What is podiatry and does it differ from chiropody?

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists describes them as follows:

Chiropodists and Podiatrists, deal with the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of the lower limb are qualified to treat people with arthritis, diabetes, nail surgery and sports injuries. They work with people of all ages but play a particularly important role in helping older people to stay mobile and, therefore, independent.

This definition is reassuring for those people who have used chiropodists and now need to get used to the title “Podiatrist”. However, while Chiropody is an important part of Podiatry, it is not the whole of Podiatry. A Podiatrist can also be involved in more specialist areas such as Podiatric Biomechanics or Musculoskeletal Podiatry. Such Podiatrists perform important work in relieving mechanically induced aches, pains and strains in their clients.

So in principle they are the same qualification, and both titles are legally protected. You can be sure that only a properly trained professional should use these titles. This protects you from substandard treatment from improperly trained individuals.


…is the science which studies structures and functions of biological systems (e.g. the human body) using the knowledge and methods of mechanics.

Podiatric Biomechanics

…is the study of forces acting on the human body, its structures and functions with particular reference to the feet and lower limbs. Podiatric biomechanics uses this mechanical engineering knowledge in the diagnosis, treatment and management of lower limb problems. It also takes into account how biomechanical issues originating from higher up the body might affect the lower limbs, and considers how lower limb dysfunction might affect other parts of the body

Gait Analysis

…is a part of human biomechanical assessment. In humans it is the systematic study of locomotion using the observer’s eye and brain, to assess, plan, and treat individuals with conditions affecting their ability to walk or run efficiently and without pain. Observations may be augmented by instrumentation for measuring body movements, body mechanics, and the muscle activity. Gait analysis is also commonly used in sports biomechanics to help athletes run more efficiently and to identify posture-related or movement-related problems in people with injuries.
Gait analysis helps in drawing various conclusions about clients problems from their gait.