At Neighborhood, there is no ‘one size fits all’ care. It is important to us that all of our patients receive care that is respectful of their beliefs and needs. Neighborhood providers are sensitive to cultural differences and are aware that, depending on a patient’s background, they may be more susceptible to certain conditions.
Neighborhood Health Center podiatrist Dr. Mohammad Khan, DPM, was recently on a panel for a webinar hosted by the Islamic Medical Association of North America. IMANA is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote awareness of Islamic medical ethics and values among Muslims and health care providers, to provide humanitarian and medical relief, and to be an advocate in health care policy. Discussion included foot care considerations during obligatory rituals, reasons for why those from South Asia and the Middle East are uniquely at risk for metabolic syndrome, diabetic foot care, and tips for prevention of complications.
Dr. Khan explained that Muslim patients are at greater risk for fungal infections in the feet, such as tinea pedis. This is due to practices such as ablution, which is the ritual purification in which the face, arms, head and feet must be washed before prayer. When the feet are not dried properly, it puts Muslim patients at risk of developing fungal infections. When it comes to treating these foot infections, he acknowledged that prescribing topical antifungals has the potential of leading to low compliance rates among Muslim patients. This is because of the barrier most topical antifungals create on the toenails. In ablution, it is necessary that water makes contact with all fingernails and toenails or it is not considered valid.
“You really have to keep in mind what products you’re prescribing to these patients because if you're prescribing something that isn’t water soluble or permeable the patient will know right away and will probably not use it,” said Dr. Khan.
It is also important to be cautious of using or prescribing any animal-derived medications or surgical materials.
“Typically, Muslims avoid animal, especially pork, derived gelatinous capsules,” said Dr. Khan.
In addition to medication, animal-derived products can look like skin substitutes, bone grafts, biologics in wound care/surgical settings. He explained that in a situation of necessity it is permissible, but halal-certified products should always be considered first.
Neighborhood also acknowledges the importance of treatment approaches that adhere to the beliefs of Muslim patients. Dr. Khan explained that having this cultural competency enhances Muslim patients’ experience with their provider, and ensures that they receive the care they need.
“You really want to be communicating what you’re doing, when you’re dealing with the Muslim patient…always ask for permission, especially before touching the patient,” said Dr. Khan.
Being sensitive to, and aware of, cultural differences is significant to creating a better care experience, as well as to Neighborhood’s mission toward health equity for all. Our Neighborhood Health Center podiatry team is here to help ensure your continued health and wellness. Click here to learn more about the podiatry services available at Neighborhood.
To learn more about podiatry & the Muslim patient, watch IMANA’s webinar (featuring Dr. Khan) here: https://youtu.be/tG217IgJBhg