Submitted by Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois
Traditionally, providers have referred patients who needed magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) to other facilities like imaging centers or hospitals. Patients who required therapeutic footwear were also referred elsewhere. Now, the Foot & Ankle Center has added two new niche services to its practice.
According to Dr. John Sigle, the founder of the Foot & Ankle Center, “In keeping with our goal to provide a one-stop shop for clients, we recently opened two new auxiliary services. We have the only open extremity MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and operate a one-of-a-kind foot and ankle products store in central Illinois.”
Conventional MRIs revolutionized medicine, but they are not tolerated well by those who have anxiety or are claustrophobic. According to Dr. Sigle, “Many patients who we refer for MRIs have bunions, hammertoes, fractures, ankle arthritis, ligament and tendon injuries, infections, and other abnormalities. It’s amazing how many patients are frightened to have an MRI. They dread having to be positioned into the tube chamber within a restricted area for a long period. Some patients don’t realize what they can or cannot tolerate until they are squeezed into the tube. As anxiety builds, they are forced to stop the MRI and reschedule under a sedative. Almost all patients are bothered by the loud noises emitted from the MRI too.”
MRI developers recognized these shortfalls and redesigned MRIs that were larger and more open. The industry also designed MRIs that were more modular; ones that could be installed within an exam room.
An open extremity MRI is the type that was selected by Dr. Sigle. “Our Artoscan MRI is the solution we wanted for our patients. Artoscan is considered to be one of the world’s leading dedicated-extremity MR imagers that hundreds of orthopedic and radiologist groups use worldwide.
It provided us with everything we were looking for. It is able to scan the knee, ankle, foot, elbow, wrist, and hand. The unit is ultra-quiet and allows close patient-operator contact.“
The Artoscan MRI is a vast departure from the whole-body scanners. The MRI permits the patient to lie in a comfortable position outside of the machine with only the foot in the tube. This technology provides a quick and safe, non-invasive way to get images.
Medical technology is moving at a fast pace, and the open extremity MRI has proven to be an exciting new chapter. According to Dr. Sigle, “We want our patients to feel like they have arrived at a spa or relaxation zone without anxiety and the trappings of the conventional MRIs.”
The experience is totally different than conventional MRIs. The patient’s body is positioned on a comfortable reclining table and the extremity is positioned into the MRI opening. The other extremity is rested on support padding next to the MRI opening. The room ambience is pleasant with indirect dimmer lighting in the ceiling and a flat screen TV to view favorite programs or listen to music. A technologist is always within a few feet during the course of a scan. The sound transmission from the MRI is minimal, unlike conventional MRIs.
One of major advantages of having this new technology is that patients will no longer have to schedule an MRI elsewhere that requires an added trip and delay of diagnosis and treatment.
According to Dr. Sigle, “We have an infrastructure in place to transmit quality images directly to the radiologist for immediate analysis and consultation that occurs within 24 to 48 hours. We can accommodate 98 percent of the adult population, including children and athletes. Patients appreciate the convenience of immediate in-office MRI exams and the comfortable, claustrophobia–free design.”
Another niche offered that differentiates the Foot & Ankle Center from other podiatry/orthopedic clinics and hospitals is its specialty products store. Traditionally, podiatrists have referred patients who needed therapeutic footwear and products elsewhere.
According to Dr. Sigle, “The creation of this auxiliary service was in response to the patient’s desire for one-stop shopping and desire to purchase products that maximized their rehabilitation, recovery, and comfort. We help people make the right choices!”
Primary care physicians and specialists are now able to channel their patients to the store because they know that it’s a reliable resource with foot and ankle products that are reliable, and ones that deliver proven results. Every product is physician recommended or has the American Podiatric Medicine Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance. According to the APPMA website, The Seal of Approval is granted to products found to promote good foot health care and are available over the counter or by prescription only.
The store provides a comprehensive inventory including the following items:
- Comfort shoes and gear for women and men to accommodate working out and running activities, shoes for work, dress, casual wear, and diabetic foot wear.
- Mobility assistance devices to facilitate recovery from surgery or an injury, to aid people with a chronic condition, or to enhance mobility and independent living. Knee cadies, standard crutches, canes, and other state-of-the-art crutches are available. The store is the only certified fitter in central Illinois for the I-Walk Hands Free Crutch.
- Accessories include shoe deodorizing and antifungal aides, a wide range of pads, topical solutions, and inserts.
- Shoe inserts and shoe lift inserts are available to provide support, cushions, and targeted comfort to prevent foot pain. Inserts also are used improve body alignment, improve motion control, enhance posture, and to relieve aches and pain. A wide selection of custom orthotics and custom-molded braces are also available for patients.
Shoe fitting is an essential part of the practice. According to Dr. Sigle, “We recognize how much our patients can benefit from our guidance. We have trained shoe fitters assisting clients and with diverse needs. We are also able to provide therapeutic footwear for clients at risk with diabetic foot ulcerations.”
The shoe fitters are trained to recognize a patient’s functional, therapeutic, and aesthetic needs as well. According to Dr. Sigle, “We believe the combination of podiatrists, certified shoe fitters, and medical assistants assisting the consumer with product decisions sets us apart from any other store. Because Dr. Gonzalez and I are able to assess a patient’s foot problems and functional needs, we are in a position to anticipate when it is necessary to replace worn shoes and inserts. By employing trained medical personnel, we can make custom orthotics and shoe fitting conveniently available to our patients while working efficiently in our practice. A comprehensive shoe-fitting program will help reduce foot and ankle injuries, falls, surgeries, and possible amputations. This all leads to positive patient outcomes and satisfaction.
All of the products in the store are chosen by physicians for patients. They are given knowledge about products that will increase their mobility, bring additional comfort to their lives, reduce the chance of injury, and soothe aches and pains.
For additional information, visit www.myfootandanklecenter.com or call 217-787-2700 for an appointment.
The Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois is conveniently located in Springfield, Decatur, Carlinville, Shelbyville, and Monticello.
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