Surical Podiatry

What Is Surgical Podiatry?

Surgical podiatry refers to the diagnosis and surgical remediation of conditions relating to the feet, ankles, and lower extremities.

This can involve any issue that impacts a patient’s ability to move or effectively use their lower limbs, such as bunions, sprains, torn ligaments, flat foot, broken bones, and so on. People of all ages could require the services of a surgical podiatrist, from neonates to the elderly.

Podiatric surgery is also relatively common in the sporting field, as the lower extremities can suffer impact trauma in full contact sports. Foot and ankle reconstructions are a common speciality for Board Certified Foot and Ankle podiatric surgeons.

What Do Podiatric Surgeons Do?

Podiatric surgeons specialise in providing expert care and treatment to patients with issues below the knee.

Surgical podiatry is a particular specialisation following medical school, much like neurosurgery or dermatology. Following four years as an undergrad and four years in medical school, future podiatric surgeons spend an additional 3-4 years honing their skills until they are experts in their field.

Within surgical podiatry professionals can specialize further in certain procedures such as reconstructions, trauma, diabetic limb salvage and sports medicine.

Who Needs Podiatric Surgery?

Anyone who is suffering from any debilitating condition affecting their lower extremities could benefit from a consultation with a podiatric foot and ankle surgeon.

Those who play contact sports are at greater risk of requiring surgical assistance for broken bones, strained muscles or joint reconstructions. People who suffer from bunions caused by tight shoes or genetics could also improve their quality of life through surgery.

How Are Podiatric Surgeries Assessed?

Podiatric surgeries are assessed in much the same way as any other surgery.

Your podiatric surgeon will consult with you and ask you about what is troubling you and what you would like to address. They will collect a detailed history of your injury to determine the likely cause and the best corrective procedure.

To have the most complete picture of what is happening around the injury site, x-rays, MRIs, and ultrasounds may be requested to ensure the surgeon has as much information as possible before the procedure.

Once all the information has been gathered and assessed by the surgeon, they will discuss your options and what they perceive to be the best course of action for you.

What Podiatric Surgeries Do We Perform?

Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital is proud to offer an extensive range of podiatric surgeries to our community from one of the leading podiatric surgeons in the state. Some of the procedures we offer include:

  • Orthopedic deformities – bunions, hammer toes, flatfeet, arthritis in ankle and foot
  • Sports Medicine Conditions – tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, sprains, tendon ruptures
  • Warts – hand and feet
  • Ingrown nails
  • Wound care
  • Diabetic limb salvage
  • Emergent fracture repair below the knee
  • Neonate/ Pediatric care consulting and surgical

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Podiatric Surgery?

As with most types of surgery, recovery times for podiatric surgery will vary depending on the complexity and extent of your particular procedure.

Average recovery times for something like a foot and ankle reconstruction can take up to 9 months, whereas a bunionectomy could have a recovery time around 8 weeks.

Whatever your situation, your podiatric surgeon will explain the aftercare required for your procedure and ensure you are set up with any physical therapy or dressing changes you might need during your recovery period.

Dr John Niemela, DPM

Diplomate, American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery

Certified in Foot & Ankle Surgery

Dr John Niemela

Dr. John Niemela, D.P.M., provides complete foot and ankle care from neonates to geriatric patients. Clinical services include: evaluation and treatment of all foot and ankle conditions below the knee. This includes treatment for orthopedic deformities (bunions, hammer toes, flatfeet, arthritis ankle/foot), sports medicine conditions (tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, sprains), warts (hands and feet), ingrown nails, wound care (below the knee), masses/tumors, and diabetic limb salvage/wound care.

Some of the services include: custom orthotics, injections and diabetic shoes. Surgical care provided includes: bunion/tailors bunion/hammer toe repair, forefoot/midfoot/rearfoot/ ankle reconstruction (everything below the knee).

He also provides traumatic reconstruction including emergent fracture repair of the ankle, foot, and toes. I will be available for trauma call at the hospital for injuries below the knee and will also be providing complete pediatric foot and ankle care, including clubfoot casting, congenital deformities, and flatfoot treatment.

Dr. Niemela is an Upper Peninsula native from Marquette, MI. He graduated with Honors from Michigan State University with a Bachelors Degree majoring in Medical Technology. He completed a one year internship for Medical Technology at Hurley Hospital in Flint, Michigan. Following the internship, he worked as a Medical Technologist for three years at Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph, Michigan before attending medical school at Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. Before receiving his medical school degree, he earned a second bachelors degree from Scholl College: Bachelors in Biology. Dr. Niemela then graduated from the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in 2002, Magna Cum Laude, with a Doctorate. Following medical school, he was accepted to a three year surgical residency at the Legacy Portland Hospital/Kaiser (PSR 36) Surgical Residency Program. Upon completion of his residency, he started in private practice in Marquette, Michigan and has provided complete foot and ankle care from neonates to geriatric patients for over 12 years.

Clinical services at Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital include, evaluation and treatment of all foot and ankle conditions below the knee. This includes treatment for orthopedic deformities (bunions, hammer toes, flatfeet, arthritis ankle/foot), sports medicine conditions (tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, sprains), warts (hands and feet), ingrown nails, wound care (below the knee), masses/tumors, and diabetic foot care. Some of the services he provides include custom orthotics, injections and diabetic shoes. Surgical care provided includes: bunion/tailors bunion/hammer toe repair, forefoot/midfoot/rearfoot/ ankle reconstruction (everything below the knee). I also provide traumatic reconstruction including emergent fracture repair of the ankle, foot, and toes. Dr. Niemela will be available for trauma call at the hospital for injuries below the knee and will also be providing complete pediatric foot and ankle care, including clubfoot casting, congenital deformities, and flatfoot treatment.

On the personal side of me, I am married and have five children, two of my own and three step children. My hobbies include cross country skiing, running, hunting, and enjoying time with my family.

To schedule an appointment please contact the Rural Health Clinic at 906-341-2153