It may seem strange that foot health and heart health are linked, but many vascular issues are first detected through issues with the feet and legs. Podiatrists benefit greatly from having cardiovascular doctors in their referral network because of the health issues they often see. Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates has the advantage of having a team of cardiovascular specialists available onsite to support vascular health concerns that crop up during standard podiatry visits. If you are experiencing a concern with your circulation, diabetes, or feet, call Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates to schedule an appointment and get connected with a specialist right away.
Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates sees immense value in connecting vascular health and foot health within their medical office. They have two doctors focused on this area of medical science. Dr. Sumeet Subherwal, interventional cardiovascular specialist, and Dr. Robert Kim, certified vascular surgeon, both work cohesively together at Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates to provide an exceptional patient experience. Subherwal joined the team in early 2021 and has found the partnership to be incredibly beneficial. “There is a major crossover with these fields,” he explains. “Podiatrists are usually the first provides patients see for ulcerations or wounds.”
Kim began has been working with Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates since 2015, and has worked directly out of their Tumwater office location since 2019. He is a board-certified vascular surgeon and focuses on the outpatient treatment of venous diseases, though his practice sees patients for all vascular concerns. “I see a large number of patients with unsightly varicose veins, leg swelling, and/or leg discomfort and am able to provide in-and-out minimally invasive treatments right, which are all performed right here in our office,” Kim says. Having this partnership has proven to be a wise decision because of how interrelated these two medical specialties really are.
“Podiatry and Vascular are natural allies for several reasons,” Kim shares. “We aim for our patients to have great feeling and healthy legs, and to me, this all starts with the feet. They are the foundation so having great foot health is important for healthy legs.” They strive to improve circulation in their patients to support better foot health, which is why it is important to make a regular visit with your podiatrist. “Podiatric care is dependent on healthy circulation, and poor circulation is often silent until it’s too late. The foot is often one place where we can really see the effects of bad circulation.” By visiting the podiatrist regularly when concerns arise, circulatory issues can be caught earlier so vascular doctors can intervene and help prevent long-term damage.
The podiatric team at Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates conducts thorough examinations of patients experiencing ulcerations, pain while walking, or poor circulation in order to determine the cause. “This could be due to arterial blockage, veins that are leaking, or pressure ulcers,” says Subherwal. “We work alongside the podiatrist to optimize the healing of these wounds and ulcers and prevent the need for amputations.” This partnership is especially important for patients with diabetes due to the high risk for developing peripheral artery disease as they age and their condition becomes more severe. “The diabetes slows down healing if there is an ulceration or wound on the feet,” Subherwal explains. “If there are severe blockages in the arteries, the healing is further slowed down and patients are at higher risk for amputation.”
Severe artery blockages are unfortunately the most common issues the vascular doctors treat, which are first made noticeable by a skin breakdown of some kind. “Diabetes is a significant is very common in both the vascular and podiatric patient,” shares Kim. “It is a significant risk factor for atherosclerotic vascular disease and a leading cause of amputation.” This is why it is so important for people with diabetes to see their podiatrist at least every 3 months. “If there is a wound, then patients should see their podiatrists up to 2 to 3 times a week,” advises Suberwhal. If there is a more serious or persistent issue, then the podiatrist can send the patient to a specialist like Suberwhal and Kim so they can open up the dangerous blockages and prevent the need to amputate.
The blockages are typically treated with balloon angioplasty, which significantly improves the healing of the ulcers and wounds the patient has on their feet. “When we open the narrowing of the arteries, there is increased blood flow to the ulcer site, which brings increase nutrition and oxygen to the wound site,” explains Subherwal. “In many patients, this helps improve leg discomfort as well and allows them to walk more and get into programs where they can move more regularly.” With such incredible treatment options, patients can achieve a greater quality of life by visiting one of the vascular doctors at Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates.
If you are experiencing issues with your feet or legs, it may be time to schedule an appointment to get on the right path to better foot health today. The team of podiatrists and vascular doctors at Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates are ready to help. Call 360.754.3338 today to schedule your appointment.