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Foot problems currently affect over half of the population. Prevention, assessment, diagnosis and treatment require expert care. Don't underestimate the importance of healthy feet! Foot deformities, infections and injuries not only limit your mobility, but can detrimentally affect your knees, hips, and other parts of the body.
What does Chiropody involve?
Chiropodists specialize in the recognition, assessment, treatment, and ongoing care of the foot. An essential member of the health care team, the Chiropodist has many skills and techniques that help patients eliminate foot pain, gain mobility, and maintain healthy feet.
In Canada, chiropodists and podiatrists (which are mostly interchangeable terms), are the only government health regulated foot professionals educated exclusively in the assessment and treatment of foot disorders. Other regulated health professions may provide foot services, but they are not trained exclusively in the foot. There are also other professions which deal with the foot, but are not recognized and regulated by government standards.
There is no significant difference between Chiropodists and Podiatrists in Ontario. Both professions are regulated by the College of Chiropodists of Ontario. Chiropodists and Podiatrists are both primary health care providers specializing in the assessment and treatment of lower limb disorders. The difference in title is (in Ontario) determined by which country the chiropody or podiatry degree was obtained, as well as the time the professional registered to practice (no Ontario podiatrist designations have been granted since 1993).
The profession became known as chiropody in Britain years ago and the name was derived from latin, meaning "with hands, on feet." In Ontario, the British chiropody model of medical foot care was adopted many years ago as the regulated foot health profession, and the term chiropodist is currently used to describe foot health professionals in Ontario.
The chiropodist is an important member of the medical team. He/she is responsible for the early detection of many diseases and plays a key role in preventing and treating those aspects which affect the feet and lower limbs.
Studies in North America and Europe have shown that with regular treatment from a chiropodist/podiatrist, many elderly patients remain ambulatory, active and in their own homes for a longer period of time.
In diabetic patients, regular footcare can prevent serious complications such as ulceration; gangrene; loss of limbs and even loss of life associated with diabetic complications.
Active individuals of all ages also require the professional help of a chiropodist/podiatrist to prevent and treat various sports related injuries.
More than 80% of the population is expected to develop a foot problem at some point in their lifetime, and chiropodists are there to assess, treat, and prevent these problems!
Chiropodists undergo extensive training to meet these requirements. Many chiropodists have taken seven or eight years of post secondary school training before beginning to practice.
A Podiatrist/Chiropodist attends a single track Podiatric Medical School, where medicine, surgery, immunology, radiology and pathomechanics are among the subjects studied. The modern Podiatrist/Chiropodist is uniquely placed to provide comprehensive footcare.
Podiatrists/Chiropodists are primary care providers and are therefore qualified to assess, diagnose, prescribe and carry out treatments including minor surgical procedures, therapeutic treatments including: laser, ultrasound, iontophoresis, extracorporeal shock wave therapy and electrical treatments.
Podiatric training involves extensive didactic and clinical aspects of normal and pathological mechanics of the lower limb. Additionally Podiatrist/Chiropodists are trained in the casting and "dressing" of orthoses and subsequent fabrication of functional and accommodative orthotic devices. Lower limb biomechanics is the domain of Podiatry, who originated the concept of orthoses and continues to lead the way in improving foot function through orthoses.
A Bachelors degree in science, plus a 3-4 year Chiropody/Podiatry Program is generally undertaken in North America. Presently there are seven American Podiatry Schools and one Canadian Podiatry School and one Canadian Chiropody School.
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