The old adage “You can never go home again” did not ring true for local podiatrist Dr. Clayton Toole. Although this young man’s journey started in the halls of Huntsville Independent School District’s buildings, and he followed in his family’s footsteps becoming a Bearkat during his undergraduate years, he attended podiatry school in Cleveland, Ohio, and completed his residency in Brooklyn, New York. Although his desire was to stay in Texas to pursue his higher education, there were not any podiatric schools in the Lone Star State. After moving a number of times as he pursued his degrees, he and his wife Marci decided “to plant their roots, settle down and not move anymore.” He returned home to begin serving this community in 2018. Being a part of this community was always the end goal. “This is where we want to be; this is where we want to raise our kids. This is where I hope to finish my career. There are a lot of friends and family in this town that have mentored me and made me who I am. I understand the time and effort they put into helping me…I want to be a person in this community that people can trust, not only from a doctor standpoint, but also as a citizen of the population,” Toole added.
Dr. Toole’s father, who practiced dentistry, impacted his son’s decision to pursue a path in the medical field. “I saw how my dad interacted with his patients. He was influential in my life. Dad was always at every baseball game, etc. I knew that whatever profession I chose in life, I wanted to be there with my kids, to participate in family. Podiatry provides that route for me. I am able to enjoy raising our children along with my wife,” Toole shared. He and Marci met while they were completing a two-year service mission for their church. Lincoln (12), Julia (9), and Logan (6) keep the Toole’s “on their toes.” “Each one has their own interests and likes, and what they enjoy doing. They each bring a different perspective and different personality to our family. It makes life exciting.”
Outside of the flexibility of his schedule, Dr. Toole highlighted another benefit of working in the field of podiatry. “In medicine, there isn’t always an instant gratification of solving the issue presented. However, if someone comes into my office with an ingrown toenail, I can perform a procedure that will generally get the individual out pain relatively quickly. It is great to help the patients to return to their normal routines. Podiatry can also help identify other issues that might be going on in the body, such as diabetes or problems with circulation. We can point the patients in a better direction for their health.”
Dr. Toole joined Foot & Ankle Specialists of The Woodlands; the Huntsville location is a branch of the main office. They offer many aspects of podiatry to those in need of care: wound care, sports medicine, surgical procedures, intervention, conservative treatment, diabetic foot care, ingrown toenails, fungal toenails, etc. “Although we see patients in our office, a large part of our practice is visiting people with podiatric needs in their homes. We have a House-Call-Podiatry Department within the company. Many of our elderly patients can’t get out or don’t want to get out, especially during these times,” Toole noted. “I don’t think very many people in this-day-and-age have seen a doctor inside their house. For some of the elderly, it becomes difficult to travel. It is a great feeling to bring that service to them.” Toole and his Medical Assistant, Christina Orgovan, see individuals in Huntsville, Livingston, Conroe, and even some in the New Caney area. He sees patients in the office three days a week and spends the other two days traveling with his Medical Assistant to see those in need.
Another personal touch this practice adds to their repertoire is access to Dr. Toole through his mobile device. “His cell number is on his business card. We have people who send pictures of their problems or text him at night and on weekends. We want them to know their care isn’t limited just to the office,” Marci shared. “It is a comfort to know patients can get a hold of me if they need to…That has been a blessing; it has not been a hindrance. People are very respectful,” Dr. Toole added.
After Orgovan performs an initial screening during an office visit, decisions will be made to determine the proper course of action dependent on the needs of the patient. If the doctor feels bone might be involved in the issue presenting itself, an x-ray will be taken. “It is a digital x-ray, so as soon as we take the picture, we upload it and go over it with the patient immediately. We can even provide a copy of the x-ray to the patient if they need it,” Toole pointed out. As the staff showed Postcards the treatment rooms, a special chair was highlighted. “This is probably the biggest selling point of my practice. Everyone wants to sit in that chair and take it home. Oftentimes, we will come into the room and someone waiting for our care will be asleep in the chair,” the staff quipped. At the conclusion of the appointment, Office Manager Marci Toole will set appointments that need to be made and accept payment for the services rendered. “We always want to make sure that people have had a pleasant experience, and not just strictly a sterile, medical interaction.”
The practice makes relating with the clients a precedence. But they also prioritize connecting with the community. “We are involved with the Chamber of Commerce. We created a float for the Lion’s Club Christmas Parade this past year. We also participated in Discover Local. We have tried to get our name out there and make ourselves known to the community. We want people to know who we are, where we are, and realize what we do. We want the community to know we are here to help people…Although Covid has prevented some of the face-to-face meeting with doctors, we have had a steady increase of people getting to know us, coming to us, and trusting us to make them better,” Dr. Toole commented.
Visit them at 640 IH45 (South of Margarita’s Restaurant). (281) 909-7722.
For tips on Foot Health visit the American Podiatric Medical Association: www.apma.org