Although our podiatrists are highly experienced in noninvasive and minimally invasive procedures and traditional surgical techniques, they strive to begin treatment with conservative measures. This approach can help you avoid the risks and recovery needs of surgery.
What to Expect
Your first visit to our service begins with a comprehensive physical examination of your lower leg. Your podiatrist evaluates your condition, reviews your medical history and determines your goals for recovery. We encourage you to bring test results or X-rays (if applicable). When necessary, additional X-rays or imaging studies are performed onsite.
Next, your podiatrist diagnoses the condition and discusses treatment options with you, looking at your total picture of health. He or she strives to begin treatment with conservative methods that may include:
- Foot orthoses
- Palliative care (for corns and calluses)
- Cryotherapy (for plantar warts)
- Injection therapy for Morton's neuroma
When necessary, your podiatrist may refer you to another accomplished specialist at Mass General for integrated care. For example, a patient diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy possibly resulting from poorly-controlled diabetes may be referred to a diabetologist at the hospital.
Accessible Podiatric Care
Our service combines the one-on-one, personalized treatment patients have come to expect from podiatrists in their communities with the comprehensive health care available at Mass General. In fact, most of the services available at our Boston campus are also offered at a growing list of local clinics in neighborhoods such as Revere, Chelsea and Charlestown.
We can usually schedule appointments within two months, depending on the location. Under the supervision of an attending podiatrist, second- and third-year residents perform limited urgent-care services in Boston for acute problems, such as infected ingrown nails, wounds, sprains, strains, injuries and trauma. Our team also excels at treating patients with emergent foot-and-ankle problems related to diabetes and other metabolic conditions.
An Integrated, Multidisciplinary Approach
The Podiatry Service is a subspecialty of the Mass General Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the best department of its kind in New England and one of the top four in the country. As a result, when our podiatrists recommend additional, specialized orthopaedic care, patients receive access to some of the field's most skilled orthopaedic physicians.
Some of these orthopaedic subspecialties include nationally renowned programs in:
- Foot-and-Ankle reconstruction
- Sports Medicine
- Orthopaedic Oncology
- Orthopaedic Trauma
About This Program
For more than 25 years, the Podiatry Service in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has treated patients ranging from weekend-warrior athletes to those with foot symptoms caused by systemic diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. As the demand for treatment has risen dramatically in recent years, we have expanded our service, making innovative and comprehensive foot-and-ankle care accessible to patients throughout Greater Boston.
Every year, we treat hundreds of patients with a broad spectrum of foot problems as well as ankle and lower-leg problems, such as:
- Musculoskeletal conditions: acquired and congenital foot disorders, sports-related injuries, sprains, strains, fractures, arthritis, bunions, hammertoes, pes planus, pes cavus, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis/heel pain, ganglion cysts, shin splints
- Dermatological conditions: corns, calluses, plantar warts, ingrown nails, onychomycosis, tinea pedis (athlete's foot), ulcers, cysts, abscesses/infections, foreign bodies
- Neurological conditions: Morton's neuroma, peripheral neuropathy, tarsal tunnel entrapment, cutaneous nerve entrapment
- Vascular conditions: circulatory-system problems affecting the feet and lower leg
Outstanding Podiatric Care
In the Yawkey Outpatient Center at our Boston campus, we offer complete foot-and-ankle care resources, including urgent treatment for patients with acute problems (e.g. infections, wounds, sprains, strains, injuries and trauma). Patients diagnosed with circulatory-system problems are referred to our colleagues in Vascular Surgery, also located in the Yawkey Center.
The comprehensive resources available at our Boston offices include:
- Onsite clinical and noninvasive evaluations of vascular conditions (results often available the same day)
- Custom orthoses for an array of foot conditions and disorders
- Specialized assessments, diagnoses, treatments and follow-up care for diabetic patients
- Referrals to rehabilitation services from experienced physical therapists
- A complete, in-house radiology department for X-rays, MRIs and CT scans
- State-of-the-art surgical facilities for noninvasive and minimally invasive procedures
- Evaluations, diagnoses and treatments for sports- and work-related injuries
Staffed by the same expert podiatry specialists as our Boston location, our satellite clinics in Revere, Chelsea and Charlestown also offer many of the same services.
Accomplished & Dedicated Podiatrists
Since the early 1980s, we have provided patients with exceptional podiatric care, integrating it with the other world-class clinical specialties at Mass General. Our team also is dedicated to advancing the discipline of podiatry through postgraduate education. (Our outstanding resident program graduated its first class in 1988.)
Robert Scardina, DPM, has served as chief of the Podiatry Service since 1980 and as director of the residency program since 1987. The first podiatrist to perform foot surgery at Mass General, Dr. Scardina has treated thousands of patients in a distinguished career spanning more than 30 years. His clinical interests include biomechanics and care of the diabetic foot. Other staff members include:
Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases are characterized by pain, swelling, and limited movement in joints and connective tissues in the body.
Bursitis is caused an inflamed bursa, a closed, fluid-filled sac that functions as a cushion and gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body.
Calluses are protective pads made up of the thickened upper layer of skin due to repeated rubbing of the area. Corns are small calluses that develop on the top of the toes due to pressure or rubbing against shoes or other toes.
Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin. Dermatitis actually refers to a number of skin conditions that inflame the skin.
The nerves of the feet are often affected by neuropathy or blood vessel diseases. When a diabetes patient loses sensation in the feet, sores or injuries may go unnoticed until ulcers develop.
Foot pain is often caused by improper foot function. Improperly fitted shoes can worsen and, in some cases, cause foot problems.
A fracture is a partial or complete bone break. When a fracture occurs, it is classified as either open or closed.
Skin fungi live in the dead, top layer of skin cells in moist areas of the body, such as between the toes, groin, and under the breasts. These fungal infections cause only a small amount of irritation.
Gout is characterized by inflamed, painful joints due to the formation of crystal deposits at the joints.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic, degenerative, joint disease characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage and adjacent bone in the neck, lower back, knees, hips and/or fingers.
As a person grows older and is exposed to sunlight, the skin changes. Most people have some skin marks, such as freckles and moles, which may multiply or darken over time.
Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic, autoimmune disease, is the most crippling form of arthritis and affects approximately 2.1 million Americans.
Many activities can lead to soft-tissue damage of muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
The majority of sports injuries are caused by minor trauma involving muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons, including contusions (bruises), sprains and strains.
Cancer that starts in any part of the head or neck (except the brain or eye) is called head and neck cancer.
Different fungi, depending on their location on the body, cause ringworm. Ringworm is characterized by ring-shaped, red, scaly patches with clearing centers.
Warts are non-cancerous skin growths caused by the papillomavirus.
The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.
Robert Scardina, DPM
Carol DiVaio, DPM
Stuart Kigner, DPM
Sammy Lee, DPM
Vasilios Lirofonis, DPM
Harry Papazian, DPM
Robert Riccitelli, DPM
Norman Wortzman, DPM
Scott Yates, DPM