Has anyone retrained to be a foot care health practitioner?

(61 Posts)
nannyj Wed 02-Sep-15 10:34:46

I was speaking to a lady yesterday who originally trained as a chiropodist and she recommended I take a course to be a foot care practitioner. She said she has to turn clients away because she's so busy. I'm a single mum on minimum wage at the moment and rely heavily on tax credits and need to find a career that will not cost too much to retrain in and not take too long as I'm not very young smile.

I was just wondering if anyone else has done the distance learning course and practical course and is actually working now?


OP’s posts: |
PeterParkerSays Wed 02-Sep-15 10:49:00

I looked into it but you need science type A levels, which I don't have, to get onto the course.

I don't know if there is some sort of Access course available but it would have just taken me too long to get to qualification. Podiatrist / chiropodists are in demand though, so it would be a reliable move.

Mbw22 Sat 03-Oct-15 08:29:04

Hi, I am looking into re-training as a foot health Practicioner. I am leaning towards SMAE institute at the moment, spoken to a few people and feel it's the right time for me to do something like this. I really like feet!!! You don't need an A level to access this course, maybe it's the degree course you have looked at peterparkersays? I currently have a job that pays well and it's terrifying to make that jump from full time, stable imployment into rerunning my own business. I have worked in an environment for the last 20 years which will help me create a success business (I hope) I just need the courage to take the leap of faith.

Bond Wed 03-Feb-16 14:48:44

Does anyone have an update on this thread?

I have been considering this and plan on speaking to my local Doctors surgery to see if an FHP is something they employ.

The course is £1000 which scares me if it isn't all that employable.
I have previously done a Reflexology course for a similar cost and can get no work what so ever!!.

Hoping with the job of an FHP is is more of a NEED than a WANT.

would love to hear if anyone went for it and is doing well.??

jclm Thu 04-Feb-16 21:21:31


fusspot66 Thu 04-Feb-16 21:24:33

The NHS can only employ HCPC Registered clinicians. (Health Care Professions Council.)

denise1961 Thu 29-Mar-18 15:42:41

Hi, Stonebridge foot college is a lot cheaper than Smae and you get a diploma to practice. You can do the fast track foot course and it is cheaper. So you will get your diploma very quickly. If you choose to do your clinical in Bude then accomodation is free. The podiatry tools are free too. You can pay in monthly instalments to suit your budget. This is by far your best option.

mum4321 Fri 01-Jun-18 16:59:27

Hi denise1961 have you done the foot course with stonebridge? Im just looking into it at the moment as they also offer government funding for the level 3 diploma but not on the fast track foot course. Just wondering if anyone has done this course and how they found it?

Anne88 Wed 06-Jun-18 07:25:28

I am a Chiropodist/Podiatrist with over 25 years experience in both the NHS and Private Practice.
I would certainly counsel against anyone taking one of these courses.
These organisations use clever rhetoric to persuade would-be students that there is a rosy future awaiting them when they qualify, but this is not the case.
The cost of the actual training is only a small expense. It will cost about £5,000 in equipment, consumables, stock, instruments ( you will need at least 10 sets at a cost of at least £50), stationary, advertising and insurances to set up. An autoclave alone, for example, for sterilising instruments will cost about £2,000 and space will be needed to store this and all the materials used for the business. A Clinical Waste Contract will be needed to remove patient waste and dispose of "sharps".
You will need to register with the Information Commissioner (Data Protection Office) Now we have the new Data Protection Laws all patient records must be stored in a locked filing system and kept for 8 years after the date of the last treatment. Then they must be destroyed by a commericial shredding company who will supply a Destruction Notice for your records.
These courses will only give you a very low-level skill set and you will be ill-equipped to deal with anything more than very basic footcare. The 11/14 days of practical training compares very poorly with the 12,000+ hands on clinical hours required to practise Podiatry.
The market-place is very crowded and breaking into it is difficult.
Every 6 months or so I get a leaflet shoved through my letterbox telling me about a new one of these practitioners setting up in my area. A year later they have sunk without trace.
Footcare is very hard work physically and I would advise anyone with any musculoskeletal problems to avoid it. Working in care homes treating bed-bound patients is hot, smelly work and can play heck with your back.There is a lot of lifting/ bending and carrying heavy equipment involved and the danger of inhaling infected nail dust is always present.
And don't think it is lucrative because nursing homes in this area (NW )will only pay about £7.00 for a treatment.
Pods earn good money because they do advanced procedures such as nail surgery, VP needling and prescribe complex orthotics. These skills are not available to Foot Care Practitioners.
And GPs will not employ Foot Care Practitioners because they aren't HCPC Registered. They'll be happy to rent you a room and you'll be charged for it whether you are there or not.
If you want a regular, clean, job in pleasant surroundings train as a shorthand/typist and you'll never be out of work !

