What is Podiatry?

You may be more familiar with the name chiropodist, but the names chiropody and chiropodist were officially change changed to podiatry and podiatrist in 1984. This reflects the more scientific approach to the practice of the profession by the modern podiatrist. 

The podiatrist diagnoses and treats foot disorders and disabilities.

A consultation and treatment by a podiatrist is more medical and is not a pedicure, for which you see a beauty therapist.

A professional board for podiatry was established in 1976 and since 1982 it has been compulsory for all podiatrists to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), to be allowed to practice, so always make sure that your podiatrist is properly registered.

Podiatrists in private practice must also register with the Board of Healthcare Funders, to obtain a practice number. This enables Medical Aid Schemes to recognise individual practitioners when claims are made and to reimburse against the new Recommend Price List for podiatry, which is put out by the Commission for Medical Schemes. Most medical aid schemes recognise podiatry and members can submit claims for reimbursement in accordance with the rules of each scheme.


Andrew has taught at the University as well as providing podiatry services in South Africa since 1977. Twice chair of the Podiatry Association of South Africa and a commentator on care of your feet on both radio and television he now works in private practice in Cape Town and Hout Bay.