The British Chiropody and Podiatry Association

South East Branch

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a podiatrist, chiropodist and foot health professional?


Our branch is made up of all three of these titles. Essentially they are the same and have all received the same training through the SMAE Institute, which incorporates the Open College of Chiropody and Podiatry. They are all insured and receive the same backing through the Institute. In 2005 the Health Professional Council provided registration opportunity for members of the BCPA to register and take the title of podiatrist / Chiropodist. This opportunity for people training afterwards was closed so new members are now known as Foot Health Professionals.





Callus or hard skin can form anywhere on the feet where there is pressure and can easily be formed by ill-fitting footwear. Common areas are the balls of the foot and the heel. Although gently rubbing with a pumice stone or the use of a foot file can help to remove superficial areas of hard skin the larger more painful areas need to be removed more thoroughly by a Chiropodist/Podiatrist or Foot Health Professional who may also prescribe padding, strapping or corrective appliances.





Corns are more concentrated areas of hard skin, due to abnormal pressure points on the foot and can be hard or soft corns depending where on the foot they are. Don't cut corns yourself especially if you are elderly or diabetic and don't use corn plasters or paints which can burn the healthy tissue around the corn. Home remedies, like tying lambs wool around the toes, are potentially dangerous. Seek further advice and treatment.



Verrucae (warts)


Verrucae are caused by a highly contagious virus which enters the skin through minor cuts and abrasions. They are easily passed from person to person by walking barefoot in communal areas such as bathrooms, showers, gyms and swimming pools. The bodies natural immune system may cure the virus, especially in young children, however if the condition persists or becomes painful treatment may be necessary. There are various paints, creams and ointments on the market which will, if used long enough and if the makers instructions are followed, cure the virus. More powerful forms of creams and ointments may be prescribed by your doctor, chiropodist/podiatrist or Foot Health Professional. The most effective form of treatment is 'Cryosurgery' which uses either nitrous oxide or liquid nitrogen to freeze the verrucae. This treatment can cause some discomfort and is not recommended for young children. This treatment is offered by some Chiropodists/Podiatrists, Foot Health Professionals and doctors. There are other types of treatments like laser and bioguns which some chiropodists/podiatrists or Foot Health Professionals may be able to offer.



Athlete's Foot


Athlete's foot is a fungal infection which thrives in the moist warm areas of skin such as that between the toes. These areas may become itchy, irritating patches of skin. The area may be damp and soggy but it can also crack, flake, bleed and be quite painful. The fungus is easily passed from person to person. To treat this common foot complaint, you must be careful to wash and dry your feet thoroughly at least once or twice a day. There are various creams, ointments and powders available, ask your Chiropodist/Podiatrist, Foot Health Professional, doctor or chemist for advice.



Fungal Nail Infections


This is caused by the same fungus that causes Athlete's foot only it affects the nails. Nearly a third of people who have athlete's foot will develop toenail disease. That's over a million people in this country, so you're not alone if you have it. It becomes more common the older you get and rarely affects children. A visit to your doctor and Chiropodist/Podiatrist or Foot Health Professional is highly recommended as the condition will become worse if left untreated. Your doctor will prescribed tablets, which is the most efficient cure for this condition. Your Chiropodist/Podiatrist or Foot Health Professional will thin down the thickened nail to make wearing of footwear more comfortable and treat the athlete's foot infection.



Ingrown Toenails


Here the side of the toenail, usually on the big toenail, becomes embedded in the skin as it grows. This can be caused by bad toenail cutting, tight shoes and/or trauma. The nail can weep or bleed and is easily infected. So as soon as a problem occurs, seek professional advice from your doctor, Chiropodist/Podiatrist or Foot Health Professional. To avoid ingrown toenails, cut straight across the nail and wear shoes that give the toes sufficient room.



Healthy Feet for People with Diabetes


As a diabetic it is important that you take extra special care of your feet and get them checked regular by your GP, Diabetic Nurse, Chiropodist, Podiatrist or Foot Health Professional.

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