Sick of the fatigue and fog? Fed up with the unpredictable flares? Hangry from the super restrictive diets?
Hello and welcome to the Crunchy Allergist Podcast.
A podcast empowering those who, like me, appreciate both a naturally minded and scientifically grounded approach to health and healing.
Hi, I'm your host, Dr. Kara Wada. Quadruple Board Certified Pediatric and adult allergy immunology and lifestyle medicine physician, Sjogren's patient, and life coach.
My recipe for success combines anti-inflammatory lifestyle, trusting therapeutic relationships, modern medicine, and mindset to harness our body's ability to heal.
Now, although I might be a physician, I'm not your physician and this podcast is for educational purposes only.
Kara Wada, MD: Welcome back everyone to this episode of the Crunchy Allergist Podcast. My name is Dr. Kara Wada. I'm a board certified allergy immunology and lifestyle [00:01:00] medicine doc. We talk about all things allergies, autoimmunity, and anti-inflammatory living.
We also focus on the physician patient relationship and the medical team and how important the medical team can be in navigating the world especially is someone dealing with chronic illness.
Today I am super excited and honored to welcome a friend and colleague who I had a very lovely conversation with several months ago.
Her name is Dr. Tea Nguyen. She has a board certified podiatrist and she's located out of beautiful Santa Cruz, California.
And after three years of surgical re residency and successfully completing a one year fellowship in wound surgery, she opened Pacific Point Podiatry in 2018. And it, she delivers innovative and expert foot and ankle care specializing in minimally invasive surgery to help keep people active with less [00:02:00] downtime.
As we were talking before we hit record, I was sharing with Dr. Tea that I haven't had a whole lot of interaction with podiatry.
Every time I have, it's been a great experience, but sometimes we don't know what we don't know.
So I'm really excited to get to learn more about how you are helping patients in a very holistic way as well. So thank you so much for joining us.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: I'm so excited to talk to you again. I think it's mutual. I'm excited to talk to you about what you do because I don't think our paths crossed regularly as maybe some other specialties. So I'm really excited to share with you what I do.
Kara Wada, MD: Awesome. Maybe you can give us how do you end up where you are now? Can start by kinda sharing that with us.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Yes. So I wish I had a really cool story, but this is what happened. I went into college [00:03:00] almost graduating undergrad, not knowing what to do.
I had gotten my pharmacy tech license to work at a pharmacy. I thought I wanted to put my career in the pharmaceutical industry as a pharmacist or as a toxicologist or something.
But then I decided I really wanted human interaction and so was looking more towards a clinical career.
I wanted to go into specializing right away, which narrows down what specialties are left and then I wanna be for this one the face. So and so the podiatry school is exclusively foot and ankle and I got the opportunity to go to school with the DO colleagues.
My husband's a do as well. We weren't married at the time, so we entered to school together. He went in his DO path. I went into my DPM path, so I got to share a lot of things in the medical world outside of podiatry too.
I thought that was really exciting for me to be able to experience, and I got to carry that through after four years of podiatry school into [00:04:00] residency. Our residency program is traditionally three years surgical.
Not only do we have our core foot and ankle specialty, but we get to rotate into all of the different specialty from psychiatry, orthopedics, vascular surgery, even microsurgery.
That was really fun times for me in the first seven years of my training.
Then I got really interested into understanding the details of what it takes to save with a person's limb, especially those with diabetes or circulation issues.
So I dived into another year of fellowship in understanding how to help people preserve their limbs, keep them functional with wound surgery.
After that I went into the real world realizing I knew nothing else.
I knew nothing outside of medicine. I didn't know how to run a business. I didn't know how to promote myself. I didn't know how to maintain a healthy physician patient relationship. I just knew what I was trained in doing.
So there was a gap year, I call it, when I went into private practice [00:05:00] where I didn't really understand the whole scope of what it means to practice medicine from a business perspective too.
I thought it was just seeing patients. You treat them for five minutes and you move on to the next, and then suddenly I realized how empty that was feeling, how disconnected I was from delivering care in a compassionate way.
