Everyone hopes to remain active and mobile as they move into their “golden years.” The physicians at Waco Foot & Ankle use their skills to treat issues with those extremities.
Dr. Vanessa English said the practice provides medical and surgical treatment of the foot and ankle for all ages, but their No. 1 focus with older patients is helping them maintain balance.
“We do deal with mobility issues for older patients,” she said. “You don’t want someone to fall and suffer further injury.”
New patients to Waco Foot & Ankle receive customized treatment, beginning with a 3-D scan of the foot and ankle. Patients also undergo a comprehensive neurological exam to help determine what the problem may be.
English said plenty of times patients aren’t certain what the problem is, but they know things aren’t “right.”
“They’ll tell us they have a general pain or a general weakness,” she said. “They feel like they can’t put their full weight on their foot and they don’t know why.”
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That’s where the experience of the doctors at Waco Foot & Ankle comes in to assess the proper treatment. Sometimes the problem can be addressed with a brace to aid in balance or orthotics (customized inserts that fit in the shoe).
“We try to have as much of a conservative treatment as we can in order to avoid surgery and be able to alleviate pain,” she said.
The practice also treats foot problems that come with the wear and tear of years on your feet, such as painful calluses that develop on the ball of the foot, or bunions and hammer toes.
Routine foot care for the senior population is provided at the practice.
Exercise That Hurts
Sometimes the effort of trying to be healthy as one ages can bring pain, she noted.
“We do see people who start doing Silver Sneakers (a program that has exercise activities for seniors) and they’ll get a sprain from working out,” she said. “Or some people will do yoga and stretch, but also develop a sprain.”
The practice does handle all ages and types of foot and ankle issues, whether it’s children bothered by flat feet or having problems or injuries caused from playing sports .
Older patients can have bone density issues or suffer from osteoporosis, as bones weaken and become brittle.
“We’ll discuss all that before deciding on treatment,” she said.
English is the newest of four physicians, joining Drs. Karina Loya, Steven Sterriker and Nealand Willingham II, at the practice. She has been in Waco for a year, after previously practicing in New York and Austin.
“I finished my surgical residency in 2020 and have been in practice ever since,” she said.
All four also are surgeons, doing most of those procedures at the Fish Pond Surgery Center. Certain surgeries or patients who have additional medical issues might require surgery be done at Ascension Providence Health Center.
English said Waco Foot & Ankle does have what she considers to be two “perks.”
First, it has a wheelchair room outfitted with a lift, making it convenient to get patients out of their wheelchairs to do an examination or check their progress. The lift is used at least two times a day, she said.
The practice also has an in-office ultrasound, which can be used to check out bumps, masses and even skin tags on the patients.
“We can do an ultrasound and usually give a diagnosis the same day,” she said.
English said the focus for physicians at Waco Foot & Ankle is to keep their patients on the move.
“The key is to keep them walking,” she said. “The idea of being retired is you want to enjoy life more. You want to be mobile.”
Waco Foot & Ankle
201 Colonnade Parkway, Suite 100
Mon-Thu, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fri, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.