Center for Ankle and Foot Care

Center for Ankle and Foot Care Blogspot

Do not ignore an open wound on your foot!!!

31 Mar 2020 22:56

Today we are continuing our series on when to actually go to see your podiatrist. Today we discuss the different types of wounds we see in the office.  Again we want to keep you out of the hospital and urgent care centers where all the sick people are going!

For All wounds,  good advice:

  • If you notice drainage on your sock go see your podiatrist
  • If you know your sensation is poor, you should be checking your feet daily
  • If you have a new area on your foot that is open go see your podiatrist
  • Blistering and leaking fluid from your legs and feet, go see your podiatrist
  • Extreme pain in the foot and an open wound go see your podiatrist
  • anything out of the ordinary on your foot or ankle, go see your podiatrist

Diabetic wounds:
  • Usually associated with lack of protective threshold(poor sensation, so you do not feel pain and discomfort) 
  • The simplest thing, like wearing a shoe that is even just a little too small can cause a serious wound and problem
  • Do not ignore your problem, if it looks bad but you can't feel it, that does not mean it is OK
  • The best thing you can do is get in to see your podiatrist, there are sometimes very simple solutions that can save you from limb loss
Venous wounds:
  • Usually, these patients present with swollen legs with fluid leaking from small or sometimes big blisters
  • This is another wound type that can get serious fast, many times if you see a doctor who does not treat these types of wounds they send you to be admitted to the hospital, we are trying to keep you out of the hospital
  • Sometimes simple advice, like elevate the legs can be the difference between going to the hospital or not
  • There are many simple ways we can mange this in the office as well
Arterial wounds:

  • Sometimes patients do not have blood flow, meaning their arteries are not getting blood to where it needs to go
  • These wounds can be more complicated, as without blood flow no wound will heal
  • Our job is to keep you from getting infected and help coordinate care with the vascular doctor
  • We do not debride these wounds, as they can get bigger, unless there is infection with a chance of wound causing sepsis
  • So take home point, go see your podiatrist before the wound gets to that point
So like all of you, we are struggling with all the new responsibilities we have had thrust upon us over the last couple of weeks. Yes, it is the worst to be cooped up at home, but it always could be worse.  We are travelling back and forth every day to our office to home with our 3 children, who now have to home school, this is not the easiest task even if you have good kids! We are small business owners who understand having to work hard to make sure everything goes smoothly, or at least try to make things go smoothly! We love what we do and our very happy to help our patients and friends stay out of the hospital.  
Our website has always had a dedicated page for our wounded patients. Check us out here:
Stay safe everyone and remember to wash your hands and keep your distance from others.
Michele McGowan DPM and Timothy Henne, DPM
The Center for Ankle and Foot Care
3190 Citrus Tower Blvd Ste A

Don't ignore your ingrown nail, especially if you are diabetic!!

29 Mar 2020 02:38

Trying to keep our patients out of the ER 

  • There are problems that all of your specialist can handle right now to keep you out of the emergency room
  • We treat many foot and ankle emergencies right in our office
  • Many podiatrist have on-sight X-ray so they can diagnosis and treat your broken bone 
  • You should never ignore bruising, swelling or unexplained redness on the lower extremity

Today we are discussing ingrown toenails

  • If you have a toe that is red, and swollen like the picture to the right, you should not be trying to ride this out
  • Ingrown nails are typically painful, but in our diabetic patients with neuropathy (unable to feel pain from an infection is one example of neuropathy)
  • If left untreated this can be a much bigger problem, infection in the worst case scenario can lead to an amputation of a toe
  • Treatment is a simple in office procedure

The Video below is an ingrown nail procedure

Ingrown nail surgery:

  • The toe is anesthetized with 1% Lidocaine
  • The offending border is freed from the nail bed 
  • An instrument is used to only cut out the ingrown border
  • After the bad part of the nail is removed, a topical medicine is used to stop the border of the nail from growing again
  • If the patient does not have good blood flow, this procedure can not be performed but your podiatrist can most likely alleviate some of the problem and place you on an antibiotic
  • The video above is us removing an ingrown nail on a patient

Not sure if you need to be seen in the office?  You can reach out for a Telehealth visit first at:

Curbside check-in for patients during COVID-19 in our podiatry office

26 Mar 2020 14:32

Dr. Michele McGowan and Dr. Timothy Henne from the Center for Ankle and Foot Care sharing their experiences during their transition back from Spring Break 2020 walking into the Pandemic COVID-19 seeing patients, helping facilitate kids virtual learning and keeping patients, staff, children and selves safe.

Virtual school
First, we have to say our children's school has been amazing during this time. They had let all parents know before spring break that they were going virtual after the break.  As promised, Monday they were up and ready to go.  The teachers are also hitting it out of the park.  Lesson plans seem back on track and having kids in elementary, middle and high school all at the same facility, it is amazing to see how well they teachers and school are pulling it all together.

Forced Family Fun Time or FFFT
Forced family fun time, our children would tell you is not new for our family during the Coronavirus.  We have been practicing FFFT for quite sometime.  Once our older children got cell phones we have been vigilant that they do not become phone zombies.  We think they like hanging out with us but we still every day have planned or on the fly activities that we make all 3 children participate, even if it's just a movie. (I know that is still a screen but we are looking at it together at least.) And this isn't a parenting blog but we also sit and have dinner together as a family every night.  It is always fun and entertaining but I think really important now more than ever to just sit with your kids and discuss the day and how they are feeling.

Curbside check in
So we had no real idea if curbside check in would actually work.  It is going really well.  I think almost every one has a cell phone. Our older patients are figuring things out pretty easily.  We really did just make up things as we were going, using common sense really comes in handy sometimes!

Curbside check-in benefits:

  • Decreases people congregating in a waiting room setting
  • Gives staff and doctors the ability to control flow of getting patient in a clean room
  • Limits patient contact with other patients in hallway and check out desk
  • Gives patients the confidence that we are going above and beyond to keep them safe
Cleaning the office
We did find it weird that some of the other doctors offices started to reassure patients that they were taking special measures to keep things cleaner when the COVID-19 became apparent it was going to have an impact on us all.  What?? Didn't they clean their offices before? Listen, your doctors office should always have been cleaning treatments rooms between patients with supplies that are meant to kill germs, bacteria and different flu strains.  It is a doctors office, there is no confidence in an office that states, "Now we are cleaning thoroughly." That wouldn't be a sell for me as a patient.  
Employees dedication
I can not begin to thank my employees enough.  If you have been to our office you have met Diana and Reshanda.  In these uncertain times, we understand and respect employees taking off time to be with their families, socially isolate, self quarantine and stay home.  I think these measures are important to help decrease the spread of the coronavirus.  That all being said, we are happy to have people that are helping us in the trenches.  It makes our lives and our patient lives so much better.  We just wanted to publicly acknowledge that we truly appreciate you!!!!
Be prepared as a patient when you go to the doctor
  • If you are new, have your insurance cards ready, or email prior to visit
  • If you have a copay, have it ready decreasing your time and interaction with others
  • Use the million of different types of hand gel and foams we have around the office
  • Don't steal supplies from the doctors offices, like gloves, we need them
What not to touch in public
  • I am a germaphobe, do DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING
  • Avoid pushing elevator buttons
  • Avoid door handles 
  • Common sense prevails always, wash your hands and use hand sanitizer
Lastly, we are busy parents and doctors, we are filming these little videos, obviously not editing them:)It is a first take scenario and what you see is what you get, LOL.  This video is what our kids would say was our "OK BOOMER!" moment.  Our light went out so we were done. I hope some of our information is either helpful or slightly entertaining.  Stay safe everyone!

Telehealth and Bunions: When to go to see your Podiatrist during the Coronavirus Pandemic

25 Mar 2020 02:40

So we are knee deep into day 2 of seeing patients after getting back after our kids spring break.  It has been day two and it feels like, I don't know, maybe a month!!

