By John Sigle, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S.
Autumn is my very favorite time of the year. The leaves are a mass of color as we watch green turn into a sea of brilliant colors. The fields are harvested as pumpkins, apples, and pears appear. The long hot summer is over as the kids return to a new school year. Football and soccer begin as baseball crowns its new champion. Kids romp through the neighborhoods in costume and excitement on Halloween night; and soon afterward, we gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. We all have our favorite season, but autumn ranks at the top for me. This autumn represents exciting changes that are happening at the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois, too. All the signs are positive, and we believe it is a good time to grow.
Signs for Expansion
Since our inception in 2011, our goal was to establish a slow, steady growth. We have been able to accomplish this with the help of hundreds of referring physicians, and patients who refer family and friends to us. Happy patients are great recruiters! We are also seeing an increase in non-referred new patients, also, who are finding out about us from articles that are published in newspapers, health magazines, and on the internet.
Extending Our Reach
The demand for services in Decatur and surrounding areas is increasing, so we have opened up another clinic day at St. Mary’s Hospital. We are now there on Monday and Wednesday. This is the third year that we have been at St. Mary’s. Our referral base is expanding as we meet more physicians and community groups and we are attracting patients from surrounding areas.
We also added a clinic at the Carlinville Area Hospital, and began seeing patients this past September. We have a clinic there every other Thursday. The Carlinville Area hospital is a beautiful facility; and the staff is very warm and receptive. The location is convenient for patients who live south of Springfield.
Team Is in Place
We recently hired a new associate with a high level of surgical skills. Springfield native, Grant Gonzalez, D.P.M., received his Doctorate in Podiatric Medicine from Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, in Des Moines, Iowa. He completed a three-year Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Residency with Reconstructive Rearfoot and Ankle Certification from DeKalb Medical Center, in Decatur, Georgia.
He received additional educational experiences in advanced techniques in skeletal fixations of the foot and ankle, and participated in a surgical mission trip to Dominican Republic.
He was as an honor student in medical school, and served as chief resident. Dr. Gonzalez is a lecturer for the Podiatry Institute, and participated in numerous research activities. He has a special interest is reconstructive foot surgery for women, pediatrics, and sports care injuries.
The types of pathologies Dr. Gonzalez treats include bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, ankle sprains, heel pain/plantar fasciitis, ingrown toenails/fungal toenails, diabetic exams and ulcers, flatfeet, high-arched feet, Charcot joint disease, diabetic ulcers, complex reconstructive surgery, ankle arthritis/deformity, lower extremity trauma, and metatarsalgia (ball of foot pain).
A Perfect Time to Launch a New Store
This month is the grand opening of the new Foot & Ankle Depot. This is a specialty store that exclusively provides foot and ankle products and supplies. It is the first of its kind in central Illinois. Our decision to proceed was based on feedback received from patients who said they were having difficulty finding products to accommodate their condition, lifestyle, and activities. Many of them also had difficulty navigating the Internet. We have associates who run successful stores, and they have been in support of our new initiative.
The store will be located in newly-remodeled space at the main clinic on 2921 Montvale Drive, Springfield, IL. The store will be an ancillary business to the clinic, and will also function as a retail store. The store will carry products that no one else offers in Springfield. Our product line will include a variety of shoe gear, inserts, and custom orthotics to fit your daily lifestyle needs and activities. Our shoe gear will combine therapeutic features and style. We understand the importance of providing you with the right supports that will keep your feet healthy. Our shoe inserts and orthotics will provide targeted support and stability. They will also improve comfort, enhance body alignment, and motion control.
It will offer a variety of walking boots, ankle braces, walking devices, a variety of canes, crutches, and rolling devices to help clients regain mobility and independence. We have become an authorized dealer for the I Walk Hands Free Crutch (the same crutch that Harrison Ford used after his injury on the Star Wars movie set). We also intend to carry the ergonomic Mobilegs™ crutch, which delivers comfort and stability.
The store will also offer many special accessories ranging from antifungal creams, solutions, deodorizers, nail polishes, shoe sanitizers, an assortment of pads and cushions, shoe horns, and therapeutic stockings.
In addition to our store, we will provide a comprehensive online presence; in the hope of attracting business outside the Springfield area. Most products will have the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance. Many post-op patients can get the products they need; shopping will be totally convenient for them. Both Dr. Gonzalez and I will provide patients with suggestions on what to wear to meet their specific tailored needs. Retail clients will receive assistance from trained medical assistants and personnel who understand the products.
Good Business Can Complement Good Health Care
We are hopeful that other physicians and practitioners will channel patients to the store because our products are proven and recommended by a reliable source. It takes an act of courage for an independent practice like ours to expand during these difficult times, but we believe patients will seek medical assistance from physicians they can trust.
If you are interested in more information about our medical services or products, contact the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois at 217-787-2700, or feel free to visit our website at myfootandanklecenter.com.
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