So in 2018, I decided to just do it differently, open my own practice, and it's been a wonderful four years of great learning opportunities to get to know what I didn't know previously and to build on that.
So now I am developing a holistic approach to foot and ankle care with surgery and non-surgical option.
Kara Wada, MD: That's amazing. I'm thinking of kind of those overlaps of when, as a lot of our listeners are struggling with chronic illness, maybe illnesses that require significant prednisone use [00:06:00] or have implications in our vasculature.
So vasculitis, diabetes from needing to use steroids often or even bone trouble, osteoporosis, so forth related to steroid use and how that really can impact us from head to literally toe. .
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Yeah. And it's. It's really interesting how like we can figure out how to put broken bones back together, but sometimes we miss the part where the whole body needs to be taken into consideration. Not just what we see on their lab work, but also who are they as an individual and are they capable of healing successfully?
So what happens outside of the clinic, we only get to interact with them maybe 15 minutes at a time in the traditional model.
What support network do they have at home? What is their nutrition like? They may say one thing, but what is the reality?
We can't always measure [00:07:00] that in the lab work.
But also where is their like mental capacity in really comprehending what we're trying to share with them?
What we're trying to educate?
Because we come from a background of eight plus years of medical talk.
We speak in a certain way, but the general public may consume that very differently.
So you can't achieve that level of understanding in 15 minute visits.
It's really nice to be able to speak with other doctors who see the gap in understanding the individual as a whole and try to piece the parts together.
I really enjoy collaborating with other specialists too.
Just to give them my point of view and seeing how we can put the pieces together so that patients can experience longevity.
Kara Wada, MD: Yeah, so what are some conditions that you would maybe see patients for so that maybe our listeners have a better idea of kind of the scope of what on a day to day basis.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Anyone who has foot pain is one component.
The pandemic [00:08:00] has really rested people.
People stopped doing their normal activities, stopped going to work, and then suddenly when things started to pick back up socially or they went back into work or wanted to run the 5K or a marathon, they're experiencing foot pain, sudden foot pain.
What has happened is people actually went through a period of deconditioning where they're not at a hundred percent anymore.
We call them weakened warriors. You go through a phase of doing absolutely nothing for your body, and then suddenly we think we can run that 5K as if we were in our twenties again.
But there's a whole period of deconditioning that I've been seeing a lot more heel pain from even stress fractures because people took a period of rest and decided that they were still at a hundred percent going back into their activity.
Now those are people who have feeling in their feet.
Those are the people who I can serve.
Then there's those people who don't feel their feet at all that can still need and benefit from podiatry services.
Oftentimes those are people who have Parkinson's disease, diabetes, [00:09:00] neuropathy, rheumatoid, even alcohol use that causes neuropathy or vitamin deficiency from malnutrition.
Those people can experience numbness in their feet, so they don't really get to pay attention to their feet as well as they.
Then they can develop very devastating consequences of feet neglect or poor foot hygiene because they simply didn't know.
Those are the people that I love spending time with because I get to share with them exactly what I see on exam and tell them what the consequences might be if we were to continue to ignore it.
So it's nice when they get a chance to meet me in person at least once a year just for that. Kinda like a tuneup. A checkup of your car. You gotta do that for your body.
I can tell them how complicated the foot really is.
It's not just, does it hurt today?
Then you see a doctor, you need to see a doctor oftentimes, especially if you don't feel.
Those are the types of things that I get to see, and it's really anybody with feet, I would love to be able to serve.
Kara Wada, MD: When[00:10:00] someone is dealing with foot pain and they come to see you.
You mentioned this more holistic kind of approach to things. How does that show up for you?
Tea Nguyen, DPM: In my practice, I'm able to spend 30 minutes, 60 minutes just getting an idea of who the person is as an individual.
Let's say they come to me for bunion surgery and the technical part is really easy cuz this is all that I do, but it's the healing process that is the most challenging because I'm asking the patient to stop what they're doing for a period of time.
I'm asking them to take time off of work, their usual activities, their routines from day to day, and take what I call a mini vacation.
Now, are they capable of being able to do that for themselves, take this mini vacation to heal, or do they have other stressors involved?
