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What is a chiropodist?

A Chiropodist (pronounced : ‘ker-ro-po-dist’) is a primary health care provider, described as a foot specialist, who provides a variety of medical services ranging from nail and skin care to orthotics and in-office surgeries. Chiropodists are key members of your foot health care team representing the largest number of premier foot specialists in Ontario.

Chiropodists are recognized and regulated health professionals that play a key role in the health of individuals and the Ontario populations. Chiropodists will assess and provide treatment including management of acute and chronic conditions. They also play a role in the prevention of injury and disability and in promoting foot health and wellbeing.

Chiropody is a field of medicine that focuses on preventing, assessing and treating conditions associated with the foot and ankle by medical, surgical or palliative means.

As foot and ankle disorders are among the most widespread and neglected health problems today, the skills of chiropodists are increasingly in demand. The present scope of practice for chiropodists in Ontario includes the following:"The practice of chiropody is the assessment of the foot and the treatment and prevention of diseases, disorder or dysfunctions of the foot by therapeutic, orthotic or palliative means." The Chiropody Act, 1991 S.O. 1991, Chapter 20, s.4.

"In the course of engaging in the practice of chiropody, a member is authorized, subject to the terms, conditions and limitations imposed on his or her certificate of registration, to perform the following:1. Cutting into the subcutaneous tissues of the foot.

2. Administering, by injection into feet, a substance designated in the regulations. 3. Prescribing drugs designated in the regulations. 4. Administering, by inhalation, a substance designated in the regulations."1991, c. 20, s. 5 (1); 2009, c. 26, s.2 (1). The Chiropody Act, 1991 S.O. 1991, Chapter 20

What education and training are required to become a chiropodist?

Chiropodists complete seven years of post-secondary education before starting their chiropody career. Students who receive their Advanced Graduate Diploma in Chiropody start their journey with a four-year undergraduate program in the sciences at an accredited university, followed by an additional three years at a post-secondary program approved by the College of Chiropodists. A student’s curriculum includes courses in health sciences, podiatric medicine, humanities and clinical education. These courses are paired with clinical training in approved chiropody clinical sites. Board exams, as well as provincial licensing exams, must then be passed before receiving a license to practice.

Designation Full name
BSc (Hons) Pod Bachelor of Science (Honours) Podiatry
BSc Pod Bachelor of Science Podiatry
D.Ch Diploma in Chiropody
D. Ch. Graduate Advanced Diploma of Health Sciences (Chiropody)
D.Pod.M Diploma in Podiatric Medicine [UK]
D.Pod.M Graduate Advanced Diploma/Podiatric Medicine (Michener)
D.P.M Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

What is the difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist?

Chiropodists and Podiatrists are the only recognized and regulated foot specialists in Ontario. Moreover, Chiropodists and Podiatrists are the only regulated health professionals in Ontario whose legislated scope of practice includes the provision of orthotics. For more detailed information about the difference, please visit the College of Chiropodists of Ontario Website at https://www.cocoo.on.ca/about-chiropodists-podiatrists/  

Practitioners in the US, or those who came to Ontario before 1993, are referred to as Podiatrists.

Chiropodists represent the largest number of foot specialists in Ontario. Currently, there are 600 Chiropodists and 60 Podiatrists in Ontario.

Are chiropodist covered by OHIP?

In Ontario, Chiropodists do not bill OHIP for the services they provide. The majority of chiropodists are in private practices, but there are some publicly funded clinics available throughout Ontario in the LHIN’s, at Community Health Centers and at Family Health Teams.

For a listing of LHIN's please visit https://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/common/system/services/phu/locations.aspx#37 

Chiropody services are covered by most third party insurance providers, extended health care plans, Veterans’ Affairs, and/or can be used for income tax health deduction purposes.

Where do I find a chiropodist?

HERE you will find chiropodists who are members of the Ontario Society of Chiropodists (OSC). All members of the OSC maintain the highest levels of accreditation and pursue ongoing education to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in foot health to ensure patients receive the highest quality care.

