Podiatry support worker
Podiatry support workers are also sometimes known as podiatry assistant practitioners or foot care assistants. They work with podiatrists to provide general foot treatments, assist minor surgeries and give advice to patients on foot and nail care.
Starting your career
Choosing subjects at school
To become a podiatry support worker, you need a good standard of education. There are no entry requirements, but useful subjects include:
An apprenticeship is a good way to start your career in healthcare.
A Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (clinical) is appropriate for people interested in working in a healthcare support role.
Find out more about apprenticeships at apprenticeships.scot.
If you’re at school or thinking of changing career, doing a work placement could help you when applying to college, university or for a job in healthcare. You’ll learn new skills, improve your knowledge and discover what it’s like to work in the health service. Find out how to apply for work experience with the NHS.
You will give clinical support to the podiatrist, making sure they have all their equipment needed to treat patients. You’ll prepare the patient for treatment by cleaning their feet and making them comfortable. Once the podiatrist has assessed the patient and recommended a treatment plan, you’ll carry out simple procedures. You could then take insole templates, cut toenails or apply dressings.
As a podiatry support worker, you’ll work with people of all ages with a range of conditions including:
- arthritic conditions
- skin conditions
- heart and blood disorders
- disorders of the nervous system
- sports injuries to the foot and lower limb
What you’ll do
Your main tasks include:
- providing advice about personal foot care
- manufacturing orthotics
- wound management
- diabetic foot screening
- therapeutic ultrasound
- clinical environment management
- giving health education talks
In-between treatments, you’ll be required to clean and sterilise equipment ready for the next patient.
You’ll need these skills:
- caring for people
- communicating with people
- motivating people
Who you’ll work with
You could work with:
- other healthcare support workers
You could work in:
- health centres
- a person’s own home
- nursing homes
To work as a podiatry support worker in NHSScotland, you’ll need to:
- complete occupational health checks
- join the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme managed by Disclosure Scotland
Did you know?
The professional care of feet can be dated back to ancient Egypt in 2400 BC. Carvings have been spotted that show hands and feet getting work done on them.
Learning and development
When joining the NHS, you will work through the Mandatory Induction Standards. These standards are designed to help you work safely and must be completed within the first 3 to 6 months of employment. They will also support you in your first steps as a new healthcare support worker.
You may also be encouraged when in the post to work towards further education qualifications. These may include:
- SVQ Healthcare Support (Clinical) at SCQF level 7
- Professional Development Award (PDA) in Podiatry Support
Podiatry assistant practitioners can also join the College of Podiatry as associate members. The College provides courses, conferences and seminars to update your skills and network with others.
Getting experience as a healthcare support worker can be very helpful if you decide you want to go to university to study to become a registered podiatrist.