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Many people often get confused between Chiropody and Podiatry. Simply put, there is no functional difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist; “chiropodist” and “chiropody” are archaic terms for medical professionals who focus on foot issues. Around the second half of the 20th century, “podiatrist” and “podiatry” were used in place of the respective terms. So, let’s explore when and why this change happened.

What Podiatry Looked Like In The Past

Previously, this service was known as chiropody. It alludes to the expert treatment of a person’s feet. At the entrance to Ankmahor’s tomb in Egypt, carvings from 2400 BC depict hands and feet being cared for. Hippocrates, a Greek physician who is known as the father of medicine, also discussed corns and calluses and the need to remove them. So he created skin scrapers known as scalpels. 

However, by the 1800s, this procedure had developed into a well-known and reputable profession. For instance, according to legend, Abraham Lincoln visited a chiropodist to have his ingrown toenails and bothersome corns removed. The professional chiropody society was first founded in New York in 1985 as a result of its enormous popularity. The first school started operations in 1911. 

To treat ankles, feet, and legs, chiropodists need their own independent licenses. Practitioners were required to hold a Doctor of Surgical Chiropody degree as of the start of World War II. However, the college began awarding doctorates in podiatric medicine in 1960.

Why Did Chiropody Change To Podiatry?

Although both terms refer to the same thing, some countries, like Canada, still use the term chiropody to refer to foot and ankle medical care officially.  Nations like the US and the UK took the initiative to make the switch to “podiatry” and “podiatrists” in the 1960s for two reasons.

The first reason is confusion with chiropractors. Chiropodists and chiropractors were often mistaken for one another in the 1950s and 1960s as chiropractic medicine became more and more popular. It was decided that they would change the term “chiropractic” to “podiatry” for podiatrists in order to stop any further misunderstanding with them.

As well, it is a clearer root. In terms of foot and ankle care, “podiatry” rather than “chiropody” is more appropriate. Greek words “chiro” (hands) and “pod,” which translate to “foot” in English, make up the word “chiropody.” The word “podiatry” derives from the Greek words “pod” and “iatros,” both of which mean “physician.” They were able to better embrace the modern reality of the podiatric profession by changing the word from “chiropody,” when it had evolved into a recognized branch of contemporary medical care rather than an unofficial specialization carried out by specific physicians.

How Can Doncaster Foot Clinic Help You?

At Doncaster Foot Clinic, we are able to support you with advice on how to get back on your feet more comfortably. Our team are experts in Podiatry and can help you on your road to recovery. You can reach us by email or by calling us at 01302 342 971, and we’ll help you find the right podiatrist for you. To stay up to date with our clinical updates and specials, follow us on Facebook

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How Chiropody Evolved Into Podiatry