Keeping feet functioning well at all ages

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By Nancy Brumback Contributing Writer

Worcester – How do you know if your feet need a podiatrist?

Dr. Neil Feldman, a podiatrist and owner of Central Massachusetts Podiatry, has the answer. “If your foot problems are getting in the way of how you want to live your life, then come see us. We can fix the things that need fixing.”

The Worcester podiatry practice, which also includes podiatrists Robert R. Grondin and Donald E. Pelto, handles just about any foot issue, including bunions and hammertoes, heel pain, ingrown nails, flat feet and arch problems, arthritis and fractures. It has a complete foot care program for diabetics, and can recommend, provide and fit orthotics and shoes.

The podiatrists work with patients of all ages, from children to the elderly. Minor surgical procedures and digital x-rays can be done at the Lincoln Street office, and the practice is affiliated with area hospitals where more comprehensive surgeries are performed. The office is equipped to perform computer and video analysis of running and walking to help identify problems.

Feldman is particularly attuned to working with athletes who have suffered sports injuries.

“I work extensively with running clubs around the region,” he said. “Athletes come to me because I know that, regardless of what I say, they are going to do what they want to do,” and he can help with that goal.

They come to Feldman because he speaks their language and both appreciates and shares their dedication to their sport.

Feldman himself has run many marathons, including the Boston Marathon five times. His blog on Central Massachusetts Podiatry's website, www. centralmasspodiatry.com, currently chronicles his training for this year's Boston Marathon.

He competes in triathlons, and has done seven Ironman triathlons, including the legendary Hawaii Ironman twice. Last July, Feldman finished the 100-mile Vermont trail run in 21 hours, 34 minutes.

This is not a doctor who is going to tell an athlete to just stop running.

For both athletes and nonathletes, “My focus is to connect the dots. It's not just “this hurts, let's fix it.” There's a reason for everything and I want to find the reason,” Feldman said. “It's not just the foot I evaluate. It's the whole body that moves over the foot.”

Feldman helps patients understand the options and what expectations are reasonable with each option available. “There are different ways to get people better, and some of them will require patients to work at it.” He works with other specialists when necessary, such as other physicians, physical therapists, massage therapists and nutritionists to develop a wellrounded plan of care.

When it comes to children, Feldman warned that children with foot problems often don's complain of pain, they just get tired easily, won's participate in activities they like or move in an uncoordinated manner. Parents should watch for those signs and have children examined if they feel there may be a problem.

“Children also outgrow their shoes more quickly than parents expect,” he said. “The shoe needs to match the shape of the foot. If a child's foot is wide in front, the shoe needs to be wide in front.”

“I's like to see children never wear shoes and never sit in chairs,” he said, arguing that sitting all day in school can trigger foot problems. “They should be standing, walking, squatting, sitting on exercise balls rather than chairs and taking their shoes off, the way the body was intended to be used.”

Feldman urged parents to make sure a child's desk at school is the right size, small enough so the feet are on the floor and large enough that the knees are not pushed up. “It's ridiculous to think the same size desk and chair works for every child in a classroom,” he said.

Central Massachusetts Podiatry emphasizes not only the expertise of its professional staff, but also the friendliness of everyone in the office. “We have wonderful people, and there's a positive energy when you walk in,” Feldman said.

The office is located at 299 Lincoln St., Suite 202, in Worcester. For more information, visit the website, www.centralmasspodiatry.com, or call 508-757-4003.

Editor's Note: the preceding is not an endorsement and is presented for informational purposes only.