Some of the most popular questions we are asked are highlighted below. If you would like to speak confidentially with one of our practitioners about any of this information or your own circumstances please contact your local clinic.
What is podiatry?
Podiatry is a branch of medicine devoted to the study, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot and lower limb. Within the field of podiatry, practitioners can focus on many different specialty areas including surgery, sports medicine, biomechanics, geriatrics, paediatrics, diabetes and rheumatology.
What is the difference between a podiatrist and chiropodist?
Technically there is no difference between a podiatrist and a chiropodist. Podiatry is simply a more modern term adopted in the UK, along with many other countries, to reflect the advancements of treatment and regulatory changes within the profession.
There is, however, a perception that chiropody is the diagnosis and treatment of more general foot complaints, such as corns, verrucae and fungal infections, while podiatry is involved in more specialist areas such as biomechanics and surgery.
The most important thing when considering chiropodic/podiatric treatment is whether the practitioner is fully qualified and a State registered practitioner. Historically an individual may have had as few as six weeks training before being able to set up practice and call themselves a chiropodist or podiatrist. Now, as a minimum, they must undertake a three year university degree including practical training and be registered with the Health Professionals Council before they are permitting to use the terms podiatrist or chiropodist.
For those who do not meet these minimum criteria they must use another term with the most common being a Foot Health Practitioner. The use of either podiatrist or chiropodist or the adjectival form by a non-registrant is unlawful.
What is biomechanics?
In relation to podiatry biomechanics is the way in which the muscles, bones and joints of the feet and lower limb interact and move. Podiatrists look at functionality specifically in terms of impact absorption and propulsion.
The movements of the foot are defined as pronation and supination which are directly related to absorption and propulsion respectively.
Absorption and Pronation : This is the movement that occurs as the weight of the person moves from the outside of the heel to the inside of the forefoot. It is this movement which enables the foot and leg adapt to different surfaces and absorb the impact of placing the foot down. While a degree of pronation is required for walking and running too much, or not enough, pronation can cause strain and injury.
Propulsion and Supination : After absorbing the impact of placing the foot down supination commences. This is when the forefoot makes contact with the ground and pushes forward to leverage the heel off the ground moving the body weight to the front of the foot and toes. Supination is necessary to create the propulsion required for walking and running but too much, or not enough, pronation can decrease the ability of the foot to function normally and result in injury or pain.
Podiatry can assess the biomechanical function of the foot and lower limb and treat abnormalities and malfunction as part of a rehabilitation programme after sustaining an injury or via a preventative care strategy to avoid strain and injury.
Why do feet smell?
Smelly feet is usually the result of two factors: the interaction between perspiration and bacteria. Particularly when they are trapped within shoes. Feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body but unlike other areas of the body they are often enclosed meaning perspiration cannot evaporate. Bacteria on the feet reacts to the perspiration by producing isovaleric acid and it is this which causes the odour.
Foot odour is very common to differing degrees and generally well ventilated shoes and regular washing is all that is needed to alleviate and cure the problem. If smelly feet is a more persistent problem you should visit a podiatrist for a professional diagnosis.
How long will recovery take?
Recovery is very unique to the individual. Not only does each person’s condition differ but so too can the time it takes them to heal. Factors which may influence recovery time include:
- Early diagnosis and treatment
- The nature of the complaint or injury
- How long you have had it and if it is a recurring problem
- The severity of the damage
- How much rest you are able to give the injury
- The degree to which you adhere to the treatment and rehabilitation programme provided
- Age, sex and genetics
We appreciate you have responsibilities and a life to live beyond your treatments and we will try to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible. We will also try to give you an estimated recovery time to help you plan while you may be incapacitated but we cannot guarantee how quickly your body will heal.
What happens in a first appointment?
During your first appointment we will undertake the Total Podiatry 360° assessment process to make a full evaluation of your situation. This will involve looking at the biomechanical function of your feet and lower limbs as well as your lifestyle, occupation, hereditary influences, body composition, medical history and even your psychological state.
With all this information we will make a clinical diagnosis and decide with you the best course of treatment and, when needed, rehabilitation programme.
How long is an appointment?
A first appointment is 30 minutes to allow us time to evaluate your condition before recommending and undertaking any form of treatment. Subsequent appointments are 30 minutes in duration.
How much does an appointment cost?
Routine chiropody - £40-65
Biomechanical analysis - £45-65
Please contact us for other prices and details for specialist treatments.
Do I need a referral from a doctor?
No. You can elect to see a podiatrist without a doctor’s referral at any time.
If, however, you wish to be covered under the NHS you will need to firstly obtain a referral from your GP.
You should always contact your private health care provider to determine the correct procedure to ensure you are covered by your policy.
Can I use my private health insurance?
Yes, as long as you have approval from your provider. We are recognised by most major health insurers.
How often will I need an appointment?
The frequency of your appointments will be determined by the nature of the problem. For an injury it is common for several treatments to be needed initially and then repeat visits are determined by the speed of the healing process.
Some people, however, choose to make regular visits to their podiatrist as part of a preventive care programme every 6-12 weeks as way of maintaining fitness and performance and avoiding injury.