Diabetic Foot Care
According to the American Diabetes Association, about 15.7 million people (5.9 percent of the United States population) have diabetes. Nervous system damage (also called neuropathy) affects about 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes and is a major complication that may cause diabetics to lose feeling in their feet or hands. At Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, PC, Dr. Barnes provides not only preventative foot care (care of calluses and thickened toenails), but also provide care for diabetic foot ulcerations and infections. Care of ulcerations with patients who have diabetes requires appropriate "offloading" (means by which pressure is taken off, usually with special shoes and orthotics, sometimes with casts). The resources provided at Step Ahead (diabetic shoes, casting, orthotics, in-shoe pressure measurement to assist with offloading, PADnet® ABI / PVR machine to test a patient's circulation) allow paramount to ulceration healing, which is key to prevent infections. When infections do occur, though, Dr. Barnes is surgically skilled to manage these as well.
Ankle & Foot Surgery
Although Dr. Barnes favors a conservative treatment approach to most foot & ankle ailments, there are some conditions that, in many cases and situations, are best treated surgically. These may include: foot & ankle fractures, some foot infections, severe foot deformities, painful bunions & hammertoes, chronic ankle sprains/instability, tendon tears, and foot and ankle arthritis. At Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, PC, patients are always given their options and are asked to play a role in their care, whether conservative or surgical.
Many sports are hard on the feet because of quick repetitive movements, constricting footwear, and/or increased exposure to injury or trauma. At Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, PC, Dr. Barnes enjoys using her training in Biomechanics & Gait Evaluation to help get athletes on their feet again. Emphasis is placed on preventative medicine and appropriate biomechanical alignment. With the assistance of an on-site pedorthist and a research-quality In-Shoe Pressure Measurement / Gait Analysis System (F-scan), Dr. Barnes routinely favor a non-surgical approach to treating many athletic or overuse foot ailments, including: heel pain, neuromas, ball of foot pain, bunions, big toe joint pain, and Achilles tendon pain. Many times this involves the fitting of either pre-fabricated (oftentimes customized with adjustments) or custom foot orthoses.
Orthotics, also known as orthoses, refers to any device inserted into a shoe, ranging from felt pads to custom-made shoe inserts that correct an abnormal or irregular, walking pattern. Sometimes called arch supports, orthotics allow people to stand, walk, and run more efficiently and comfortably. While over-the-counter orthotics are available and may help people with mild symptoms (oftentimes with adjustments, performed right on-site at the time of appointment), they normally cannot correct the wide range of symptoms that prescription foot orthoses can since they are not custom made to fit an individual's unique foot structure.
Heel pain affects nearly everyone from time to time. However, when it persists for longer periods of time--after the uncomfortable shoes have been taken off and the feet have been rested after a busy day of strenuous activity or standing--and does not resolve on its own, it could be a sign of plantar fasciitis. The podiatrists at Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, PC in Kalispell, MT, wants to help you understand this potential source of your pain and will work with you to get back on your feet again, sooner than later. They are skilled to address the underlying biomechanical concerns that may have predisposed you to plantar fasciitis and will work with you to develop a program that meets your needs.
A bunion is a bone deformity caused by what appears to be an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). Bunions form when the toe moves out of place. The enlargement and its protuberance cause friction and pressure as they rub against footwear. Over time, the movement of the big toe angles in toward the other toes, sometimes overlapping a third toe (known as Hallux Valgus). The growing enlargement or protuberance then causes more irritation or inflammation. In some cases, the big toe moves toward the second toe and rotates or twists, which is known as Hallus Abducto Valgus. Bunions can also lead to other toe deformities, such as hammertoe, and it's often a bunion that causes a biomechanical alteration to the entire front of the foot and leads to other symptoms such as metatarsalgia, neuromas, and 2nd MPJ capsulitis.
F-Scan Gait Analysis
Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, PC offers a computerized gait analysis using the F-Scan® in-shoe pressure measurement system. This state-of-the-art system allows us to “see inside the shoe," giving us a better understanding of how a person’s foot interacts with their footwear and helping us provide the best, most advanced care in the area. The In-shoe pressure measurement system can be used to not only track areas of high pressure when one walks, or runs (or cycles even!), in his / her shoes, but it is also used to track center of mass fluctuations with gait and motion, and address any hindrances or "hold ups" to the fluid motion of this center of mass leading to foot pathology, and sometimes even pathology in other parts of the body.
Self-check-in kiosk system
It is the policy of Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, PC to collect all co-pays, co-insurances, and payments towards high deductibles at the time of service. If you not have insurance, or wish not to submit a request to your insurance for payment, then pay for the entire fee ( minus 25% cash paying discount) is expected at the time of service. Although there may be some variation to what may be required or recommended at the time of service (if X-rays are taken or a procedure performed), the cost of your care can be relayed to you in advance, upon request. Please relay any questions you may have about the cost of your care to our Billing Specialist.
UPDATE 3/23/20: In attempt to maintain the safety of our patients, employees, and the community, the office is physically closed, other than for the care of patients with urgent concerns / emergenices only. Attempts will be made to return phone calls Monday through Thursday from 9AM to 1PM. Please use the "Request an Appointment" resource above to request an appointment. If an established patient, we encourage you to log into the Patient Portal and send a message to Dr. Barnes or the office with any questions or concerns. Thank you.
TeleHealth and Tele-Visits in the time of COVID-19
Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, PC has initiated a TeleHealth Service during the COVID-19 Pandemic for a number of reasons:
1.) Our top priority has always been, and continues to be, Patient, Employee, Community Health and Safety.
2.) With the primary goal of triaging, or prioritizing what's urgent and what's not, Dr. Barnes seeks to help patients with the foot concerns over the phone or computer. Caring for patients in this way, and arranging for visits in clinic if necessary (infections, ulcerations, injuries) and in a controlled environment, she hopes to do her part in allowing to the Urgent Cares and Emergencies Rooms help those with needs related to the virus.
3.) Although Dr. Barnes obviously cannot physicially treat you or other patients over the phone or computer, she can hopefully see if your concern would be best treated physically, and arrange for this to be done. If she can help give you direction and advice over the computer or phone, she will do so. This particularly applies to you if you have foot pain, as many treatment options can be relayed in this way (stretches, shoe recommendations, orthotic recommendations).
4.) During this time of anxiety, stress, and uncertainty, Dr. Barnes wants to do her part in helping you do the things you need to do (caring for a loved one, running outside for stress relief, or walking on a treadmill at home, for example) without foot pain interfering. She does't want you to have to wait months or an indefinite period of time for you to get back on your feet! "CLICK HERE TO REQUEST A TELEVISIT."