Step Up! Podiatric Insight for Happy, Healthy Feet

Sometimes it’s easy to write off foot pain—blame a long afternoon, ill-fitting shoes or yesterday’s workout—but it’s not something to ignore, especially if it’s persistent.

Fortunately, the podiatric specialists at Methodist Hospital for Surgery have some insight for keeping your feet happy, healthy and steadily stepping along.

The Most Common Foot Pain Offenders

The list of common causes for foot pain is extensive and includes everything from bunions and bone disease to flat feet and fractures. For most of us though, the culprits are injury, overuse, inflammation or arthritis. But we’re going to narrow our focus even more, since arguably the most common foot ache complaints stem from those first two offenders: injury and overuse.

Foot ache that stems from overuse may include:

  • Dull ache
  • Painful arch
  • Difficulty wearing shoes
  • Tenderness to the touch

Meanwhile, symptoms of injury could include any of the above as well as:

  • Inflammation
  • Inability to walk or apply pressure
  • Pain in ankles, knees or hips
  • Visible bruising or redness

If you have pain or swelling that you consider severe (especially if it’s stopping you from walking or standing), or if you’re a diabetic with open wounds on your feet, it’s time to call your doctor. Otherwise, consider some targeted home remedies.

A Good Excuse to Prop ‘Em Up

That euphoric feeling of relief when you prop your feet up isn’t just in your head. By elevating your feet, especially if they’re at or above the level of your heart, you’re using gravity to help reduce inflammation and redirect blood back to your heart. Plus there’s a lot to be said for simply taking your body weight off your feet, which helps further reduce inflammation and lets your muscles recover.

In addition to simple rest and elevation, ice or a hot Epsom soak are great healers, too. If you choose to ice an injured foot, we recommend leaving your ice pack in place for about twenty minutes then removing it; after twenty minutes off, you can put the ice pack back in place, then continue the on-and-off rotation as needed.

As for the Epsom soak, Epsom salts are actually a form of magnesium sulfate, which is a mineral that can be absorbed through the skin and provides numerous benefits including pain relief, reduced inflammation and improved circulation. Just fill a small foot tub with warm water up to your ankles and add one cup of Epsom salts; soak your feet for 10-15 minutes, then dry them off and prop them up!

Learn More About Happy, Healthy Feet

For more insight regarding how to care for your feet, check out “Tips for Healthy Feet” from the American Podiatric Medical Association. Then take a moment to consider whether it’s time for you to visit the podiatric specialists at Methodist Hospital for Surgery

stretch to stay injury-free

Stretch to Stay Injury-Free While Getting Active

Spring abounds! So it’s time to get back outdoors, where you can get active and vary that winter exercise routine—whether you’re participating in sports, biking or running or hiking a trail, the possibilities are endless. But while you’re trekking about the wild outside, make sure you’re aware of potential risks for injury.

For insight, we turn to Joe Goodwin, PT, OCS, CFMT, a physical therapist at Methodist Hospital for Surgery, who sheds light on the best ways to avoid sport or exercise-related injuries.

Save the Static, Start with Dynamic

You’ve probably been told before to stretch before working out. “Not so,” says Goodwin.

“Stretching prior to sports may actually be harmful. Multiple studies have shown that static stretching before physical activity actually increases the risk of injury.” Static stretching is simply stretching individual muscles while the rest of your body is still.

The alternative? Dynamic warm-up routines. Dynamic stretching is “active” stretching that focuses on several muscle groups at once and simultaneously works to warm up the arms, legs and back. The result is a nice stretch and gentle rise in heart rate as blood flow increases.

But static stretching still has its place. Static stretches after a game or workout help maintain normal range of motion in the joints and maximize the overall muscle performance. Because tight muscles have a limited range and produce less force, stretching after athletics—when muscles are warmed up—produces the best outcome and minimizes the risk of injury.

You’ll Regret A Neglected Stretch

If you neglect stretching altogether, you’ll probably experience decreased range of motion in your joints and muscular force, causing other muscle groups to work harder.

“Causing a muscle group to work harder puts excess strain on an area of the body that cannot handle it, which can result in injury.” And injury can be a minor muscle pulls or major tears in the muscles and ligaments, which will require lengthy recovery periods.

Overall, Goodwin suggests that you warm up by performing your planned activity on a lighter scale. For example, if you’re going to play soccer, go for a light jog or pass and kick the ball for 5-10 minutes, and then move to a dynamic warm up that loosens the joints. When you’re ready to wrap it up, don’t forget the static stretches to loosen and lengthen all of your major muscle groups.

Troublesome joints killing your outdoor game? The expert physical therapists at Methodist Hospital for Surgery can help you get back to peak performance.

Methodist Hospital for Surgery Welcomes New President

In October 2014, Methodist Hospital for Surgery proudly welcomed Dan Gideon, FACHE, as its new president who has since been working to implement new programs and enhance current offerings. With almost 30 years of experience leading and managing hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, Gideon is well-equipped to guide Methodist Hospital for Surgery toward continued success, which is ultimately expressed in quality outcomes and patient satisfaction.

