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Fast Care Center in Chicago, IL Discusses Foot & Ankle Injuries

A college soccer player, athletic trainer and podiatric surgeon:  one man, three different perspectives on injuries to the foot and ankle.

Dr. Jeff Baker, DPM, AACFAS – Podiatric Surgeon, Weil Foot and Ankle Institute

 

fast care center in chicago for foot and ankle injuriesWhen it comes to sports related foot and ankle injuries, the fast care center in Chicago has many different perspectives to draw from. At a relatively later age I became interested in soccer.  It started with a game during gym class in the 5th grade where I scored 3 goals.  My gym teacher at the time was also the high school varsity soccer coach and he encouraged me to play in the local recreational league.  My father was a former high school football and wrestling coach, but he was completely supportive in my pursuit of the game of soccer.  Soccer became a year-round part of my life, culminating in playing Division 1 varsity soccer for 4 years at Northeastern University in Boston.  Little did I know that later on in life I would become a podiatrist as I participated in a sport played almost exclusively with the feet.  Soccer players do some weird things when it comes to their feet.  Our cleats are an extension of our feet.  So the tighter the cleat, the better touch on the ball.  Therefore, we purchase cleats that are too small, immediately get them wet, and stretch them to the size of our feet.  The cleat ends up fitting like a tight slipper.  This brings about injuries and deformities that I have myself and now encounter on a daily basis such as hammertoes and blisters.

When deciding in high school as to what profession I would like to pursue in college, I decided on sports medicine.  I was an athletic training major at Northeastern University where during my time I was a student athletic trainer for both the Northeastern University and Tufts University basketball teams.  After graduation from Northeastern University in 1992, I then spent four years as the head athletic trainer at Westwood High School in Westwood, Massachusetts.  It was a wonderful experience that helped to build relationships with patients. At the fast care center in Chicago, we’ve seen that the majority of my athletes had ankle injuries and a large portion of my day was spent taping ankles and providing rehabilitation for ankle injuries.  The main purpose of my position was to keep athletes participating in their activities as long as it was safe and not going to worsen any injuries.  A unique portion of my duties was to determine the balance between injury and performance.  If I could get an athlete with an ankle injury to return to playing with the use of a brace at 80%, does that help team performance or is it a detriment.

In 2000 I graduated from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine.  I completed a three-year reconstructive foot and ankle surgery residency at St. Mary Hospital in Hoboken, New Jersey and a one-year fellowship in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery at the Weil Foot & Ankle Institute.

Since 2004 I have been a podiatric surgeon at the Weil Foot and Ankle Institute.  I am now privy to all types of foot and ankle injuries.  My special areas of interest are reconstructive foot and ankle surgery, sports medicine and foot and ankle trauma.  I feel my athletic and sports medicine background has prepared me for all that comes with my current position.  Now I am involved in not only the diagnosis of foot and ankle injuries, but coordinate the treatment of these conditions.  While a majority of foot and ankle injuries heal with conservative management, some require surgical management.  While this may not be fun for the patient, it is the portion of my job that I fully enjoy.  The ability to put something that is broken and not working back together is very rewarding to me, no different that any other craftsman.

I went from getting injured, to being the first line of treatment for injuries, to putting the injury back together.  It has been a long and rewarding journey culminating in my current position with the fast care center in Chicago, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

To learn more about foot & ankle injuries, visit the website for Weil Foot & Ankle of Illinois here!

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