While Chiropodists primarily practice in private clinics in the community, a select few also act as consultants in public and teaching hospitals. Chiropodists also provide foot care services in some long-term care homes, retirement homes while some chiropodists even make house calls to patients who are homebound.

If you cannot find a Chiropodist near you, please visit the COCOO website for a more detailed list.

Do I need a Doctor’s referral?

No, a doctor’s referral is not required to make an appointment with a chiropodist. Chiropodists are primary health care providers so just like a dentist would be your first choice for dental health, a Chiropodist is your first stop for foot care.

Should I go to my family doctor or physician instead?

Although your doctor may be able to address your concerns, Chiropodists have very specific and comprehensive training in all aspects of the foot and can offer more options for individualized and effective treatment plans. Many family doctors refer their patients to chiropodists for routine diabetic and geriatric foot care, surgical procedures, and the provision of custom made foot orthotics and orthopedic footwear.

How much does it cost to see a Chiropodist?

The fee guide is based on the Ontario Society of Chiropodists and the Canadian Federation of Foot Specialists and is determined based on:

  • The time requirement to perform the service
  • The level of skill required to perform the service
  • The cost associated to perform the service
  • The education level and training required to perform the service
  • The level of risk associated with performing the service

If you require more information please contact us at where we can provide you with the Ontario Society Fee Guide.

Does my private health insurance cover chiropodists?

Every health care plan is different. While some offer a dollar amount per year, others will be a percentage and some will be a maximum per visit. Please contact your insurance plan to learn the specifics of your policy. If you do not have any health coverage for chiropody services you should contact your human resource personnel, your local union representative, or speak to your employer to advocate to have chiropody services added to your benefits plans. Remember, you can always use the receipt under income tax health deduction purposes.

Do chiropodists do pedicures?

Pedicures are considered a cosmetic service. Chiropodists provide medical treatment of nail and skin concerns, including nail care, corns and calluses to promote healthy, pain-free feet. Seeing a chiropodist for your nail and skin care gives you confidence that your overall foot health will be addressed in a safe and clean environment using the highest level of infection control standards. It could be called a medical pedicure!

What can I expect at my initial visit with a chiropodist?

An initial assessment with your Chiropodists is, not only a great way to get to know your practitioner, but is also a required standard of practice by the College of Chiropodists. We want to give you the very best care, and to do that, a full medical assessment is necessary to determine the most effective treatment for you and your body. During your fist visit, you should feel free to address any specific concerns to ensure your chiropodist can consider all available options and treatment plans. Additionally, we make sure to obtain important background information like your medical history and give you time to get to know your chiropodist.

What else can a Chiropodist help with?

Proper foot treatment acts as a foundation for the rest of the body. The ankles, knees, hips and lower back can all be affected if the feet are not functioning properly. Chiropodists play an important role in improving one’s musculoskeletal ailments.

People of all ages, independent of health status, can seek chiropody treatment and learn more about general foot care to ensure healthy feet are maintained in the future.

Foot-Related Knee, Hip & Back Problems

The foot is the catalyst for a complex series of "locomotive” biomechanical events that involve your knees, hips, and back with every step you take. Structural foot problems can result in pain that extends beyond the feet and ankles and into these other areas involved in the gait cycle. In assessing the degree of foot-related knee, hip, or back pain, your chiropodist will perform a biomechanical exam and gait analysis along with a detailed health history including any previous injuries or surgeries. Your chiropodist will look to rule out other issues or identify contributing factors.

Treatment is typically two-pronged. One aspect will be to help address the acute pain through any number of approaches or combination of approaches. The other aspect will treat the underlying structural foot problem through remedies such as footwear advice or custom footwear, footwear modifications and sole lifts, and prescription custom orthotics. Modalities, mobilizations, and stretching exercises can prove helpful where the knee, hip, or back pain results from abnormal gait caused by muscle inflexibility or adhesions.

Do chiropodists make orthotics?

