Chris Zayid in discussion with Podiatrist, Dr. Jerry Zayid.

Foot Care for Seniors with Podiatrist, Dr. Jerry Zayid

Join us for an exciting new episode of “Connecting the Community with Chris,” where we delve into the world of foot and ankle care with none other than Dr. Jerry Zayid, a renowned Podiatrist from Commerce Township, Michigan, and the proud owner of Affinity Home Care Agency.

In this captivating episode, Dr. Zayid shares his extensive knowledge and expertise, shedding light on the vital role that podiatrists play in treating various foot and ankle conditions.

But that’s not all—be prepared to discover a wealth of valuable insights as he reveals practical steps that the elderly can take to prevent inflammatory foot problems.

Watch the full podcast or read the transcript below. The transcript has been edited for clarity.

Chris: Hello Hello, I have a special guest with me – my father Dr. Jerry Zaid. Welcome! I’m so honored to have you here.

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Thank you.

Chris: And today we wanted to introduce him and his role in the community. My father is a practicing podiatrist, formerly known as Dr. Jerry Zaid, with over 40 years of experience in the field. In addition to practicing medicine, he’s also a medical Home Health Care owner in our community – started in 2006 -well over 17 years being in the community. Dr. Jerry Zayid also specializes in caring for many different age groups in his practice and also in the Home Health Care field.

So, today I just want to introduce him and learn about his role in the community, a little education, some background. So, the mic is yours.

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Thank you Chris. Happy to be here today.

Well, the journey started when my parents moved us out to Commerce in 1960 and then I went to college at the University of Detroit and earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree and then went to Chicago to the Illinois College of podiatric Medicine and did a residency in Detroit and we practiced in many offices at that time, but now we have concentrated our efforts in the Commerce area and we’re happy to be in in the community.

We’re open to seeing new patients in this office and Chris and I have also started the Home Care business in 2006 and we see many geriatric patients, with many referrals coming from the hospitals – Huron Valley, Beaumont, we even get them from the University of Michigan and Cleveland Clinic. So, we’re very proud of that and we try to give the best care to all of our patients.

Chris: What I’ve learned from you is that how important it is to be involved in the community and you first serve people, and you don’t have to go to school to learn that.

Being involved in your industry I know Word of Mouth referrals was always really important for you. You built your practice through word of mouth and clients and your patients coming to you because you’re just a great doctor.

And so, the role of a podiatrist is what we want to talk about in our first question and what conditions typically does a podiatrist treat well.

Dr Jerry Zayid: We treat the Foot and Ankle medically and surgically, and there’s all types of problems that we deal with. We deal with problems with the skin, warts. We treat if you have Tineopetis, which is a fungus in the foot. We treat ingrown toenails. We do a lot of bony problems that arise, but a lot of them are hereditary, like bunion surgery and surgery for hammer toes and calluses, and we dispense people with orthotics for different problems with the foot, like heel pain or sometimes … you’ve heard of plantar fasciitis.

So, there’s many different problems that we see every day.

Chris: So, with the elderly, zeroing in on that – why is it important for the aging population to care for their feet?

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Well, number one, we want people to be able to realize that when we get older you may develop some problems, say, like diabetes or poor circulation. So, obviously that’s very important when it comes to the foot because as these diseases happen, sometimes you can run into some problems. As you know, you can develop an infection from an ingrown toenail or from different reasons you might form an ulcer on your foot, which can lead to problems down the line. I mean, it can even lead to an amputation sometimes. So, that’s why you got to be very careful and how you care for your feet.

Chris: Now it’s winter and it’s getting cold outside (Note: This podcast was shot during winter), and you know a lot of us complain, the elderly especially, the clients that we see too in the community. A lot of different medical conditions start to arise during the wintertime. What can someone do to prevent an injury, for example, during the wintertime.

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Well, don’t walk on ice, right (chuckles).

Well, we’re all always concerned about the elderly people falling because that usually causes them to break a bone or break a hip and end up going to the hospital. So, naturally, you have to watch where you’re walking, make sure that the furniture is in the right area in the house, and the carpeting is laid out so you don’t trip over them, and you make sure that if you have any problems with your foot that you get taken care of, because that alternates your gait which can cause problems.

Chris: So, home modification is really important, because as you’re walking, whatever is in front of you could be a trip hazard. So, if your parents are at fall risk, it’s pretty important to zero in on if they’re complaining about their feet.

Now, what happens to toenails? As we age, I know that there’s different type of conditions with toenails and I’ve since I was nine years old, had the luxury to be able to see all the different things that can happen to the toenail.

Can you explain to us what that looks like and what is people’s experience?

Dr. Jerry Zayid: I’ll tell you what Chris, it’s amazing. I find that the elderly people that come to the office, I mean, it’s amazing you know, a lot of them really enjoy coming every two months to get their nails cut, because sometimes their nails are thick from fungus or you know other reasons, but they’re unable to bend down and cut their nails.

And luckily, if you got thick fungus nails Medicare will cover that for them every two months and what’s so funny is, this is more important to them than probably getting their hair done. I mean, there are times when it could be a snowstorm outside or the weather’s bad and they still show up, because that appointment seems to be very important for them.

Chris: There’s a special name for that right? It’s called Onychogryphosis?

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Well, yeah, Onychomycosis is the fungus, gryphosis means it’s a thick nail.

We trim the nails, we have a Dremel drill, and we file them down and we make them very presentable for them. There can be topical medication, but it is kind of hard to treat because the nail fungus actually occurs where the nail cells are, that produce the nail, so, it’s hard to get to them. But there are oral medications people can take. But a lot of times, the elderly are on a lot of medications and it sometimes might have side effects. So, weigh the risk and benefit on that, and it’s only a 70-75 percent success rate with the oral medications for fungus nails anyway. But if you’re young and you’ve got fungus toenails, you might want to give that medicine a try and hopefully get that cleared up.

