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Who is responsible for my care?

Who is responsible for my care?

Who is responsible for my care? Your treatment / surgery will be undertaken / supervised by a podiatric surgeon who is a Fellow of the Faculty of Surgery (College of Podiatrists). Podiatric surgeons are not registered medical practitioners (medical doctors), but are non-medical specialists in the surgical and non-surgical management of problems of the foot and associated structures.

The podiatric surgery team may consist of several different professionals all dedicated to the success of your surgery and for your assistance the common titles are explained below.

A podiatrist has studied for three years to obtain a degree in podiatric medicine and will be registered with the Health Professions Council. Podiatrists are independent clinicians, qualified to diagnose and treat foot problems.  Podiatrists may specialise in particular areas of work e.g. the care of the diabetic patient or sports medicine. With the exception of nail surgery, podiatrists undertake the treatment of foot problems by non-invasive methods (until recently podiatrists were known as chiropodists).

Trainee in Podiatric Surgery: A podiatrist who has studied for a further two or three years to complete an MSc degree in the theory of podiatric surgery and who is undertaking a formal surgical training programme under the supervision of a consultant Tutor.

Specialist Registrar in Podiatric Surgery: A podiatric surgeon who has gained his / her Fellowship in Podiatric Surgery (qualification in the practice of podiatric surgery) and is working as part of a continued training programme towards a certificate of completion of podiatric specialist training. 

Podiatric Surgeon: A podiatric surgeon is a non-medically qualified specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of foot problems by both surgical and non-surgical methods. A podiatric surgeon has completed the training process and may have their own caseload (A podiatric surgeon is to feet, very much like a dentist or oral surgeon is to teeth).

Consultant Podiatric Surgeon: After some years of practice within a Health Service Department of Podiatric Surgery, a podiatric surgeon may be appointed as a consultant i.e. the lead clinician appointed by an NHS Trust to provide a podiatric surgery service.



Are Podiatric Surgeons the same as Orthopaedic Surgeons?

No, podiatric surgeons have trained exclusively in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of the foot. To read more about the training system visit About Podiatric Surgeons
. Orthopaedic surgeons complete a medicine degree before going on to further training in the management of bone and joint conditions which affect the whole body.

While podiatric surgeons do not treat problems outside the foot and ankle, they do as part of their training learn to recognise diseases or complaints that do not originate in the foot but may give rise to symptoms in the foot. Podiatric surgeons are not registered medical practitioners (doctors) but are part of the health care team and will always refer on to medically trained physicians or surgeons when a problem is outside their scope of practice.

The advantage of focussed training and scope of practice is that a podiatric surgeon will gain intensive experience in managing foot problems. Some podiatric surgeons employed full time in the NHS will perform up to 1000 foot operations a year. Clearly this will allow them to develop a highly skilled and meticulous surgical technique as well as great experience in handling complications which unfortunately are an inevitable part of any surgical specialty.