If you’ve been looking into getting custom orthotics, you might be a bit confused about what doctor to consult: a chiropodist, podiatrist, or pedorthist?
Definitions for each of these professions vary, and each has its focus. It can be confusing for individuals with new gait or foot problems to figure out where they should go for help.
It gets even more complicated when you’re working under your insurance plan’s constraints and want to buy the best orthotics that will be covered by your provider.
Today, we’ll explain why there are so many different types of foot specialists. Our overview of each specialty will help you understand each doctors’ training and how they help patients with various gait, pronation, and foot issues.
Getting Your Custom Orthotics Covered by Insurance
The first consideration when you’re buying orthotics is whether or not your insurance provider will cover them.
Each insurance plan is different, but in Canada, insurance plans generally require your orthotics to be custom-made to treat the foot issues identified during a professional biomechanical or gait analysis.
For most people, this means that getting custom orthotics begins with a consultation with either a chiropodist, podiatrist, or pedorthist.
Every person who orders custom orthotics should check with their insurance provider to see how they need to submit their claim. Individual plans vary widely, but typically you would need to submit a prescription from your specialist, details from any biomechanical or gait analysis they conduct, and an invoice from the manufacturer.
At Orthotics Direct, all of our custom orthotics come with the lab work documentation that most plans require. However, you’ll still need to see a chiropodist, podiatrist, or pedorthist to get a prescription; doing this is how you can make sure your insurance covers your orthotics.
Chiropodist, Pedorthist, and Podiatrist Definitions
Now that you’re aware of what documentation you need to provide to your insurance provider, you can prepare your paperwork.
For most people, this begins with seeing a foot specialist so that you can get a diagnosis and a prescription for custom orthotics.
However, how do you know what type of specialist you should see? Let’s explore the different options.
What is a Chiropodist?
Of the three types of foot specialists we’re defining today, the chiropodist is one that you may not see much in 2020. That’s because chiropodist is a term that’s mostly fallen out of use in Canada.
In the mid 20th century, we replaced the words “chiropodist” and “chiropody” with “podiatrist” and “podiatry.” Some older medical societies and organizations still use the terms “chiropodist” and “chiropody.” However, by the 1960s, the medical community decided that these terms were too often confused with chiropractors and chiropractic medicine.
The medical community switched to “podiatry,” which stems from the Greek word for “foot.” Now, it’s rare to find doctors in Canada working as chiropodists.
What is a Podiatrist?
A podiatrist is a doctor that’s qualified to provide treatment and care for all aspects of the feet and ankles. They must complete an undergraduate degree in the sciences, followed by four years at an accredited College of Podiatric Medicine. After that, they must pass the board and licensing exams, complete a residency in a hospital for at least a year, and up to three years.
A podiatrist can diagnose conditions related to the ankles and feet. They can design and execute treatment plans, including anything from medication and custom orthotics to surgical procedures.
You should consult a podiatrist if you’re having ongoing pain in your feet, have lost any function or mobility, or feel sensations like numbness, tingling, or swelling.
What is a Pedorthist?
A pedorthist is qualified to diagnose and treat issues connected to the feet and ankles. However, their focus is on the biomechanics and movement of the foot, ankle, and lower legs, rather than anatomical issues.
After completing an undergraduate degree in kinesiology or human kinetics, pedorthists must enroll in a post-degree diploma program or do a three-year hands-on apprenticeship. After that, to be admitted to the Pedorthic Association of Canada, they must write an exam, a requirement if they want to practice in this field.
A pedorthist is the best doctor to see if you’re experiencing issues while walking or running or feel any pain when you move your feet. They can do a detailed foot and ankle assessment, studying every detail of how you walk and move to determine any gait or pronation issues at play.
A pedorthist can then suggest footwear modifications or orthotics to ease pain and get you back to your normal mobility.
Finding the Best Custom Orthotics at the Most Reasonable Price
Once you’ve got a prescription from a podiatrist or pedorthist, you can work with a qualified manufacturer to produce custom orthotics that fit your precise measurements. At Orthotics Direct, we provide consumer custom orthotics, which means that we pass our savings straight on to our customers.
We include detailed documentation that you can pass on to your insurance provider for reimbursement in every order. With a variety of orthotic packages for every occasion, it’s easy to find the one that’s perfect for your needs.