The World is at Your Feet – Let SOS Keep Them Healthy!

With over twenty-six bones and 33 joints, feet serve as the foundation for the rest of the body and carry a tremendous amount of force each day. It is vital that feet remain strong to have an active, full life, yet it is estimated that 75% of Americans will experience some form of foot problem during their lifetime.

Foot & Ankle - Tendons, Ligaments, Joints and Bones

The Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists’ (SOS) Foot and Ankle Team aims to keep residents of Central New York on their toes with healthy feet. They offer comprehensive services for foot care including traumatic injury care, Podiatry, Orthopedic and Sports Therapy, and Pedorthic care at the SOS Shop. “At SOS our team is dedicated to ensuring proper foot health for patients and we work collaboratively to provide quality foot care and keep patients standing firmly on the ground without pain or discomfort,” commented Naven Duggal, MD, an orthopedic surgeon on the SOS Foot and Ankle Team.

There are several aspects of foot health that should be addressed, ranging from traumatic injury to Achilles injuries to arthritis concerns and diabetic care. There are many possible foot pain causes. SOS foot specialists have the experience and specialized medical knowledge to diagnose foot pain causes. An SOS foot doctor can also develop a total orthopedic care plan for you or your loved one's specific health needs.

“Although often overlooked it is critical that we pay attention to our feet because of the vital role they play in supporting us,” comments Duggal. “When feet aren’t mechanically sound there is a greater risk not only for foot pain but issues with knees, hips, and even the lower back.”

Trauma Injury and Arthritis Care

There are many ways that someone can injure their feet - from a slip or fall, stubbing a toe, or an athletic injury. If you suffer a toe, foot, or ankle injury, the sooner you are treated the better outcome you will have. Untreated injuries can result in bones not healing properly causing recurring pain, limited mobility, and development of arthritis in the affected joints.

There are multiple forms of arthritis that impact our feet, with two of the most common being rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. All types can make it difficult to walk and perform activities you enjoy. Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatment options available to slow the progress of the disease and relieve symptoms. The surgeons at SOS develop individual treatment plans with each patient suffering arthritis in their feet. “With proper treatment, many people with arthritis can manage their pain, remain active, and lead fulfilling lives,” comments Duggal.


Christopher Fatti, DPM, a podiatrist with SOS, plays a crucial role in diagnosing and treating the cause of foot pain, and preventing future problems from developing. “Our feet support the entire body and poor foot health has a large impact on one’s overall health,” says Fatti. “Not only can foot pain and other foot related health problems make life difficult, but they can sometimes be a sign of a more serious concern, making it crucial to seek proper attention.” Among the many conditions he treats are ingrown toenails, corns and calluses, flat feet, bunions, plantar warts, and heel pain.

Fatti also provides care to diabetics whose feet show damage due to reduced blood circulation. Diabetes may cause nerve damage that takes away from the feeling in the feet. It may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal an injury or resist infection. “Even a small cut on the foot or ankle can have consequences for the diabetic and should be addressed quickly,” states Fatti.
Along with keeping diabetes under control by checking fasting blood sugar daily, he recommends an annual foot inspection with a podiatrist to check for problems such as loss of circulation or loss of sensation (neuropathy).

SOS Shop Helps You Put Two Feet Forward

Everyday proper care and appropriate fitting footwear contribute to foot health. The SOS Shop, located in the SOS Heritage Commons office complex at 5496 East Taft Road, offers foot products and footwear that can help ease an orthopedic condition and provide general comfort and good support for any customer’s foot and ankle. Pedorthist Maureen Kaljeskie is trained in the management and treatment of conditions of the foot and ankle, and specializing in custom orthotics, lower extremity bracing and diabetic shoes. She conducts a patient assessment, measures their feet, formulates a treatment plan, and offers complimentary shoe consultations and gait evaluations. Kaljeskie offers general tips about footwear to maintain optimum foot health. Kaljeskie and her team at the SOS SHOP strive to bring relief to their patients as quickly as possible.

• Wear shoes with good support and a low heel. Keep high heels below two inches in height. If you like to wear flats or those trendy ballet flats alternate with shoes having good support.
• Make sure shoes have enough space without rubbing or squeezing toes. Remember the ‘thumbnail rule’ for space between end of shoe and toe and don’t forget your longest toe may be your second not your first.
• Use custom orthotics to provide arch support.
• Replace your walking or exercise shoes every six months or 500 miles to avoid foot and heel pain when the inside of the shoe begins to wear and lose support.
• Wear shoes in public places where you may suffer cuts leading to infection or contract athlete’s foot fungus or plantar warts on the bottom of your feet.
• Wear supportive shoes/slippers in the house to provide support and protection.

Physical and Sports Therapy

The physical therapists at SOS can help address a wide range of foot and ankle symptoms, including pain, joint instability, and loss of motion. They aim to get patients to return to the activities they enjoy, or just being able to walk or stand without pain. Physical therapy can be a first treatment for many foot and ankle problems and is also standard in post-surgical care. SOS physical therapists emphasize the use of therapeutic, focused exercises that are designed to restore joint range of motion, muscle strength, neuromuscular coordination, and gait mechanics.

Caitlin Hennessey, PT, DPT, a physical therapist with SOS, sees patients present with plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, tendinopathies of an array of tendons, ankle fractures, both surgical and non-surgical, and patients post-operatively for tendon and ligament repairs or reconstructions. She also works with patients recovering from intricate surgeries related to foot reconstructions. She and her colleagues work with patients in more active therapies, including strengthening exercises, muscle retraining, balance-based exercises, and stretching.

“All injuries can impact the way a person walks,” says Hennessey. “This can also impact the mechanical function of the foot or ankle and cause other issues further up the chain as well.” She conducts frequent gait analysis to determine what a patient may or may not being doing during important phases of gait, which can help determine a treatment plan.

“Remember, your feet carry you through your day and taking care of them will only improve the health of your feet, ankles, knees, hips and your low back,” comments Hennessey. Her general advice to keep your feet healthy? “Wear good supportive footwear, remain active, and maintain proper body weight.”