mum4321 Fri 22-Jun-18 09:26:16

I have been following this post with interest as I have just started my course as a Foot Health Care Practitioner. I have been biting my tongue for a few days now after reading the post by Anne88 and Im afraid I cant bite it any longer.

I feel the post Anne88 has put up is full of bitterness/jealousy and fear.

Firstly may I point out that years ago all foot problems were dealt with by local GP's and Podiatrists, however our population has grown and because people are living longer the elderly and disabled population is massive, therefor the increase in foot health problems became too much for the NHS to cope with hence a big rise in private Podiatrists for people to go to as the waiting list for a Podiatrist on the NHS is massive.

Secondly if I had trained to be a Podiatrist and spent years at University studying for my degree I would not then want to go out and just cut toe nails and treat hard skin, as a Podiatrist I would want to concentrate on the more complicated conditions where I can put my years of knowledge and hard work studying into good use. This leaves a gap in the market for the basic conditions of toe nail clipping, treating hard skin etc etc which is what the Foot Health Practitioners are there for.

I have now met up and spoken to two qualified Foot Health Care Practitioners who have been running their own practice for a good 10yrs and they are absolutely swamped with clients and are turning people away, so contrary to what Anne88 has said there is a market for Foot Health Care Practitioners! Yes there are costs involved as there are with most self employed businesses and students are made aware of this on their courses and if they have done their research before signing up on a course they will be aware of this as well.

So to all of you who have posted on here showing an interest in signing up to one of these courses, do not let people like Anne88 put you off, as long as you have a passion for feet and the care of people and are aware of the costs involved go ahead and sign up for the course. Yes once qualified dont expect to have a waiting list of clients to see as like ANY self employed business it takes time to get your name out there and time to build up a reputation but again this is the same with any self employed business.

Funny how all the negative posts I read about becoming a Foot Health Care Practitioner is usually posted by a qualified Podiatrist, says it all really.

mum4321 Fri 22-Jun-18 09:55:45

Oh and just to add to my post regarding your comment I quote "If you want a regular, clean, job in pleasant surroundings train as a shorthand/typist and you'll never be out of work !" How rude and patronising is that!! Typists are highly skilled and its not easy work and there isnt many jobs advertised for a typist! Anyone from cleaners, carers, dustmen and office jobs are all decent intelligent people who everyone should hold respect to, just because you do a university degree does not make you any better then any other human being, in fact I feel you are severely lacking in care, understanding, compassion and thoughtfulness, maybe you need to take a degree in being a kind human being?

Anne88 Sat 23-Jun-18 11:49:14

Oh dear what am emotional diatribe full of misinformation, ignorance and accusations.
For someone who has never worked in the industry you seem to have a lot to say about it!
You say "If I had trained to be a Podiatrist and spent years at University studying for my degree I would not then want to go out and just cut toe nails and treat hard skin" - well it's good job that Podiatrists don't all think as you do.
There is no such thing as a "simple-nail cut" in a patient with lower limb pathologies and co-morbidities that needs careful monitoring as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
Callus is a symptom not a condition. It tells a Podiatrist that there is uneven pressure that needs to be addresssed - not by trimming it every 4 weeks ( cut-and-come-again) but by getting to the biomechanical cause of the problem and off-loading the area with padding/orthotics. In some cases shoe modification is necessary and the patient is referred to an orthotist. In other cases there maybe a need for surgical intervention.
Callus on a diabetic patient pushes them up into the High Risk category as there is real danger of ulceration below the callus. If this is discovered then the patient needs speedy referral to the local NHS Foot Protection Team.
Contary to what you have been told there is no "gap in the market". What there is are many FHPs operating outside their remit and I see the results of their handiwork on a weekly basis.
I have no idea where you get the idea from that I was denegrating Shorthand Typists or anyone else. I am well aware of the skills required.
I was also flagging up the occupational health issues associated with footcare that people may not be aware of.

