In this recent Comcast Spotlight episode, I was interviewed by Chesterfield County Chamber of Commerce President Danna Geisler. The Chamber has been partnering with Comcast to produce this series highlighting local businesses.
The question was asked, why do people go to a podiatrist? Well, people could come to us for any foot issue. It could be anything from an ingrown toenail to an accident resulting in the need for major reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle. Some of the most common reasons people come to our practice are fungal toenails and heel problems, which can be very debilitating; we actually have a protocol we've developed for heel pain that has a 95 percent success rate with just conservative treatment. In fact, only about 5 percent of our heel pain patients end up requiring surgery. We also treat a lot of bunions, hammer toes, and other foot deformities, some of which can really interfere with your daily life. And these deformities can occur in people of all ages, so we see patients ranging from children to seniors.
We also talked about the difference between seeing a primary care physician versus a podiatrist for a foot problem. If it's a minor problem, sometimes a primary care doctor or dermatologist may be able to take care of it, but once it gets more complex you should see a podiatrist, who is a specialist in caring for foot disorders.
Toenail fungus is an example of a condition that can be difficult to treat. A great number of people have toenail fungus. They get thick, discolored toenails and often try many things to try to get rid of it. Topical antifungal medications often don't work; you have to apply them every day for at least a year and they only work about 25 percent of the time. Oral antifungals have about a 40 - 50 percent success rate, but there are a lot of drug interactions and they're rough on the liver, so a lot of people can't take them or choose not to take them. The newer laser procedure is much more effective. We were actually the first clinic in the area to have an FDA-approved laser for treating toenail fungus, and have done thousands of treatments. We see about a 70 percent success rate in treating toenail fungus.
Another topic we discussed was our recent expansion. We're the largest clinic regionally for foot care and we have a lot of unique services. A lot of people in the area don't realize they have this great resource for total foot care, right here on the campus of Johnston-Willis Hospital. Our goal is to provide comprehensive care for the foot in just one location. Healthcare these days can be fragmented; you might see a doctor and then have to run all over town to get everything you need to care for your feet. We're changing that by taking all the common things you might need for foot care and having them all available in one location, a one-stop shop. And, since we're on the campus of the hospital, if there is something that's needed from the hospital, it's very convenient to coordinate those services as well.
So, if you have a foot problem, we invite you to visit us at The Foot & Ankle Center. Just give us a call at 804-320-FOOT, or request an appointment online.