Now more than ever, it is critical to maintain a healthy lifestyle (within quarantine guidelines) and keep up with your regular check-ups and other self-care routines. This is a time of immense upheaval, but at Gotham Footcare, we are working hard to deliver a high-level of care to you during this interim period, and believe that we will all come out the other side together - and stronger than ever.
In some ways much of what we do has stayed the same - providing prescription refills, working with patients to maintain a current treatment regimen and addressing new foot health issues - we've simply moved our highly qualified podiatrists and other specialists to a secure online platform.
Curious as to what a telemedicine session entails? Dr. Miguel Cunha answers the most popular questions in regards to how telehealth is keeping patients connected to their healthcare providers during the pandemic.
What is the main goal you want to get across with telemedicine?
Telemedicine is incredibly beneficial for those looking to treat their pain or issues over video conference. The most important thing to remember is that I cannot give an official diagnosis of your foot condition via video chat as I don't have the capability to physically examine your foot. I can, however, assess the issue and provide guidance for at-home and over-the-counter treatment. I also discuss new foot health issues, offer prescription refills, discuss lab results and provide insight on how to properly maintain their current treatment regimen.
More people are out walking and with that, may have some foot issues. What are the most prevalent issues patients are calling about?
This varies from patient to patient, but I would say the most common foot issues I have addressed via telemedicine include:
Plantar Fasciitis/ Heel Pain: The most prominent symptom of plantar fasciitis is arch and heel pain. It may feel like a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot when you get out of bed in the morning, after standing for prolonged periods of time, or when you stand up after sitting for a while. It's also common to experience pain after you exercise, not during your workout.
Athlete's Foot: a fungal infection of the foot that develops commonly on the soles of the feet and in between the toes. Athlete's foot usually produces itchy, dry, scaling skin. In more severe cases, inflammation, cracks, and blisters may form. Athletes commonly suffer from sweaty feet and use the facilities where the fungus is found, thus the term "athlete's foot."
Tendonitis: an inflammation along the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and is, therefore, susceptible to overuse injuries from running and jumping type exercises. It is responsible for plantarflexion of the ankle (causing the front of the foot to lower and lift the heel off the ground).
How does telehealth work?
Gotham Footcare offers telehealth sessions that require no co-payment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The patient simply visits GothamFootcare.com to book their video appointment. Once they select "book a telemedicine appointment" they receive availabilities to choose from that best meet their schedule. We then connect via a HIPAA compliant video chat to discuss their foot issues.
How do really treat people's feet over a video virtaul visit?
There is certainly a difference with how I treat my patients in-person via over video chat. In person, I have the opportunity to touch and examine their foot to better understand their source of pain or frustration. Over video, I rely heavily on their description of what is bothering them at the time. I often mimic what I'm asking my patient to do on my own foot so they have a better understanding. It also allows me to verify the exact area of their source of pain. I also ensure that they are taking notes so it's easier to absorb my recommendations.
How can you treat an ingrown toenail when not in the office?
An ingrown toenail is a common condition typically affecting the great toe, in which the corner or side of the nail becomes incurvated (turned inward) and grows into the skin and soft flesh of the toe. This results in irritation of the surrounding soft tissue, often causing pain, redness, swelling, warmth, and sometimes and infection. It's not uncommon for male patients to attempt "bathroom surgery" to dig out the ingrown on their own, but this often causes more serious infection and rarely solves the underlying issue.
When you have an ingrown nail you'll know how bad it is depending on where the pain is. If you have pain that's just at the tip of the corner if it's something you can just clip and you notice that after a day or so of soaking and it goes away, but if cutting the tip isn't sufficient to address the pain and you have pain at the side or at the base of the nail – you need to go to a specialist sooner rather than later. There's actually going to be more nail inserted at the toe. So when the pain is that the base of the nail it means that the nail is deeper and that's going to be addressed by a specialist.
If my patient does not have the availability to see a specialist to care for a more severe ingrown toenail, I suggest soaking the foot in Epsom salt three times a day for 20 minutes to allow the skin around the toe to soften to help with the pain until they are able to see a podiatrist.
What's the most popular day people want to see a doctor? Is it usually Monday?
Unless they sustained an injury over the weekend that needs to be treated immediately, the requests generally come in at the convenience of the patient's schedule.
At Gotham Footcare in NYC, we strive at recognizing your individual needs and desired outcomes while formulating an effective and personalized treatment plan with the highest quality care available.
What sets Gotham Footcare apart from other podiatry offices is our dedication to providing you with the education you need to make well-informed decisions regarding your care. Regardless of what your foot and ankle trouble may be, at Gotham Footcare our team will work tirelessly to help you feel better. At Gotham Footcare, we help you put your best foot forward.