Short answer – Nothing.
Long answer – The words chiropodist and podiatrist describe a professional qualified to deal with the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of the lower limb. There is no difference in what they do and the names are interchangeable. The name was merely changed from chiropodist to podiatrist in 1993 to fall in line with what they are referred to in other countries. The terms chiropody and chiropodist are still being used in the UK today and is often preferred to the less easy to say podiatrist. Some podiatrists however project a difference between the two definitions and promote chiropodists as the ‘nail cutter’ with podiatrists doing all of the difficult stuff like nail surgery, biomechanics and orthotics. This inference perpetuates the myth that there is a difference between the two but you now know that there isn’t – just podiatrists who are happy to be the ‘nail cutter and those that have extended their scope of practice to encompass sports injury rehabilitation, the prescription of orthoses and the treatment of complicated ingrown nail conditions.
Rest assured, the titles chiropodist and podiatrist are protected by law. Anyone using one of these titles must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and their website allows you to check registered practitioners credentials. You can check mine at the HCPC website now!