Dr. William Levine is a podiatrist with a private practice in Sands Point, New York. He received his Bachelor of Science from SUNY Binghamton and his Doctorate in Podiatry from the William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago. He completed his residency in surgical podiatry at St. Michael’s Medical Center in New Jersey. He has been in private practice for more than twenty-five years.
Dr. Levine’s practice provides health services for everything podiatry related, from basic needs to surgical corrections and cosmetic procedures. He has met accreditation to allow surgical treatments to be completed at his office so his patients can be more comfortable. He hopes to expand on their existing sports medicine panel in the near future.
Dr. Levine has been successful at learning the least invasive treatment options for several common foot ailments, including a bunion surgery with minimal scarring and recovery time. He has also researched and performed several radiofrequency surgeries to correct plantar fasciitis pain.
In his free time, Dr. Levine enjoys reading, playing golf, and spending time with his three children.
Why did you choose to become a doctor?
I have always been interested in the sciences and medicine. While I was in high school, my sister needed surgery on her foot. That is when the real interest picked up for me for this specialty. One of my uncles was a podiatrist, so I had someone in the field to be able to learn from. I was drawn to the idea of a specialty that is so important, yet doesn’t as often deal with the life and death aspect of medicine.
Podiatry is anatomically related, as opposed to other specialties that deal with an organ system of the body. Every day brings something new because, though it seems like a small focus, podiatrists work with everything from the knee down. We handle vascular issues, dermatological issues, we help a lot with diabetic patients. You make orthotics, handle sports medicine, and perform orthopedic surgeries when needed.
What is your daily routine?
I spend my mornings meeting with routine patients. A lot of elderly patients need help with basic care, like nail trimming or treating corns and calluses. I schedule surgeries on specific days of the week because that requires the anesthesiologist to come in. We went through the certification process to allow procedures here at the office because it’s more comfortable for patients than having to go to the hospital.
On non-surgical days, it’s a full day of meeting with patients. I think the most common issue I have been treating is plantar fasciitis. There have been some advances in the treatment options for those patients and I am able to help with less invasive measures now, so that has been a great experience.
When you look forward in your career, what trend in medicine do you see impacting your specialty the most and why?
The baby boomers are reaching senior age now and that is a large part of my practice. Many elderly patients don’t have really anything else going on, but they still need to see a podiatrist so that they can maintain a healthy gait as they age. Again, these are the patients that may have difficulty reaching their feet to do even basic maintenance and it’s important to make sure they are comfortable.
There have been some great advancements in technology for assessment and diagnosis. Within the last few years, we have begun using ultrasound guided injections so we have an excellent view of exactly where you’re injecting. It has made for more accurate treatment plans for patients and technology just keeps advancing, so I expect to see more as we move forward.
Another trend I have noticed, not necessarily a great one, is a recent change in insurance coverage. More recently, a lot of insurance companies have changed what they cover, forcing many podiatrists to move out of network. This has been stressful all around because, in a lot of cases, the patient has to pay a fee upfront and hope for reimbursement from their insurance.
What do you love about your job?
I love when a patient comes in to be seen because they are in pain and I am able to help them. It is very satisfying to know I relieved that for them. Bunions, for example, can be very painful. If you have one, you can’t find comfortable shoes or walk without discomfort. After surgery, there is little to no pain left and the patient can go back to their normal lifestyle.
What would you consider the greatest accomplishment in your career?
I feel like the rapport I have with my patients is my greatest accomplishment. I treat my patients as if they were my own family. I can talk to anyone, no matter what has brought them to me, whether they are young or old. I hold so much respect for our geriatric community and I love to hear their life stories. I am also fluent in Spanish, so that offers me the opportunity to help those with a completely different cultural background. I just enjoy my patients so much.
Can you share some of your volunteer activities?
For many years, I have been a volunteer for the Special Olympics. I have also volunteered at the New York City Marathon for several years. My practice has participated in many shoe drives for the homeless.
What do you do to mentally separate yourself from your job?
The good thing about this specialty is there are not as many emergent cases as with other specialties. For the most part, once you are done seeing patients for the day, you are done. There is not a need for you to compartmentalize things like that, and I am grateful for that.
Where do you want to be in your career in 5 years?
I am very happy where I am. I plan to continue where I am. I would like to expand our sports medicine a bit because it’s such an important aspect for younger athletes. Other than that, I just plan to keep doing what I’m doing now.