NHS Careers > Explore by career > Allied health professions > Careers in the allied health professions > Chiropodist/podiatrist

Chiropodist/podiatrist

Podiatrists/chiropodists diagnose and treat abnormalities of the lower limb. They offer professional advice on preventing foot problems and care. In the NHS, they'll see many patients at high risk of amputation, such as those suffering from arthritis or diabetes.

Hear from podiatrists and other allied health professionals in this film.

Click here to read the full video transcript.

Podiatrists assess, diagnose and treat abnormalities and diseases using a wide range of clinical and communication skills.

You may work in a variety of settings:

  • hospital departments or clinics
  • health centres
  • GPs surgeries
  • some may visit schools or patients who cannot leave home or are in a nursing home.
The role

Podiatrists treat people of all ages and from all walks of life:

  • children with lower limb pain or problems walking.
  • diabetes sufferers with circulation problems or sensation in their feet.
  • sports men and women suffering leg or feet injuries.
  • dancers rehearsing and performing long hours put stress on their feet  causing injury.
  • people needing minor surgery e.g. nail surgery or laser treatment
  • patients wanting advice e.g. those not needing treatment but wanting advice about footwear or foot health.

They will:

  • assess and treat footcare ailments, ranging from problems such as verrucas to deformity
  • analyse how a person walks or runs and correct the anatomical relationship between the different segments of the foot.
  • monitor and manage foot problems and deformities caused by diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • advise and treat patients at high risk of foot problems and amputation e.g. those suffering from diabetes
  • undertake nail surgery using local anaesthetics.

Podiatrists work as part of a team, including dietitians, GPs, nurses and physiotherapists. They will also supervise the work of podiatry assistants, in the provision of footcare and treatment.

Entry requirements and training

More information on entry requirements and training

Career prospects

You may choose to specialise in a particular area of practice; for example, biomechanics, working with children (podopaediatrics) or surgery. Chiropodists have a vital role to play in assessing, treating and advising high-risk patients.

Teaching or research are also options. You could also move into management, either within chiropody services or general management. As head of a local chiropody service you would be responsible both for a team of staff and for managing a budget.

Independent prescribing

If you've worked as a podiatrist at advanced practitioner level, you will be able to independently prescribe medication to your patients with a wide range of conditions including diabetic foot ulcers and arthritic disorders in the foot and ankle. You will need to have successfully completed an approved education programme in independent prescribing that has been approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). These are due to start in summer 2014.

More information about prescribing can be found on the HCPC and the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists websites.  

Applying for job vacancies

Job vacancies are advertised in a range of places. Most NHS trusts will advertise their vacancies on NHS Jobs. Some will also advertise in trade journals and on trust websites.

Further information

Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
1 Fellmongers Path
Tower Bridge Road
London
SE1 3LY
Tel: 0207 234 8620
Fax: 0207 244 8621
E-mail: reception@scpod.org
Website: Careers in Podiatry