Health & Wellness

The Best Foot Forward Pioneer

Where the well-heeled of Manhattan get healthy heels

Dr. Andrew R. Glass is a podiatrist and podiatric surgeon in Midtown Manhattan, at Podiatric Medicine and Surgery. With over 15 years experience, Dr. Glass is one of the most recognized podiatrists in New York and one of the first surgical podiatrists in the United States to practice minimally invasive surgery—a one-stitch bunion removal procedure. He combines his extensive training and experience with cutting-edge equipment and techniques to provide his patients with the highest-quality care.

We interviewed Dr. Glass about his practice and his pioneering work in podiatric surgery.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into podiatry.

I grew up in Virginia near Washington, D.C. Both my parents are doctors: my dad is a retired neonatologist and my mother is a retired developmental psychologist. Although I didn’t want to follow specifically in my parents’ footsteps, I did want to go into the medical field. After some intensive research, I concluded that podiatry was a perfect fit for me.

What are the most common foot problems you treat?
The most typical problems are bunions and hammertoes, soft tissue masses, corns, athlete’s foot, ingrown toenails, and heel pain.

Are any of these issues preventable?
Some of these conditions can be prevented with proper footwear and orthotics, but some are genetic in nature and are not preventable.

You pioneered a procedure for treating bunions that is minimally invasive. Can you tell us about it?

I have been performing minimal-incision bunion and hammertoe surgery since 2006. Back then, like other surgeons, I had to break bones to correct most problems. I pioneered a method to remove bunions by shaving the bones rather than breaking them; releasing the capsule to help the bone move into the proper alignment. The surgery is done with a real-time X-ray machine, which prevents the need for larger incisions, and only one stitch is required.

How do you remove bunions without breaking the bone?

The key is to relocate the bunion by releasing soft tissue that is too tight, and then shaving off any excess bone.

What are the advantages of this method?

For one thing, recovery time is much faster. You’ll be able to walk right away, and you should be back in your shoes in as little as a week or two. Secondly, thanks to the smaller incisions, no broken bones, and no pins and screws, the procedure is far less painful. Lastly, the old method of breaking the bone does not address the tight soft tissue issues that may still affect the bone, which may cause the bunion to recur. With the minimally invasive procedure, recurrence is far less likely.

How would podiatry issues affect day-to-day functioning and why is it important to maintain foot health?
Foot health is always important; if your feet aren’t healthy, you won’t be able to walk properly. This is limiting, but it also affects the rest of your body and can cause additional health issues, like muscle stiffness and heart problems. Maintaining foot hygiene is imperative and prevents infections from fungus and bacteria, which can further jeopardize your health.

How has the podiatry field changed in the last decade and has advancing technology improved service?

Podiatry has advanced recently with innovative technologies like fluoroscopy—real-time X-ray imaging. Real-time X-ray machines have become much cheaper than they were, and this makes it possible to perform more complex and precise surgery with smaller incisions. Additionally, new medicines and treatments have become available that facilitate the healing of tendon injuries and fractures. For example, amniotic membrane injections can help you heal better and faster from tendon injuries and fractures—even arthritis. Another example is the use of adult stem cells to help treat injuries and arthritis in the foot.

Do you ever refer your patients elsewhere for treatment?
Yes, I sometimes send patients to other doctors for treatments that are not my specialization, such as flat foot reconstruction. Although I was trained to perform such treatments, I want my patients to receive the best possible care. I’d rather outsource to a doctor who performs those procedures often.

Do you treat children, and does that require a different approach?
Yes, I do work with children, but most kids don’t need bunion surgery. For kids, we prefer conservative methods like orthotics, but when they are older, they may be good candidates for surgery.

Is it better to address certain problems before one hits a certain age?
Foot problems are always easier to fix if you address them earlier rather than later. Sometimes the difference can be very significant, so it’s better not to wait too long. For example, if the toes are dislocating, it’s important to fix them before they dislocate further.

High heels, yea or nay?
I don’t object to high heels, but I do advise against pointy shoes that compress the toes. They cause more problems than high heels do.

Finally, what are your top three tips for maintaining foot health?
My number one tip is good foot hygiene. Keeping your feet clean and dry can help you avoid fungi and infections. Secondly, wear properly fitted shoes to avoid pain and injury. And finally, whether you suspect you have an infection or an ingrown toenail, never attempt to treat foot problems yourself.

Always consult a trained professional or you might end up causing yourself more problems than you started with.
_________________

Dr. Andrew R. Glass is a Podiatrist in Midtown Manhattan, at NY Podiatric Medicine and Surgery. He
graduated from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine in 2003.From there, he went on to complete a
competitive 3-year surgical residency at Wycko Medical Center. With over 15 years of experience, Dr. Glass works hard to combine his extensive training, personal experiences, and passion for quality patient care using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques.
tel: 212 867 2500 www.nymidtownpodiatry.com

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