Like maybe they're a caretaker for their land or a loved one where it requires a lot of getting up, moving around, and running [00:11:00] errands, so I choose to know them on that level so that I can let them know if they continue to do what they think they have to do during surgery.
Then they may have suboptimal outcome. They will have persistent swelling that might even end up with an infection and that will further delay healing.
I have to assess their readiness for any elective surgery.
I don't think I learned any of this when I was in training other than they would say you had to pick the right patient.
But they don't actually define what that really means on a surgical level. Picking the right patient isn't necessarily somebody who is capable of paying, but it's really understanding the complexities of human nature.
Can they actually follow through and have a successful outcome?
If not then you know, are there alternatives to help them alleviate some of their pain?
Kara Wada, MD: So what you're talking about are a lot of the different things we think about with behavior [00:12:00] change and self care and and boundaries.
These different things that we think about with coaching you're doing right alongside with your patients.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Exactly, and I have, I found that I needed to do more of that in patients with diabetes. Yeah. Because diabetes is, it doesn't just affect the feet, but it also affects the way somebody can comprehend. There is brain neuropathy where the ability to comprehend functions a little bit differently, and so I have to see where they are and try to meet them there.
I can be with them side by side and guide them through their journey because it's not just neuropathy of the feet. They have kidney problems, they maybe have visual problems, balance issues, heart conditions, and all of these are an essential part in understanding my patients on whether or not it's appropriate to do certain surgeries.
Kara Wada, MD: Yeah.
You mentioned that sometimes there are alternatives to surgery. What are some of those?
Tea Nguyen, DPM: In the foot. The foot is really dynamic, so it changes as we age.
We may be doing surgery, this one [00:13:00] time, but then the body continues to change in time and it might need additional surgery.
A common condition that we get as we get older that has been underdiagnosed is fat pad atrophy.
That's when the ball of your foot loses cushion.
That can happen because the fat pad shifts. Cause you know we're walking all the time or we're high activity people. Or we just lose fat padding. It gets depleted.
I always have patients say that, the fat gets lost there, but it goes everywhere else.
We have no control.
Kara Wada, MD: I was just thinking why is the here.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: I would love to be able, plastic surgeons do this regularly. They move fat from one part to another.
Yeah. But that's not within my scope of practice in Podiatry. So instead I use foot fillers.
Currently we what's called Leneva. It's a fat allograph matrix. It's donated RIC material that we inject to increase cushion and to help the body stimulate fat cell growth in that area.
So that's an internal cushion that we can do to alleviate foot pain.
What we all normally do are customer orthotics, better shoes and [00:14:00] exercise and physical therapy referral. But that's just an additional modality that I use in my office that's non-surgical. It's a five minute procedure and patients have really positive outcomes with that.
Kara Wada, MD: That's so much sense we learn how to put filler in other parts of our body, so why not put it where that cushion actually, serves maybe a little a more practical purpose.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Yeah. Yes, definitely.
Kara Wada, MD: Where people put it in other place you do.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: We serve the people, yeah and the oldest person. I've done this injection for was I think she was a 96 year old tap dancer.
So it's for all ages. Whoever has foot problems maybe want an alternative. That is a really great option.
Kara Wada, MD: Are there certain things that, if we, knock on wood, if our feet seem to be in a pretty good condition, are there certain things that you recommend that we do or don't do?
There was this big thing on TikTok recently, oh, five things I would never do [00:15:00] as this type of expert. Do you have kind of things that you tend to say, Ooh, don't do that, or, yes, do this to protect your feet?
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Yeah. Oh, there's a lot. But I think the one that really stands out is because everyone wants to avoid seeing the doctor.
So they do bathroom surgery. So people who have an ingrown toenail
Kara Wada, MD: oh yes. Bathroom surgery.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Or if they're just trying to cut their own nails, not realizing they can't get certain angles, and they miss a corner.
Then that ingrown nail continues to grow into the skin and then it gets infected, and then they're trying to like self-manage and then they end up in the urgent care center.
And then you're lucky if you get somebody who can take care of it really well.
Sometimes you don't and so they get traumatized and then the ingrown nail doesn't actually fully resolve because people miss that piccu.
