Put the right foot forward

Yearning to get outdoors for a short hike? Slip on the flip-flops and head out, right?

Wrong, says Dr. Thomas Burghardt, who is an expert in foot and ankle care. He recommends “proper shoes for the environment you’re in.” 

In May, Dr. Burghardt came to Foot and Ankle Surgical Associates (FASA) at 1901 South Union Avenue from almost two decades at the Tumwater clinic. He is a board-certified physician and surgeon specializing in foot and ankle reconstructive surgery and diabetic foot care.

Common foot problems include bunions, plantar fasciitis, peripheral artery disease and foot-related complications from diabetes. In addition, nice weather invites sprained ankles from sports activities such as basketball and hiking.

“For hiking trips, wear proper boots with support, pack moleskin and bandages and consider taking an extra pair of boots,” Dr. Burghardt said. “For casual wear, sandals are fine, but be sure they have an arch support.”

Another tip for foot care is proper hygiene, he said. Toenails should be cut straight across. The clinic does a lot of diabetic foot care, he added.

“Those with diabetes who have bad circulation don’t have good feeling in their feet and can injure themselves caring for their feet,” Dr. Burghardt said. “We treat patients for sores and wound care.”

Another area of concern is peripheral artery disease, which is caused by narrowed and hardened arteries that can reduce blood flow to the foot and ankle, he explained. People who smoke, are diabetic, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol may be at higher risk and need professional care.

Other patients need help for plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes and causes pain near the heel. 

“A lot of foot pain comes from tight Achilles tendons,” Dr. Burghardt said. He cautioned ‘weekend warriors’ to be sure to stretch before they run and to start slowly with low mileage workouts and low impact running. 

Dr. Burghardt, a resident of Tacoma, says he is excited about a shorter commute and a chance to “meet new patients, work with a new team of colleagues and serve the Tacoma area.”

by:  EMILY HAPPY

fasafw.com