Chris: Yeah, and I noticed that ingrown toenails is something that we see as we age. Is that an age thing or is it any age?

Dr. Jerry Zayid: No, any age. You can even have young infants with ingrown toenails, and a lot of times it could be hereditary, it could be the way you cut your nails or certain pressures on the nail. And it’s good to have those taken care of, because a lot of times they become infected and especially if you have poor circulation or are a diabetic, you can run into some serious problems. So, it has to be addressed as soon as you have that problem and be advisable.

Chris: Can you permanently get rid of an old ingrown toenail?

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Yeah, we can. We can remove an ingrown toenail permanently, so it doesn’t come back. Sometimes a patient wants the whole nail removed, we can do that too, and do a permanent procedure where the nail doesn’t come back. It’s a very successful procedure.

Chris: Yeah, I’ve experienced, from your stories and going to work with you as a kid.

Corns and calluses. Let’s talk about that. What causes corns and what causes calluses?

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Well, actually it’s from pressure. The corns, usually on top of the toe or if you have a tight shoe and the shoe is rubbing on the toe, the skin wants to protect itself and it does that by forming a corn. Same thing with the callus on the bottom of the foot. If you’re exerting a lot of pressure on the bottom of your foot. Sometimes, when you’re older, you lose some of the fat padding on your foot. So, then the bone is putting more pressure on the ground and the skin wants to protect itself and it forms a callus.

People will come in with that and we do different treatments for that. We try to scrape them off. Sometimes, if they’re inflamed and they’re really sore, they’ll have like a bursitis underneath the lesion, and we might inject a little cortisone anesthetic in there to give them some relief from the bursitis.

Chris: How does a bursitis occur?

Dr. Jerry Zayid: It comes from excess rubbing forms of Bursa Sac, which gets inflamed underneath the skin.

Chris: So, rubbing and like friction causes that to happen.

Let’s also discuss numbing of the feet. The elderly get it, different age groups can get it depending on the medical conditions like diabetes. But what causes foot numbness?

Dr. Jerry Zayid: It could be a lot of different reasons. People come in with that all the time. It could be from like you mentioned, the diabetes, sometimes they might have a problem in their back which is impinging on the nerve causing neuropathy, that way, or sometimes you might even want to check some of the medications you take to see if you’re having some kind of side effect or something going on.

Chris: Is it curable though when you have numbness condition?

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Let’s put it this way, I mean, if you’re diabetic and you control your sugar and hopefully you do it at an early time, you can lessen the effects.

Chris: Having a good relationship with a neurologist, is that also important?

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Sure. Yeah.

Chris: You also do work with other Specialists.

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Yeah, a lot of times now, because a lot of times there are some nerve conditions in the foot, like for example, a Morton’s Neuroma, and that’s a nerve that’s in between the metatarsal bones, that’s treatable in the office. We either use a cortisone injection in there to relieve the pain because the nerve is in between two bones and the two bones, if you wear a tight shoe, they press against the nerve and they cause it to shoot up the toes. There’s alcohol sclerosing agents which can just actually destroy the nerve in that area so that you don’t have those tingling sensation effects with that too, that locally with the foot.
But some problems we have to refer out because it’s a medical condition like the diabetes or if you’re having a back problem, you’d have to address it with the right professionals.

Chris: You probably mentioned this already, but is it preventable, can they prevent numbness or sometimes is it a product of the genes?

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Well, I mean, if it’s a back problem and they go in there and take care of the back so that there’s no impinging on the nerve, it probably would help though.

Chris: And then the type of shoes they wear too.

You said talked about the nerves that are getting impinged and it causes pain too. So, why is foot care so important with all the disabilities that people have? What should be someone zeroing in on if they have a disability? What are the essential things that you would advice somebody?

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Obviously they need to wear proper footwear, shoes that are comfortable, preferably that have some support in the arch area, that are wide in the toe box area and has a proper length, maybe a quarter inch extra up for the toes, so that the shoes fit properly, so they could walk.

If you have any addressable problems that are causing your foot to, so that you’re not walking properly, those have to be addressed.

Chris: Yeah, I’m assuming females with heels, that’s obviously something where you see a lot as well.

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Yeah, we do.

Chris: The angle of the feet being on heels is just hitting the nerve.

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Sometimes I can do that, yeah.

Chris: Is there anything, for example, while bathing or any type of hygiene, the elderly is constantly showering and bathing. What advice would you give their caregivers?

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Okay, number one, especially if you’re diabetic, you lose sensation in your feet, so you’re numb right, so you should always, before you put your feet in the water, touch the temperature of the water with your hand and make sure that it’s not scalding hot. Because if you put in your feet there, you’re not feeling that, and you end up forming blisters and you’re going to cause some problems with your feet. So that’s the important thing.

The other thing of course, is washing your feet and drying them really well, because the fungus that we talked about earlier – the Tineopetis, likes to thrive in warm environments, and that’s where our feet are, in our shoes all day long. So, avoid being in shoes 14 hours a day, change your socks, wash your feet every day.

Chris: Well, thank you so much for sharing your expertise and your passion, your drive. Majority of the purpose and the reason why I love what I do is, I’ve seen what you love, what you do every single day. So, I found passion in home care and love waking up every day and serving our community.

It is always an honor to be able to have guests like my father share their passion and their story about what they do here in the community.

If anybody would like to join our show, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to share your story in the community.

Again, thank you for joining me on Connecting the Community with Chris.

Dr. Jerry Zayid: Thank you for having me today, Chris.