It becomes a disaster. You're trying to avoid the obvious is go to the expert and then you delay care in that way, and then it can show up as an infection that requires [00:16:00] antibiotics and procedures and so on.
So that is the number one thing that is the most common thing that people do is they cut their own nail or they cut it wrong, or they miss a spot and then they self treat.
Kara Wada, MD: Yikes. I have to say, those are the videos that I do have to scroll past, like the to, because I just, it looks so ouchie. It's pretty, but I'm sure there's so much relief once you have it fixed.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: It's the most satisfying thing that I do because it's immediate. Yeah. I numb them up so they're, alleviated from pain immediately from the injection. And then once it's removed and they can just go about their life and not think about their feet.
Kara Wada, MD: Yeah, there is something about that. With anything as human beings and in particular in our jobs, like we, we are called to help people feel better.
So having sometimes that a little bit more immediate gratification, our sprinkle throughout the day is pretty wonderful for me. It's helping [00:17:00] people not have runny noses.
Or helping with hives. Hives is a big one miserable, too.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Yeah. Yeah. I know exactly what that feels like.
I had problems with hives and eczema since I was a kid, and I see my daughter experiencing that stuff too. So it's nice to be able to get the immediate resolution. Absolutely.
Kara Wada, MD: As you were going into private practice, I know you made the decision to do more of a direct model of care.
We haven't talked about that too much on the show yet.
Maybe you could share how that might differ from majority of other podiatry offices.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: You're right. I spoke about that just a little bit. When I opened my practice in 2018, it was insurance days, meaning I had to contract with insurance.
We had to sign the documents that said, this is what they're going to pay us and oftentimes it was a percentage of what we would bill out. That was part of the contract.
There was [00:18:00] really no negotiating and people always ask like, how do you negotiate a contract?
I said, how do you negotiate with anyone with deep pockets?
You can't. They might give you a little wiggle room, but they're gonna find a way to get it back.
So in the first year of my practice, I was really struggling. I hired on a lot of staff. I gave them benefits, great work perks, and I was building my own reputation as an independent podiatrist cuz I went from a group practice and now I had to reclaim my brand.
But on the financial side, I was spending so much money on things, on issues related to insurances like a billing software.
That would bill to the insurance directly because they required us to do electronic billing, to setting up the accounts on where to get the money deposited after we bill for them.
Then I had to get a biller to even just know what codes to bill the appropriate codes.
We have a right and a left foot, we have 10 toes which one of the [00:19:00] modifiers for those toes.
If you get it wrong, if it's on the wrong side, we have to redo the claims.
So dealing with claim denials, we're looking at getting overpayments and now having to be refunding those payments because it was their oversight, not ours.
So it was exhausting and I was like, I'm a one person show and I wanna take care of patients, and there was no way I could take care of patients.
If I was only allotted a certain dollar amount for a visit code, then I would have to see 30 patients in a day to even make enough for the practice and people are doing it.
My colleagues were readily, happily doing that 30 to 50 people a day but that just wasn't sitting right with me at all. When you see people in that volume, you miss opportunities. You miss certain things that can help people get better. You also end up having to push patients out because you're rushing and so you're breaking up your appointments to address one thing at a time.
And I just, it didn't sit right with me to [00:20:00] give incomplete care all for the sake of trying to make the most out of it. Maximizing your profits with building. So I said, there's no way I can win this situation. I don't wanna go to a billing school. I don't wanna learn things unrelated to patient care.
I just want to deliver the care that I was trained to do and I want to be paid for that so I can retain my staff and pay them for being here with me.
So in 2020, I decided to start opting out. I said my credit card debt is up to my eyeballs.
I don't even know if I can pay my. I wasn't even paying myself, and so I was stuck in a situation where do I just leave medicine behind me because I don't understand the insurance world?
Or is there another way before I make that decision? And then I started to look around other healthcare professionals practices, and it turns out a lot of professionals were already opted out.
It just wasn't a thing that we talked about openly. Yeah.
These people who were living the wonderful life that they were just living [00:21:00] in silence because they were like, we figured out our thing and were done. We're clocking out when the time is out.
