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Chiropodist

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A chiropodist is a unique medical career whose specialists diagnose and treat various conditions and illnesses of the feet and ankles.

They are often the first stop for someone having pain or other difficulties with foot care.

They will generally be able to provide treatment, prescribe orthotic inserts, or even perform surgeries.

What is a Chiropodist?

A chiropodist is a skilled medical professional with extensive experience in treating illnesses or deformities of the feet, ankles, and lower legs.

What is a Chiropodist Called?

Someone working as a chiropodist is also called a podiatrist, or a doctor of podiatric medicine or DPM.

The term chiropodist is a somewhat antiquated term and is not widely used.

What Does a Chiropodist Do?

A chiropodist is a medical professional that specializes in lower limb pain, such as feet, ankles, and lower legs.

They consult with their patients and after evaluating their illnesses or conditions, recommend or perform needed treatments.

They will often apply treatments, prescribe medications or orthotic devices, and even perform surgery in some cases.

Work Opportunities in the Chiropodist Industry

image showing a woman sitting in a doctor's chair at the office of her chiropodist with the patient being worked on

Chiropodist Job Description

A chiropodist is a foot specialist that will diagnose and provide treatments for lower leg injuries or to improve movement.

To effectively diagnose some illnesses they may use physical examinations or x-ray imaging, as well as laboratory testing.

If needed, the chiropodist will develop a surgical or therapeutic plan to address the illnesses or conditions of the patient’s feet, ankles, or lower legs.

Additionally, a chiropodist will prescribe medications to treat internal disorders of the legs or feet.

If orthotic or orthopedic devices are needed, the chiropodist will prescribe and fit them to the patient’s needs.

Some of the conditions they treat include physical abnormalities like corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, abscesses, and even tumors.

Jobs Related to A Chiropodist

There are many jobs that a chiropodist can move into if this profession isn’t right for an individual.

These include:

Foot and Ankle Surgeon

A foot and ankle surgeon is responsible for evaluating the feet and ankles of someone with an illness or other condition and creating a surgical plan to remedy the ailment.

They will perform the surgery as well, often with the help of several other medical professionals.

Prosthetist

A prosthetist is a medical professional that creates and fits artificial limbs, or prostheses, for people with disabilities or disfigurements.

They can also create custom foot orthotics.

This includes artificial feet, legs, and more.

Foot Orthopedists

A foot orthopedist is a foot doctor able to work on more complex disorders or malformities of the feet, in conjunction with the rest of the body.

Just like a chiropodist, they can diagnose conditions and prescribe medication or surgery to treat them.

Other Jobs Related to Chiropodist

Where Can a Chiropodist Work?

Once you are a doctor of podiatric medicine you will be able to work in almost any medical location that deals with the feet or ankles.

These include:

  • Podiatrist
  • Orthotic Specialist
  • Podiatric Surgeon

Common locations for a chiropodist to work are hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, elderly care facilities, or in their podiatric practices.

Chiropodists can work in inpatient, outpatient, and government locations.

Current Career Job Openings

If you are interested in a career in podiatry as a chiropodist, take a look at these current job openings.

What It’s Like to be a Chiropodist

Is Being a Chiropodist Hard?

Being a chiropodist takes a considerable amount of skill, and while the work itself may not be very difficult once the proper skills and knowledge are obtained, getting to that point can be quite difficult.

There is a considerable amount of higher education needed to become a chiropodist.

Is a Chiropodist Job Stressful?

The stress levels of a career as a chiropodist vary considerably depending on the location and environment where the chiropodist works.

If they choose to start their own practice, they may set their own hours, schedule, and patient workload, which can limit the amount of stress they experience.

On the other hand, if the chiropodist works at a facility with a high patient load and a fast-paced environment, the stress level will be significantly higher.

Common Chiropodist Work Day

The work day of a chiropodist can fluctuate depending on what they specialize in and where they work.

Some chiropodists may stay in one location to see their patients, running their practice for a standard 8-hour workday.

Other chiropodists may travel from location to location or hospital to hospital to treat patients that they are called on to treat.

Chiropodist Tasks & Duties

The tasks and duties of the average chiropodist include:

  • Assessing the conditions of their patient’s foot problem, starting with a review of their medical history and by hearing their concerns and symptoms
  • Evaluate and diagnose the illnesses or conditions that are present via physical examinations, laboratory testing, and imaging techniques
  • Create a treatment plan for the diagnosed ailments, including prescribing medications or orthotics, or creating a surgical plan to fix physical deformities
  • Perform surgeries on feet and ankles to correct such issues as bone spurs or to repair fractures
  • Consult with other physicians on proper treatments and recommended correctional actions for illnesses
  • Provide advice for patients on general care and wellness for their feet and ankles
  • Provide referrals to other medical specialists if other conditions are found that lie outside of the chiropodist’s specialty
  • Read medical journals and research to stay abreast of medical advancements

Chiropodist Work Hours & Schedule

The hours and work schedule of a chiropodist will fluctuate depending on whether they operate out of a medical facility or their practice.

