is the difference between a Chiropodist and a Podiatrist?
The simple answer is there is no difference.
In 1993 the UK changed the title Chiropody to Podiatry to fall in line with the internationally recognised
name for a foot specialist. It is also a more appropriate term given that 'podiatry'
refers to feet whilst 'chiropody' refers to both feet and hands.
How do I keep my feet
your feet daily.
- Examine your feet for cuts, bruises, discolouration, differences in temperature and smell. This
is particularly important if you are diabetic since untreated cuts or breaks in the skin can easily develop into diabetic
ulcers. Use a mirror to check your feet if you can't bend.
hard skin from your feet. This should be done carefully with a pumice stone, taking care not to damage your skin.
- Dry your feet using talcum powder, particularly
in between your toes, to reduce the chance of nail fungus and Athlete's foot.
your feet with a good moisturiser. This will help to keep your skin soft and supple, preventing the skin on your
feet from drying out and cracking.
- Trim your toe nails regularly
to prevent ingrowing toe nails or over grown toe nails. This will also help to stop your socks from wearing out at the toes!
- Change your socks or tights daily to prevent your feet
from becoming damp, sweaty and smelly.
- Keep your feet warm and
- Exercise your feet and
ankles. Flex you toes and rotate your feet at the ankle, as well as for a short walk.
What type of shoes/footwear should
Avoid tight-fitting, uncomfortable, worn out or high heel shoes.
Many podiatrists recommend footwear such as Hotter Shoes or
quality footwear is usually made from fine quality leather or soft nubuck, and designed for unparalleled comfort. Features
often include a leather insole, deep comfort cushioning, padded ankle support and smooth internal seams, lightweight sole,
deep toe box and soft leather uppers. Shoes and footwear made in this way shield your knees, hips and back from wear and tear.
Many foot problems and ankle injuiries as well as
knee and back pain are caused by badly fitting, worn out and uncomfortable shoes or footwear. Wearing high heel ladies shoes for short periods of time, on an evening out,
should not cause any long term problems, however care should still be taken when buying high heel shoes to ensure the
best fit possible.
What should I check or look for when buying shoes/footwear?
Your footwear needs to be long enough as your
feet need to be able to stretch out fully in your shoes. Your toes should be able to move about freely and the top
of the shoe should not rub on your toes. When walking downhill it is essential to have sufficient room to ensure your
toes are not being crushed as this can lead to bruising and damage to your nails.
Your shoes should be wide enough so that your foot is not being squeezed
width ways. Your shoes should ideally follow the shape of your foot i.e. a wider, squarer fitting for the broader
foot and a slimmer fitting for the narrower foot. Shoes with a pointed front will squeeze your toes together and
force your toes into an unnatural position, leading to soreness, bunions, corns and callus.
Footwear Comfort and Quality
When buying shoes don't always assume price reflects quality and
comfort. What matters is a good fit and good quality material e.g. leather to help
Padded soles and arch support
are important. Every footstep that you take causes upwards pressure from the ground onto your feet, which passess upwards
through your knees, legs, back, neck and head. This may not seem to be true, but have you noticed that walking quickly or
running down a number of long flights of stairs can sometimes give you a headache? Padding
in the shoe's soles provides cushioning which absorbs the shock of your feet
hitting the ground and increases comfort.
The arch of the foot should be supported without pushing onto the arch.
Your shoes need to be supportive with the ability to be properly secured along the top of the foot. Velcro fasteners
are ideal for the purpose of fastening mens and ladies shoes. Laces are also effective shoes fastners provided that care is
taken to ensure that the laces are tightened all the way up the shoe.
shoes are not considered suitable footwear by podiatrists. Shoes should not too loose so they rub around the heel, ankle,
toes and soles of the feet. Loose shoes that rub will lead to soreness, blisters and corns. Diabetics are at particular risk
since blistering may not heal, leading to foot ulcers.