Yes, chiropodists and podiatrists are the only regulated health professionals in Ontario whose legislated scope of practice includes the provision of orthotics.

Custom made foot orthotics are an integral part of patient care in the management of foot pathologies and are used to improve gait and to alleviate pain and discomfort from abnormal foot function or structure.

What Are Orthotics?

A custom made orthotic is a prescribed corrective removable device that is placed in the shoes to hold the foot in the proper position to allow the joints, muscles and ligaments of your feet to function closer to their normal limits. This allows the feet to gain biomechanical advantage and move the foot and lower leg more efficiently, therefore eliminating foot and lower leg pain and ailments, e.g. heel spur syndrome, bunions, callouses, shin splints, runner’s knee, etc…

Custom made orthotics are made from a 3 dimensional impression or cast of your feet after a biomechanical examination, stance and gait analysis. Just like prescription eye glasses, custom made orthotics come in different materials (soft & hard), styles, shapes and corrections.
Chiropodists and podiatrists have the highest level of standards of practice to ensure that the public receives competent and safe care through prescription custom foot orthoses. This Standard of Practice reflects what should be performed by chiropodists and podiatrists with respect to the manufacturing and dispensing of orthotic devices. [For purposes of this Standard of Practice "dispensing" includes fitting the prescription custom foot orthoses and educating the patient on their proper use to maximize their effectiveness.] However, this treatment therapy is dependent on many variables including each patient’s medical history, footwear, activities, and work environment.

As a result of the personalized treatment plan and this multi-factorial and complex process, the College of Chiropodists of Ontario has developed its prescription custom foot orthoses standard to ensure that the public of Ontario has access to safe and effective foot care, including prescription custom foot orthoses.

The College defines an orthotic prescription (the "prescription”) to be the set of instructions intended for the orthotic laboratory that very specifically outlines the parameters of design, composition and fabrication of the orthotic intended for the treatment of an underlying medical condition or postural imbalance of the patient. For more information, please see the Standards.

Do chiropodists prescribe drugs?

Yes. Chiropodists can prescribe topical (creams, lotions, ointments), oral (pills, tablets) and injectable medications to treat a variety of foot conditions using antibiotics, anti-fungals, anti-inflammatories, cortisones, anaesthetics, etc.

Do chiropodists do surgery?

Yes. Chiropodists can perform nail, skin and soft tissue surgical procedures.

Becoming a Chiropodist

Students have the option of applying to one podiatric medical school in Canada or several schools in the United States. Students can also apply to schools in the United Kingdom, if they wish to pursue a BSc (Honours) Podiatry or BSc (Hons) Podiatric Medicine instead of a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree.

OntarioIn Ontario, the Michener Institute of Health Science in Toronto, Ontario provides a three year Graduate Advanced Diploma of Health Sciences (Chiropody) full time program. For more information about the program, visit http://michener.ca/program/chiropody

CanadaIn Canada, the Universite de Quebec a Trois-Rivieres (UQTR) in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec provides a four-year program that is patterned substantially on the U.S., podiatric medicine programs and on the standards of accreditation of the Council on Podiatric Medical Education. For more information about the program, visit http://www.uqtr.ca/ United StatesIn the United States there are several schools to choose from: Arizona Podiatric Medicine Program (AZPod) at Midwestern University; Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine; California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt College; College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at Des Moines University; New York College of Podiatric Medicine; Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine; Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science; Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine

United KingdomMatthew Boulton College of Further and Higher EducationNew College DurhamUniversity of BrightonThe University of HuddersfieldUniversity of East LondonUniversity of SalfordUniversity of NorthamptonUniversity of PlymouthUniversity of Southampton

ScotlandQueen Margaret University CollegeGlasgow Caledonian University

Northern IrelandUniversity of Ulster

WalesUniversity of Wales Institute CardiffWales Centre for Podiatric studies AustraliaQueensland University of TechnologyLa Trobe University

South AfricaThe University of JohannesburgJohannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa