The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Get To Know Your NYC Foot Surgeon: Dr. Ryan Minara

Posted by on Monday, May 8th, 2017

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The foot and ankle specialists NYC has to offer are numerous, so why not choose a provider you identify with? Why not go to an office where the foot surgeons and podiatrists are truly passionate about what they do? Learn more about Dr. Mariola Rivera, Dr. Josef Geldwert, and, this week, Dr. Ryan Minara in our “Get To Know Your NYC Foot Surgeon” spotlight.

Dr. Ryan Minara is a highly qualified NYC foot surgeon who specializes in reconstructive surgery and diabetic wound care.
Dr. Ryan Minara is a highly qualified NYC foot surgeon specializing in reconstructive surgery and diabetic wound care. Image Source: Healing Feet.com

What first inspired you to get involved in the medical field and podiatry specifically? 

Early on, as a child, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. My interest in the medical field arose out of my diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes at age ten. It meant a lot of exposure to the medical field through doctor’s visits, medications, and hospitalizations. So that made me want to work in medicine—helping people and correcting abnormalities of the body.

Initially, I thought I wanted to be an endocrinologist dealing with diabetics. I shadowed my endocrinologist and hated it—doing it day in and day out was a bit boring. I was still pre-med at the time, so I went back to the drawing board to pursue other interests and see what’s out there. I shadowed different practices—internists, various medical specialties—but the one thing I really liked was orthopedics. I liked figuring out a puzzle—someone coming in with a fracture or bone abnormality and being able to fix it with my hands directly. It was fascinating to me.

The orthopedist I was shadowing said seeing patients in the office was the price you had to pay to get to the operating room. I love the operating room and that aspect of it, but I also love the dynamics of seeing patients in the office and then going to the operating room. This practice has a good mix of patients in the office and in the operating room. I see a lot of diabetics in the office.

I fell into podiatry almost by accident. I stubbed a toe, got a fracture, and discovered I enjoyed the foot and ankle specialty.

What inspired you to join this practice?

After going to podiatry school, I did a four-year residency training program. At the time, there were 2-3 year residency programs, and the difference was how much surgery you did. There was only a handful of 4-year residency programs at the time, so I emerged very well-trained. One area I wasn’t exposed to but had an interest in was sports medicine. I had an option to do a fellowship in sports medicine, but felt a practice like this one would be more effective, so I joined.

What are some of the most common medical issues you treat?

I work here and I work at another center. Here, there is a high degree of sports-related injuries, like stress fractures, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and overuse. We also treat a lot of biomechanical pathologies like hammertoes, bunions, flat feet, and high arches. At the hospital, I see more diabetics with neuropathy and open wounds.

What is your favorite type of patient? 

The best patients are the ones who are dedicated to helping themselves, whether it’s staying off their feet or getting blood sugar under control. I enjoy diabetic and wound closure cases—there is a sense of accomplishment with that. I like reconstructive surgical patients, Achilles tendon repairs, or Achilles tendon detachment/reattachment after remodeling—these patients seem to do pretty well. 

Who are your most challenging patients? 

Some of the more complicated patients are diabetics with Charcot deformity, which involves a breakdown of joint in connection with diabetic neuropathy. It can impact different joints and areas of the foot, so you have to take a different approach with each one regarding offloading, wound care, and rest. The goal is to improve their condition in the long-term and work with their other doctors to develop a good approach.

A lot of the injuries I see are acute ones, and eventually they get to the point where they’re discharged from my care—whereas, with diabetics, it’s like a marriage with the patient, for better or worse; I’m constantly working with them to improve quality of life. Some of these wounds are devastating. It can be challenging to keep them off their feet, especially when they have no sensation. Some people are very dedicated to getting…better, and they still have problems, so that can be discouraging.

What is the most common piece of advice that you dispense to patients?

I always tell patients there is work involved on their part. I don’t have a magic wand. When advising rest or immobilization, they must be aware they need to do their part in the healing process—and they’re usually very on board with that, which is great. Another challenge is getting them in the door when pain arises. Never take pain for granted: always come in and check it out to ensure there’s not a more serious underlying issue.

What personality traits help you excel at work?

I’m very empathetic. I really care. And I know that seems like something every doctor should or would say, but what separates me from other practitioners is my ability to understand where a patient is coming from—their goals and how to best work toward those goals. I go by the saying, “Always treat that patient as if it’s your mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife, son, or daughter.” If you approach that patient by treating him or her as the most important person in your life, you’re always going to be a good doctor.

One thing most patients don’t know is……

If I did not pursue a career in medicine, I’d probably be an English teacher. I always excelled in that area. I read a lot, but don’t write frequently or flex those muscles.

And a few fun questions…..

What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?

That has changed in the past seven months because I now have a daughter! I can’t wait to get home every day and see what’s new and different! I really just enjoy hanging out with her—reading, singing, dancing—that’s what I look forward to now. Prior to parenthood, I enjoyed more social activities—opportunities to hang out with my wife and friends in any sort of social setting, sporting events (I’m a huge sports fan), or going to dinner.

What was the last thing you watched on TV?

Jeopardy! Almost every day. I don’t have tons of time for TV, but I enjoy Walking Dead too.

What’s your favorite type of food?

I’m a steak guy. Give me a steak any time of day, and I’ll be happy. My personal mission is to get to every steakhouse in Manhattan. Easier said than done, for sure!

What is your favorite vacation destination?

I went to Africa on safari for our honeymoon, so Zimbabwe and Botswana. It was a life-changing and fantastic vacation that we’re continually recalling, sharing pictures and stories from. Our other dream location is Australia, which has lots of adventurous activities and wildlife. I dream of cage-diving with great white sharks one day.

Do you have any pets?

I have a little shih tzu—she’s 16 years old. I’m a big guy—6’2”—and it’s probably a bit funny to see me walk my 10 lb. shih tzu with her pink leash. We’ve been through a lot together. She was my baby before we had a baby. This guy loves his dog!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

“Treat people as you would want your family to be treated.” I cared for my mother during her illness during my undergrad and grad career. She used to say, “Don’t the doctors realize… what if it were their mother or family?” I saw the best and worst of what the medical system had to offer, so this piece of advice really resonated with me. 

If you’re suffering from a foot or ankle ailment, turn to some of the top NY foot surgeons! Request your foot/ankle consultation with Dr. Ryan Minara at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC by clicking here.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.