“Becoming President of Methodist Hospital for Surgery is an incredible opportunity,” Gideon said. “In this role, I’m able to act as a leading influence in one of the nation’s most respected surgical facilities, and I trust that my team and I can find additional opportunities for its success.”

In the course of his 27-year career, Gideon has held the titles of chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, and has worked with both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, to include hospitals and hospital management companies. Prior to joining Methodist Hospital for Surgery, he served as a group vice president for Nueterra and, during that time, was responsible for the overall operations of hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers in the Texas area.

Methodist Hospital for Surgery is one of the nation’s leading establishments for a variety of surgeries and is most noted for spinal and orthopedic procedures. In recognition of their excellent performance, the hospital has received the following awards: Healthgrades® Patient Safety Excellent AwardTM, Top 10% in the Nation for Public Safety, America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Spine SurgeryTM, Spine Surgery Excellence Award, Joint Replacement Excellence AwardTM, Top 10% in the Nation for Joint Replacement, Five-Star Recipient for Total Knee Replacement (2013, 2014), Five-Star Recipient for Back Surgery, Five-Star Recipient for Spinal Fusion Surgery (2013, 2014).

“This hospital has an incredible reputation, and it’s one I intend to reinforce and help expand,” said Gideon. “With advanced tools and equipment in the hands of award-winning surgeons and physicians, we have everything needed to continue performing as one of the country’s best hospitals.”

How Joint Wellness Classes Are Empowering Patients

For most people who are nervous about the idea of surgery, it is the fear of the unknown that concerns them most. No one likes to enter a situation with unanswered questions, but the feeling is seriously compounded when you add things like anesthesia and recovery to the equation.

To help ease surgery-related fears, Methodist Hospital for Surgery has developed a joint wellness class called Improving Your Moving. This free class is available to all Methodist Hospital for Surgery patients undergoing total hip or knee replacement and is taught by the hospital’s joint and spine coordinator, Candace Callegan, RN.

Total joint replacement is a unique surgery in that it is generally not an emergency; this means patients have time to plan, prepare and voice their concerns, which means they’ll know exactly what to expect going into surgery. In this one-day class, patients will learn numerous surgery-related topics, including how to prepare the home, what patients can expect on arrival and after discharge, what medications to take and avoid and how to manage pain.

Methodist Hospital for Surgery has been offering this class to patients for nearly three years, and the response has been tremendous. Most patients leave the class with a sense of relief, knowing what they can expect in surgery, and many have responded saying everything happened in just the way she said it would.

“By eliminating the fear of the unknown and getting all their questions answered, patients are better prepared,” explains Callegan. “Because they know what to expect, they can play an active role in their recovery, which leads to better outcomes.”

Dan Gideon, president of Methodist Hospital for Surgery, adds, “The overall patient experience is enhanced when the patient population is well informed because it reduces anxiety for both the patient and their family. With less energy given to worry, patients are better able to put their energy toward recovery.”

Patients are also encouraged to bring a friend or family member to class as their “coach.” By attending class alongside the patient, the “coach” is armed with the same knowledge and can help the patient in preparing for surgery and during recovery as well.

As a destination medical center for orthopedic surgery, Methodist Hospital for Surgery has a commitment to provide patients with the best possible medical care. The joint wellness class demonstrates this commitment by providing patients with information that empowers them and leads to an overall positive surgical experience.

Learn more and get details for the next Joint Wellness Class at


Understanding Chronic Pain & Pain Management

Chronic pain is a phrase often heard in medical practices, but what does it actually refer to? Aaron Lloyd, MD, is a pain specialist at Methodist Hospital for Surgery (MHFS) and recently shared some of his expertise and insight on this topic.

According to Dr. Lloyd, the term chronic pain describes a large and varied group of conditions, which makes it impossible to offer a single treatment solution. The underlying causes of pain are also varied, but often include one of the following:

  • Ongoing pain following an injury
  • Pain associated with an ongoing medical disease that has been medically treated but cannot be completely eliminated (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Pain associated with a medical disease that causes irreversible injury and painful symptoms (e.g. diabetic neuropathy)

Dr. Lloyd believes the term “chronic pain” has become too commonplace among patients today. While some pain can be attributed to the sources listed above, there are also instances in which the patient simply needs to take greater responsibility for their health, wellness and management of any disease present. Overall, according to Dr. Lloyd, there also needs to be a decreased expectation of quick fixes and pills that claim to solve all pain.

When treating those with chronic pain, Dr. Lloyd finds it helpful to ask his patient to define what outcome(s) they expect in specific, concrete terms. For example, rather than leave it at, “I just want to be pain free” or “I just want to go back to normal,” Dr. Lloyd guides patients toward defining acceptable alternatives in terms of functionality. An example of this would be for a patient to say, “I want to be able to take care of my grandchildren” or “I want to be able to go for a 30-minute walk without sitting down.” These specific goals give Dr. Lloyd and his colleagues a measuring stick to guide their medical care.

