Podiatrists are Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered practitioners who diagnose and treat all disorders and conditions relating to the foot and lower limb.

NHSScotland podiatrists recognise and diagnose a broad range of mobility and medical conditions that have a direct effect on the foot health of people of all ages which include:

  • arthritic conditions;
  • skin conditions;
  • diabetes;
  • heart and blood disorders;
  • disorders of the nervous system; and
  • biomechanical disorders including sports injuries to the foot and lower limb.

Podiatrists devise treatment plans which include the delivery of preventative, biomechanical, pharmacological and minor surgical interventions. They work in the wider healthcare team including GPs, vascular, orthopedic and podiatric surgeons, orthotists, physiotherapists, assistant practitioners, district nurses and practice nurses.

Watch these videos from the Royal College of Podiatry to find out more:

To work as a podiatrist, useful skills include:

  • strong communication skills
  • practical skills, to carry out delicate procedures
  • a good understanding of biology and human anatomy
  • teamworking skills
  • professional with an excellent work ethic

Useful abilities include:

  • the ability to work with people with different lifestyles and backgrounds
  • the ability to manage sensitive or challenging situations
  • the ability to explain treatment to patients
  • the ability to work under pressure or remain calm in challenging situations


In order to become a podiatrist you must have a BSc (Hons) in Podiatry and be registered with the HCPC.

The podiatry degree course equips students with the skills required to register with HCPC and:

  • work within the NHS or establish their own private practice;
  • teach on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at universities;
  • work to push the boundaries of practice by becoming a researcher; or
  • helping solve crimes by working in forensics.

Students on the degree programme will study a range of modules each year and attend placements in podiatry clinics where they will be involved in the treatment of patients.

In Scotland, the following universities offer undergraduate degrees along with MSc and PhD level courses for those wishing to further study at postgraduate level

Studying podiatry requires considerable dedication because each student is required to take part in clinical practice before they can graduate.

Applicants are generally required to hold Highers or A-level qualifications (BBBC or CCC respectively) which should include one science-based subject, preferably biology or chemistry, however, applicants should contact each University providing a podiatry degree course to find out the current entry requirements.

Universities offering podiatry also welcome applications from mature students with other relevant qualifications in sciences and/or experience.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme

You will require a satisfactory (PVG) check to show that you are suitable to work as a podiatrist. This scheme is managed by Disclosure Scotland.

A degree in podiatry offers excellent clinical opportunities in NHSScotland with practitioners working within the following areas

  • General clinics- carrying out routine treatments in community clinics, health centres and GP surgeries.
  • Biomechanics- assessing the gait patterns of patients with biomechanical problems and sports injuries to the foot and lower limb.
  • High Risk Patient management- specialising in the treatment of ‘high risk’ patients within hospital departments including vascular and rheumatology outpatient units and renal wards.
  • Nail surgery- administering local anesthetic and carrying out minor surgery including nail and minor soft tissue surgery.

In NHSScotland, podiatrists start on band 5 of the NHS Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system.

You may then choose to specialise in a particular area of practice such as sports injuries, critical care, care of the elderly or working with children or cancer patients. Specialists normally progress to band 6 of the pay system.

You could also move into management, either within podiatry services or general management at band 7. As head of a podiatry service, you would be responsible both for a team of staff and for managing a budget.

Along with this, there are also opportunities to work in private podiatry practices and extend scopes of practice by carrying out postgraduate degrees and research at both Masters and PhD levels. Additionally, podiatrists with a keen interest in surgery have the opportunity to train to work in podiatric surgery to surgically manage bone and joint disorders within the foot.

Find out more information from these professional bodies

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists is the professional body and trade union for registered podiatrists in the UK. All members are fully qualified and registered with the HCPC. Visit their website to find out more.

Health & Care Professions Council

The HCPC is an independent, UK wide regulatory body responsible for settling and maintaining standards for health, psychological and social work professionals. It maintains a public register of qualified professionals and works to improve industry standards and education. Visit their website to find out more.