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Health // Doctor in the House
MidWeek Staff

Foot Care For Whole-body Health

Dr. Brigette Kuhn
Podiatrist and podiatric surgeon

Where did you receive your schooling/training?

I received my undergraduate degree in chemistry at DePauw University in Indiana, and my medical degree at Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. I completed two residencies – one at the VA in Newington, Conn., and one at Tripler Army Medical Center here in Hawaii.

How long have you been in practice?

I have been in practice in Hawaii since 1996. I have offices in Liliha and Waipahu. In March, I’ll be opening an office in Aiea.

What services does your podiatry practice offer?

Podiatry has evolved over the years. Working with American Diabetes Association (ADA) and American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines, I work in collaboration with a cardiologist, cardiac surgeon and another podiatrist at our diabetes and vein center. My office offers a number of services, such as varicose vein screening and vein treatment, diabetic foot evaluations, circulation testing, my in-house orthotic lab, compression stocking therapy and supplies, and medical-grade support stockings for travel.

Orthotic lab: It is estimated that 70 percent of the population suffers from a condition called overpronation due to flat feet or fallen arches. Overpronation can lead to serious foot problems like heel pain, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia – even knee pain and lower back pain, in some instances. Custom-fabricated orthotics correct the problem of overpronation, and can help reduce or eliminate many common aches and pains. My in-office lab allows these devices to be affordable for everyone.

Circulation testing: Many people have leg and foot pain and think it is because of old age or their work, when it is actually a circulation problem. My office has simple, non-painful ways of determining circulation problems.

Compression stocking therapy: Varicose veins can be treated conservatively and/or with a simple in-office procedure. Circulation problems (especially in diabetic patients) often go undiagnosed and thus untreated. Symptoms may include leg pain, heaviness in the leg, sore legs, cramping, etc.

In my practice, I see a lot of patients with diabetes. Diabetes is defined by its association with microvascular complications. I work closely with diagnostic testing technicians, cardiologist/heart doctors, the patient’s primary care physician, physical therapists, and have partnered with a podiatrist to provide the best overall treatments. The goal in my office is to help diagnose and prevent problems rather than treat after a problem occurs.

What are some of the primary foot-related problems you most often see here in Hawaii?

It is important to know that many foot and leg pains can be caused by other problems, such as circulation issues. ADA and AHA have said heart problems are closely related to foot and leg problems. This is why I focus here on thorough testing to help rule out problems, so treatment can be most effective. There are many foot-related problems in Hawaii that everybody knows: fungus in the toenails, bunions, hammer toes, heel pain, corns, calluses and extremely dry skin. All these can be treated in the office, and education is the key to help prevent or minimize the symptoms.

What areas do you specialize in?

Diabetic foot care, varicose veins and circulation testing, and affordable custom orthotics. Effective podiatric foot-care items are available in the office.

Working with a number of specialties to provide an encompassing treatment and diagnostic regimen (as recommended by ADA), the focus is to care for the whole of the patient, not just the feet. The feet and legs can be a window to other problems that must be addressed. The goal is to prevent problems and address those problems that are current.

You mentioned being on Hawaii Five-0. What role did you play?

Over the past few years, I played the role of a doctor on Hawaii Five-0, as well as a few other roles. My other interests include animal protection and the Humane Society.

Anything else you’d like to mention?

If you have foot or leg pain, it is extremely important you be evaluated to address any symptoms that can be diagnosed quickly, early and treated conservatively. Podiatry has saved not only feet, but lives.

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