Admit it, if you were at the park and you saw a kid running around the playground, two thoughts would immediately run through your mind. First, like anyone else, you would be concerned for the kid, fearful that they will step on a piece of glass or a rock or anything else that could hurt their feet. Second, you would likely think that this kid’s parents must either be incredibly ignorant or simply don’t care about their child’s wellbeing. How could someone in their right mind conceivably allow their child to run around without any foot protection while the ground could be riddled with numerous objects that could cause damage to their feet?
However, these parents may be on to something. If you really think about it, in the grand scheme of human existence, shoes are still a relatively modern invention. Human feet have developed over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution while shoes have only been around for a couple thousand years. Over time, human feet have evolved without the protection shoes while in some incredibly rough environments. However, this should not discount the effectiveness and usefulness of shoes. They certainly are beneficial, especially in harsh environments that are likely to result in foot damage.
Relatively recent studies have shown that is may actually be more beneficial for children to go barefoot as much as possible during early foot development. There are many benefits to going barefoot during foot development. First, it promotes a more natural running in addition to greater leg strength and balance. Another huge benefit of going barefoot early is that it makes children much more aware of their environment. Knowing that the unlikely event of them stepping on broken glass or another harmful object keeps a barefoot child much more aware of their surroundings such that they are more watchful of where something may be on the ground surrounding them. There is also the known fact that improperly fitting shoes can increase the wearers risk of injury.
It is ultimately up to the discretion of each parent whether or not they allow their child to go barefoot, but it is important that you properly research the potential benefits and risks that are associated with each. Whatever you do decide to do, make sure to get your child’s feet checked regularly by a professional because early foot issues can lead to much larger issues later in life.
You attended the New York College of Podiatric Medicine (NYCPM), what would you say is the programs biggest asset?
I think NYCPM’s greatest assets are their very busy clinics in both East Harlem and the Bronx, as well as a focus on biomechanics of the foot and ankle. Having the opportunity as a student to see so many patients is a great and necessary commodity. The emphasis on biomechanics as it relates to foot and ankle pathology is a critical aspect of practice and helps one to understand our patient’s problems so much better.
What attracted you most to Frederick Foot & Ankle?
On my first visit to Frederick Foot and Ankle, I knew it was a great practice. We have so many tools at our disposal to treat our patients’ problems, which is so critical. Also, there is a team-oriented approach to patient care. You can easily see how much patients love it here.
What’s a fact about yourself that may surprise your patients?
I used to play guitar in a rock band.
What is a question that you always get about podiatry/feet/ankles and your answer?
Podiatrists do surgery? This question is asked time and time again, and I think it’s important that patients are aware of this, as surgery is sometimes the only way to fix problems of the foot and ankle.
What sparked your interest in medicine?
I always had an interest in medicine growing up as well as an affinity for the sciences. I was in a pre-med program when I was in college, and after having the opportunity to shadow a podiatrist, I knew what I wanted to do.
At Frederick Foot & Ankle we always like to have a fun ice breaker question … What animal would you equate yourself to and why?
I would say maybe an owl. I am always thinking, and I like staying up late.
We are so happy to add Dr. Jacqueline Chen to our team of skilled podiatrist. To learn a little more about Dr. Chen we asked her a few questions about herself and her prior training.
What brought you to podiatry? My dream job was to become a doctor, ever since I was a kid. I always pictured myself working in the healthcare profession, one day seeing patients and doing surgery. When I was younger I played competitive soccer, being an athlete directed me towards the sports medicine side of podiatry. Previously working for Frederick Foot & Ankle as a medical assistant I fell in love with the diversity of the patient population. In one day at Frederick Foot & Ankle you can treat a child, a surgical candidate, an injury, or a concern with an elderly patient.
What area of podiatry would you consider your specialty? My training leans towards trauma, fracture care and foot/ankle reconstruction.
You are a Maryland native, what is your favorite part of returning to the area? Most of my family and good friends are still in the area and it's always nice having a good support system around. Maryland is a unique state that has everything; from hiking in the mountains, boating in the Chesapeake, to walking on the beach in Ocean City!
Tell us about your training at Aria? Lots of trauma! I had the opportunity to work at three different hospitals during my residency. Each hospital was unique, making me a more well-rounded doctor. During residency I saw such a variety of cases; gunshot wounds, crush injuries, severe foot and ankle fractures, and all type of skin conditions.
How would you describe the way you practice in one sentence? I treat my patients how I would treat my family.
What is one piece of advice that you would give all your patients? If you take care of your body, your body will take care of you!
As a runner, what are your favorite shoes to exercise and complete your races in? No matter the brand I always have my custom orthotics in my shoes. But Asics are my go-to shoes.