But me, on the other hand, I'm like, everybody needs to know that there's this model.
Certainly in podiatry, the majority still remains either employed or in the insurance based practice and a lot of people are happy with that. That's wonderful.
But there's a segment of people like myself who are suffering in silence because we're not really openly talking about it.
And we think that this is all there is to it to medicine.
Those people are either choosing to get a side gig or they're opting out completely out of medicine. Just exiting. Finding a different career that pays them on time all the time.
That's how I chose to opt out of insurance and I'm currently a hundred percent a direct care practice.
So any procedures, surgeries that people may need a second opinion, it's all self pay and I'm paid on the same day.
Kara Wada, MD: My guess is with that, you're able to have increased transparency in what different [00:22:00] procedures, visit lengths, those different things are.
And like how much it costs.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: It's so clear. It's everything is on my website, and our evaluation is what is required for most cases, it's on my website.
If they need a surgery, I give them a quote.
They can choose to shop around or not. That's completely up to them.
But on my side, I feel that I'm delivering honest care, that I'm not going to surprise them with the bill, and then they end up not having a budget for that.
What has happened in the past is when I was in the insurance practice, we would have to get what's called prior authorizations to the insurance requesting is this procedure code covered under this person's plan?
Because every single plan is completely different.
They may say, this is a covered service, but an asterisk would say, but it's not guaranteed payment.
So they might pay it and then down the road they can also pull back and say we changed our mind.
We want the payment back and they take the payment back from me leaving the patient with that deficit.[00:23:00]
That is the most unethical thing I can imagine in corporate healthcare is that we suddenly took that safety net under them and said, now you owe thousands of dollars.
Kara Wada, MD: The thing that I was just talking with a patient, I believe it was last week, about.
Was that each insurance company contracts for a different amount too. So if I start someone on allergy shots, for instance, if they are with insurance company A, they may charge, I'm just gonna pick a number, a hundred dollars.
Or we're allowed to charge for that, and then you know, they pay a percentage or what have you.
Another company may charge $75 or $150, and so the price is different between each person. It makes no sense.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: It makes no sense on purpose because if nobody knows the price of anything, then facilities, other places are able to charge any dollar amount at any time.
That's why the [00:24:00] cost that we have now is so hyperinflated.
Nobody knows the cost of anything and not even the doctors know what the cost of an EKG is or an MRI when they send patients out for these things or the medication they're prescribing. We have no clue.
That really is a disservice to not really even have a ballpark idea of what might cause if your insurance lapses or changes in policy.
That's why I do aim to be a lot more transparent about my pricing.
I try to be as transparent as possible so that nobody is surprised and I'm pretty successful a hundred percent of the time.
Just letting patients know in advance the cost of things are what they might be.
Kara Wada, MD: That is my always my biggest concern and fear, especially still, I'm still working in academics and within the insurance network, but trying to do my best to.
As best I can help prevent patients from having surprise bills. But it's incredibly difficult when you are ordering labs or [00:25:00] procedures testing. That's warranted. And that's something I struggle.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: I know when I was in fellowship, When I was in fellowship, academics, it's all academics, and I had the luxury of ordering any medical supplies I could possibly need to take care of a patient, but we never actually saw the dollar transaction of what it cost to save a limb compared to amputating a limb.
There are functional differences, but there are financial differences as well.
I feel like because we're so separated from the business side of medicine, we just are like shooting blindly.
We're saying we're delivering evidence based care, but sometimes that evidence based care is driven by pharmaceutical companies.
For example, ChloraPrep is a product that we use to sterilize the foot or clean the foot before surgery versus Betadine, which is the more economical option. It's cheaper.
But there was a study that was pushing for ChloraPrep, saying that it was better than Betadine, but it [00:26:00] was way more costly.
It turns out that particular study in which a lot of hospitals use as evidence based practices.
It was generated by guess who? The company.
So and so now we're having to like even in the academic world and how we write papers and how we show our findings is influenced by money.
Kara Wada, MD: I think that's why it's always important, and we haven't talked about it as much here, but I talk with my fellows of looking at the author's disclosures on the papers and where did the funding come from? Looking at that method section?
