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Happy feet lead to a happy life

Wednesday, April 25, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Thomas Joseph
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Dr. Sarah Dickey is a podiatrist at the Loyola University Medical Center. She has extensive experience caring for people with flat feet, foot deformities, and diabetic foot and ankle ailments. As an athlete, she has a special interest in seeing her patients get back up and moving. As she says in an introductory video on her Loyola biography page, "The most important thing is to have happy feet so you can have a happy life."

In honor of April being Foot Health Awareness Month, Dickey took time to talk about simple steps to keep your feet healthy, misconceptions about podiatry and why she chose to pursue a career in the industry.

What is the biggest thing people can understand about properly taking care of their feet?

I believe that the thing patients can really glean and learn is that taking care of their feet can really improve the overall health of their entire body.

What is a simple thing anyone can do that would have a big impact on their feet, as well as their overall health?

Taking care to stay limber and exercise is obviously important, but so is stretching. Everyone is so on the go and busy trying to do so many things in a small timeframe. People will make it to the gym or go out for a quick walk, but then they don't stop and stretch afterward.

A simple calf stretch can go a long way. Unfortunately, by not stretching after a walk or gym workout, the tension in the calf muscle builds up over time and contributes to plantar fasciitis, which the most common foot ailment.

So, even if you're at work, do a calf or wall stretch. Hold it for 15-20 seconds and then switch legs. That right there takes less than one minute and can keep your calf muscle flexible.

What's the biggest misconception about podiatry?

The most common misconception about podiatry is that we just do nail and callus care. We have a wealth of knowledge in biomechanics, and we are the premier foot and ankle specialists.

How do you think that misconception can be eradicated?

In our profession we have a dichotomy, which creates confusion to the public. Some doctors call themselves foot and ankle surgeons and others say they are podiatrists. We need uniformity in order to move our profession forward. We should use the "P" word often, and not just in PR or marketing materials, but in day to day conversations with colleagues, family members and patients. If we start identifying ourselves as podiatric physicians and surgeons, our identity crisis will end.

What interested you most about pursuing a career in podiatry?

I became interested in the podiatric profession because of its dynamic capabilities. It's a field of medicine with a lot of sub specialties. You can specialize in sports medicine, pediatrics, deformity reconstruction - the list goes on and on. There is a plethora of opportunities within our great profession.

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