Author Archives: Dr. Kevin Smith, DPM

Celebrating 40 Years of Podiatry with Dr. Buckrop!

As many of you know already, my colleague and good friend Dr. Buckrop will be retiring at the end of this week after a long and wonderful career in podiatry! I wanted to take the time to reflect on his 40 years of work and celebrate the terrific contributions he has made to our field.

Believe it or not, Dr. Buckrop is a second-generation podiatrist having been inspired watching his Dad go to his own practice every day. Both he and his brother practice in the Quad Cities area, with his brother taking over his father’s practice and Dr. Buckrop branching out to create his own practice in 1979. Understanding how things worked and the mechanics or history behind how the body works truly solidified his passion. A lot has changed since he rented his first office space after graduation. At that time, Dr. Buckrop pointed out to me that podiatry wasn’t as well-known of a field as many other medical practices. Illini Hospital in Silvis was one of the only medical facilities in the area with a dedicated podiatrist on staff.  However, in the years after his graduation many podiatrists began establishing themselves in our area, including many of his former classmates! Now there are several residency programs, research opportunities and we’ve seen many exciting medical advancements in podiatric care.

After establishing his first practice near the Viking club on 41st St in Moline, Dr. Buckrop was ready to partner with a local architect to design and build his very own office space where he spent the next 30 years providing top tier care to his patients. Dr. Buckrop told me, “I really  enjoyed partnering in your office, because of many of the new design features and how you incorporate a personalized feel like I have always strived for in my previous practices.”

The continuing learning that occurs in podiatry has always been an enticing aspect of his practice as well. Dr. Buckrop and I have spoken many times about the implications of different advancements and approaches to different ailments developed over the years. Over the last 15 years, we’ve both been excited to see podiatry expand to treating a broader set of ailments, as well as providing more services in the office, so patients can more often be diagnosed and treated all in one place.

As he prepares for his retirement, I asked Dr. Buckrop what he was looking forward to most and he told me, “I’m really looking forward to getting to visit with my family more. Both of my kids live out of town.  I love to travel, so I’m really excited to be able get out, explore and share more time with them.” For those who don’t know, Dr. Buckrop is quite the maritime enthusiast having gone scuba diving, canoeing and kayaking in places like the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Cancun, Cayman Islands and Barbados. Just yesterday, he told me, “I’ve had a really blessed life” and I know we’ve all been very fortunate to have him here in the office. He did offer some advice to future podiatrists as well, he reminded us all to stay patient focused and always present the best ideas to get patients to their healthcare goals. Do no harm should always be on the top of our minds.  

He also wanted to leave a message for everyone: “Thank you to all of my patients, past and present.  Thank you to all of the medical professionals who have given me the chance to serve you! Thank you for making this such an amazing career.  I’ve really had a blessed life and I wish you all the best!”

4 Common Practices Damaging Your Nails

With spring and summer like weather many folks bring out their favorite sandals, flip-flops and open toed shoes in rebellion to the confines of the shoes we typically wear in the winter. What better way to show off your favorite open toed shoes than with a new manicure and pedicure? Nail polish is a great way to accessorize, but some polish chemicals and techniques can be highly detrimental to your nail health. Toenails grow at just a fraction of the rate of your fingernails, which means any damage caused can hang around a lot longer than you think.

  • Using Polishes with the ‘Toxic Trio’

Most polish manufacturers are beginning to move away from these chemicals, because of their health risks.  However, formaldehyde, toluene and dibutylphthalate are still present in some products on the market. All three of these chemicals are known for their carcinogenic or toxic effects, so it’s always a good idea to check the label on your favorite polish to see what is being applied. Don’t be afraid to ask your pedicurist what polishes they are planning on using on your feet or hands.  Pedicurists work with a wide variety of products everyday and should be able to recommend brands with natural or non-toxic ingredients.

  • Give Your Nails a Break….So they Don’t!

Over time, heavy use of polishes, acrylics and gels can cause your nails to yellow and dry out. Much like your skin when it comes to makeup, your nails need time to breath, refresh and rehydrate in order to stay in top shape. Heavy nail treatments act like a varnish, sealing them away from air and preventing some of their natural restorative cycles. Plus, chemicals, like those mentioned earlier, can draw nutrients out of your nail leaving them thin and easy to break or tear.

  • If You Change Colors, Avoid Acetone

There are thousands of different colors of polish these days and each goes perfectly with a different scenario, so it can be really tempting to want to change your polish color frequently. Be careful! Many of the solvents commonly used to quickly remove polish, like Acetone, are extremely harsh on your nails leaving them dried out and easy to damage. 

