Chiropodists diagnose and treat ankle and foot problems. Some Chiropodists specialize in sports injuries whereas others may specialize in diabetic foot care or congenital disorders.
A Chiropodist’s Average Day
It’s fair to say that no two days are the same and this can be one of the best things about this job. Chiropodists may see patients in their office but they may also visit them if they’re in hospital. The day typically starts around 8 am and finishes at 5 pm. If a patient is in hospital and they need to be visited the day may finish around 7 pm. However, there is no set schedule that a Chiropodist works around as many Chiropodists work from more than one clinic or hospital.
Let’s take a look at what a Chiropodist may do on a typical day:
Some Chiropodists work from the same office every day whereas others may find themselves traveling here and there. For example, they may see people for their first assessment. During the assessment plans for their treatment are made. Some patients have one-off treatment that will require less care than others. Other patients are offered more long-term treatment as they may have complex cases. Chiropodists may also refer the patient back to their doctor once treatment has been undertaken.
Some clinics focus on bio-mechanical problems, in other words, the way people walk. The way people walk is assessed so they can determine whether their feet are working well enough. If a patient needs treatment a Chiropodist may prescribe specific exercises or orthotics. Orthotics are inserts that are placed in a shoe and will help the feet to work a lot more efficiently. Chiropodists are also likely to give their patients advice about the type of shoes they should wear as they can have a huge impact on their feet.
A Chiropodist may be able to carry out the required treatment straight after the assessment. If they are unable to carry out the treatment right away they will organize an appointment so that insoles can be fitted or minor surgery can take place.
Attending Diabetic Foot Clinics
Many Chiropodists attend foot clinics and treat patients who have open wounds or even gangrene due to having diabetes. Working with radiographers and orthopedic consultants Chiropodists work to prevent feet from deteriorating and ultimately being amputated. Patients with diabetes will need long-term care so it’s likely that a Chiropodist will see the same patient for months or even years.
Attending Patient’s Homes
As part of their work, a Chiropodist may also visit patients in their home, typically those who are bed bound. When in a patient’s home a Chiropodist will work with their carer and the patient themselves to try and prevent the development of pressure sores. They may also be required to treat chronic wounds and work alongside district nurses.
Nail Surgery Clinic
Nail surgery clinic often involves removing part of a nail that is growing into a toe (Also known as an “Ingrowing toe nail!). In some cases, all of the nail may need to be removed. Ingrowing toe nails can cause infections if there are open wounds and they can be particularly painful. A Chiropodist will administer a local anesthetic to the affected toe before the operation takes place. Some Chiropodists will perform the operation themselves whereas patients may be referred to an alternative Chiropodist if theirs does not.
Another aspect of a Chiropodist’s job is to treat conditions such as shortened tendons, ingrown toenails, bunions, calluses, corns, abscesses, and cysts. Those with long-term conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes may need long-term care as these conditions can affect the circulation. The feeling in the feet can also be affected and cause the feet to become deformed. This is why it’s essential that the right type of care is given to each patient.
Patients will also be advised about treatments and how they can care for their feet. What’s more is a Chiropodist can prescribe therapies or treatments, medications, and assistive medical devices.
A Chiropodist Must Be…
A Chiropodist needs to have specific qualities as they will be dealing with and potentially treating patients every day.
The ideal Chiropodist will be self-motivating and willing to learn. There is always more to learn as new techniques and treatments become available. They will also need to stay motivated even when they’re faced with patients who do not want to comply with suggested treatments.
Your patients are like customers and if you want them to keep coming back you need to have a pleasant and friendly manner. A patient who likes you is more likely to take on board any advice you give them and recommend you to others. If you run or work in a private practice it’s vital that you have a pleasant and friendly manner as the patients will ultimately pay your salary.
Foot pain can ultimately make someone’s life rather difficult. Those who cannot walk may become depressed as they may no longer be as active as they once were. This is why it is so important for you to have compassion and empathize with all of your patients.
Where Chiropodists are Employed
Chiropodists tend to be employed in hospitals, private practices, sports medicine centers, and wound care centers. While some Chiropodists are happy to undertake surgery others prefer not to.
The Value of a Chiropodist
A Chiropodist can help people to walk again, pain-free. They can help patients to feel better by taking good care of their feet. From verrucas to ingrowing toenails and corns and calluses, a good Chiropodist can treat just about any condition they come across so that the patient has a better quality of life.