What is podiatric surgery?

Podiatric surgery is the surgical management of the bones, joints and soft tissues of the foot and associated structures. A Podiatric Surgeon is a highly skilled clinician. In addition to a first degree in Podiatric Medicine, Podiatric Surgeons continue their studies to Masters degree level.

Podiatric Surgeons undertake rigorous academic and practical study to qualify to perform foot and ankle surgery.

How do you train to become a podiatric surgeon?

Qualified podiatrists undertake postgraduate training, starting with an MSc in the Theory of Podiatric Surgery. Successful candidates then apply for a podiatric surgical training post in the NHS. At the same time, they enrol on a three-year Master of Podiatric Surgery (MOPS) programme. During this time, training is delivered via long-term clinical placements and in the classroom.

On successfully completing the MOPS programme, the successful candidate gains an extra annotation on the HCPC register and is awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Podiatry (FRCPodS).

At this stage, candidates can apply for a post as a Specialty Registrar in Podiatric Surgery. These posts typically last three years. During this time, a period of advanced training happens under the guidance and supervision of a Consultant Podiatric Surgeon. During this period, the candidate works towards their Certificate of Completion of Podiatric Surgery Training (CCPST). This certificate is governed by the RCPod and overseen by its Academic and Clinical Governance Committee.

Achieving the CCPST marks the end point of a Podiatric Surgeon’s formal training. The qualified Podiatric Surgeon can now apply for consultant-grade posts within the NHS.

Who do Podiatric Surgeons work with?

Podiatric surgeons work with vascular consultants, diabetologists, orthopaedic surgeons, interventional radiologists and other members of multidisciplinary teams to ensure each patient receives the highest quality care and the best clinical outcomes.

Who regulates Podiatric Surgeons?

Podiatric surgeons are not medically qualified and therefore are not registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). Podiatric Surgeons are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) but in addition, are annotated as podiatrists practising podiatric surgery. The HCPC is and independent, UK-side regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards of professional training, performance and conduct of healthcare professions.

Where do Podiatric Surgeons work?

Podiatric surgery is only offered in sites that meet Care Quality Commission (CQC) standards. For this reason, Podiatric Surgeons can only work in an:

  • Acute or Community NHS Trust, or
  • Within a private hospital setting.

How are trainee Podiatric Surgeons supervised?

Podiatric surgery training takes place within an NHS environment. Training includes rotations through various departments and multidisciplinary teams. This includes departments like rheumatology, neurology, pain management, orthopaedics, diabetes and radiology and vascular.

Throughout podiatric surgery training, those studying are directly supervised by a Consultant Podiatric Surgeon. They train under rigorous training and education standards set by the HCPC, and in combination with their university.

What qualifications do newly-qualifed Podiatric Surgeons receive?

A trainee podiatric surgeon will work under clinical supervision until they have achieved the Certificate of Completion of Podiatric Surgery Training (CCPST), which is issued by the Royal College of Podiatry.

Complications in podiatric surgery

Commissioning guidance states that surgery should only be offered after conservative non-surgical options have been exhausted, such as orthoses, injection therapy, footwear advice and MSK treatments.

Everything is done to mitigate against complications that may occur with any surgical procedure. As well as specific procedure and patient complications, these may be linked to the patient's medical health or compliance with the post-operative care regime.

Read the Faculty of Podiatric Surgery's governance overview here

Download the Royal College of Podiatry's policy position statement: Podiatric surgery. A cost-effective solution for reducing elective waits