Foot and Ankle Center Blog

Content origianlly featured in September 2017 Issue of Healthy Cells Magazine

Most coaches will tell you the most important part of a player’s body is their heart. Most podiatrists, on the other hand, will tell you it’s their feet and ankles. Foot and ankle injuries can have devastating effects on athletic performance. Many colleges, NFL, NBA and MLB teams have board certified podiatrists handle the foot and ankle care of their players to prevent and treat injuries.

To meet this demand in central Illinois, The Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois will be offering a specialized athletic foot and ankle medical program for local athletes, weekend warriors, and exercise enthusiasts this year.

“We are extremely excited about rolling out this new program. Our goal with this initiative is two-fold. First, we want to raise awareness and provide injury prevention information to athletes, parents, coaches and trainers. Secondly, we want to offer the same level of care and services that are available to professional athletes so athletes can return to the activities they love doing and live pain-free lives,” said the clinic’s founder, Dr. John Sigle, DPM, FACFAS.

As a recognized foot and ankle surgeon and leader in laser technology, many athletes have come to his clinic for his expertise and advanced treatment.

 “I first learned about the laser treatments from my former teammates Larry Austin and Xavier Bishop who got great results,” said Yaakema Rose, a former Lanphier Lions All-State basketball player. 

My final season of Lanphier basketball was hard on my feet and ankles. To be honest with you, I was a total wreck during the season... every week I was getting a different injury, so the laser treatments were never the same,” said Rose.  

“Thanks to Dr. Sigle and Dr. Kennedy I was always game ready! Everyone at the clinic is awesome! I know I would not have made it through the season if it wasn’t for their help,” Rose said.

After the season, Rose had laser treatments to get rid of my toenail fungus and custom orthotics made for his shoes

“I guess you could say I had a tune-up for college ball,” Rose said, who has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Ranger College in Texas next year.


“This ‘tune up’ can be used by male and female athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all ages across the region,” Dr. Sigle explained.

According to a study published by the American Journal of Sports Medicine looking at 15 different sports, Lower Extremity Injuries (LEI) are the most prevalent injuries for high school athletes; and the risk of injury increases when athletes specialize in a single sport year-round.

 “Most athletes, coaches, and trainers pay very little attention to the condition of their players’ feet and ankles until there is a problem. If left untreated, foot and ankle problems often add to other leg, knee, and hip, shoulder, and spine problems. By examining athletes on an annual basis, we will be able to identify possible problems that can be addressed with conservative treatments before they develop into a serious injury,” Dr. Sigle said.

Dr. Grant Gonzalez, DMP, Dr. Sigle’s associate foot and ankle surgeon at the Foot and Ankle Center, will also be helping with the program.

“We treat a lot of athletes for foot and ankle injuries, which are the most common injuries for most contact sports, especially those that require load weight bearing moves, lateral shifts, multiple starts and stops, jumping up and down, and at contact with opponents,” said Dr. Gonzalez.

The doctors also see a wide variety of participants from other non-contact, highly-physical activities such as dance, cheerleading, cycling, and running.

“We have digital imaging in the clinic so we can make an immediate diagnosis to guide our treatment protocol. If the injury is more severe, we also have an Extremity MRI in the clinic. Injured athletes can schedule same-day service. Radiology reports are usually available within 24-48 hours,” Dr. Gonzalez said.

Both podiatrists are advanced foot and ankle surgeons able to treat common sports injuries as Achilles tendon ruptures, lateral ankle ligament repair/reconstruction, ankle fractures, calcaneus (heel bone) fractures, Lisfranc (midfoot) injury, Jones fractures, talus fractures, toe and forefoot fractures, hammer toe, In-grown toenails, and plantar fasciitis and bone spurs.

According to Dr. Sigle, “We are approaching parents, athletic teams, coaches, trainers, and fitness groups to counsel them on proper foot and ankle care for athletes; and to offer our medical services, cutting-edge technology and specialized products.”

The new program provides treatment for Athletes’ Foot, toenail fungus, and foot infections. Many of the athletes are exposed to toenail fungus and bacteria commonly found in locker rooms. These conditions can be a lingering problem if they are not addressed quickly. Laser treatment provides the highest efficacy rates for treating toenail fungus. A special shoe sanitizer and deodorizer may be used as an added measure of protection to kill fungus and germs.

The Foot & Ankle Depot is an auxiliary service offered within the clinic as an added convenience to patients where they can purchase specialty, doctor-approved foot and ankle products, custom molded braces and orthotics in a comfortable medical setting.

