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Chiropodist Career Guide

We take them for granted but our feet are sometimes in need of some TLC. That’s where Chiropodists come in.

Safeera Sarjoo
22nd April 2016
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What is a chiropodist?

Chiropodists provide preventative care, diagnosis and treatment of issues affecting the feet, ankle and lower legs. They are also known as podiatrists and do the same job. Their specialist skills include tending to infections, ailments, defects, injuries of the foot and lower leg and treating foot and nail conditions.

If you have an interest in science and enjoy a varied workload then this role could be ideal for you. Chiropodists treat a number of clients that range from athletes to the elderly. There is also scope to specialise as well as if you’re interested in a particular area.

Anyone who wants to pursue a career is required to tale an approved degree programme and register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Chiropodists are likely to work in hospital departments/clinics, health centres, GP surgeries or their own private practices.

What are their responsibilities?

In addition to giving advice of foot health and how to take care of your feet, ankles and lower leg, chiropodists will also:

  • Assess and diagnose abnormalities
  • Discuss treatment options
  • Advising patients on foot care
  • Carrying out treatments and minor surgeries using local anaesthetics
  • Provide non prescription medication for minor conditions
  • Prescribing, producing and fitting orthotics and other aids and appliances
  • Providing foot education
  • Working with other medical practitioners like doctors, nurses, health visitors, physiotherapists and complementary practitioners
  • Working with men and women in sport to address sports related injuries to legs and feet

What are some of the characteristics that suit this role?

Podiatry is a practical profession and very hands on as you will be working with people’s feet. Other qualities that will be helpful in succeeding in this role includes

  • An interest in Science
  • Steady hands in order to carry out delicate procedures
  • Strong communication skills
  • Knowledge and confidence in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting people’s feet and legs
  • Working under pressure and dealing with people and patients calmly

Entry requirements and Training

In order to work as a chiropodist, you will need to complete a BSc Podiatry degree programme. This programme should be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council. Currently there are 13 UK institutions offering approved BSc in Podiatry. Once this is completed you can apply for state registration with the HCPC as well as full membership of a professional body.

In order to get on to the degree programme you will need five GCSE’s A – C grade which includes English and Maths. You will also need three A Levels with one being in biological science. You may be able to enter with alternative qualifications; however this is something you should check with course providers. If agreed, then an Access to Higher Education (science-related) course may also be acceptable.

In terms of training, as a qualified and practising podiatrist, you will need to complete continuing professional development (CPD) activities each year to keep your skills up to date and maintain your HCPC registration. You can also complete a Masters or PhD if you wish to.

State registered podiatrists are now required by the Health and Care Professional Council to undertake CPD over a two-year period in order to remain eligible for re-registration.

If you’re also considering self employment, then you may want to think about taking a course that can prepare you in other aspects of managing your own business. Courses you could consider include

  • Financial management
  • Marketing
  • Time management
  • Business management

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