Leather is an ideal material for footwear since it is waterproof
when polished and breathable too. Feet that become water-logged are not only cold and uncomfortable but become susceptable
to fungal infections such as athletes foot. Breathability in the shoe material ensures that the feet do not become overheated,
leading to sweaty feet.
Some shoes, trainers
and walking boots have a Gore-Tex membrane. Gore-Tex is a waterproof breathable
material which is sandwiched between the outer material of the shoe and the inner lining. It is important to note that the
outer surface of the footwear needs to be treated with a water-repellent product which prevents the surface of the boot or
shoe from becoming saturated with water, since this inhibits the breathability of the Gore-Tex.
Do shoes need "Breaking-In"?
sensible mens and ladies shoes should not need breaking in. If a pair of shoes do need breaking in, wear them for short periods
of time only. If you have neuropathy (lack of foot sensation) you must be very careful about breaking shoes in since
you will not be able to feel any rubbing or soreness caused by the shoe. It is paramount that you check your feet for any
signs of chaffing. If there is any sign of damage to the skin stop wearing the shoes.
When should footwear be changed?
It is important that your footwear is always in good condition. Worn heels
put uneven pressure on your foot, which can cause pain throughout the body. Broken shoes could cause you to twist your ankle, trip
and fall, leading to any number of possible injuries.
shoes, shoes that are not waterproof or footwear which has holes in the soles will let water in. Not only does this mean that
your feet will be cold and uncomfortable, it increases the risk of damage to your skin and fungal infection.Therefore you
should buy new shoes when your old pair are showing signs of wear or damage.
-if your footwear is uncomfortable or if your shoes do not fit properly, then you should buy a new pair.
I wear the same pair of shoes everyday?
No. It is best to alternate your shoes, i.e. ideally wear a different pair
of shoes from the ones that you had on yesterday. This gives your shoes time to cool down and dry out. This helps to reduce
the amount of bacteria in your shoes and therefore reduces the risk of a fungal infection on your feet.
I buy "Off the Shelf" orthoses, insoles or footbeds?
As with most things, it is possible to buy footbeds, insoles and orthotics of varying quality.
There are orthoses available on the high street which have been developed by leading footcare specialists, these are normally
perfectly suitable to correct over-pronation. However, you need to consider whether or not you really require orthotics
and whether a particular type are suitable for your feet.
or ill-fitting footbeds or orthotics can do more harm than good. It is advisable to consult
a podiatrist before buying off the shelf orthotics, insoles or footbeds. If you have new orthotics it is important
to get used to them gradually (can take a few weeks). Initially you should wear them for short periods of time only, increasing
the time period as your feet adapt to wearing them.
Are trainers recommended by Podiatrists?
Yes! Training shoes are recommended
by podiatrists since they are wide fitting with a low heel and provide a good amount of support. Trainers tend to be lace
ups so that they have an adjustable arch fastening.
I am diabetic - Do I need special footwear?
you are diabetic, good quality footwear is especially important. Shoes that rub
or are too tight can damage the skin leading to ulceration. It is important that appropriate footwear is selected for both
indoor and outdoor use. You need to protect
your feet around the home, therefore your indoor slippers should not be flimsy.
When selecting mens or ladies outdoor shoes make sure they are stout and of good quality to help protect your feet. Always fit shoes in the afternoon since your feet swell during the course of the day. Remember
to check the comfort of your shoes whilst standing up and whilst walking.
Ensure that your toes have enough room to move. The inside of the shoe should be 1-2
cm longer than your foot and that the width of your shoes matches the width of your feet. Footwear should take into account
the exact shape of the foot. Podiatrists can help with this by making bespoke insoles
and orthoses that will fit into off-the-shelf footwear, shoes and slippers.
In cases where there is deformity of the foot or altered biomechanics, foot specific shoes
may need to be made. Diabetic patients with neuropathy and/or ischemia must take extra care when fitting shoes, particularly when foot deformities are also present.