This article appears in the October issue of 400 Life Magazine
Even for those in pain, no one wants to deal with foot or ankle surgeries, and a new podiatry practice in Cumming is attempting to use the latest technology to make surgery as painless as possible — or eliminate it altogether.
Dr. Patrick Qualtire is planning to open his new practice, Integrity Foot & Ankle at 106 Pilgrim Village Drive, Ste. 400 in Cumming, in early October, where he and his staff will treat all ages and “do everything from toenails to total ankle replacement surgery.”
Qualtire graduated from the California School of Podiatric Medicine in San Francisco and completed his residency program and surgical training at the University of Florida Health System’s Shands Medical Center in Jacksonville in the orthopedic surgery department.
“Even though I’m trained in surgery, I don’t consider this a surgical practice,” Qualtire said. “We are a general practice and we focus on conservative treatment first to try to keep you away from surgery, but then if it needs surgery, we can do it.”
A big focus for Qualtire and Integrity is non-surgical or minimally-invasive procedures, such as a bunion procedure that improves on previous generations of surgeries and medical technologies.
“I’m one of only a handful of surgeons in all of Atlanta that’s trained on two minimally-invasive bunion systems,” he said. “Traditional bunion surgery requires a three- to four-inch incision, and it’s on top of your foot, so you see it, then also, you’re off your feet for a while.
“With the minimally-invasive approach, there are three or four small poke holes and an implant that goes in there and you can stand on it the next day.”
Qualtire said the procedure also uses about 80% fewer narcotics for pain management and a patient could have the procedure on Thursday and be back to work on Monday.
The center will also have a focus on regenerative medicine.
“We’ll focus on stem cell products, amniotic fluid, platelet-rich plasma,” he said. “These are all cutting-edge kinds of therapies that help people with tendonitis, sports injuries, helps them return faster. It’s minimally invasive. Most of them are injection based.”
Using resources like platelet-rich plasma and deep-heating lasers that help produce growth factors for damaged tissues, Qualtire and his team can treat injuries like tears, Achilles tendon injuries, tendonitis and plantar fasciitis that can stave off surgery.
“I’ve seen people with calcified Achilles tendonitis, where their Achilles hurts right in the back of their heel, and we were ready to take them to surgery,” he said. “We used the laser and injection therapy, and no surgery, so big win there.”
While many develop foot and ankle pain later in life, Qualtire said there are a myriad of conditions that can bring kids and young adults to his office, such as sports injuries, heel pain and ingrown toenails.
Qualtire said he often recommends a full biomechanical evaluation of hips, knees and ankles to see what is causing issues and address them with custom inserts for shoes.
“A lot of times with this biomechanical exam, I can make some adjustments with this new shoe, and we can stop issues from happening down the road,” he said. “I have a lot of patients where I tell them, ‘Boy, I wish I had caught you 10 years ago. I could have maybe stopped this from being as bad as it is today.’”
Integrity will also include a state-of-the-art X-ray machine, have a partnership with local surgery and wound care centers, and will have a focus on diabetic patients, who often suffer from foot problems.
Qualtire said he has more one-on-one interactions with patients that would happen at a larger facility and he strives to make sure his patients have a say in their own health care.
“I like to converse with the patient, let them talk, tell me what’s going on, then explain,” he said. “So rather than just saying, ‘oh, we need this or that.’ I like to explain why. It’s kind of a more modern view of medicine.”
Integrity Foot & Ankle is at 106 Pilgrim Village Drive, Ste. 400 in Cumming. For more information, visit www.integrityfootdoc.com or call 678-369-2567
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