Over the counter shoe inserts and custom orthotics are available for every sport activity and to satisfy a client’s biomechanical needs. A wide variety of shoe gear is sold that includes special ortho-heel technology inserts, shoes designed for running and fitness activities. The store also stocks bunion guards, heel lifts, hammertoe crests, toe separators, pads, lotions, deodorant sprays, cold therapy sprays. Elastic bandages, straps, braces, compression wraps, heel cushions. , pads, and toe spacers.

Cold therapy devices and assistive walking devices are available for purchase or rental. The Foot & Ankle Depot is the only certified fitter for the I-Walk Hands Free Crutch in Springfield.

The Foot and Ankle Center of Illinois also house the Illinois Laser Center, directed by Dr. Jared Kennedy, DC. The laser center offers the state-of-the-art laser technology for toenail fungus and pain therapy. Both lasers are widely recognized as Best in Class by medical practitioners around the country.

“Our Cutting Edge MLS Laser, used by many professional sports teams, is known as our ‘secret weapon’ for athletic injuries,” said Kennedy.

The laser is used to manage pain and treat injuries in tendons, ligaments, joints, chronic wounds, bruised, strained, torn muscles and more. It is also used for pre and post-surgical treatment and a number of specific neurological conditions. The laser has two components; a robotized multi-target device that is able to cover large areas of the body, and a hand-held laser wand that is used to treat trigger points for maximum results.

This technology has a patented multi-wave locked system (MLS) that provides dual wavelengths. One wave length provides a continuous emission to produce anti-inflammatory and anti-edemic effects. The other wavelength provides pulsed emissions to produce analgesic effects.

“We’ve had great success with keeping athletes healthy. Typically, athletes come to us after their games and we provide 2-3 treatments during the week. We consult with the parents as the week progresses and give them a condition report. Most are able to return to the sport by game time. Quite frankly, the MLS Laser improves outcomes!” said Dr. Kennedy.

The new Athletic Foot and Ankle Program is tailored to each individual patient but will offer the following services:

  • Comprehensive Podiatric Foot and Ankle Exam including a Functional Biomechanics Assessment

  • Digital Imaging, Extremity MRI and Diagnostic Ultrasound

  • Shoe Fitting Prescriptions

  • Custom Orthotics and Shoe Inserts

  • Toenail Fungus Screening and Laser Treatment

  • KeryFlex Nail Restoration Treatment

  • MLS Laser Therapy

  • Treatment for Athletes Foot, Corns, Calluses, and Blisters

  • Best of Class Physician Approved Foot and Ankle Products

  • Amniotic Stem Cell Treatment for Connective Tissue Repair

  • Other Non-Operative and Operative Services Available

 “We are launching this program because we believe there is an unmet need that is not being addressed in a holistic way. Combining state of the art technology with advanced foot and ankle care will prove to be of immense benefit to the athletic community,” said Dr. Sigle.

 “By helping younger athletes now, they may be able to avoid long-term problems down the road and keep their mobility during their senior years. They will certainly depend on their feet to carry them up for a long journey ahead. You know what they say….”Athletes Never die!” said Dr. Sigle.

If you are interested in preventing possible foot and ankle injuries associated with your sport or would like to learn more about this specialized program, call 217-787-2700. Don’t forget to register for a free informational meeting that will be scheduled this coming fall.

The Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois is conveniently located in Springfield, Decatur, Taylorville, Monticello, Sullivan, Shelbyville, and Carlinville. Services offered may vary at each location.


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September 08, 2017

Sprained AnkleHave you ever twisted your ankle while participating in a sport? Or maybe you simply slipped while walking? Either way, ankle sprains, and fractures should not be ignored. Ankle sprains are common injuries that occur when ligaments are stretched or torn, with nearly 85% occurring laterally or on the outside of the ankle joints. By visiting your podiatrist, you can receive the care you need to get back on your feet.

Symptoms of a Sprained or Fractured Ankle

Your symptoms upon spraining your ankle may vary depending on the severity of your pain and how it occurred. The symptoms of an ankle sprain may include:

  • Pain or soreness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty walking
  • Stiffness in the joint

All ankle sprains will produce some level of pain at the time of your injury and the joint will also feel tender, beginning to swell. If your sprain is mild, you may experience a slight loss in the function of your joint.

With a more serious sprain, you will most likely fall during the initial impact of the injury. It will often be difficult to move or put weight on your injured ankle, producing bruising and swelling from the ankle to the foot. Once you have had ankle sprains or other ankle injuries before, you may have a weakened joint that creates more of a chance for future injuries to take place.

