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Hellenic News of America
Hellenic News of America
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By Leslie Krowchenko

Standing, walking and sitting are actions where most people do not give a second thought.
Michael Sears, DPM, thinks about them all the time.

Dr. Sears, board certified in primary podiatric medicine and foot and ankle surgery, practices at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center and Raritan Bay Medical Center, (a division of Hackensack Meridian Healthcare Network). For more than 30 years, he has concentrated on everything from common lower extremity problems to diabetic limb salvage.

“Diabetic limb salvage is both challenging and extremely rewarding,” he said. “The impact upon saving a patient’s limb is life altering to the patient and his or her family.”

Dr. Sears’ education encompassed the body in its entirety, with special emphasis in lower extremity pathology. He graduated from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine, continuing at the same institution and affiliated hospitals, to complete his Podiatric surgical residency in 1989.

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Podiatry involves far more than one’s tootsies. Feet are key body parts, providing stability, absorbing shock and allowing for walking and standing, but rely on the rest of one’s anatomy for overall health. Dr. Sears specializes in treating feet, ankles and legs, related health issues and their implications.

“From a bio-mechanical standpoint, the foot, ankle and leg are as complex in function as the hand, wrist and arm,” he said. “Trauma to any one of the parts can cause issues with the others.”

One of those health issues is diabetes, which affects approximately 37.3 million Americans, or 11.3 percent of the population. The disease results in the body either not making enough insulin or failing to use it properly, resulting in too much blood sugar remaining in the bloodstream. Diabetes can lead to more serious health problems, such as heart disease, kidney disease or vision loss.

Approximately half of all diabetics suffer nerve damage leading to sensory loss known as “diabetic neuropathy,” which most often affects feet and legs and can lessen one’s ability to feel sensations like pain, heat and cold. As a result, a person may not be aware of a foot injury like a cut or blister until it becomes infected. Diabetes also disturbs blood flow, taking a longer time for the wound to heal.

Dr. Sears recommends a specific regiment for his patients – checking feet/ankles/legs twice a day, washing and moisturizing feet daily, looking for sores and cuts, wearing shoes that fit properly, shaking shoes to remove pebbles or other objects and never going barefoot, even around the house. Should a sore or cut be recognized, treating the area immediately and timely consultation with a health care provider is paramount.

“The most important thing about diabetes is ‘prevention, prevention, prevention’ – controlling one’s blood sugar controls the systemic negative effects of diabetes,” he said.

“For those with diabetes, eating a healthy diet, maintaining weight and getting regular exercise are ways one can live a normal life.”

Whether sneakers or stilettos, everyone’s shoes should fit properly, especially if all-day standing is a job requirement. A finger’s width between the longest toe and front end of the shoe, bendable at the ball and a soft inner sole are tips for comfort and support.

Even if one has a favorite pair of black heals, running shoes or work boots, he suggests making them part of the rotation rather than the daily go-to shoe and shaking an anti-fungal powder inside before wearing.

“Have your feet measured when buying shoes – don’t just say ‘I wear a size nine,’” he said. “Shoes are made differently – you may wear a nine in one style and an eight and a-half in another.”

Dr. Sears divides his time between his private practice in Perth Amboy and Paramus and on staff at the two medical centers. He also serves as Medical Director of the Wound Center and Hyperbaric Oxygen unit at Raritan Bay. He along with a team of doctors and nurses evaluates and treats all types of wounds.

In addition, he treats patients weekly in the Bergen New Bridge free clinic, as more than 20 percent of North Bergen residents do not have health insurance (

The medical center, formerly known as Bergen Pines County Hospital, opened in 1916 to treat patients with tuberculosis. The state’s largest public hospital, it subsequently transitioned to a general hospital offering medical services to the underprivileged. The outpatient center provides general care and numerous specialties.

“The free clinic offers charity care (for those without health coverage or coverage that pays only part of the bill),” said Dr. Sears. “We are booked through July.”
One of the many patients the clinic has assisted is a 93-year-old man with diabetes. His family initially brought him to Dr. Sears’ office, where the staff explained he unfortunately required tests they would be unable to afford.

“We directed him to the clinic, where he received complete health care,” he added. “The man was able to be followed by me along with all the sub-specialists he needed and is in a comprehensive treatment program.”

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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