Chiropodists/podiatrists assess, diagnose and treat diseases and abnormalities of the foot and lower limb. The term 'podiatrist' is now replacing the term 'chiropodist'. Podiatry can significantly improve peoples’ quality of life by alleviating painful symptoms, and promoting and maintaining mobility.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) is not legally obliged to provide chiropody/podiatry services but where they do, services may be provided by the Local Health Office or by voluntary organisations on behalf of the HSE. Where the service is available, it is free to medical card holders and people with Hepatitis C who contracted the disease through the use of Human Immunoglobulin-Anti-D or from the receipt within Ireland of any blood product or a blood transfusion and who have a Health Amendment Act Card.
Non-medical card holders may be able to claim tax relief on chiropody services if you are required to attend as part of medical treatment. (That is, you have a significant disability or a serious illness, etc. and your doctor directs you attend chiropody services). You may also be able to claim tax relief on any doctors visits and prescription drugs associated with this care.
See our information on tax relief for medical expenses for further details.
Coru, the Health and Social Care Professionals Council is the organisation that will register and regulate chiropodists/podiatrists. Coru is currently putting in place the foundation for the establishment of the registers and the professional standards for groups covered by the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005.
Read more about registration of social care professionals here.
There are currently 3 separate professional bodies representing chiropodists/podiatrists:
You can contact them if you want more information about chiropody or wish to check whether your practitioner is a registered member.
Chiropody services provided by the HSE vary but usually they give priority to the following groups:
The service is usually provided at health centres or HSE clinics. In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to get a chiropody service at home.
Normally you are referred for chiropody services by your GP or public health nurse. You may also contact chiropodists/podiatrists directly, but you cannot claim tax relief unless the treatment is directed by a GP or hospital as part of your medical care.
See our information on tax relief on medical expenses for details of how to apply.
Contact your GP or public health nurse for information on chiropody services in your area.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.