Best Foot Forward
Most people do not give their feet enough attention but with today’s modern technology, there’s no reason to be suffering with foot pain or problems
by Lindsey Getz

The human foot is a complex piece of anatomy. With a total of 52 bones in the feet alone, that’s almost 25 percent of the bones in the entire body. Coupled with more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, there’s no doubt that the feet are designed for great purpose. But despite the fact that our feet are charged with the incredibly important task of supporting the entire body—plus helping us walk, run, jump and more—they still often wind up being one of the most ignored body parts. Foot pain and problems may be overlooked for years but with the amazing advances podiatric medicine has made in recent years, there’s no reason to go on suffering. The experts at A Foot Above Podiatry, based in Havertown, are helping many in the region realize that there are solutions to their pain.

“I think the foot is sometimes the most neglected part of the body,” admits Dr. Stephen A. Monaco, board certified with the American Board of Podiatric Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. “I suspect I only see about a tenth of the people who are experiencing foot pain. That’s because people have just gotten used to ignoring their feet and putting up with the pain. But they don’t have to just live with it—we can help them.”

The practice commonly sees patients for diabetic foot care, toenail problems, sports medicine, heel pain, bunions, ankle problems and more. “Diabetic care is definitely a critical part of our practice,” says Dr. Dana Dober, who specializes in not only diabetic foot care but also wound care, sports medicine and geriatrics. “With more diabetic patients being educated to check their feet regularly, there’s been a bigger shift to preventative care. While amputation used to be relatively common with diabetes, today we’re spotting problems early and preventing them from getting too serious.”

When it comes to the feet, even small problems can, in time, become more serious—particularly in certain patient populations such as diabetics, older persons and children. “Something like an ingrown toenail in a child should not be ignored,” says Dr. Dober. “They can become extremely painful or even infected. There was a time when the pediatrician may have just given an antibiotic, but there does seem to be a growing awareness of referring these patients to a specialist.”

While certain populations may be more prone to foot problems, the truth is that they can affect anyone. Dr. Warner Siegle, a new podiatrist with the practice, says he sees patients of all ages. “We find that foot problems affect the entire population,” he says. “Common ailments such as warts and plantar fasciitis can be debilitating. Being on one’s feet is essential in our fast-paced lives and people are working longer and harder these days—deep into their 60s and even 70s. That’s a lot of wear and tear.”

Unprecedented Expertise and Professionalism
As the son of a podiatrist, Dr. Monaco, who himself has been in practice for more than 30 years, says that his family has had a podiatry presence in Havertown since 1952. The practice is growing, with two new physicians, Dr. Siegle and Dr. Evan Cichelli, having been recently added. Besides having a longstanding presence in the community, coupled with fellow physicians and staff who are experts in the field, A Foot Above Podiatry also boasts a state-of-the-art certified surgical center, allowing for true continuity of care. “Having an onsite surgery center enables us to do everything we could do in a hospital setting here in the office, with sedation,” says Dr. Monaco. “Now we can not only take care of you on the clinic side, but also the surgery side, all in one location.”

Dr. Siegle adds that the surgery center bridges the gap between facility, physician and patient. “Doctors can ensure the equipment they use is always ready and the patient can tour the facility and make sure they are getting the most cutting-edge care possible,” he says. “A surgery center also offers a lower impact on insurance deductibles than a big-cost hospital facility. And you receive the same pain-free care that you would at a larger hospital, but with same-day release and faster recovery times. Because of that, surgery centers [in general] have much lower risks of infection.”

In addition to the surgery center, the practice also offers some of the field’s most advanced technology. Orthotics, for instance, have gone from plaster moldings to digital imaging and 3-D scanning, according to Dr. Monaco. “You now get a 3-D digital file from which a custom model orthotic is molded,” he says.

A new and exciting FDA-approved cosmetic procedure called the KeryFlex Nail Restoration System is also available through A Foot Above Podiatry. The simple procedure offers a cosmetic solution to onychomycosis, restoring the appearance of a natural nail with a durable (but flexible) artificial one. “We now have the ability to restore an ugly, deformed toenail to a perfectly cosmetic example of a toenail,” says Dr. Monaco. “If you come in with a toenail deformity from disease or previous surgery, we can provide you with a perfect nail that will last two full months. We’ve done anywhere from one nail to all 10 on both men and women.”

Over the years, podiatric medicine has come incredibly far, and Dr. Monaco stresses that so many patients have benefited as a result. While there was once a time when toe, foot, and even leg amputations were a medical necessity, Dr. Monaco says that with today’s medicine there is no reason that a person with poor circulation or even diabetes should ever have to lose a leg. With the proper management, good health can be maintained. The key is to practice preventative care.

Dr. Monaco offers a recent example: “I had a patient that came in to have her toenails trimmed and I told her, ‘You’re going to lose your leg if you don’t make an appointment with a surgeon right away.’ She was scared and resisted, but I ultimately made an appointment for her with a surgeon who opened up an artery in her leg and saved it. Ten years ago that was unheard of. That’s just one example of how podiatric medicine is on the forefront and how regular management with a podiatrist can be invaluable.”   

A Foot Above Podiatry
1120 Township Line Road, Suite 300
Havertown, PA 19083
For additional information, visit

Photography by Jody Robinson