 Goal #1:  Stay Out of the Hospital -  Day 2    I had to go to the Villages Hospital for emergent surgery. So we love what we do and love limb salvage and helping patients keep their toes, feet and legs.  It really is very gratifying to offer options for patients when others just offer below the knee amputation.  It was incredible to just call the hospital and be able to add a case whenever I wanted or was able to do so.   But it also was ominous,  the effect of the coronavirus on the medical community.

Goal #2: Keep non-emergent non-medically necessary patients out of the office- Day 2  We had at least 5 patients show up with non-emergent problems like bunions and hammertoes. 
So if you have a bunion or hammertoe, don't go see your podiatrist right now in the light of a pandemic aka the coronavirus.  Maybe do a Telehealth visit with your podiatrist if you are not sure after watching this. Yes it will suck for a doctor to tell you, buy bigger/wider shoes, but it could save someone else from getting sick!

Goal #3: Keep kids well stocked with supplies during the time of virtual learning- Day 2 The oldest child complains about not having "fancy mechanical pencils"  We have a box of a 150
pre-sharpened pencils available to the children.  Back in my day pre-sharpened pencils was a luxury!!

Goal #4 Forced Family Yard Time ( Like prison getting a little exercise) - Day 2 ended short when 8 year old fell off scooter and blamed Mother Nature for her pants getting wet.  Sprinkler was broken and she landed in the only puddle of water on the driveway.  
So we are all in this together! Stay safe, wash your hands, try to laugh when you can:)  

Red, Hot and Swollen in the foot is bad...Especially if you are diabetic!

24 Mar 2020 01:33


So while keeping yourself safe from Coronavirus don't let yourself go on to limb loss.  These are crazy times we are currently living in, but we still need to maintain our health of our total body.  We pride ourselves on limb salvage and helping our patients keep their limbs at all cost.  Before you ignore the red swollen toe, foot or ankle think again.  Diabetic foot infections happen quick. You should be checking your feet daily and inspect for anything abnormal.

Diabetic Foot Facts:

  • Podiatric medical care in people with history of diabetic foot ulcer can reduce high level amputation from between 65% and 80%  Gibson, et al, Int Wound Journal, 2013
  • Diabetes kills more people annually than breast cancer and AIDS combined. American Diabetes Association, 2009
  • Chronic wounds affect some 8 million Americans each year. That’s one wound every 3.8 seconds in the USA, alone.
    Harsha , 2008 and Tomic-Canic 2010
  • Diabetic foot ulcers double mortality and heart attack risk while increasing risk for stroke by 40%
    Brownrigg, et al, Diabetologia, 2012
  • Every 30 minutes a limb is lost due to a landmine, Every 20 seconds, a limb is lost due to diabetes. Bharara, Mills, Suresh, Armstrong, Int Wound J, 2009
  • The relative 5-year mortality rate after limb amputation is 68%. When compared with cancer – it is second only to lung cancer (86%).  (Colorectal cancer 39%, Breast cancer 23%, Hodgkin’s disease 18%, Prostate cancer 8%) Armstrong, et al, International Wound Journal, 2007
  • Diabetes contributes to approximately 80% of the 120,000 nontraumatic amputations performed yearly in the United States.  Armstrong et al. Amer Fam Phys 1998
  • More than half of all foot ulcers (wounds) will become infected, requiring hospitalization and 20% of infections result in amputation.  Lavery, Armstrong, et al.  Diabetes Care 2006
  • Up to 34% of those with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer. Armstrong, Boulton, Bus, New England Journal of Medicine, 2017
  • 60-70% of those with diabetes will develop peripheral neuropathy, or lose sensation in their feet.  Dyck et al.  Diabetic Neuropathy 1999
  • The estimated annual US Burden of Diabetic Foot Ulcers is at least $15 Billion Rice, et al, Diabetes Care, 2014

My feet are killing me and I do not want to go to the doctor for my heel pain!

23 Mar 2020 15:39

We are trying to give some simple real world advice on heel pain and how to stay out of the ER and Urgent Care centers while the Coronavirus is a part of our daily life for now.  Dr. Henne and I know that some of this information is very common sense.  But honestly, simple things work all the time for minor foot and ankle problems.

In this video we discuss rolling the ice bottle on the foot:
This is simple to do. If you think you have plantar fasciitis or heel pain get rolling! I have had heel pain a couple times and this simple step makes it feel very good right away. Rolling the ice bottle, not only stretches the plantar fascia but it serves as a nice natural anti-inflammatory.

We also discussed stretching the calf muscles which will also in turn stretches out the plantar fascia or arch.  See below my homemade diagram of stretching the fascia because I didn't want to get sued for copyright infringement, so here is my art skill level and why I am a podiatrist!

Next we talked about good support on the foot, even when you are walking around the house you should not go barefoot!!! We like Oofos, spenco, vionic recovery flip flops even a pair of Crocs around the house is better than nothing! Just don't go barefoot and if it is plantar fasciitis, you will feel better.
Obviously, we are human and after watching I thought about a couple things that also we tell patients.  Good shoes with good support obviously.  A good pair of sneakers can help a lot, especially if you have to be on your feet a lot!
If the Shoes need a little more arch support I recommend a Powerstep full length arch support.  Sometimes just a little more support, along with the stretching and icing make all of the difference.
I always tell people that is the pain in the morning is persistent, consider purchasing a posterior night splint as shown below, you can buy it on Amazon.  Even if you can't wear it while you are sleeping, wear it while you are Netflix binge watching during the Quarantine of 2020.
Finally, if you do all these thing and you are not better call your podiatrist office, just make sure they have policies in place to protect you from getting sick!
For more info about heel pain or plantar fasciitis click here:

The Center For Ankle & Foot Care COVID-19 UPDATE

22 Mar 2020 00:37

Center for Ankle and Foot Care Blogspot: If you have a foot or ankle injury DO NOT GO TO TH...

19 Mar 2020 22:10

Center for Ankle and Foot Care Blogspot: If you have a foot or ankle injury DO NOT GO TO TH...: If you sprain an ankle, rip off a toenail or have an infection or wound on your foot or ankle you should avoid the emergency room and urgen...

If you have a foot or ankle injury DO NOT GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM OR URGENT CARE CENTER!!!!!

19 Mar 2020 21:34

  • wash your hands
  • carry hand gel
  • avoid crowds and unnecessary travel 
  • re-schedule elective procedures
  • avoid urgent care centers and emergency rooms
  • stay home if you can
  • take advantage of telemedicine appointments

Again, as always from our family to yours, stay healthy!!!

Coronavirus and your foot health

18 Mar 2020 18:09

Taking care of yourself remotely in light of the Coronavirus
Dr. Henne and myself, Dr. McGowan, are dedicated foot and ankle surgeons.  Telemedicine is now an option for all patients that either have a genuine valid fear of becoming sick and for those whose immune systems may put them at higher risk in a waiting room situation.  Your doctors offices should be working on more proactive steps like curbside check in reducing your interaction in a waiting room setting. This decreases your chances of being in close contact with those that may not even know they are sick or contagious. We are podiatrist that practice in Florida but according to the new legislation that may be passed today we will able to help patient across state lines.  If your podiatrist cancels your appointment but you have questions we would be happy to help you!

Much of what we do in our profession, we actually need to see the patient because palpating and sometimes X-rays are very necessary as well as in office procedures that can't be performed over the phone.  However, there are many foot and ankle problems that patients may be able to have a conversation via phone, email interaction or Skype session with one of our doctors to help. We can prescribe and even write for X-rays to be performed in a location closest to your home and that can be by appointment only. 

We would love to help your feet feel better and keep you safe all at the same time. We are completely set up for Telemedicine in our practice.  You are more than welcome to call our office and set up an appointment with our office staff at 352-242-2502 to make an appointment.  Or visit our website at and request an appointment or you can email to request an appointment. Dr. Henne and I will also, as of tomorrow, have after hour and weekend appointments for Telemedicine. 