Anne88 Sat 23-Jun-18 12:13:32

To follow on from my previous post:
I believe that every patient seeking paid treatment for foot-related issues has the right to know what is being treated, why it happened and how the situation can be addressed now and in the future.
IMO The lack of academic basis to these Foot Health training courses simply means that these unregulated practitioners cannot deliver this knowledge.
The correct management of foot conditions that Podiarists can't cure and discharge is to put as much distance between appointments as possible by providing patients with both comfort and quality treatment.
I do not believe that Foot Health Practitioners can effectively provide such palliative treatment. Yes, they can make patientsd more comfortable temporarily but cannot achieve an appropriate distance between appointments depending on the presenting conditions.
In short they provide a "cut-and-come-again" service. This could explain why some of them seem always busy.
My experience is that some not only turn away new patients but turn away their own patients with an urgent problem, and these patients eventually find their way to me.

Catchuptv Wed 27-Jun-18 21:33:24

We have a few places like this in our area. Really they are just cutting toe nails and removing hard skin because they are not qualified to treat conditions such as ingrown toenails or bunions etc.

But it's cheap enough for something like £8.00 a go and the clients have to provide their own nail clippers so no need for all this sterilising equipment.

Loesy Wed 19-Sep-18 11:47:35

Oh dear, this has all gotten a bit ugly.

I am a qualified foot health practitioner though haven't practised this for many many years. I did my course in the Netherlands and took 3 years and was in combination with a beautician course. Though I didn't start my own business or do it as a line of work in the Netherlands, I do have some wisdom to offer on what has been said.

Though I don't entirely agree with the something 88 person who is a podiatrist, I do agree that 2 weeks of practical work is not enough to confidently treat patients. There are a lot of high-risk patients out there that need treatment for minor things which can potentially turn ugly very quickly if not treated in the right way or treated by someone with little experience. Nevertheless, they do offer these courses and perhaps the government needs to put legislation in place to increase those hours but I don't think arguing about it here is going to achieve anything.

Sterilising is a MUST, not sure who said it wasn't but it is imperative you do. An autoclave is expensive but there are other sterilisers out there and you can buy things second hand often. If you are setting up your own business, you can apply for a loan that can help you buy all the equipment too.

Yes, it can be physically hard but so is any medical profession and with the right materials, you can make things a lot easier for your back. i.e. a good chair that can go up and down for both you and patient. As for inhaling nail dust, we always wore facemasks, gloves and aprons and depending on which drill machine (not sure what you call this in the UK) you can minimise this too as some use spray technique.

To clear up, I was taught to diagnose, treat, advise and refer patients based on what a patient revealed either themselves or what we discovered by eye or gait analysis. We did both static blueprints (? again not sure what you call that here) or walking gait and though we didn't treat this directly we did identify pathologies of the foot and referred accordingly. We also learned how to treat patients with Diabetes and other conditions though not authorised. A further year of studying was required to treat these conditions due to the risks involved.

I set off 2 years ago to do the podiatry degree but decided against it for two reasons. 1) The second-year students were doing everything I had already done and I didn't want to spend 20 grand to do something I already knew how to do. 2) I came across population health and thought it a more flexible career path plus it incorporates everything from healthcare infrastructures to social inequalities. Looking back though, footh health was a very enjoyable profession and very rewarding, different to Podiatry but related nonetheless and very interesting. It taught me A LOT. Often professionals like to slag one another off and claiming its the bees knees over any other profession but it's there to compliment one another.