Those that operate their practice will have much more influence over their work hours and schedule than a chiropodist who works with multiple hospitals or clinics.

Chiropodist Dress Code

Aside from a standard doctor’s coat, there is generally no standardized dress code for the chiropodist field.

Many chiropodists will simply wear what’s comfortable, wearing their lab coat over that.

Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?

The best work/life balance will be with the chiropodist who operates their practice.

Those who work with one or more hospitals or clinics may find that they are on-call much more often and being requested for consultation far more often than otherwise.

This will reduce the work/life balance.

Do Chiropodists Make Good Money?

The chiropodist will make relatively good money compared to many other careers.

Since they are a medical specialty they can command very high annual wages.

How Much Does A Chiropodist Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages for a chiropodist are $145,840.

A chiropodist working in a physician’s office can see an average of more than $200,000, while those working in the state, local, or private hospitals will be at the other end of the scale with an average of $96,700.

Overview of the Chiropodist Industry

image showing a chiropodist working on the toe of a patient's foot

Chiropodist Field: Career Progression

Being a chiropodist is often the culmination of a long and arduous educational path, but there is still more room for advancement.

A chiropodist can move into careers of foot specialists, podiatric surgeons, general foot doctors, and more.

Is Chiropodist a Good Career?

Becoming a chiropodist is widely regarded as being a good career choice, and offers the chiropodist a considerable income that is commensurate with their skill and education level.

Chiropodist Job Outlook

The outlook for podiatrist jobs is less growth than in other sectors with an expected growth rate of just 2% from 2020-2030.

Despite the limited job growth rate, there are an expected 900 job openings for chiropodists each year for the remainder of the decade.

Many of the job openings are expected to come from current chiropodists leaving the workforce or transferring to other specialties.

Demand for Chiropodist

Just as with other medical specialties there will always be a demand for chiropodist jobs, even if they are not at the levels that one may expect.

Chiropodist Facts

  • There are approximately 15,000 practicing chiropodists in the US
  • Each foot has 26 bones, and both feet combined account for nearly 25% of the bones in the entire body
  • There are more than 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons in each foot
  • The average person walks more than 5,000 steps each day
  • Almost 80% of Americans have some form of foot pain from wearing ill-fitting shoes

Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Chiropodists

image showing a chiropodist working on the toe of a patient's foot

Who Should Consider a Chiropodist Career Path?

Individuals that are passionate about helping people with foot conditions are suited to become a chiropodist.

Who Should NOT Consider a Chiropodist Career Path?

Individuals not ready to put in the work required to complete the schooling and residency requirements are not suited to a career as a chiropodist.

Is it Hard to Become a Chiropodist?

Becoming a chiropodist takes considerable time, skill, and effort.

It is not easy to become a chiropodist, as it is a medical specialty.

What Do I Need to Become a Chiropodist?

You will need to have a college degree, as well as specialized chiropodist training.

Requirements for Becoming a Chiropodist

The requirements for becoming a chiropodist include a science degree, completion of a podiatric medicine program, and completion of a podiatric residency.

What Skills Does a Chiropodist Need?

A chiropodist needs all of the skills necessary to fulfill their job requirements, as well as excellent bedside manner and customer service skills.

What Education Does a Chiropodist Need?

A chiropodist will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in the sciences, as well as completion of a doctor of podiatric medicine program.

Additionally, a chiropodist will need to fulfill podiatric medicine residency requirements.

Can You Become a Chiropodist Without a Degree?

You cannot become a chiropodist without advanced medical degrees and sufficient training.

What Experience Does a Chiropodist Need?

The primary source of chiropodist experience will come from completing a podiatric residency program.

Chiropodist Education & Schooling

To become a chiropodist, you will need to complete a medical degree as well as a specialized chiropodist course and residency.

image showing a chiropodist inspecting foot of a child patient

What is Taught in a Chiropodist Course?

During chiropodist schooling, the individual will learn medical terminology, diagnostics, and more.

How Long Does a Chiropodist Course Take?

Becoming a chiropodist will require approximately 11 years of school or education beyond high school.

Chiropodist Education Options and Degree Programs

The primary element of a chiropodist career is to complete a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine program following medical school and before the podiatric residency.

Bachelor’s Degree

The bachelor’s degree required to be a chiropodist will take at least four years to complete.

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree for a chiropodist will take an additional 2-5 years beyond the requirements for a bachelor’s degree.

Schools for Chiropodist

Some of the accredited schools for a chiropodist include:

  • Arizona College of Podiatric Medicine at Midwestern University
  • Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine
  • California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University
  • College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at Des Moines University

Steps to Become a Chiropodist

To become a chiropodist you will first need to gain a pre-medical bachelor’s degree in the sciences.

Following that is enrollment in a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine program at an accredited school.

Once the DPM program is finished, there will need to be an additional podiatric residency program that will take approximately 3-4 years to complete.

Wrapping Up

For someone interested in a medical career dealing with the feet and ankles, entering the field of chiropody could be ideal.

You will not only help people retain their mobility and movement skills, but you will also enjoy a healthy work/life balance as well as a substantial income level.

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