We wish everyone health and wellness as we continue to do what we love, to help people feel better and keep people moving!

Best of luck and good health wishes from our family to yours!

The Doctors of The Center for Ankle and Foot Care

1 Feb 2019 22:00

Who you choose for treating your foot wound can mean the difference between keeping your foot and amputation!

31 Jan 2019 17:51

Caring for a diabetic foot wound can be extremely challenging.
That is where we come in.
Established in 2002, The  Center for Ankle and Foot Care has a solid reputation and is respected as foot doctors who care about their patients outcomes.  With a shared vision, our doctors started the company with the intent of providing ethical and superior services, and that is exactly what we do.
As surgically trained podiatrists, the Center for Ankle and Foot Care doctors truly understand the diabetic foot, how ulcers are formed and how to treat ulcerations.  Dr. Michele McGowan was trained in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was the diabetic foot fellow.  "My time as the Diabetic Foot Fellow encompassed 2 years of surgical training dedicated to the treatment of the diabetic foot wounds and the complications associated with the wounded foot, " Dr. McGowan explains.  " Sometimes patients waste so much time being under treated by doctors who do not understand the pathophysiology and biomechanics of the diabetic foot.  There are so many studies that show the better outcomes are associated with timely intervention by a skilled physician." 
If you are diabetic and have a wound on the your foot, it is time to call our office.  Dr. McGowan has made treating the diabetic wounds her passion.  "I believe preventive care is paramount, many patients we treat that are diabetic are not aware of all the benefits that insurance covers for them to stay wound free."  At our office we work hard on helping you treat your diabetic foot wound, we work closely with other doctors like vascular and infectious disease, as the team approach is needed many times in the diabetic foot. 
" I love helping patients with wounds get better.  There is no other part of my profession that I enjoy more.  It takes a lot of hard work on the doctor and patient side to help heal a wound.  I am a big fan of tough love and make my patients be an active part of their care. Patients need to know how important it is for them to be invested in their outcome.  Wound care is not a passive patient treatment, patients come in to our office and if they really want to be healed we can help them.  Sometimes I have to get a patient to a vascular doctor to restore blood flow, or an infectious disease doctor for IV antibiotics, sometimes patients have to wear an annoying boot they don't want to wear.  But I take the time to explain all of this to a patient. Sadly, sometimes a patient comes into the office after delaying care for so long and I have to be the person who tells them that it is too late for their limb."  If you have been struggling with a wound for a long time on the foot, it is time to call us at The Center for Ankle and Foot Care and make an appointment with Dr. McGowan.  Call now 352-242-2502. 

Dear Patient, I Can Help You Heal....But I can not cure you!

25 Jan 2019 14:56

A story on why Diabetic Foot Ulcers continue to recur and the painful truth on why it continues to happen.


Dear Patient,

You are not alone.  After the last 17 years in private practice and the 4 different wound care centers I have seen patients, there are literally thousands of people just like you. I have personally met many people just like you.  They all have some pretty similar stories.  There is the patient who was first seen by his primary care physician who saw the wound on the bottom of your foot and your doctor decided to try to treat it.  Maybe the doctor was trying to make your life more convenient, to not have to go to more than one doctor.  Or maybe your doctor did not realize the urgency there is to diagnosis and start treatment for these types of wounds.  Whatever the reason may be, there was a delay in the care of the wound most likely until you were referred to a foot doctor, or podiatrist.  A Podiatrist is a doctor who is skilled and trained to treat conditions below the knee.  After completing 4 years of post graduate training, your podiatrist will most likely have completed a 2 or 3 year surgical training dedicated to the disease processes related to below the knee.  Many podiatrist have extensive training in diabetic limb salvage.

Over the last couple of years, I have had many other doctors and patients comment at how good I am at treating the wounded foot.  I have worn that hat very proudly, until this past Monday.  I was seeing patients at one of the wound care centers that I work at, when I over heard the patient speaking to the nurse and his exact quote was, " This is all of that doctor's fault that I have this wound again!" I immediately got defensive in my own brain. How dare he say that, it's not my fault his ulcer recurred again.  He has bad luck, bad protoplasm if it were, I healed him fair and square.  He re-ulcerated on his own. I had worked myself up that by the time I had got in the room I was ready to let him have it.

An interesting thing happened when I went in the room.  Right away I looked at this man, who I had treated for months and finally healed after he had the problem for about a year before I met him.  I can honestly say it took us a good 6 months before he had healed.  He had to have IV antibiotics, a special shoe that took pressure off of the area where the wound was located, as well weekly debridements on the wound until he was healed.  Debridement is when the doctor uses an instrument like a surgical blade to remove all of the dead tissue within the wound.

I opened the treatment room door, took a deep breath and then I said, "I can help heal you again, but I can not cure you!" The patient became very agitated by this news.   I will admit that I am very good at giving  advice on how to not get another wound.  I know that before I discharged this particular patient from the wound care center, that I explained to him how important it is to see a foot doctor regularly.  I explained to him that a foot doctor can shave down a callus that could potentially become a wound.  I discussed with him the importance of daily foot inspections and for special shoes to offload the problem area. But, I can honestly say, when he heard the words "you are healed" a couple months ago he assumed this was cured.

He was struggling to argue with me, because he knew that we had discussed wearing the diabetic shoes.  We discussed all of the preventive measures he should take, but he was healed.  He just didn't get it, I could tell by the very confused look on his face.  So I blurted out "When my husband had colon cancer in 2015, the doctor cut out the part of his colon that had cancer and for all intensive purposes he was healed and cured. Yes he could have recurrence but for now he is still cured." I explained to the patient that diabetic wounds on the bottom of your foot are a much poorer prognosis than my husbands colon cancer. Most patients are just not aware of the fact that Diabetes kills more people annually than breast cancer and AIDS combined. American Diabetes Association, 2009. This patient, like the majority of patients with diabetes, do not know that every 20 seconds someone has a non-traumatic amputation as a complication from their diabetes.  Armstrong, et al, Diabetes Care 2013

Patients living with diabetes often do not know that 60-70% of those with diabetes will develop peripheral neuropathy, or lose sensation in their feet. Dyck et al.  Diabetic Neuropathy 1999. This neuropathy, or lack of sensation is why this patient continues to ulcerate or have an open wound develop.  Every time he gets out of bed in the morning to brush his teeth and he doesn't put special shoes on, he starts the road back to ulceration.  Every time he decides to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom he starts the pathway back to ulceration.  He just doesn't understand, once the skin is healed, it does not make him cured.  He will struggle the rest of his life to not be a statistic! Up to 34% of those with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer. Armstrong, Boulton, Bus, New England Journal of Medicine, 2017.  More than half of all foot ulcers (wounds) will become infected, requiring hospitalization and 20% of infections result in amputation. Lavery, Armstrong, et al.  Diabetes Care 2006
There is a shroud of denial that many of these patients wear.  They don't want to hear the words that might just save their limb.  I will continue to push and be an advocate for my wounded patients. But if you are diabetic you need to play a role in your care and then it continues into your prevention. It takes so little effort for someone to re-ulcerate.  It takes great efforts to stay healed.  When this patient re-ulcerated he did not go into remission, there is no current cure for what he has. He has the perfect storm of neuropathy(no sensation on his feet to feel pain), poor bony architecture that causes him to put more pressure in certain spots leaving him vulnerable to developing a callus and ambivalence to the role he has to play in his own care.
So dear patient, if you have just healed from having a wound, you need to do some pretty basic things to keep from having a wound again.  
  1. You have to check your feet everyday
  2. You have to wear diabetic shoes with inserts that have an offload, to take pressure off of the area where you had a wound before
  3. You need to see a podiatrist every couple months
  4. You have to not be in denial that only you can keep you ulcer free
Number 4 is really the hardest. I liken it to when a Type 2 Diabetic is first told by the doctor that "you need to change your diet, cut out your big carbs like your rice, bread and pasta."  But next thing you know there you are in Olive Garden eating your bread sticks and having your pasta. You know you shouldn't be there but you tell yourself tomorrow you will be good.  The reality is that the diet, if you try a little harder each day you can move in the right direction. Your feet are not the same! The day after you just healed an ulcer and you do not wear the shoes that offload the area  where the ulcer was, you are on the path to re-ulcerating or opening your wound again.  I have seen patients on a Friday with a healed toe wound that come back in on a Monday after going to a wedding over the weekend and end up getting a toe amputation from wearing dress shoes that were too tight for eight hours!
So, dear patient, though you actually fall in my favorite patient category to treat, I can not cure you.  I have no other part of my profession as a podiatrist that I find more fulfilling than helping someone heal a wound.  Especially the people who had a relative like a mother or father that lost a limb, and the patient fears that this is some type of genetic legacy to lose a limb.  The technology, advance re-vascularization procedures that the vascular surgeons can perform, the materials available to offload the wounds, the advances in topical medications to help some of these wounds heal were not available years ago.  People back in the day would go to the hospital with a toe wound and leave with a below the knee amputation.  This is not what typically happens anymore.  
Below is a patient who healed a wound in September. He presented back to the office in late December, after being on his feet during the holidays and not in good shoes.  The first picture is what he looked like about 3 weeks ago and then yesterday.  In 3 weeks of taking pressure off of the area and good local wound care he is almost completely healed.  I decided to leave with this image and order because I want patients to know healing is possible, but you have to be willing to accept the responsibility of staying healed and all of the preventive measures that go along with that responsibility.


