What is the difference between a podiatrist and a podologist?
Last update: 10 February 2021
A podiatrist is a medical professional legally authorized to treat most foot pain and discomfort.
The podologist, on the other hand, helps alleviate discomfort by providing foot care services.
Keep reading to learn the 4 differences that will allow you to distinguish between a podiatrist and a podologist.
A certified foot professional
One of the most important differences between the two titles is the required qualification.
Podiatrists must meet certain requirements, seeing as they practice in a recognized and regulated setting.
For instance, a podiatrist must have a doctorate in podiatry.
This 4-year program ensures that they have the necessary skills to treat a wide variety of foot problems.
On the other hand, the podologist provides care that is not regulated by Quebec law.
Podology training is largely offered by private institutions, seeing as it is not an official medical discipline.
Ultimately, the podiatrist must belong to the Ordre des podiatres du Québec and comply with quality standards.
A podiatrist’s expertise
In contrast to the various treatments that can be performed by the podiatrist, the podologist is limited to superficial services like a pedicure or a drug-free foot bath.
Seeing as only they possess the appropriate training and competence, podiatrists handle all medical interventions.
Originally, the podiatrist is trained to treat 3 types of plantar disorders: musculoskeletal pain, dermatological disorders, and toenail problems.
The musculoskeletal issues treated by the podiatrist include:
- Plantar fasciitis;
- Foot bunion (hallux valgus);
- Bursitis in the heel;
- Achilles tendonitis;
- Hammertoes or claw toes;
- Patellofemoral syndrome;
- Knee osteoarthritis.
They also treat dermatological disorders such as:
- Plantar warts;
- Athlete’s foot;
- Corns and calluses;
- Cracks in the heel and other plantar fissures;
- Diabetic foot lesions.
And toenail related problems like:
A podologist’s expertise relies on providing external foot care, seeing as they cannot perform medical procedures.
For example, they can offer pedicure services, like cutting and maintaining toenails.
However, in the case of a serious foot injury or an infection, the podologist cannot intervene in the same way as the podiatrist.
On top of the aesthetic treatments normally performed by the podologist,
the podiatrist has a whole arsenal of treatments at their disposal.
For example, they can offer:
- Surgical debridement of calluses and corns;
- The application of prescription creams and ointments;
- Medical cutting of painful or malformed nails;
- The removal of plantar warts;
- The application of a therapeutic tape.
Thereafter, if foot care does not provide relief, the podiatrist may recommend additional testing to support their diagnosis.
Biomechanical exam, digital x-ray, and 2D/3D scanning are some of the tools available to the podiatrist to analyze the characteristics of your feet.
The podiatrist and medical treatments
While the podologist should focus on superficial procedures, the podiatrist is capable of providing a full treatment as well as medical follow-up.
Only podiatrists can perform the following treatments:
In Quebec, any podiatrist who holds a UQTR diploma can perform minor foot surgery, such as:
Some podiatrists can also perform bone surgery and other more invasive procedures, thanks to residencies in podiatric surgery.
PiedReseau: because nothing is better than a consultation in a real podiatric clinic
When it comes to competence and the freedom to act, the podiatrist surpasses the podologist.
This professional can diagnose, treat and provide medical care for your foot pain.
Let a professional take care of your feet, make an appointment with a PiedReseau podiatrist.