • diabetes 
  • peripheral neurological deficit
  • peripheral vascular disease
  • rheumatoid arthritis.

Conservative or corrective care? What's what?

Conservative care

  • problematic toenails (inclusive of ingrown toenails, damaged and fungal nails)
  • callus and corns 
  • skin fissuring such as cracked heels 
  • athletes foot and other dermatological complaints 
  • verrucae 
  • blisters and shearing stress or tissue damage.

Corrective management

  • flat feet
  • high arches
  • joint and muscular pain
  • heel pain
  • shin pain
  • bunions
  • other sport-related injuries.

How much is a podiatrist appointment?

Podiatry appointments range from £30-£60 approx. depending on the appointment length and the treatment required.

Female podiatrisy treating a patient's toe during an appointment

What happens during a podiatry appointment?


During your initial consultation, your podiatrist will perform an assessment; they'll listen to your complaint and details of the presenting problem, and document all medical history, including your general health and lifestyle.

They will then do a physical examination of your foot and lower leg, assessing your feeling, sensation, and checking your blood flow. Skin colour, tone, texture and temperature will be observed to identify any deficit which may be underlying or linked to any pre-existing medical complaints.

If relevant, your podiatrist may also perform a biomechanical assessment, observing you standing, walking and non-weight bearing. Ranges of motion will be assessed, and leg length will be observed. A hands-on examination of the affected areas may also be necessary.

Your podiatrist will then discuss their findings, form a diagnosis and discuss treatment options available. They will also talk through a management plan, including you in the decision-making process at every opportunity.

Is my podiatrist qualified?

In order to practice as a podiatrist, a three or four-year BSc (Hons) degree is to be successfully completed. Podiatry is provided by specialist trained practitioners called podiatrists. In order to use this title, they must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The HCPC ensures that each podiatrist or chiropodist adheres to a professional code of conduct and performs continual professional development (CPD).

You can check your podiatrist or chiropodist is registered on the HCPC website.

In addition, your podiatrist will be required to hold professional liability and indemnity insurance to ensure both they and their patients are covered and they are safe to practice. There are several professional bodies with which a podiatrist can become affiliated. The most common of these is The College of Podiatry.

Claim back your podiatry costs

Our 1-2-3 Health Plan provides cover that’s ready to use whenever you need it, from £20 a month.

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