Michele McGowan, DPM
Center for Ankle and Foot Care
3190 Citrus Tower Blvd STE A
Clermont, FL 34711

Center for Ankle and Foot Care Blogspot: A common pathway to ulceration...the anatomy of a ...

21 Jan 2019 18:21

Center for Ankle and Foot Care Blogspot: A common pathway to ulceration...the anatomy of a ...: To the left, you see two pictures of the same foot.  This is a common presentation of the neuropathic diabetic foot. Neuropathic refe...

A common pathway to ulceration...the anatomy of a diabetic foot ulcer.

21 Jan 2019 17:19

To the left, you see two pictures of the same foot.  This is a common presentation of the neuropathic diabetic foot. Neuropathic refers to the patient's inability to feel pain and the appropriate signals that would help a patient seek care sooner.  A patient has no sensation, they continue to develop callused skin in one area. After enough pressure from a callus develops a wound starts to form under the callus.  The patient could go for a very long period of time with the ulcer getting larger and possibly infected due to their lack of sensation that is often associated with long standing diabetes.

One of the most critical factors in a patient's successful outcome, is having a skilled physician involved in their care.  If you know someone or you yourself has a wound on the lower extremity, you need a doctor who has a passion for limb salvage.  Limb Salvage is a term that has been coined in reference to preserving the diabetic foot or a foot with an open wound.  Doctors who are trained in limb salvage have been specially trained.  As the diabetic limb salvage resident at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, I spent two years diagnosing, treating and preserving limbs of many patients.  I can honestly say that no other part of what I do as a podiatrist is more gratifying than helping a patient prevent an amputation.  I have practiced in Clermont, Florida since 2002 and happy to say that I have helped save many limbs.  If a patient has a wound below the knee, I can help them!  My favorite place to treat wounds is at one of the two wound care centers that I see patients: Leesburg Regional and The Villages Regional wound care centers, but I also see people in Clermont in my office.

Dr. Henne and myself have had many conversations about our patient outcomes.  The most interesting part about our patients in our practice that are diabetic, is that they are not usually the patients that we have to perform amputations on or have to put them in the hospital for a debridement.  Debridement is a term used describe what a doctor does in order to remove dead or infected tissue from a wound. It could be superficial or down to bone depending on the severity and depth of the wound. What Dr. Henne and I take very seriously is the role we play in preventive care in the diabetic foot.  When we meet a patient who is diabetic for the first time in our office we explain the role we play in prevention of future foot problems, by means of At risk foot care. At risk foot care is the term used by insurance companies for visits to the podiatrist for care of the feet.  These visits are ways for early detection of foot problems that could lead to ulceration and possible infections. These visits are meant to put out fires before they start.  What we offer in our office is the patient is always seen by the doctor and only the doctor performs these services in our office.  There is no medical assistant trimming calluses in our office, only the doctor.  These visits do not seem like a huge deal to our at risk patients because they don't develop problems, just by keeping up with a good foot care regimen.

If you are diabetic you should be following some very simple rules:
1. Check your feet daily, and if you can not see or reach your feet, have someone else check them
2. Always wear protection on your feet
3. Avoid soaking your feet, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor
4. Do not wait to seek treatment for something suspicious on your feet

If you have an open wound or you have a loved one who has an open wound, and they have not had any improvement you need to think about seeking out a higher level of care. Look for a doctor who is passionate about limb salvage.  If you are in the Central Florida area, we would be more than happy to evaluate you.  Sometimes when patient's require more complex care, I see patients at the wound care center in Leesburg or The Villages. Call our office today if you would like an evaluation of your wound 352-242-2502.

Our office is located in Lost Lake Professional Village
Michele McGowan DPM
3190 Citrus Tower Blvd Ste A
Clermont,FL 34711.

The most common foot injuries after a marathon! Congrats to the Boston Marathon Runners now your feet need some TLC:)

16 Apr 2018 17:29

To the brave people who have fun pushing themselves to the physical limits in a race such as The Boston Marathon we salute you!  Here at the Center for Ankle and Foot Care in sunny Florida we see our fair share of marathon runners, as Clermont is home to many professional runners and tri-athletes.  Once the race is over and the rush, thrills and endorphins wear off you may be stuck with a couple of little foot problems, if you're unlucky maybe some big foot problems.  Even with the best training and prevention efforts, sometimes stuff happens.  We are going to go over the most common foot problems we see in the runners after putting on so many miles in just one day, and of course all the training that leads up to that day, that can play a true toll on the feet!

Nail Problems
I started here because honestly this is one of the most common complaints we get from patients after they have trained for and ran a marathon.  All those repetitive miles in the shoes over the last several months training for the Boston Marathon has left you in great shape with a jacked up toenail!  The question I get all the time is "will my toenail ever look normal again?" I tell people "Maybe" , this is not a very popular answer I have discovered over the last 17 years in practice. The truth is runners usually have ugly toenails, that repetitive micro trauma plays a toll on these tiny fragile structures.  I have seen patients who have run multiple marathons over the years and during or after training for a marathon their toenails fall off.  Sometimes these nails grow back flat and smooth, but sometimes they grow back thick and lifted and much like this picture above the lifted part of the nail sets them up for a little fungus under the nail.  That is a treatable problem sometimes with a topical medicine or oral medication.

 The other type of toenail that comes into the office after a marathon is a blue toenail with blood under the nail.  I describe it to patient as a blood filled blister under the nail.  If it doesn't hurt and there are no no signs of infection we can do what I refer to as "skillful neglect", which means we just keep an eye on it.  If it continues to not hurt we just wait and watch it over the next several months until the nail is completely grown out.  You basically have to be patient and slowly see the little dry blood spot continue to advance to the end of your toe.  It is not pretty but this is usually self resolving in most people, but again the important caveat here is that there should be no pain and no signs of infection.

But when the toenail itself is actually painful after a marathon, which happens quite a lot, we sometimes have to remove part of or the whole nail. This is sometimes a very necessary evil.  The nail can be ingrown secondary to the repetitive micro trauma in combination with how your foot strikes the ground in time and space.  Like the picture to the left here, this needs medical attention, so if you just finished the Boston marathon and have a toe that looks like this, do not let it stay like this and get in to see your podiatrist! This link here to our website goes into more detail of the importance of treating an ingrown toenail and what the procedure entails.  .

