If your asked that before COVID-19, a podiatrist would probably say “any day, except when I’m playing golf.”
Now that COVID-19 has focused our attention on social distancing measures, maybe it’s not such an easy question to answer.
By the way, I never play golf…I’m horrible at it.
Even though we have moved into Code Yellow safety guidelines, that doesn’t mean things are business as usual.
Podiatry, like dentistry, often requires hands-on treatment.
Examples include services like trimming fungal nails and callus or removing an ingrown nail. These things are just difficult to do for yourself.
But somethings like heel pain or tendonitis do not always need a doctor’s hands to fix.
This is when Telemedicine can really have a useful and safe impact.
Take this example…a patient in my neighborhood had new onset foot pain and redness.
We set up a Telemedicine appointment.
I asked a series of questions, he used his cell phone camera to show me his foot discoloration, the patient wiggled his toes and said ouch a few times.
I made a diagnosis and sent a prescription to treat what seemed to be a gout attack.
A day later the patient was on the mend without risking any encounters that may have put him at risk for COVID-19. But what if you have something like an ingrown nail.
It is very difficult to treat this by yourself, at least safely and successfully. This problem needs hands-on expertise.
But is it safe to go to a doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic?
If your doctor is performing the recommended precautions, then you should have confidence you will be okay.
You should expect pre-visit phone screenings for COVID-19 symptoms, temperature checks at the front door, mandatory face covers, limited or no contact with other patients, and squeaky-clean environments.
If your podiatrist isn’t providing these extra measures, it might be time to consider a different provider.
To wrap things up, I want to remind everyone that we are still in a pandemic and we all should remain vigilant.
This fight isn’t over, and we should all work hard to protect our families, friends and neighbors.
Best health to you all.
PHOTO CAP: Andrew Sohl, DPM