by Annette Pinder
Christopher M. Keating is a doctor of podiatric medicine, and could not be more pleased to join Excelsior Orthopaedics — where his dad and uncle also practice. Knowing he wanted to pursue medicine, he worked at Sister’s Hospital after graduating from college to explore the health system’s medical specialties.
“Podiatry fit my personality,” says Dr. Keating. “They are typically happy, calm, and relaxed, and deliver good news to patients.” He also enjoys being able to focus on preventive medicine, adopting a conservative treatment approach before suggesting surgery. Like other physicians, podiatrists spend four years in college before studying podiatry. Initially focusing on general anatomy, they delve into feet, ankles, legs, musculoskeletal pain and injuries, and skin and nail issues. They learn and perform surgical procedures, rotate through hospitals, and complete a three-year residency in their specialty.
Podiatrists help patients by developing a plan to correct or alleviate underlying issues causing their pain — sometimes suggesting different types of footwear, offering strengthening and stretching exercises, and identifying problems with a patient’s gait. Podiatrists can also uncover more serious vascular and diabetic issues that manifest themselves in the condition of the feet.
Consider these five signs that indicate that you might want to see a podiatrist.
1. Tired, aching feet and legs. Many of us experience foot and leg fatigue after a period of walking and standing. This can be related to poor footwear or associated with a high arch or low arch foot posture.
2. Bony deformities including bunions and hammertoes. Bunions and hammertoes often occur after years of wearing improper shoes. Bony deformities may be due to a mechanical dysfunction that causes a gradual shift in bone alignment and a protruding bony prominence. Osteoarthritic changes at the joint or surrounding joints sometimes occur. Conservatively managing these problems include supportive devices and appropriate footwear.
3. Heel pain. Heel pain in adults is often due to overload and plantar fascia inflammation, known as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis affects the fat pad surrounding the heel or a heel spur. When children between 8 and 14 experience heel pain, it is likely due to a common overuse injury called Sever’s Disease, where the heel growth plate becomes inflamed. Plantar fascial tears and growth plate fractures can go undiagnosed, so seeking professional advice promptly is important, especially when bearing weight on the foot is extremely painful.
4. Foot skin and nail problems. With regard to problems with skin and nails, a simple, pain-free debridement of built-up dead skin resolves the pain associated with corns and calluses, warts, recurrent blistering, ingrown or thickened nails, and nail fungus.
5. Diabetes-related foot problems. It is essential that skin, nerves, and vascular supply affected by diabetes are carefully monitored and managed. Podiatrists also help diabetics with education on self-foot, nail, and skin care.
Dr. Keating also sees patients with toe and foot fractures, gout, and arthritis. Echoing a comment he hears from patients, “I didn’t think how much my feet meant to me until they started hurting all the time.” He urges people to not be self-conscious about their feet and to seek medical attention when they need it. Call 716-250-9999 for an appointment with Dr. Keating, and learn more at .