As you know, fall is in full swing and kids are back to school and lessons. If you are like me, you have signed your children up for swimming, dance and maybe soccer camp. My 2 year old is starting her dance career, just like I did umpteen years ago as a bright eyed little girl in the requisite black leotard and pink tights that all ballerinas wear to learn their craft. As I watched the class start stretching and learning the common ballet positions I thought back on all my years of dance training and what lead me to be a podiatrist.
When I was a teenager in the midst of my dance career I had problems with my feet and sought out the care of a local podiatrist in my hometown. This particular doctor had many years of experience treating many types of patients. I had a bunion that was giving me difficulty in my pointe shoes. This physician gave me the advice to, “STOP DANCING”! As you may imagine, this advice given to a young girl who lived to dance was crushing. He did not have much to offer me in the way of treatment. This is when I learned about the field of podiatry and all types of shoes/ appliances and padding that can be done for dance and non-dance professionals to assist with their foot concerns and to keep them dancing.
Thus I started on my journey to be a professional who is compassionate and tried to keep my patients involved in the sport or activity that they love. I pursued more education about dance shoes by partnering with Eliza Minden ( inventor of the Gaynor Minden Pointe shoe) to do a research project on dance shoes which I completed as a student at the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. Once I earned my degree and completed my residency training I started treating dancers and non-dancers in private practice with the goal being to partner with patients to maintain mobility and activity that they love, not only for physical health but also for mental well-being.
I particulary love working with dancers and assisting with their foot problems either related to their technique or to their shoegear. I also enjoy treating patients who walk, jog or run marathons. Based upon my past experience and training I know how important it is to have a physician who is a partner rather than a dictator. As the face of medicine changes it will become more important to be comfortable with your physician partners to preserve an active lifestyle to maintain your overall health.
Ann C Anderson, DPM