You may have heard of a podiatrist, a podologist, or both. Most people are unaware of what a podologist is. This is no surprise since it is not an official title or discipline.
But that’s not to say that podologists don’t exist or aren’t useful.
To give you a better understanding of these professionals, let’s dive deeper and discuss 2 key differences between a podiatrist and a podologist. But first, let’s establish what each profession is.
A podiatrist is a medical professional legally authorized to treat most foot-related pain, discomfort, and ailments.
On the other hand, a podologist is someone who helps alleviate foot discomfort by providing foot care services. They aren’t medical professionals, rather service professionals.
2 Key Differences Between a Podiatrist and a Podologist
Here are the 2 key differences that will help you better understand the difference between a podiatrist and a podologist.
This is the main and most important difference between a podiatrist and a podologist. They both have very different qualifications. As medical professionals, podiatrists have to meet a high standard of qualifications and requirements because their practice is regulated and recognized globally.
They have to earn a doctorate or medical degree in podiatry, a branch of medicine dedicated to the study, diagnosis, and medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle, and lower extremity.
Their medical degree means that they are equipped with the necessary skills and training to properly diagnose and treat a wide variety of foot-related ailments.
A podologist provides unregulated foot care services and does not need them to meet a high standard of qualifications or requirements. A podologist training is in foot care services that private businesses commonly provide. These services are not the ones medical professionals provide.
Some meet various quality standards and are certified by private institutions, but these are not regulated or medical certifications; rather, they are training certificates.
2. Professional Expertise
The expertise of both these titles may overlap in some areas, but a podiatrist has far more professional expertise than any podologist. They can legally practice a wide range of treatments, whereas podologists are limited to superficial, aesthetic foot services like foot baths, pedicures, and massages.
All medical and surgical procedures and treatments are restricted to a podiatrist because they are medical professionals with the right expertise and qualifications.
They are professionally trained to treat various plantar disorders, including dermatological disorders, musculoskeletal, and toenail issues.
A podologist’s expertise focuses on providing external foot care services only because they cannot perform medical procedures. This is not to say that their services aren’t beneficial. A podologist usually offers pedicure services that involve cutting, trimming, and maintaining toenails.
It may include a variety of services that help with the cleanliness and wellbeing of the skin of your foot. While it is never recommended and often illegal, podologists may even offer home remedies, alternative, or herbal medication for foot ailments.
Who Should You Go to?
There is a big difference in the range of treatments offered by podiatrists and podologists, limiting your visit to a podologist. The latter has limited offerings, whereas the former can offer all foot-related treatments and even foot care services offered by podologists.
However, many podiatrists opt-out of offering superficial services like pedicures and foot baths. This is the primary reason that there is a market for podologists.
If you require foot care services related to cleanliness and maintenance, a trusted podologist can be the right person to go to. However, if you have a serious foot injury, infection, or discomfort, a podologist cannot medically intervene like a podiatrist.
Podiatrists have an entire arsenal of treatments and medications at their disposal.
They can provide:
- Medical testing
- Medical diagnosis
- Treatment of dermatological problems like plantar warts, corns, and calluses
- Surgical treatments like matricectomies and cyst removals
- Medical cutting of sore, painful, or abnormal nails
- Application of therapeutic tape
- Prescription medication like pills, creams, and ointments
- Medical follow-ups
The type of testing that podiatrists recommend and may perform include tests like x-rays, biomechanical exams, and 2D/3D scanning. These tests and scanning methods help them get deeper insights regarding your foot, improve their analysis, and support a more accurate diagnosis.
A podologist, however, cannot do any of these things. You must be careful not to accept or promote any medical advice or treatments from podologists, as they are not medically qualified professionals with training or expertise.
If you are still uncertain, it is always recommended to consult trusted, professional podiatry clinics like thefeetpeople.com.au for sound solutions and treatments.