  • Don’t remove polish with your fingers

Now, I know I said you should be careful using solvents to remove polish from your nails, but you shouldn’t chisel color off with your fingers either. When you pick and peel your nail polish or lacquer off, you’re not just removing the color, you are also removing the top layer of your nails. This might seem harmless at first, but it can significantly weaken the nail and leave it susceptible to other abrasives or damage.

5 Tips For Finding Comfortable Shoes

Buying shoes isn’t something most of us think too much about. We find a pair that looks good, maybe walk up and down the aisle a couple times with them onto make sure nothing rubs or pokes and that’s that. There are a few key details that can impact your visit dramatically and, if taken into consideration, can get you a shoe that will be more comfortable and healthier for your feet in the long run. Next time you love a pair of shoes, makes sure to consider these tips so you know they’ll love you back.

1. Don’t Try Shoes in the Morning

Your feet are changing throughout the day depending on your daily activities and overall health. It’s natural for your feet to expand throughout the day which means that a shoe that fits perfectly first thing in the morning might get a little snug later in the afternoon.

2. Take a Stroll in Your New Kicks

While walking up and down the aisle won’t give you a perfect representation of what it will be like to wear that pair of shoes day to day, it’s a great was to quickly see if you have a winning pair or need to try again. Don’t tell yourself that they’ll fit better as they break in, get shoes that fit well from day one.

3. No Two Feet are the Same, Get Measured!

Did you know the same person can have two different sized feet? Getting your feet measured every time you buy shoes cuts out having to guess which size or half size you are and ensures that your buying something actually made for your feet and not cramming into what ‘should’ fit. Generally, you should leave 3/8” to ½” of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Are you cool enough to have different sized feet? Seek out shoes that are the same size as the larger of your feet.

4. Shoes Come in ‘Wide’ Too

You finally found that perfect shoe. Oh so stylish, perfect length, and great support but…it’s compressing the ball of your foot. Never fear! Ask if the shoe comes in a wider size because a longer shoe likely won’t solve the problem in the long run.

5. Do Some Sole Searching

When looking at new athletic or work shoes, especially, check out the soles and the kind of tread they have. Walking on multiple kinds of surfaces like carpet, linoleum, and tile will give you a feel for how supportive they are as well as if they will be slippery on different surfaces. A good tread will give you better traction and cushioning while exerting yourself, offering better ankle, hip, and back protection.

5 Tips to Avoid Toenail Fungus this Season

Toenail fungus is becoming more common this time of year since it’s warming up. This irritating condition is a hassle to deal with, which is why we collected our top 5 tips to prevent toenail fungus:

1. Change your socks

Nail fungus loves moist and dark environments, so sweaty feet and wet socks are the perfect environment for toenail fungus. No matter whether you go hiking or have a stressful day at the office, make sure to have an extra pair of socks with you. Your colleagues will appreciate it as well!

2. Clean your toes

Just like your teeth, your toenails need to be cleaned. The more regular you clean, the lower the chance of getting toenail fungus! Once a day is probably more than enough, but twice a day makes sense when going to the gym or engaging on any other physically challenging activity.

3. Wear sandals

Talking about the gym: public showers and locker rooms are filled with bacteria and moisture, so wear sandals to protect your feet when going to the gym or local pool.

4. Use antifungal sprays or powders

Some people naturally sweat more than others, so control sweat by spraying antifungal sprays/powders inside your shoes and on your socks.

5. Wear shoes that fit

If your shoes are irritating your toes, they are most likely irritating your toenails. Any irritation increases the risk of getting toenail fungus, so make sure your shoes don’t touch your toenails. Alternate the shoes you wear so that they can air out before you wear them again.

Let’s all try to prevent toenail fungus for happier healthier feet, and keep your eyes open for upcoming blogs about toenail fungus detection and treatment options.

Toenail Fungus

Chemotherapy and the Feet

Chemotherapy has many side effects, including Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN) which is caused by damage or irritation of nerves carrying feeling sensations from the limbs, hands and feet to the central nervous system.

It is either described as a numb or frozen feeling, as well as a cramped, tingling, sensitivity to temperature feeling in either direction. Numbness in the feet may result in difficulty balancing, because affected individuals can’t properly feel the ground. Even though this condition begins as a side-effect to treatment, it can persist even afterward the treatment is finished, making everyday tasks more difficult to get through.

Another condition called Hand-foot Syndrome has symptoms that can significantly reduce your quality of life:

  • Red and swollen feet
  • Blisters, rashes, or calluses on the soles of the feet and/or on the palms of the hands
  • Pain, soreness, tenderness and/or a tingling sensation

There are certain home remedies like padded foot wear, warm baths and a variety of occupational therapy techniques, but we encourage you to consult with your primary care physician and your podiatrist first, because some of the symptoms may be a cause of other conditions.

Please see below for further information and don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Smith and Dr. Buckrop if you have any further questions.

Cancer and the Feet