The terms "podiatrist" and "chiropodist" have the same meaning; they both refer to a health professional who assesses, diagnoses and handles treatment of the lower leg. Of the two terms, "podiatrist" is more modern and is mostly used in the United Kingdom.
The term "chiropodist" has been in use for a longer period of time, with "podiatrist" only being adopted since 1977. Before then, chiropodists were unregulated. When it was required by law that all professional practitioners of podiatry and chiropody be registered, the term "chiropodist" was discarded to avoid confusion. In Australia, the term "podiatry" is preferred in health and medical fields.
Chiropodists, or podiatrists, are concerned with the treatment of biomechanical problems such as heel and foot pain, corns, bunions, warts and ingrown toenails. Additionally, they are qualified to handle sports injuries, to perform nail surgeries and to treat patients suffering from arthritis and diabetes. Although they assist people of all ages, chiropodists are often tasked with helping elderly people to stay mobile.
Chiropodists are qualified to issue orthotics, which relieve heel pain. They also advise on other orthotic products such as arch supports. In addition to handling foot pain, chiropodists assist in the treatment of leg and back pain.