Basic podiatric care is an important but often overlooked component of overall good health and a matter of necessity for people with diabetes.
In January 2015, Dr. Robert C. Parajon joined Premier Medical Group, adding podiatric medicine to our list of specialties. “Podiatry is part of the big picture of comprehensive medical care,” says Dr. Evan R. Goldfischer, co-CEO of Premier. “We are lucky to have someone with his stellar reputation and great patient following join us.”
Dr. Parajon, a board certified podiatrist, has practiced in Dutchess County for over 25 years. He is currently the Assistant Director of Podiatric Surgery at Vassar Brothers Medical Center.
“Dr. Parajon is very well respected, perhaps the most respected podiatrist in Dutchess County,” says Dr. Sunil K. Khurana, co-CEO of Premier.
“Bringing Dr. Parajon aboard, as well as adding a rheumatology group last year, is part of our evolution as a multispecialty group. His presence will be a great benefit for our endocrinology patients with diabetes who often develop foot problems and can now turn to our in-house podiatrist.”
Dr. Parajon is excited to be a part of the group. “I think Premier is an excellent opportunity for me,” he says. “It is a large practice, but with old-fashioned values, such as taking extra time with your patients.”
Basic podiatric care is an important but often overlooked component of overall good health. “If your feet hurt, your body hurts,” Dr. Parajon says. “You can’t walk around comfortably. You can’t move well for general health and activity. It is like a toothache—if you aren’t able chew, you won’t be well nourished.”
He and his staff diagnose and treat the entire gamut of podiatric conditions, from everyday complaints such as corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, and bunions to acute episodes like ankle and foot injuries, deformities, and infections. “I perform surgery at Vassar Brothers Medical Center for all types of foot deformities, on people of all ages, from children to geriatric patients,” he says.
A large part of Parajon’s practice at Premier will involve the foot complaints associated with chronic diseases, such as diabetes. “Podiatric care is critical in a multidisciplinary approach to diabetes care,” he says. Diabetes damages the small blood vessels and nerves, particularly in the feet. Impaired blood circulation opens the door to infection and impairs healing. Nerve damage, called neuropathy, can cause pain or weakness. It also may reduce sensation in the foot, leaving patients unaware of cuts, sores or skin breakdowns that, without treatment, can become serious.
For these reasons, diabetics are encouraged to see a podiatrist regularly. “It’s a key part of my job to check for loss of circulation or loss of sensation,” Parajon says. He also looks for red flags, such as foot ulcers, skin or hair growth changes and other complications that may go unnoticed by the patient.
The practice of podiatry has grown as sophisticated as any other modern specialty. The oxygen-rich environment of a hyperbaric chamber is now available to treat refractory wounds. “We now use amniotic membrane treatments, in which live tissue is taken from the placenta to promote tissue growth in tendons, ligaments and bones,” he says. Bioengineered skin makes grafts appropriate for a wider range of patients. A new synthetic matrix that bonds to tissue can be used to fill bone fractures and gaps.
When should people with foot issues but without underlying disease see a podiatrist? “When it starts to alter your lifestyle, when you cannot do what you normally want to do, that’s the time to seek treatment,” Parajon advises.
Dr. Goldfischer says that those who seek out Dr. Parajon will be glad they did. “Along with his great clinical skills, he is incredibly dedicated and devoted to his patients,” he says.