Difference Between Podiatrist and Chiropodist

It might seem that there is almost no or very little difference between podiatrists and chiropodists when the truth is their history is slightly different.


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Today, both podiatrists and chiropodists are commonly known as foot doctors who prevent and treat various lower leg and feet disorders.

A “chiropodist” is a term that is no longer used in several parts of the world because it is replaced by the term “podiatrist”.

Podiatrist vs Chiropodist

The difference between podiatrist and chiropodist is that podiatrist is a modern term for a chiropodist and it is used extensively in various parts of the world. While the term podiatry is replacing the term chiropodist, the latter term is still used in several parts of the UK. Another difference between podiatrist and chiropodist is that podiatrist refers to feet while chiropodist refers to both hand and feet. 

Podiatrist vs Chiropodist

Podiatrists are famous as medical specialists who treat any kind of complications of the lower legs or feet. Podiatrists are essentially doctors who hold the degree of doctor of podiatric medicine but they don’t go to traditional medical schools.

Podiatrists have the license to prescribe drugs, perform surgery, and reset broken bones. 

Chiropody, in the earlier days, referred to the same responsibilities as that of a current-day podiatrist. But, apart from treating any kind of feet disorder, a chiropodist is also known for preventing foot diseases by various means.

The term “chiropodist” is no more an internationally recognized name for foot doctors. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPodiatristChiropodist
DefinitionA podiatrist is defined as a doctor of podiatric medicine who is qualified to diagnose and treat various foot and lower led related conditions. A chiropodist is defined as the practice of chiropody which apart from treating various foot disorders helps in prevention as well. 
NamingA podiatrist is a term coined by modern-day scientists for foot specialists. The term chiropodists were used in the early days that referred to foot doctors. 
Geographical significance A podiatrist is an internationally recognized term for the study of podiatric medicine. Today, only in some places in the UK, the term chiropodist is used. 
MeaningThe word podiatrist means a person who treats any kind of feet disorder. The word chiropodist means a person who treats diseases of both hands and feet. 
TrainingPodiatrists are medically trained professionals who can diagnose and treat any feet and ankle-related disorder. Chiropodists have regulated practitioners who are exclusively trained under government programs and qualified for their examinations. 

What is Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a foot specialist who studies podiatric science and gains training and knowledge to diagnose and treat any foot or ankle-related disorder.

People who study podiatric science can treat leg injuries as well as complications that emerge due to other ongoing health diseases. The term podiatrist became common in the 20th century for foot doctors. 

Though podiatrists are foot doctors they don’t go to conventional medical school. There are separate schools for studying podiatric science and they get a DPM (doctor of podiatric medicine) after their name.

People who want to study podiatry get a bachelor’s degree in biology or another related field of science. After completing an undergraduate course, they go to podiatry school for four years. 

After four years in podiatry school, there are 3 years of practice in a hospital which is called residency. After becoming a podiatrist, he or she receives a license from the state government.

A podiatrist can perform surgeries, recommended any kind of lab test, and prescribe drugs. 

What is Chiropodist?

A chiropodist is a term that was heavily used in the 19th century for people who cured diseases and disorders of hands and feet.

The science of podiatry originally emerged as chiropody and it was different from traditional medical science and practices. But today, the term has almost perished as only in fewer parts of the UK one can find a chiropodist. 

IF we look back into our history, professional foot care started a long time back and it was considered a very respectable profession.

In 1895, the first professional society of chiropody was established in New York and the first school for chiropody opened in the early 1900s. British started their chiropody society in London and US chiropodists received a license for practicing.  

But from the 1960s, in most parts of the world podiatry became an acceptable term and the degree of chiropody was not given anymore.

Back in the day, a chiropodist was expected to diagnose, treat, and prevent any foot and hand disorders. Some of those include fractures and sprains, nail disorders, hammertoes, arthritis, heel pain, etc. 

Main Differences Between Podiatrist and Chiropodist

  1. A podiatrist is a famous and commonly used term for doctors of podiatric medicine who are qualified to diagnose and treat any feet and lower leg conditions. On the other hand, chiropodists practice chiropody and help in both prevention and treatment of feet disorder by various means. 
  2. A podiatrist is a modern term for foot specialists whereas a chiropodist is a traditional term for foot doctors. 
  3. The term podiatrist is famous internationally for people who study podiatric medicine whereas the term chiropodist is an old term for a podiatrist and is only known in some parts of the UK. 
  4. The term podiatrist means a person who treats feet disorder and its ailments whereas the term chiropodist means a person who treats disorder and disease of both hands and feet.
  5. Podiatrists are medically trained professionals who are educated for treating any ankle and feet-related disorders whereas chiropodists are trained in government-established organizations and also need to qualify their examinations. 
Difference Between Podiatrist and Chiropodist


  1. https://oem.bmj.com/content/63/10/713.short
  2. https://jfootankleres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1757-1146-3-S1-P3
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