Daniel G. Herbowy recently opened his practice of podiatric medicine and foot surgery in the specialty offices at Community Memorial Hospital, 150 Broad St., Hamilton. Herbowy has more than 40 years’ experience in the field of podiatry, in both private practice and hospital settings. He specializes in foot and ankle surgery, diabetic shoes, braces, orthotics, wound care, and foot deformities.
By Barbara Pierce
A.: I studied this medical specialty for seven years. After earning my undergraduate degree, I studied for four years in the college of podiatry, then completed three years of residency in a hospital. To do surgery and podiatric medicine, this extensive training is necessary.
Q.: If I have foot pain or problems, why is it important to see a podiatrist rather than my primary physician?
A.: It’s like when you get a problem with your teeth; you don’t go to your primary physician for a dental problem. You know he or she doesn’t have the skills to deal with it. It’s similar for foot pain or problems. Your primary care physician is not qualified to deal with foot problems. They don’t have the specialized knowledge about feet that a podiatrist does.
Q.: Do many of us tend to ignore foot pain as part of getting older?
A.: People do tend to ignore foot pain until it becomes debilitating. Foot problems can seriously impact your health and well-being. I urge people not to accept foot pain as part of aging, because there may be an underlying cause of the pain that can be treated.
Q.: We are impressed with the dedication you demonstrate to your profession.
A.: I like this profession; it is very rewarding. Podiatry is a different type of practice than other medical professions in that patients initially see me when they are in pain and, in the majority of cases, leave the office feeling better. As a medical practitioner, that is very gratifying. What motivates me in my practice is helping others feel better.
Q.: You specialize in shoes for patients with diabetes. Why is this important?
A.: People with diabetes have an increased risk of foot problems. Wearing specially designed shoes can reduce your risk and promote healthy circulation in your feet.
Medicare and most insurances will cover the cost of specialized shoes if you are diabetic and have a qualifying foot condition. They have determined it is much less expensive to provide correct shoes than pay for the cost of the foot problems that can result if you don’t wear specialized shoes.
If you are diabetic, this is a great opportunity to get shoes custom-made to fit your feet and your particular problem, ensuring that you have comfortable shoes that do not cause damage or pain to your feet. The shoes with their inserts prevent infection, keep ulcers from forming, and prevent foot strain and calluses. Wearing diabetic shoes can prevent you from needing an amputation.
Most important are the inserts, custom made to head off any potential problems. The shoes and inserts work together as a preventive system to help avoid foot complications. I also specialize in braces if needed. There are clear fiberglass braces, very inconspicuous, that keep the foot in the correct position.
The majority of diabetic shoes I dispense look like any shoes off the shelf. They look like the shoes everyone wears.
Q.: Should a person with diabetes be under the care of a podiatrist?
A.: As people with diabetes have an increased risk of foot problems, make sure your feet get looked at. If you have calluses or ulcerations, see a podiatrist every six months. Many diabetics have neuropathy and don’t realize when they’re having foot problems.
Q.: We understand you will do advanced wound care in Rome. What does this involve?
A.: A wound care center treats wounds that don’t heal. I’ll be working as a member of the medical team, with a wound care specialist, a vascular specialist, and an infectious disease specialist. I’m honored to work shoulder-to-shoulder with these professionals.
Birth year: 1950
Birthplace: Utica (at the old St. Luke’s)
Current residence: New Hartford
Education: Undergraduate degree, Syracuse University; doctorate in podiatric medicine, Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine (now Temple University), Philadelphia, Pa.; residency, Lindell Hospital, St. Louis, Mo.
Personal: Married with two adult children.
Hobbies: Traveling, fishing