As we continuously push our aging client base to be more active, we want to provide the best information we can for them and our readers. Industry leader of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery and cycling friend, Dr. Al Kline recently allowed an interview with us. A big thank you to him for allowing us to feature this interview as one of our blog posts.
What is a podiatrist?
A podiatrist has earned a 4 year specialized medical degree as a “Doctor of Podiatric Medicine”. The Doctor of Podiatric Medicine is one of four medical disciplines (DO, MD, DPM and DVM) that can prescribe medications, practice medicine and perform surgery of the foot and ankle. Most DPM’s will have a 4 year undergraduate degree, 4 years of specialized medical school training and at least 2 years of residency training and other specialized training if performing surgery. Most schools of Podiatric Medicine are associated with accredited Medical Schools that are in place across the nation.
Who might benefit from seeing a podiatrist?
Anyone with a foot or ankle problem or concerns about their feet or ankles might benefit seeing us. We see patients of all ages from infants and children to adults and the elderly. Most patients with diabetes would also benefit by a routine examination every 6 months. Diabetes can cause neuropathy or vascular changes to the feet that can cause secondary problems that could lead to hospitalizations and even worse, amputations.
What are some of the most common foot problems you see in active people ages 45 and up?
We see all types of problems in the office including ingrown toenails, athlete’s foot, ankle sprains, foot fractures, acute and even chronic injuries. Probably the most common issue that I see is heel pain or arch strain in the form of ‘plantar fasciitis’. This is a very common in sports as well.
What effect does exercise in general have on foot health?
Exercise has a very positive impact on foot health. Of course, wearing the right type of shoes is important to any particular exercise you choose.
As a surgeon, I specialize in reconstructive surgery of the foot, especially if someone has deformities that prevent them from walking or exercising comfortably. However, our practice is very conservative in nature, especially with foot deformities. We believe that customized orthotics can go a long way in preventing injuries and supporting certain type of deformities allowing people to return to activities without pain.
When should someone consider wearing a minimalist shoe?
I don’t see any reason to wear a minimalist shoe. I think shoes are very individual to the person. With that said, most good running shoes and supportive shoes share common features. Most good shoes will have a stable heel counter and material that is built to sustain high impact loads.
Where can our clients go to receive maximum foot care, such as reflexology, if this is something you even recommend?
I don’t believe in reflexology as a science. I don’t think pushing on one area of the foot will cure your cancer, a UTI or your cold. There is no one nerve in the foot that is a direct link to the brain to address a certain symptom or organ as described on the reflexology chart. It’s pure speculation and not rooted in science. A foot massage is probably just therapeutic.
Why did you choose podiatry as a profession?
I was educated in sports medicine and Health Science education, so it seemed like a perfect fit.
How does cycling minimize issues with the feet or does it?
Cycling is a low impact sport and is a good alternative to starting an exercise program. I see many people take up exercise to lose weight and begin a high impact program that can actually lead t injuries and set you back in your pursuit of health.
Dr. Al and Joann Kline have been practicing Podiatric Medicine and Surgery in the greater Corpus Christi area since 1994. To make an appointment, call 361-884-3984.