If you weren’t a podiatrist, what would your alternative dream job be? That's a tough one... probably a professional photographer for National Geographic. This way I can continue to travel and explore different countries and share my experiences through photographs.
Do the names Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk, or Walter Payton ring a bell? If they do, then you know that these three men are amongst the most feared, agile, and elusive running backs in the history of the NFL. So, what is it that makes these running backs so feared? It’s not their size. Both Walter Payton and Marshall Faulk are 5’10” while Barry Sanders stands at just 5’8”. Compare that to the average height of a middle linebacker in the NFL, which is a whopping 6’2”, and you’ll notice that these hall of fame running backs are nearly a head shorter than the guys getting paid millions of dollars to stop them in their tracks.
The it-factor for these running backs is not their ability to plow through every player who stands between them and a touchdown, but rather their ability to elude incoming defenders. Watch a highlight tape of these players and you’ll see this as they dodge and weave through opposing tacklers, humiliating everyone along the way. All the while, they are making a number of quick cuts, changing direction multiple times each play to deceive their opponent into throwing their weight in the wrong direction, rendering them useless.
These meticulous cuts start from the ground up, beginning with the foot and ankle. Each time the player sprints, cuts, or spins, the muscles and tendons in the foot and ankle all work together synonymously, creating the stability and twitch-like movements necessary to evade defenders. However, just like a string of Christmas lights, if just one part stops functioning properly, the entire system fails. An injury to even a single muscle or tendon can leave an athlete injured for weeks or even months, potentially ending the players season or even their career.
The impending end of this summer means one thing for all high school sports fans: football season is almost here. If you have a student athlete, you know just how important it is to ensure that their body is in peak condition for the long season ahead. As players strive to perform highlight reel runs on the field to impress scouts and coaches, they rely heavily on cutting and juking abilities. This puts a huge amount of stress on the muscles and tendons of the foot and ankle. However, the foot and ankle are still so commonly overlooked when players perform their stretching routines which creates the increased potential for injury.
If your player picks up a foot or ankle injury, make sure to get them checked out by a podiatrist. A small injury along the way can be healed with just a little bit of patience and proper care. However, attempting to play through a small injury can lead to a much more serious injury which could significantly impact an athletic career for many years. At Frederick Foot & Ankle, we provide care for all foot and ankle ailments and injuries so that we can keep you moving and get you or your athlete back on the field.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout has just come out in theatres and massive crowds of excited moviegoers are rushing over in droves to watch the newest addition to one of Hollywood’s oldest running film series, eager to see what death-defying stunt Tom Cruise will perform next. Cruise is incredibly well-known for his acting abilities, but what really sets him apart from other A-list actors is his willingness to perform his own stunts while others will generally utilize a stunt double. However, this decision to execute his own stunts certainly does not come without a plethora of sizable risks.
Since Cruise began performing his own stunt work in the early 1980s, he has performed feats that would terrify even the most daring stuntmen in Hollywood. He’s scaled the tallest building in the world, dangling by nothing more than a thin wire. He’s clung of the side of a plane mid-air at heights of up to 5,000 feet while supported by just a harness. Predictably, these stunts have led to many, many near-death experiences and just as many injuries for the actor along the way. These include being nearly decapitated on a mechanical horse, being hit by a car at high speeds, tearing his shoulder, and multiple near drownings.
Most recently, during the production of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Cruise sustained yet another injury. While leaping between two buildings, a stunt that is surprisingly typical for the actor, Cruise landed improperly and managed to break two bones in his ankle. He was instructed by doctors to keep all weight off his ankle and that he may never run again. Despite the odds, after just six weeks, Cruise was right back on set, jumping and sprinting as if nothing had ever happened. However, this was not the result of luck or superhuman genetics, although it is safe to say we have all believed at some point that that he may actually be superhuman.
Following the injury, Cruise immediately found top-notch medical care, and reportedly attended physical therapy for 12 hours every day throughout his road to recovery. Had Cruise not received immediate and proper medical care instantly following his injury, who knows how that could have limited the remainder of his legendary career. It is entirely possible he would no longer be able to perform the stunts that have become such an integral part of his claim to fame.
Clearly, not everyone has the time or money to attend 12 hours of physical therapy every single day following an injury, but most people aren’t A-list actors who are the focal point of a billion-dollar film series either. Regardless, everyone experiencing a traumatic or significant injury absolutely should and must seek out appropriate medical care. If you ever experience a foot or ankle injury of any sort, do not wait to come visit our office for an emergency same-day appointment. We offer tremendous emergency foot and ankle care and we treat all cases with the utmost importance because, at Frederick Foot & Ankle, we keep you moving.
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