Heel Pain (Plantar fasciitis or Achilles' Tendonitis)
Even in the best conditioned, rolled out, stretched out runner these injuries can happen.  The degree of pain after the marathon and time of how long it hurts usually dictates when we see these athletes.  The reality is after a marathon, these runners expect everything to hurt.  After a week if you are limping still due to a painful heel, either on the bottom like plantar fasciitis or in the back of the heel like Achilles' tendonitis you should get it checked out. These two structures are super work horses during a marathon and play a huge roll in propulsing your every step in forward progression. 

If you want to learn more about plantar fasciitis follow this ling to our website here

If your pain is more in the back of the heel/ankle then click on this link to learn the difference between instertional and non-insertional Achilles' Tendonitis.

Stress Fracture of a metatarsal bone
 The best example of a stress fracture is to grab a branch from a  LIVE shrub or tree and bend it.  You will hear a snap, but the branch will stay together.  This is what happens to bones in the foot.  If too much stress is placed on the bone it will snap, but not fall apart.  That is why stress fractures are often not seen on X-rays.  The foot will start to hurt all the same.  If you keep bending the branch back and forth, eventually it will snap in two.  Likewise, if you keep "stressing" the foot (running, jumping, walking) the foot bone may also snap in two. 
Marathons are the ultimate stress fracture maker. 26.2 miles of stressing these tiny little bones in the feet! 

We see stress fractures in the office almost weekly. They are very common and more importantly easy to treat!  The difficulty is in getting better.  Healing is 90% up to what the patient does and 10% what the patient is.  What the patient does (taking it easy) after the injury is often more important than who the patient is (healthy).  Our runners are usually very healthy but they are crazy and sometimes our most difficult patient to treat because they want to keep running, even with the broken bone in their foot.  That's right I called you crazy if you are a marathon runner but you already know you're crazy so calm down!
Marathon runners do not want to hear the treatment. The treatment is SIMPLE.  Stop stressing your foot!  I typically give the patient a fracture boot and say, "If you wear this all the time, except for sleeping and bathing, you should be healed in 1-2 months.  BUT YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT EASY!  If you get the boot and pretend your foot is not broken and run around all day long it may take 2-6 months.  If you only wear the boot "sometimes" it may never heal or get worse. Like anything when you are a  runner, if you do not convalesce an injury correctly you will suffer forever! 
Congratulations to all the men and women who participated in the Boston Marathon, it is an incredible feat but if you are having feet pain get into see your podiatrist!
Special congratulations to Desiree Linden took the women's race Monday with a time of  2 hours, 39 minutes and 53 seconds. She is the first American to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years!!!!!

Tony Finau... Ankle Dislocation! He is now my second favorite golfer!!

6 Apr 2018 13:50

When Tony Finau hit the Par 3 Hole in One Contest at the Masters this week his celebration caused for jubilation for his achievement, that quickly turned into horror by the spectators and Tony himself.  The video below from ESPN shows Tony Finau discussing his phenomenal day of golf at the Masters after possibly dislocating his ankle.

As Tony's excitement for nailing this shot in one try turns into the 100 meter dash, it quickly turns bad as he turns twisting and we see his foot go one direction and his ankle go the other. Yikes! I'm a foot doctor and even I find this difficult to watch,  But what comes next in this video might be even more shocking, Tony leans over to his left side, uses the ground to push his foot back in the correct direction and stabilizes his ankle with counter pressure to pop that ankle back in place like a robot or something. What? Insane right! Then he gets up and not with the speed he made his way down the fairway but walks back toward the tee box! I have watched football and basketball players dislocate their ankles but they don't get up like this. It was incredible! They literally could use this video in podiatry and orthopedic residencies on how to relocate an ankle.

At first when I heard the news of Tony Finau's ankle dislocation but then saw he played the next day and was leading, I immediately thought he couldn't have possibly dislocated his ankle.  But then I watched the video and it looks like it to me! He apparently had a MRI that shows no structural damage he said, but it looks like his soft tissue could not have been spared. There he was there at the Masters the very next day crushing it on the golf course.

I know in my practice if we are treating an ankle dislocation conservatively, especially if the patient is a super hero and has relocated it himself and there is no associated fracture, we wouldn't recommended golfing the next day, or the next day. Our goal would be control the swelling and having the patient ice and elevate as much as humanly possible for a week or more and an anti-inflammatory by mouth for a week or two.  They would be made non weight bearing but given a pneumatic cam-walking boot for touch down with crutches or a knee walker.  This type of injury can require repair of the soft tissues affected, but even with out surgery they are usually in a cam walking boot for 6 to 8 weeks.

So to see Tony out golfing the next day really made me rub my eyes in disbelief!  Could I have imagined his injury was worse than it really was? No I watched the video again, we all saw it.  So it does beg the question of what is the doctor doing? I'm hoping for Tony's sake he is just icing, wrapped really well by a good trainer and maybe on a steroid by mouth.(again this would not be my recommended treatment regimen)  This is in no way, shape or form ideal, but maybe when you make to the big show like the Masters Golf Tournament you do whatever it takes to compete.

As we have one little golfer in the family, I explained to her what happened(I didn't want to show my 12 year old the video) and I told her to not run while golfing. She replied "Mom, I golf so I don't have to run!".  Which is even funnier because our oldest daughter is a runner and youngest a soccer player! She is my favorite golfer but now I have a second favorite golfer in Tony Finau!!

My hopes and prayers are for a fantastic rest of the Masters for Tony Finau.  I have seen a lot of things in my 44 years here on this Earth, but watching him pop that ankle back in place and then play like that... he is amazing! I also wish him a speedy recovery because he's going to need a lot of rest, ice and elevation after this!

If you would like to learn more about ankle sprains, the less serious injury that can happen when your foot rolls under the ankle follow the link here to learn more:

Michele McGowan
3190 Citrus Tower Blvd Ste A
Clermont, FL 34711

Welcome back Dr. Michele McGowan to the Center for Ankle and Foot Care!

5 Apr 2018 13:14

If you are a patient of the Center for Ankle and Foot Care, then you are aware that Dr. McGowan has been away from the practice for the last 6 months. She has returned this April to start seeing patients. If you do not know Dr. Michele McGowan let us introduce you. 

Dr. Michele McGowan is originally from Willingboro, New Jersey right outside of Philadelphia.  She grew up in South Jersey where she played competitive soccer well into her early 20's.  Dr. McGowan became a Nittany Lion and attended The Pennsylvania State University from 1992 until 1996 where she graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Biology with a Vertebrate Physiology emphasis.  While attending Penn State, Dr. McGowan took the opportunity to shadow many different medical specialties.  "I originally wanted to be a pediatrician, but after two weeks of shadowing 2 different pediatricians, it wasn't for me" Dr. McGowan explained.  "In my sophomore year at Penn State I shadowed an orthopedist and a podiatrist, and I really fell in love with the podiatry specialty! There is something so gratifying to be able to help someone, sometimes on the same day they come in feel better walking out of the office. "
After completing her 4 years at Penn State University, Dr. Michele McGowan went on to Des Moines Medical University in Des Moines, Iowa. "I knew I picked the right specialty for me, when I could spend 6 hours in a library studying a day and enjoyed it" McGowan explained.  Dr. McGowan loved being at the library so much she got a job there where she would work 6 hour shifts, so she could study and get paid! 
While attending podiatry school Dr. McGowan met Dr. Timothy Henne a fellow student at the time and now her husband of almost 18 years.  The two made a great team from the beginning, from journal clubs to jazz clubs they had fun whatever the venue was. Both Dr. McGowan and Dr. Henne were accepted after their 4 years in podiatry school in Iowa, to the prestigious and highly sought after surgical residency program at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.  "I was very excited to have the opportunity to attend the same surgical program as Tim.  The city of Pittsburgh was one of my favorite places I ever lived!"
While Dr. Henne was finishing up another year of surgical training, Dr. McGowan moved to Florida and opened their first office for podiatry in Clermont, The Center for Ankle and Foot Care.  "I did everything that first year almost entirely by myself. I answered phones, made appointments, did my own billing,developed x-rays(we have digital x-ray now), I roomed patient and checked them out by myself for at least the first 7 months" Dr. McGowan explained. "It was fun, patients thought I was crazy but they came back because I helped them, and that's what patient really care about. Now we have this fancy office and gadgets, but patients still just come back because we help them!"

