Common questions & brief summary.

What is the difference between a podiatrist and podiatric surgeon?

A podiatrist will be able to help with some foot problems as some treatment will be limited to conservative treatment. Not all podiatrists are able to access all relevant investigation tests. A podiatric surgeon takes a further 9-10 years to qualify as a consultant. Only consultant podiatric surgeons are allowed to operate on human feet in the private sector. Podiatrists may undertake minor procedures for skin and nail conditions under local anaesthetic.


Chiropody is an old name that has been around since 18th century. Surgical chiropodist does not mean a surgeon or someone who can operate but predates the British Medical Auxiliary Act 1938. Surgeon chiropodists advised past monarchs including Queen Victoria.
Podiatry was a term used officially by the Podiatry Association in 1975 (now merged with the Society of Podiatrists & Chiropodists in 1997). Since 1975 podiatry has mirrored the American sister profession. Podiatrists used the term Podiatric Surgeon when the first undergraduate degrees in podiatry came into being in the late nineteen eighties to avoid confusion with podiatrists.

Special note: BOFAS the orthopaedic sub specialty for foot and ankle surgery erroneously refers to surgical podiatry in many cases. This is not a term officially supported by the podiatry profession or the Directorate of Podiatric Surgery, College of