Common symptoms of an ankle fracture are similar to ankle sprains, and include:

  • Pain to touch
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Inability to walk on the leg
  • Deformity around the ankle

Treatment and Prevention

Treatment for your ankle sprain begins with self-care. The RICE evaluation is highly recommended upon the initial onset of your injury:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

When your podiatrist feels you are ready to begin participating in sports and exercising, you can help prevent further sprains and fractures by wearing an ankle brace during the first initial months of being back on your ankle. Special wraps are also available to protect your ankle. 

If your symptoms still persist after taking the initial step of at-home-care, or if you suspect you might have a fracture, a visit to your podiatrist may be in order. With a consultation at our practice, your ankle sprain or fracture can be treated and further prevented. There is no need to put an end to your athletic lifestyle with recurring ankle injuries.


By John M. Sigle, DPM, FACFAS

Content originally featured in August Issue of Healthy Cells Magazine



One of many people’s biggest fears about the physical aging process is the risk of injury from falling. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for people 65 years of age and older. So prevalent that, in the United States, an older adult dies from a fall every 19 minutes, according to the National Council on Aging (NOAC). The damages from falling are not only physical, but financial. The council estimates the toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and possibly reaching $67.7 billion by 2020.

Despite all these grave statistics, it’s a myth that falling is an inevitable part of aging. It is not. Seniors have the power to reduce their risk of injury from falling by taking preventive measures to maximize their independence and quality of life.

Podiatrists play a key role in the prevention of falls for seniors, because they are trained to identify patients who are at risk for falls, and able to address the primary biomechanical problems that cause falls. Problems that contribute to falls include osteoarthritis, unstable foot and ankle joints and pain, weak muscles, Dropfoot (Hemiplegia), posterior tibial tendonitis, tendon contraction, peripheral neuropathy, flatfeet, malformations in the toes, Equinus Foot, Charcot Foot, gait abnormality; and lack of muscle coordination (Ataxia). The foot and ankle problems that place seniors at highest risk of falling have Chronic Ankle instability, Hallux Rigidus (big toe arthritis), and Ankle, Hindfoot, and Midfoot arthritis.* Here is a brief overview of the symptoms, causes, and treatments for these conditions.

Chronic Ankle Instability
Chronic Ankle Instability is characterized by a weak ankle that “gives way” on the lateral (outer) side of the ankle on a fairly regular basis. This occurrence is unpredictable and can occur while walking, running, or when standing. Common symptoms include pain, tenderness, and swelling.

The primary cause is usually the result of a prior ankle sprain or injury (i.e. fracture) that did not rehabilitate properly or fully heal. Consequently, ligaments surrounding the ankle remain stretched, weak, and sometimes torn. Other causes are not injury related. These include arthritis, inflammation in the synovium (joint lining), and a buildup of scar tissue, a damaged nerve, or nerve entrapment condition.

Physiotherapy is the most common treatment to rebuild ankle strength. Special bracing is also used to provide support. Surgery is considered if ligaments need to be tightened on the outside of the ankle to add support. In some cases, a tendon may be grafted from the other ankle to rebuild stability.

Hallux Rigidus (Big Toe Arthritis)
Hallux Rigidus (hallux rig·i·dus) is a form of degenerative arthritis in the metatarsophalangeal (met-a-tar-so-pha-lan-gel-al) “big toe” joint (MTP) that usually develops in adults between the ages of 30 and 60. This condition is the most common form of arthritis in the foot. It is a progressive condition that limits the toe’s range of motion over time

This condition occurs when the cartilage of the big toe is injured or because of an abnormal foot anatomy that puts an excessive stress load on the MTP joint. The deterioration of articular cartilage covering at the end of the bone results in a bone-on-bone condition.

Initial symptoms include joint stiffness, swelling, pain, discomfort, and restricted range of motion. The condition tends to be aggravated during cold and damp weather. Walking becomes abnormal and is usually associated with a limp that results in balance impairment. Recreational and fitness activities are restricted and so is manual labor that requires stooping or squatting.

As the condition advances, pain is present even during rest. Walking is difficult and evidenced with a limp. Bone spurs in the heel often develop making it uncomfortable to wear shoes, especially high heels. Often, these conditions lead to pain in the knee, hip, and lower back.

Biomechanics and structural abnormalities are the primary causes of Hallux Rigidus. It is not caused by genetics but it can be the result of inheriting a foot type that is prone to developing this condition. People who have excessive pronation (rolling in) of the ankles or fallen arches are more prone to develop this condition.

This condition can also result from injury such as stubbing your big toe or from work activities that require excessive stooping and squatting or caused by gout or rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory diseases).

