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Understanding the Difference Between Chiropody and Podiatry

There's some understandable confusion among people in Pickering, Ontario about what the differences between chiropody and podiatry are. The terms are frequently used interchangeably because, in many instances, a podiatrist and a chiropodist in Pickering at a clinic such as The Physio Clinic @ West Durham perform many of the same services.

While both professions are regulated by the College of Chiropodists and both are involved in the assessment and treatment of foot disorders by orthotic, therapeutic, and palliative treatments, there are also some important differences between the two. Most of the differences between podiatrists and chiropodists in Pickering stem from how the two professions developed in Ontario.


The Development of Chiropody and Podiatry in Ontario

Though "podiatry" is today the more common term, "chiropody" was the original word used to describe a foot care professional. Up until the 1970s, the main providers of foot care services in Ontario were practitioners who had obtained the degree known as "Doctor of Surgical Chiropody" in the United States. This degree changed to "Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM)" in the late 1960s.


In the 1980s, due to a growing need for foot care services that the number of DPM graduates simply couldn't meet, the Government of Ontario adopted a chiropody foot care delivery model similar to that which was available in the United Kingdom. Though not holders of the same degrees, chiropodists were able to provide a wide range of foot care services while services requiring different education, such as foot surgery, could be performed by podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons.

In 1991, under the Chiropody Act, podiatrists were distinguished as only those practitioners who had obtained the DPM degree outside of the country and opened their practices before the act came into effect.


Podiatrist and Chiropodist Services in Pickering Today

In Pickering, Ontario, most practicing chiropodists hold a diploma in chiropody, as opposed to the DPM of podiatrists. Chiropodists can assess, manage, and treat a range of different foot conditions, but, unlike a podiatrist, they cannot perform surgical procedures on the foot. Additionally, only podiatrists are authorized to communicate a diagnosis to a patient. Both chiropodists and podiatrists are capable of creating custom foot orthotics.


There are numerous reasons why you would want to visit a chiropodist or a podiatrist. If you are experiencing any sort of persistent foot pain, severe cracking or peeling on your heel or anywhere else on your foot, persistent blisters, or signs of a bacterial infection (such as swelling and discharge), then either professional can help you. For foot conditions which require surgery, you will likely be treated solely by a podiatrist.

If you're looking for a podiatrist or chiropodist in Pickering, then The Physio Clinic @ West Durham is here for you. We'll help you figure out whether to see a chiropodist or a podiatrist, and one of our experienced foot care professionals will provide you with the services you need.

Don't hesitate to contact The Physio Clinic @ West Durham to learn more today.

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