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Yeah. Can you imagine a company like having a negative outcome wanting it published?
I don't think anyone does that.
Kara Wada, MD: Most of the time it's not published. Like it's just held. In purgatory forever.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: You're right.
Kara Wada, MD: I have a couple of kind of random foot questions that I'm curious about. I have three little ones. I have gone through three [00:27:00] full term pregnancies and my feet have grown with each one.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: What's the deal? . Yeah. A couple of things, and you can certainly say it's all their faults.
But for women, I have so much compassion for women because our body goes through so much, and then we have to deal with the public problem.
The social problems of expectations like the list is endless, right?
So I have a deep compassion for people who have problems with their feet and thinking their foot changing is abnormal, but the reality is it's totally normal.
Your body does what it needs to do to accommodate your life and your children. Your hormones have changed and so your feet are gonna change with time as well.
The best thing we can do is disrespect that that's the change of life.
Buy shoes that actually fit or have your foot measured every time you buy shoes, every brand of shoe they size just a little differently.
So an eight [00:28:00] here is not always an eight there and the style of shoes, if you're gonna wear dress shoes they're even more narrow.
So you have to really just be okay with the changes in your body.
It may not reverse. It doesn't have to reverse.
There is no intellectual difference between a size five and a size eight. There's no, it doesn't matter. really, the only thing is that it's inconvenience that now we have to buy new shoes that fits better, but functionally it grows in the way works for you.
Kara Wada, MD: I decided to take it as this opportunity to, "oh look, I guess I get to buy new shoes again because, The old ones don't fit. Sorry."
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Exactly. Perfect. Shoes in general, they don't last forever. No matter how many thousands of dollars we paid for them, there's a wear time.
So six months, 12 months for running shoes, dress shoes a little bit longer cuz we're not wearing them every day. But it's time to buy new shoes all the time anyway.
Kara Wada, MD: As women, there are so many different styles and shoes are [00:29:00] a big part of fashion, and I, over the years, have worn heels.
Not super regularly, but do they hurt our feet over time or can they?
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Yeah, you can tell if it's hurting you because high heels as high as four inches, they're going to have significant implications in your low back, in your posture, in your knees.
I see a lot of older women who have significant foot deformities like bunions and hammer toes and toes crowding, even fat pad atrophy.
Because they had to wear dress shoes back in the day where it was a standard norm to wear dress shoes.
Now I get to see the consequences of that.
They all say the same thing.
It was fashionable to do that. It was required work attire to do that.
So yes, wearing high heel shoes for a long time affects not just your feet, but your entire body structure.
But I'm a girl too. I like to dress cute every once in a while.
So choosing sensible shoes is, what is sensible dress shoes?
Maybe a heel that's not four inches, maybe it's two and a [00:30:00] half inches.
Or maybe not a stiletto, but maybe a bulkier heel that can dis distribute the weight better.
Or a platform if you really wanna get height, but not so much height in the heel, in the arch.
Kara Wada, MD: So you're raising it all up.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: So you're raising it all up equally. Yeah, so there's a lot of podiatrists who have designed dress shoes.
So those are some options to look at. As we all know, actual designer shoes are not made by biomechanist or, podiatrist or anything.
So we're divided by what's fashion versus what's functional.
But I am very economical. It's whatever makes your feet feel good is what makes you feel good.
Kara Wada, MD: Yes, I tend to gravitate a whole lot more towards flats and as I've gotten a little bit older and as my feet have grown a little bit larger and just more comfortable.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: You mean your feet has grown to accommodate what you need. It's perfectly normal.
Yes. I like that. A nice reversal. .
Kara Wada, MD: So [00:31:00] as you're thinking about our conversation and this discussion of kind of holistic care, especially for our feet.
Do you have any parting words or advice you'd like to share with our audience?
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Your feet is as important as your hands. So there is a concept called foot hygiene that everybody needs to be aware of.
It's not that you have to wash your feet as aggressively every day as you do with your hands because your hands are touching different surfaces, different materials all the time, but your feet do require similar amount of attention.
It's just like your dental hygiene. You see the dentist once a year, every six months or so for checkup.