While all pain is different, common treatment options for chronic pain include physical therapy, cognitive training, chiropractic care, medication management and surgical referrals. Dr. Lloyd warns against any type of pain treatment that promises a quick fix or any one therapy that claims to be the most successful for treating chronic pain.

In Dr. Lloyd’s opinion, what sets MHFS apart in the area of pain management is that the facility has unprecedented access to colleagues and state-of-the-art equipment, allowing pain management physicians to be an integral part in the MHFS competitive advantage in providing unprecedented patient care. Find out how his team of specialists can assist you by contacting our business office.

dallas mri imaging

What is a Medical Imaging Center?

To aid the diagnosis of various diseases and physical ailments, doctors often rely on diagnostic images of internal systems, organs, muscles and bones. Medical imaging centers, which may be standalone or attached to a facility and provide routine diagnostic and imaging services, help expedite the overall diagnostic process.

But not all imaging centers are created equal. To better understand what sets select imaging centers apart from the rest, Bobby Himel, the Imaging Manager at Methodist Hospital for Surgery (MHFS), shared his expertise and insight.

Interestingly, Mr. Himel began by noting that patients should know about the manufacturer and model of equipment being used at whatever imaging center they’re visiting. It’s just like buying a new car or home appliance—you know that some manufacturers stand above the rest. General Electric is the equipment manufacturer of choice at MHFS, and is one Mr. Himel regards as a top provider.
In addition to manufacturer information, patients should feel free to ask whether equipment is calibrated regularly and if routine preventative maintenance has recently been performed. Patients who make this type of inquiry at MHFS are provided detailed information, including preventative maintenance records and calibration information.

Of course the quality and reputation of imaging center staff tops the list of important factors, because equipment is only as good as those operating it. To that end Mr. Himel explains that all imaging center technologists hold advanced certifications in their respective fields. Similarly, the radiologists who interpret diagnostic tests are board-certified in radiology and can be further certified in select specialties. For example, if a patient at MHFS has an MRI of the knee, the MRI technologist who performs the study will hold an advanced registry in MRI; the radiologist who then interprets the study will be a board-certified orthopedic radiologist. At some facilities, Mr. Himel cautions, you may find an X-ray technologist who performs the MRI and a general radiologist who interprets the test.

Mr. Himel further explains that the MHFS imaging department holds an advanced certification with the American College of Radiology in CT and MRI. The rigorous process for certification ensures the quality of the scans performed at MHFS and ensures safety to the patient, helping the Imaging Center at MHFS stand out from all others.


Understanding Total Knee Replacement

Of all the orthopedic surgeries available to patients, perhaps one of the most common is total knee replacement surgery. While this surgery has historically been reserved for older patients—typically mid-60s and on—newer technology is opening the door for younger patients to reclaim an active lifestyle following a knee replacement.

According to Dr. William Tucker Jr., an orthopedic surgeon at Methodist Hospital for Surgery (MHFS), the most common reason for a patient to undergo total knee replacement is arthritis, although the reason for the arthritis can vary. While arthritis is typically the result of cumulative wear and tear or medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, some arthritis is brought on by previous sporting injuries.

For Dr. Tucker, the average age of one of his patients undergoing total knee replacement is approximately 63, although this age has decreased over time because the implants within the knee are more durable and the results much more predictable. Previously, patients would be advised to “tough it out” for many years before having their knee replaced. Nowadays, Dr. Tucker says he recommends patients undergo surgery as soon as their symptoms start to interfere with their quality of life or desire to remain active.

Newer techniques, such as minimally-invasive knee replacements, partial knee replacements and implant design have changed the way many orthopedic surgeons look at joint replacement. The newer knee implants are expected to last more than 20 years and give patients a better range of motion, so it’s easier for them to bend their knee, making the prosthesis feel more like a natural knee. This technology helps younger patients decide to go forward with total knee replacement surgery because they can better be assured that their quality of life will improve if they are no longer in constant pain and discomfort.

According to Dr. Tucker, total knee replacement is one of the most successful surgeries in all of orthopedics. Most patients are able to return to virtually all of their normal activities. The primary goal of the surgery is to relieve pain while also improving mobility and range of motion. Following surgery, patients can typically return to walking, playing golf, traveling, gardening and even lower impact sports such as doubles tennis or snow skiing, if they are comfortable doing so.

For Dr. Tucker, who is been in practice for 19 years, MHFS is set apart from other hospitals because it offers patients a facility which specializes in the care of surgical patients with a streamlined model that decreases wait times, minimizes the amount of time patients need to spend in the hospital after surgery, lowers the risk of infection and other complications, all while providing an unsurpassed patient experience.

Methodist Hospital for Surgery named in top 10

Methodist Hospital for Surgery was recently named one of the top 10 cleanest hospitals in Dallas by Becker’s Hospital Review.  Patient care, quality and satisfaction are of the utmost importance and Methodist Hospital for Surgery is honored to be recognized.

Read the original article here.