New York State Podiatric Medical Association Study Shows Podiatric Services Decrease Opioid Dispensing


NEW YORK (March 19, 2018) – A study by the New York State Podiatric Medical Association (NYSPMA) shows that podiatrists can play a key role in helping to decrease opioid prescribing patterns, especially among people with chronic back pain in conjunction with a podiatric-related condition.

Between 2014 and 2015 the number of drug-related overdose deaths in New York increased by 20 percent. According to the CDC, illicit and prescription opioids are the primary drivers of national drug overdose deaths and were associated with 33,091 deaths nationally in 2015, a number that has quadrupled since 1999. New York has identified substance abuse prevention as a priority area within the New York State Prevention Agenda. Additionally, the State has implemented numerous initiatives including Governor Cuomo’s Task Force to Combat Heroin to address this epidemic.

“The opioid epidemic is a serious health care crisis facing our nation. As an active part of the medical team, podiatrists are in a unique position to help address the opioid epidemic by treating the foot problems that often lead to back problems, and ultimately, opioid use,” said Dr. Nicholas Argerakis, DPM, a New York City-based podiatrist and Member, Board of Trustees, NYSPMA. “When podiatrists are involved in the care of patients with chronic back pain in conjunction with podiatric condition, a patient’s mobility may be improved. In turn, this may improve their pain and reduce the need for opioids.”

The NYSPMA is committed to addressing the opioid epidemic, and in 2017 the NYPSMA commissioned a study by Navigant Consulting to advocate for the value of podiatric services to meet New York’s healthcare goals. The research-based study revealed that podiatric services reduce the likelihood of needing treatments via painkillers for other comorbidities or related conditions (e.g., pain killers for the 20 percent of New Yorkers with chronic back pain). The reduction in exposure to opioid painkillers is correlated with a reduction in opioid abuse.


Additional findings:

·         11 percent reduction in the odds of an opioid drug being dispensed among persons with back pain and 28 percent reduction in the odds of an opioid drug being dispensed among persons with back and podiatric-related pain diagnosis who received services performed by a podiatrist.

·         Podiatric services may be associated with a reduction of opioid dispensation for 18,000 people per year.

The results of the analysis further demonstrated a reduction in opioid dispensing among people with back pain or back pain and a podiatric-related condition who receive services from a podiatrist compared to those who do not receive podiatric intervention. These outcomes and other key findings, which focused on three additional chronic conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and fall prevention, were published in the white paper, “Podiatric Services Deliver Value and Improved Health Outcomes.”

The complete NYSPMA white paper is available upon request. For more information on foot health or to find a podiatrist in New York State, visit and follow on Facebook and Twitter.


Established in 1895, the New York State Podiatric Medical Association (NYSPMA) is the first organization of its kind in America. NYSPMA is the largest statewide component of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) and its affiliated national network of certifying boards and professional colleges. The NYSPMA and its more than 1,100 doctors of podiatric medicine adhere to a code of strict ethical standards and participate in numerous programs to benefit patients, the podiatric profession, and the general public. For more information, visit