Dr. McGowan and Dr. Henne live here locally in Lake county and have 3 amazing children that keep them on the go constantly. "I used to think when they were babies it would be easier when they were older, but now between 3 children we have the following activities: soccer, basketball, tennis, track, cross country, golf, robotics, cello, guitar and piano! But I would not change it for the world" explains McGowan.  The children of Dr. Henne and Dr. McGowan are a big part of their office life. " Our children have been a part of this family business from the beginning. When they were babies they would eat, sleep and play in the office. Now that they are big kids they have their own room to hang out in, but that doesn't stop our youngest Emma, who is 6, from coming out into the waiting room and trying to sell patients pictures she drew on her days off from school!" 
If you are having foot pain call the Center for Ankle and Foot Care to make an appointment with one of our great doctors!  
Office number 352-242-2502
Office address:
3190 Citrus Tower Blvd Ste A
Clermont, FL 34711

The Lazy Man's Guide to treating your Heel Pain!

9 Mar 2017 14:13

My name is Dr. Michele McGowan, and much like the President for the Hair Club for Men, who is not only the president but a member of the organization himself because he has no hair, that is how I feel about heel pain or plantar fasciitis. I am a foot doctor who treats heel pain multiple times daily and has struggled with heel pain a couple different times in my life.  I help people get better all the time for this yet my inability to take my own advice was my downfall.
I can say that over the last 15 years of private practice in podiatry in Clermont Florida, the frequent flyers we see with heel pain that suffer longer or take longer to get better take all shapes and sizes. But they have one thread in common, which is they are usually too lazy to keep up with a stretching program to get better or stop stretching the moment the foot feels better. When I suffered with heel pain the first time I was a bad patient! I tell my patients all day long that they need to stretch but I suffered with heel pain for longer than I needed to due to my lazy streak and not wanting to stretch. 
Of course, once I started stretching and icing for my heel pain I started to get better and once I felt 100% better I stopped stretching! In order to ward off the return of this horrible pain you have to keep stretching.  This I find super annoying to say over and over again to the same patient year after year, whether the patient is a frequent flyer or myself.  Recently my paradigm has shifted in how I teach the lazy like myself to get better and stay better.

In 2015, when I had plantar fasciitis where it hurt so bad to walk, I decided to purchase a night splint.  This is a pretty simple device that you wear when you sleep that holds your foot in a complete stretch while you are sleeping, genius right? Well turns out this device is not super comfortable to sleep with it on.  This device spent more time with my toy fox terrier dog cuddled inside of it at bedtime then on my leg for the first few weeks.  But then my heel pain got so unbearable that I had to do something, because even the dedicated times during the day that I was stretching was yielding absolutely no result.  

I decided that I could no longer live like this and out of desperation I started to wear my night splint any time I could.  As I do not have a sit down job in one place going from room to room to see patients, my husband thought it was unrealistic to even bring the splint to work but I did.  But he was totally right, I couldn't wear it while seeing patients, but I put on around 11:45am until 1pm during my lunch break.  I would then lug that boot home( I was too cheap to buy 2 boots to keep one at work and one at home) and after soccer, track and music lessons for my girls I would put the boot on again when I was reading, watching TV or finishing up paper work from the office. 
At night I had a very particular regimen,  at about 8 pm I would prop up my leg on a couple of pillows and add a gel ice pack into the foot part of my night splint, place the night splint on and watch TV or finish up my work.  I did this for 2 months and my heel pain went completely away.  Until it came back a year later because I stopped stretching! 
So now I wear my night splint when I am sitting down in my house relaxing watching a movie or playing on my computer.  I currently have no heel pain but I feel like even the couple times a week I wear the splint it prevents me from having to have that sharp pain in the morning feeling and keeps my foot healthy! 
This is basically a little life hack for the lazy who have heel pain.  If you have any other foot problems feel free to learn more at our office website at
Michele McGowan DPM
3190 Citrus Tower Blvd Ste A
Clermont, FL 34711

So you have a Bunion! What do you do?

6 Feb 2017 17:58

Bunions are very misunderstood by patients in many cases.  Patients want to believe that the big bump on the inside of their foot is just skin.  I mean, they push on it and feel it's hard but want to deny the facts that are really going on here. A bunion at its core is a bone deformity, yes there is some imbalance at the joint from the capsule being overstretched on one side and over contracted on the other.  But the bone is ultimately the biggest problem that causes a patient to stroll into our office.

Some patients just want to know what's going on with their foot and some are convinced they need surgery immediately! If you have a bunion it might be worth reading this before seeing the doctor, we have broken down the most common type of patients that come in with a bunion. Knowing which one you are could save you from unnecessary foot surgery!

Not All Bunions Are Created Equal

1. The no pain bunion but someone has convinced them they need to do something before it gets worse. These patients usually are just curious what is wrong with their foot and want to make sure they are not going to be disabled if they do nothing.  These patients are educated on shoe gear and we explain that if you stay away from bad shoes, this may be what their foot is like for the rest of their life.  This visit usually ends with a relieved patient who is happy to not have to have surgery.

2. The no pain bunion but the patient hates the way their foot looks! These are sometimes the most frustrating patient to really help.  They have no pain yet they are contemplating surgery because they think their foot will be prettier.  There is a 50/50 chance this patient walks out of our office angry because we refuse to perform unnecessary surgery on a foot that does not hurt at all. We explain to the patient that even if we were to perform surgery, there is no guarantee that they are going to fit into a narrower, "cuter" pair of shoes after surgery. Some patients appreciate our open and honest opinion and others are just pissed they paid a $40 copay for me to tell them "wear wider shoes"!

3. The painful bunion that only hurts in certain shoes.  This patient demographic is identical to the #2 above, but these patients often present in a high heel stiletto with a foot that is identical to Fred Flintstone! They literally do not want to accept that their foot is just not meant for the shoes they are wearing.  Many of these patients, if they just switch to a mesh athletic shoe or wider shoe have no problems.  But getting this patient on board with this simple solution is sometimes difficult.  I explain that in order to fix their problem I have to cut their bone with a saw, move the bone over to correct the deformity and then put a screw in it.  I explain that they can not get it wet for 2 weeks and they have to wear a post-op shoe for 6-8 weeks.  Almost everyone of these irrational patients say, "can't you just shave the bump?" Because they are now the expert!  I have to almost always explain that we have to correct this problem at the level of the deformity so that the problem does not recur because I like to do my job right. These patients usually leave frustrated and seek the care of another podiatrist who decides that this a great patient selection for surgery. The patient that go to have surgery by another doctor are usually the horror stories you read when you google bunion surgery.  See if you do not have pain before, performing surgery is just cruel and unusually punishment that could lead on to lifelong disability. Pain in and out of all shoe gear is the requirement to have surgery and be happy.

4. The last bunion patient is the painful bunion in and out of almost all shoe gear.  These patients have pain that does not completely resolve with the absence of shoe gear.  This is ultimately the type of patient that does great with bunion surgery.  These people are so happy to have a realigned pain free joint and are accepting of some tingling or numbness that can occur with surgery in this area. But even these patients can decide to keep looking for the shoe that offers them comfort.  