We catch things early enough. The treatments are easier. The more you prolong it, the harder it gets to treat.
So with your feet, if you have foot problems, make sure to be in touch with your podiatrist regularly. Not just wait for pain to happen.
We [00:32:00] can treat things quicker when we're caught when they're caught earlier.
Kara Wada, MD: An ounce of prevention upon of cure.
Yes. If someone is not in, obviously they know who to go to if they're in Santa Clara, like that's a given now.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Santa Cruz.
Kara Wada, MD: Santa Cruz, sorry. Woo. Apologies.
If they're looking for a podiatrist elsewhere, is there a good place to look for someone or, how does one find??
Tea Nguyen, DPM: We have a national organization, apma.org.
It's a place where you can go and you can just look for a podiatrist near me. You put in your zip code, it may bring up a whole bunch of people.
Another way to do it is, we're all in the world of social media, so just look up hashtag podiatrists or look at your community, whatever city you're in.
Podiatrists, some of us have YouTube, some of us have podcasts, and so that's a nice way to pre-screen your doctor to see if they're a good match, if they have things that you.
Also word of mouth in your community. Your primary care doctor [00:33:00] is a wonderful resource. They generally tend to know everybody in the community, so you can start asking them as well.
Kara Wada, MD: They are your connector to all the good people in town.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Yeah. Yeah.
Kara Wada, MD: That's awesome.
You have a ton that you've been doing on social media and your lives that you do too.
Would you mind sharing a little bit about all the education that you're putting out into the world?
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Yes. So I'm doing similar things as you are.
I'm talking with other healthcare professionals on my YouTube.
So if you go to YouTube @drteapodiatry, you can find a list of different specialists that I speak to, and I do that because I feel like we've been so disconnected.
By specializing that I'm trying to reconnect and become part of a bigger puzzle for the patient.
Because oftentimes patients are confused as well, so they wanna know how do we put all the pieces together? Are you guys even communicating?
The fact is, I am. I am making an a daily habit to communicate with my [00:34:00] patients, all of their healthcare professionals, and I try to convey that on the YouTube.
I'm also on Instagram same handle @drteapodiatry and there are some graphic pictures in there, but I'm a firm believer that if you at least recognize what is abnormal, then you know to seek medical expert opinion for that.
So there's fun stuff. There's educational content. I do IG live periodically.
All of the things that I publish that I wanna share with the public is there as well. So those are the two places that you can find me. I'm just learning about TikTok.
Kara Wada, MD: Me too.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: I don't know how I feel. I don't know how I feel. I just, I see people following, I see people responding, and so that motivates me to put out more content.
So if you have questions, I'm happy to answer your questions on any one of those platform.
Kara Wada, MD: Super fun. We will make sure to have all of those links in the show notes so people can easily just click over and give you a follow and check things out.
I so appreciate what you're doing with helping break down those silos between all the different specialties because it [00:35:00] really.
It is so challenging and I think it's hard, especially for patients that have conditions that, like you said, like diabetes or autoimmune conditions immune deficiency, these things that affect every part of our body.
They have multiple different specialists on board.
So having this increased ability to communicate, to understand perspective is so powerful.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Yeah. At this point, if you don't know what a podiatrist.
I sure hope that this episode does it for you. We do everything from non-surgical to preventive care, to surgical intervention. We do it all,
Kara Wada, MD: Our feet are incredibly important.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: And the most neglected.
Kara Wada, MD: How I feel like as moms sometimes, right?
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Oh, yes. So important, so under appreciated.
Kara Wada, MD: But not always putting ourselves first or recognized for the importance that they are until something goes awry. [00:36:00]
Tea Nguyen, DPM: Yeah. I'm sorry, mom. I'm sorry, mom.
This is my heartfelt I hear you. I feel you. I know you. I'm a mom too. I get it. Thank you so much, Dr. Tea.
Kara Wada, MD: I appreciate your time, your expertise, and your conversation. It's always lovely.
Tea Nguyen, DPM: I appreciate you Dr. Wada. Thank you so much for having me.
Kara Wada, MD: We will talk again, I'm sure very soon.
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