Dr. Jacobs becomes first-ever podiatrist at Western Sierra

Podiatrist Dr. Tom Jacobs has been busy meeting providers and treating patients in the region, beginning his new and much-needed practice on the right foot.

“There is a shortage of podiatrists in the region, and I’m definitely helping meet a need,” said Dr. Jacobs, who moved cross-country from rural Georgia to Nevada County in late 2018 to be closer to he and his wife’s parents. “I keep hearing (from doctors in the region), ‘Thank God, there’s someone here.’”

That “someone” has three decades of experience, and can help people whose “feet hurt or prevents them from being active,” said Dr. Jacobs, the first-ever podiatrist for Western Sierra Medical Clinic. “I love podiatry.”

Dr. Jacobs earned his undergraduate degree from University of California, Davis, and a medical degree from the California College of Podiatric Medicine in the Bay Area.

Podiatry is an often-overlooked specialty by patients. While many may suffer from foot discomfort – or even outright pain – patients often fail to mention the problem to their primary care provider. For some, it could be a lack of knowledge of the specialty. For others, it may be the lack of access to podiatrists in rural communities.

Few podiatrists open practices in rural communities, instead focusing on metro regions with more patients. But a smaller community in an underserved area lured the new podiatrist to Georgia in the late-1980s.

“We had a great life there,” said Dr. Jacobs, referring to Columbus, Georgia. He says Columbus is much like Nevada County, which is close to he and his wife’s parents in Penn Valley and Truckee. “We want to spend some quality time with them. This is a wonderful area. The nature of the people, they’re just good folks.”

And many of those “good folks” are the patients and providers that Dr. Jacobs has met in just his first few weeks in the region.

“I was attracted to the multi-locations and the quality of care,” Dr. Jacobs said of Western Sierra, which has six health centers in Nevada, Sierra and Placer counties. He has been considering relocating to the region and joining Western Sierra for the past few years. “I’ve already seen a good number of patients.”

But he definitely wants to see many more.

“If you have a concern with your foot, I want to provide help,” he said.