Treatments for Bunions
Again there really are only two treatment options for bunions:

1. Modify shoe gear(go into wider shoes)
2. Surgery

There really are no great in between options for fixing a bunion.  If you have a bunion and you take away pressure to the big toe joint you get rid of what is causing the deformity to get worse and for some take away the pain. If the bunion is mild you can try something like the Yoga toes, but there is no guarantee this product will yield a great result but it may help stretch that over contracted part of the joint. Also, using a gel toe spacer may also yield some minimal improvement but both of these options are much better than surgery that may not be necessary.  If the foot is killing you and you are unable to be comfortable in and out of shoe gear, then bunion surgery may be a good options for you.  If you are looking to learn more about foot and ankle problems feel free to follow the link to our website at

Michele McGowan, DPM

If you live in the Central Florida area, it may be worth your time to take the drive to our office in Clermont to evaluate your bunion to see if surgery is really necessary or not. We are located at:

3190 Citrus Tower Blvd Ste A
Clermont, Fl 34711

Our number is 352-242-2502 if you would like to call to schedule your evaluation.

Ankle Sprain? How do I treat an ankle sprain?

17 Dec 2016 13:21

It is a common scenario, you step off a curb and you feel it, your foot and ankle turn in when it shouldn't! Within seconds your outer ankle starts to swell, get red, and very painful.  If you stand up and can walk I still would recommend you see your foot and ankle specialist.  It is absolutely best to see a specialist that can take an X-ray of your foot and ankle to make sure you have not broken anything.  Your specialist can give you advice on what you need to do to get better, write for a medicine if necessary and offer you devices that may help in the aid or care of your foot or ankle injury.    The reason I stress that you should see your foot and ankle specialist is because there are 6 plus different bones you could possible break with this type of injury. Also, a well thought plan of care is going to be better than your own self diagnosis and treatment. Just "googling" your symptoms, more often than not results in sub-optimal results in your health, and taking your neighbors advice on your foot problems yields pretty terrible results!

So you see your doctor and X-ray shows no fracture, SWEET, right? Well, though I think breaking a bone is not ideal, soft tissue injuries can take some time to get better, and some people struggle for an extended duration.  Convalescence of a foot or ankle injury is very important.  If you do not treat it right, it will not treat you right!

If you have been diagnosed by your foot and ankle doctor with an ankle sprain, these are our recommendations:

1.  ICE, ICE, ICE: not for the first 24 hours but everyday, at least twice a day, for 2 weeks.  There are so many great icing products that are better than the old school ice system of the ziplock bag. Below I have a link to my favorite ice pack!

2.  Support is the next piece of the puzzle and depending on the damage, one of a couple options may be best for you. Make sure you ask your doctor about an Aircast splint versus a cam walking boot to help calm down your foot and ankle pain. If you need temporary immobilization all you may need than an Aircast splint, but if you are having difficulty putting weight on the foot than a waking cast would most likely be more suitable. There is a link below for the cam walking boot we use for ankle injuries below!

Some people struggle for months and years with ankle sprains, so choosing the right course of care can make all of the difference in the world! Most people who seek treatment swiftly, take their doctor's advice and follow through with their plan of care have the absolute best results!

If you would like to learn about any other foot or ankle pathology or problems after injury visit:

What is a bone spur on the foot?

5 Dec 2016 19:50

What is a bone spur or heel spur?
This is a question I get daily from patients that come into the office.  They will describe classic symptoms that we see all the time with heel pain/plantar fasciitis.  They get out of bed in the morning and they will feel intense horrible pain in their foot that often the describe as crippling or horrific! They come to the office and we take an X-ray to confirm there is no fracture. Then they see a big spur on the bottom of the heel bone and freak out, that this is the reason they are in so much pain!

Not everyone who has a heel spur or bone spur, like pictured here, has plantar fasciitis or heel pain.  But many people get a spur when their fascia is tight.  The plantar fascia is a tight band on the bottom of the foot that commonly gets tight just due to our anatomy of our lower leg.  The plantar fascia attaches the heel bone to the flexor tendons of our toes. Our calf muscle becomes our Achille's tendon that inserts across the ankle joint into the middle third of our heel bone.  When our calf muscle is tight it pulls abnormally on the heel bone which in turn pulls abnormally on the plantar fascia. When this band get tight and contracted and you take a step, the fascia pulls on a thin membrane around the heel bone called the periosteum.  This lifts or tents up and new bone is formed.  This process usually takes a long time, it is your body's mechanism to try and spare you pain, but eventually if you keep ignoring the tightness of your lower leg you eventually are going to feel the pain of plantar fasciitis and it will most likely be the soft tissue that is your problem, not the bone!

Explaining this to patients is very difficult sometimes because we like to see proof of why we hurt. But on X-ray you can not see soft tissue and it is not satisfying sometimes to the patient to accept this because, let's face it, plantar fasciitis really hurts! But even when patients have no bone spur they also are so upset because they can not believe something so simple is their problem!

Treatment is the same for me when I treat patients with the symptoms with plantar fasciitis no matter if they have a heel spur or not.  The hallmark of getting your heel pain better is stretching, icing and great support!
There are cheater ways of stretching that I favor myself like a plantar fascial night splint. This is a device you can wear while you are sleeping, but some people can not stand wearing it all night.  I had plantar fasciitis and I wore the splint whenever I was sitting down at home, so I would get at least 4 hours of stretching when I was watching TV or doing paperwork at home.  This was one of the best ways to help stretch out that fascia and help your bone spur pain.  Of course icing the foot and wearing a good support in your shoe help too! For more information about plantar fasciitis and bone spurs check out our website at

Center for Ankle and Foot Care Blogspot: Heel pain is the worst! Here are my favorite piece...

2 Dec 2016 14:11

Center for Ankle and Foot Care Blogspot: Heel pain is the worst! Here are my favorite piece...: You wake up, step out of bed and then BAM! You feel it, a sharp undeniable  pain on the bottom of your foot near your heel.  Were you asle...

Heel pain is the worst! Here are my favorite pieces of advice for patients suffering from heel pain that I know work from experience!

2 Dec 2016 14:10

You wake up, step out of bed and then BAM! You feel it, a sharp undeniable  pain on the bottom of your foot near your heel.  Were you asleep for a hundred years, or did you rapidly age overnight?  No, you have plantar fasciitis, most likely.  As a foot doctor we see patients with heel pain about 15 times a day.  It is one of my favorite problems to treat, because people are always in shock on how easy it is to get better if they just follow some simple instructions.

This topic is very close to home for me, because after 2 weeks of a new exercise program P90X3, I developed plantar fasciitis!  The doctor is now the patient! This exercise program is a lot of jumping and up on your heels for different exercises.  It is a great program, but I would recommend some extra stretching of the calf muscles before and after to avoid getting plantar fasciitis.

Many people find it hard to get into the doctors office, but when your foot hurts it sometimes is unavoidable.  If you think you have plantar fasciitis or "heel pain" I would recommend seeing your foot and ankle specialist. But I will share with you what I have done from Friday of this past week, when my pain first started, until today Tuesday, just 4 days later.  My pain has gone from an 8 out of 10 Friday morning to about a 2 out of 10 Tuesday morning.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is an injury sustained as the result of repetitive stress placed on the bottom of the foot. More specifically, its damage sustained on the fascia—a thin layer of fibrous tissue that protects
other tissues within your feet. Many people develop Plantar Fasciitis from long periods of standing, running, or performing various load-bearing activities. For me it was a new exercise program with a lot of jumping.

 Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

The most common symptom of Plantar Fasciitis is pain. This can be burning, stinging, stabbing or throbbing pain. Many people experience a dramatic amount of pain when they first get up in the morning, with the sensation lessening throughout the day. For others, the pain is consistent. The pain can be isolated to an area in the middle of foot, or it can radiate outward towards the toes. The heel is the most common area for Plantar Fasciitis pain to show up. Plantar Fasciitis pain can be very stubborn and last for months or even years. Since walking and standing cannot be completely avoided in our lives, the injury can cause serious disturbances in professional and private life.

 Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

The causes of plantar fasciitis can be multi factorial, as you can see below.  But the anatomy of our lower leg plays a major role as well.  If you look at your calf muscle as compared to the front of your lower leg, you will notice a big disparity in muscle size.  The back of our leg muscles are bigger because they have the responsibility of pushing our body forward with each step. But the more we walk or exercise with out stretching, the tighter this muscle group gets!

Several different things can cause Plantar Fasciitis, which makes classifying the condition somewhat difficult. For example, bone spurs, flat feet, high-arched feet, and hard running surfaces are all very different—but each one can be a cause of the condition. Individuals in professions that require you to stand for long periods of time—nursing, for example—are at a higher risk for developing cause Plantar Fasciitis. Another very common cause of Plantar Fasciitis is the type of shoe you choose to wear. Older or poorly constructed shoes can place your feet at a higher risk for stress. Shoes that don't have adequate padding for the heel and arch can be a problem as well. Finally, overweight individuals are at a higher risk for developing Plantar Fasciitis. As you gain weight, this naturally places more stress on the tissues of your feet, and the fascia tends to bear the brunt of this.


Below you will find my recommendations regarding treating and making your heel pain go away
People find it hard to believe that stretching, icing and support can be the perfect combo to relieve and help get rid of their heel pain, but it's true!!!! I know from experience over the last 4 days!

What I always tell patients when they come into the office with heel pain or plantar fasciitis, is that even though it hurts so darn bad the cure really does revolve around stretching believe or not, in most cases.  Sure it can require a medicine by mouth or even a shot with some extra support in shoe gear but it is usually a simple fix.

The fix is simple but, depending in how long it takes you to seek help to get better, could be the deciding factor on how long it actually takes you to get better.  The sooner you seek care, start the stretching exercises and put good support in you shoes, the sooner you are on the road to recovery.

Here are my classic three stretches performed by my lovely stick figure drawings, but simple is always better. I have done these three stretches 4 or 5 times a day for the last 4 days.  Stretching is important for your Plantar fasciitis to get better and stay away.  Yes, that is right, I tell all of my patients that they need to stretch daily after having Plantar facsiitis to prevent it from coming back! These three basic runners stretches should be performed 3-4 times a day when you have Plantar fasciitis.  You should stretch both sides for completeness sake and hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds with no bouncing.

Icing is another thing I tell people to do when they have acute Plantar fasciitis.  But how you ice can be a real key to your success.  You need get a little plastic water bottle and freeze the water inside, then take it out 2 times a day rolling it under the arch of the foot back and forth.  I tell patients this is like physical therapy without a copay.  It is a natural anti-inflammatory and stretches the arch very effectively. I currently have three ice bottles in my freezer and have been rotating the bottles for ice massage non stop when I am home.

These are the two main ways to start treating your Plantar fasciitis right now: stretching and icing. They have been the hallmark of my own treatment over the last 4 days.  But I also have used the following to  help support my fascia while I was standing like inserts and slippers.  Also, there is something called a Plantar fascial night splint that I have worn every day for the last 4 days while I was sitting.

Some people get home and kick off their shoes and then strain the fascia walking barefoot around the house.  Support, even at home has a very positive effect in your outcome and feeling better sooner. Something like a spenco slide or slipper can be a foot saver and is what I have relied on the last couple days to protect  my feet around the house.

Here is a link to our webpage, with our top recommendations for heel pain and plantar fasciitis.  I put my favorite helpers for heel pain available below, my secret trick was the night splint with a gel ice pack in the foot bed of the splint from about 7pm until 11pm while I was doing computer work.  This was great because I could not sleep with the splint on but I got a great stretch for 4-5 hours every night while I was really doing nothing:

To Fix or Not To Fix My Bunion!!!! The Real Deal On Bunion Surgery!!!!

3 Oct 2016 09:39

If you have just left your doctors office and they have told you that surgery is your best option for your foot deformity, you may want to read this and listen to our podcast above first before going through with the surgery.  Now full disclosure Dr. Henne and myself are Board Certified in foot surgery and perform surgery weekly.  That being said we will be the first people to try and talk you out of having unnecessary surgery.  More importantly we make sure you fully understand the post operative course (how bad it really is).  We never SUGAR COAT anything.

Many people come into the office with a bunion or a hammer toe and want it fixed.  But unless they pass a very strict set of criteria to be a candidate for surgery, we turn them away.  I will jump right into the nitty gritty here folks.  Number one reason to not have surgery is NO PAIN!  Yes the old adage if it ain't broke don't fix it still stands. If you do not like the way your feet look, surgery is never the answer! Feet are for function not for entering beauty pageants.  If you want pretty feet, foot surgery will give you pain and may never guarantee a beautiful foot.

When do I operate on someone? The answer is simple: if they have pain that has not improved with a normal course of conservative care and I know that there is a great chance their foot will feel better after surgery.  I never tell someone that their foot will look so much better only that their foot will feel better. I believe the unrealistic expectation that your foot will look better after surgery plays a huge role in why some people are very unhappy after foot surgery.

Bunions are a great example of the type of deformity a lot of people have but do not have a lot of pain with it.  They present with the big bump on the side and want their foot to look thinner but have no pain.

A bunion is a enlarged bump on the inside of the foot at the base of the big toe.  A bunion, in its simplest definition, is a imbalance at the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint(the big toe joint). A contracture of the lateral side of the joint and stretching of the  medial side of the joint further contributes to the bone getting more deformed.
Over time a bunion can become a progressive deformity that can lead to other deformities like hammertoes, blisters and more. But if you have no pain other than the bump being irritated in some shoe gear, then do not have surgery. The fix for the non-painful bunion is really an adjustment in shoe gear.  Go for a wider toe box and get a mesh sneaker, stay away from constricting leather.  The mesh will give unlike a leather or pleather material. The less pushing you have on the big toe the better to prevent any further progression of the deformity. Also if you just have to wear those fabulous shoes for the day then just do it. Yes your foot is going to hurt after, but just wear good shoes after that! 
 Hammer toes are a very similar situation to bunions as far as a guide to when to fix and when to just wear a more suitable shoe for your foot type. The hammer toe that is most common is the 2nd metatarsal joint(joint at the base of the 2nd toe) hammer toe.  People often come in and complain of a contracted toe that rubs on shoe gear on the top of the toe.  After a thorough examination, if they have no pain but just the nuisance of shoes that they want to wear not fitting right, I tell them to get new shoes.  I explain that the pain they will have after surgery and the aesthetic result they want to have may not line up to what they expect in their mind.
 There are many instances where people have hammer toe surgery and their toe is still kind of deformed looking and much stiffer than they would have expected.  My criteria, which if you are contemplating foot surgery please read closely, no pain in the toe means shoe gear adjustment and using gel sleeves to protect the toe with activity in enclosed shoes.  If there is real pain in the toe and the joint that is unable to be treated with conservative care, then we consider surgical intervention.  I tell all of my surgical hammer toe patients, "You may never be able to wear heels again, and all shoes will not be able to fit just because your toe was fixed."  I always explain the end result is functionality when you have foot surgery not beauty.  
Again, for hammer toes and bunions they make extra-depth and extra-width shoes, that don't look like ugly orthopedic shoes.  They just cheat the extra room where you need it in the shoe with out making the shoe look like it should be on Frankenstein! 

Now, I will tell you that I perform foot surgery weekly on people but only on those who truly need it. If you go see a foot an ankle surgeon and the first thing they offer you for your bunion or hammer toe deformity is surgery, you should run out on your non painful deformed feet and go get some new shoes.  I leave you with this last thought, feet are not pretty.  Feet are for transportation not to be entered in a beauty contest.  I have never seen the foot competition in Miss America for a reason, most people have ugly feet!
If you would like to learn more about other foot and ankle deformities visit our website at
Michele McGowan DPM
Center for Ankle and Foot Surgery @2014
352 242 2502
3190 Citrus Tower Blvd Ste A, Clermont, Florida, 34711, United States
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