I've had to go through the biomechanics and podiatry units myself here in the UK. I'm being sent back and forth between departments, it's hilarious but I never fail to capture the rivalry even between these departments. It a tad tedious.

We can be critical without criticising smile My suggestion is look at all the options out there in terms of starting a business and loans, materials, likely income and weigh things over based on that.

Loesy Wed 19-Sep-18 12:01:36

My apologies, I read the bit about sterilisation wrong. However, a steriliser is advised if you are doing more than cutting toenails and have to do more complex things which involve the use of scalpels or drills. Often, they don't have appropriate nail cutters either. The official tools are much easier to use when you have problematic nails and are better for your wrists.

Doobydoo Sun 30-Jun-19 19:24:48

Mum4321....Thamk you for your post. I am resurrecting this thread as I am thinking of retraining. I work in nursing homes as a nurse. Where I currently work the FHP qualified with Stonebridge and charges £25 per person. She comes in every 8 weeks..my friend who is a nurse says that where she works the FHP charges £15 per person. I have to say that the FHP does highlight any issues which we can escalate to Podiatrist/GP should this be the suitable course of action.

Doobydoo Sun 30-Jun-19 19:28:38

I am looking at SMAE.

Kerryc1234 Sun 07-Jul-19 23:27:46

Does anyone know please where I can train to be a foot health practitioner on the 19+ learner loan

Nurse2FHP Sat 20-Jul-19 20:53:53

Hi. I used to work in a nursing home as a Nurse. We have a FHP who visit every 6 weeks. He charge £12.50/client. Our NH has 35 residents and the FHP spends full day cutting toe nails & polishing them etc...etc. He reports to us Nurses if he spots problems with residents feet. He access residents file after treatment and put the file back to our secured cupboard for data protection purposes. He has a small suitcase full of sterilised materials needed for his job. He has a small foldable comfortable chair and face mask. He also have a small hand held vacuum cleaner 😅😆. He said he covers 15 nursing homes. Now do the maths. Minimum nursing home capacity is 35

Podwoman888 Mon 29-Jul-19 08:38:14

Dooby do,
I am a Podiatrist and am curious to know why you would want to give up a valuable well-paid job in a Regulated Profession to join the unregulated footcare sector?

Podwoman888 Mon 29-Jul-19 08:44:13

I am curious to know more about the FHP you mention.
Are you saying he treats 35 patients in a day? If so he will either need 35 sets of sterilised instruments or bring an autoclave with him.
I am also interested in the treatment interval for these patients. When patients are 80+ they only need treatment about every10/12 weeks as their lower-limb pathologies impede nail growth.

Please do not go into foothealthcare thinking you can make a lot of money as there are many activities involved in running a practice that you are not told about until you get to the practical training and by then it's too late as you'll have committed your money!

Moragb001 Sun 04-Aug-19 09:08:54

Hello I just want to be able to cut toenails of friends and family safely. I have a family member who is unwilling to go back to her podiatrist because they are so rough and keep injuring her toes by cutting the skin. She is immunocompromised so I feel she is making the right decision not to go back. I know I already do a good job with her and others. There are so many people out there who just need their nails cut. I don't even want payment - perhaps just what covers my expenses. How can I go about this?

Doobydoo Sun 04-Aug-19 15:57:48

Hi Podwoman I am looking at various options. I find working 12+ hour shifts are getting too much for me.....also the stress of having to stay on if staff don't turn up so I have to stay 2-8 hours on top which does happen. I would like a better work life balance and I think I would be good at it. I chose SMAE as they are accredited and thought it would be a good place to start.

Podwoman888 Sun 04-Aug-19 17:35:43

Hello I just want to be able to cut toenails of friends and family safely.

What do you mean by 'safely'?

Legally you can cut anyone's toenails if they give you permission.

If, as you say, the podiatrist that has been cutting your family member's nails has been rough/negligent/caused pain etc then this is not acceptable.
Are you sure they are an HCPC Registered Podiatrist? You can check here on the Register. www.hcpc-uk.org/check-the-register/

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in