Through this COVID-19 crisis, we’ve been introduced to new ways of doing things. We’ve learned how to be socially distant and the pros and cons of wearing masks. This has been my practice’s first foray into telemedicine, which has been wildly successful. Through the magic of modern technology (and Zoom meeting…I wish I bought stock in that company pre-pandemic!), I’m able to assess your foot or ankle condition while you are on your smartphone or tablet.
Not everything lends itself to telemedicine. Sometimes there is no replacement for a face to face visit, especially if we need to take an x-ray or do a minor procedure. I thought that I’d share the top conditions where telemedicine works particularly well.
- Skin Conditions – Calluses, corns, and warts, OH MY! There are so many small spots and eruptions that we have on our feet, some uncomfortable and others not, that it’s hard to know which is what. This is where we come in. I’ll be able to look at what’s bothering you. I should be able to recommend a home treatment to bide your time before you are able to come into the office. Also remember, there are recent reports that non-painful lesions on the foot, resembling measles or chicken pox, can appear as an early sign of COVID-19, so keep that in the back of your mind as well.
- Toenail Conditions – Whether it be a discoloration beneath your nail or a nail that has become thickened, a video visit should give you the information you need to determine if it is, or is not, something to be concerned about. What about an ingrown toenail? We should be able to assess it and see if it is something that can be helped with antibiotics and foot soaks, or if it is bad enough for an office visit to have it addressed with a procedure.
- Minor Foot Injuries – If you bumped your toe on the chair in the middle of the night, you should get it checked out. While it is true that the evaluation over video is limited, based on the swelling, bruising, and where the pain is located, I’m able to get a good idea of what is going on and make recommendations on how to best treat it. Of course, I may look at it and meet you in the office for an x-ray, but it’s a good place to start.
- Sports Injuries – Sports and exercise has been a big way to break up the monotony of spending every day at home. Whether it is starting a running program, going for long walks, or following CrossFit or Zumba workouts live via Zoom, there is always the potential for injuries to occur. In fact, the possibility for injury is greater than if you were running with your club or going to the gym, since you are in control of what you do and how you do it. This will sometimes lead to poor form and an increase in the potential for injuries to occur. As with any sports injuries, it’s always best to get it checked early than wait for it to impact your training long term.
- Heel Pain – Whether you are feeling pain on the bottom of your heel, known as plantar fasciitis, or pain in the back of the heel, which is Achilles tendonitis, we will be able to identify the cause of the pain. From a treatment standpoint, I’ll be able to prescribe medication, if appropriate, and talk with you about stretching, icing, and other things you can do to get yourself feeling better. Remember, the best initial treatment is to put on your shoes, along with insoles or orthotics, around your house. Even if your house is usually a “no shoes zone!”
- What’s that on my foot? – Time at home gives us extra time to scrutinize everything. As boredom and monotony set in, you may find yourself scrutinizing yourself. Was that mark there before? Have my toenails always looked like that? What is that bump on my foot? Most of the time, what you see isn’t a big deal and, yes, it’s always ben that way. But it’s a good time to get it checked out and the simple act of framing the questionable spot in your phone will be able to get you’re the answers you need.
- Anything…if you can’t leave the house! – Even if what you’re experiencing doesn’t fall under these categories, if you are concerned about something and can’t or shouldn’t leave the house, a virtual telemedicine visit is just what you need for piece of mind. We will discuss your situation and direct you to solutions or, at least, next steps. While it is true that some things may need to wait until after the “stay at home” order is lifted and we’re free to move about the city. Most things, especially if they are providing discomfort, should be able to be addressed.
It is simple to schedule a virtual telemedicine visit. Give us a call at 713-785-7881 or contact us through our website and ask for a telemedicine visit. A convenient time will be set up for you and me to meet privately together through the internet and all of your questions will be addressed and answered. If you feel that telemedicine isn’t going to cut it, we are available limited hours for in-office visits.