Early diagnosis will help avoid further problems. Diagnosis is usually made after X-rays are taken to determine the extent of degeneration and bone spur formation. Blood tests and aspiration may also be used to confirm diagnosis of septic arthritis.

Non-surgical treatments include anti-inflammatories and pain medications. Shoes that provide a larger toe box and stiffer sole with a rocker panel design feature should be used. Sometimes a metal brace is placed inside the sole to limit toe bending. Cold and hot therapy is sometimes used as well as cortisone injections.

Surgery may be done if therapy fails. Depending on the severity of the condition, there are three types of surgeries that may be performed including: a Cheilectomy (kl-lek’-toe-me) for mild to moderate MTP damage, an Arthrodesis (are-throw-dee’ sis) permanent fusion of bones if the cartilage is severely damaged, or Arthroplasty (are-throw-plas’tee) ankle replacement with an artificial joint.

Ankle, Hindfoot and Midfoot Arthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease)
Arthritis is also common in three other locations of the ankle, hindfoot, and midfoot. There are three types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, commonly referred to as wear and tear arthritis, typically occurs after reaching middle age. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a system-wide disease that attacks and destroys cartilage. Post-Traumatic Arthritis occurs following an injury such as a sprain, fracture, or torn/stretched ligament.

Arthritis symptoms of the foot vary depending on where it is present; however, the common symptoms include swelling, stiffness and reduced mobility, tenderness and pain, and difficulty walking.

Nonsurgical treatment may include the following: cold therapy; anti-inflammatories and pain medications; use of supportive footwear, custom orthotics, foot braces, balance braces, and casting; home therapy; participating in non-load bearing recreation activities; corticosteroid injections; and laser therapy.

Surgical treatment is considered when nonsurgical treatment does not provide sufficient response or pain relief. Surgery consists of Arthroscopic Debridement, Arthrodesis (fusion) and Arthroplasty (joint replacement).

Arthroscopic Surgery is typically done during the early stages of arthritis; and Arthrodesis and Arthroplasty are done at end of stage arthritis.

Arthrodesis is a complete fusion of the joint accomplished by the use of hardware to hold the bones in place while the joint fusion occurs. Bone grafts are sometimes used to replace a missing bone or if there is bone loss to fuse the bones of the joint completely.

Fusion is usually very successful and has does not present problems for healing. Additional surgery is necessary if problems occur from a lack of bracing. Arthritis may be a long-term problem if stress is applied to the fused and adjacent joints.

Candidates for Arthroplasty Surgery (joint replacement) are at end stage arthritis, ankle joint surfaces are destroyed, and patients are in severe pain and unable to do normal daily activities. Because of advances in implant design, this procedure is gaining popularity and becoming the treatment of choice.

A wide range of strategies are available to prevent falls. If you have a balance problem or arthritis in your feet or ankles, call 217-787-2700 to schedule an appointment at the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois in Springfield, Decatur, Carlinville, Shelbyville, Monticello, Taylorville, or Sullivan. Call the clinic to obtain a free Fall Risk Assessment Tool. View our website blog at for information about the 10th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day (FPAD) on Sept. 22, 2017.

*“Increased Effort Needed to Prevent Falls as the US Population Ages,” JAMA 2014; 312(1): 21doi:10.1001/jama/2014.7057.

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Did you ever wonder what a day in the life of a foot and ankle surgeon is like? Every day, Dr. Sigle is “up and at ‘em” at six o’clock in the morning, and he’s ready for a long demanding day. He has a glass of juice, does a half-hour workout, kisses the kids and wife goodbye, grabs a coffee to go, and is off to the hospital for surgery or to the clinic he founded in 2011. Although his weekly schedule is fairly standard, there are times when something out of the ordinary happens and this month, something happened. Dr. Sigle had to pay a special visit to the legendary keyboardist from Journey, Jonathan Cain.

“I’ve known Dr. Sigle for a number of years,” said Jonathan. “He is a personal friend and my adviser when it comes to my foot care. He is so knowledgeable and genuine. I joke with him that he is becoming a rock star for foot care. He’s been interviewed on public radio and local talk shows, and is a spokesperson for the Podiatry Association. His articles on foot care are also reaching a lot of people. My feet take quite a bit of pounding when I am on tour, so every now and then I like to get his help to keep them in good shape. I can always count on his advice. Springfield has a real gem.” Read More!

As a parent, you may have concerns about your children’s ability to handle the assets they will someday inherit from you. Perhaps you feel that your children lack the financial maturity to manage and protect a sizable inheritance. Or maybe you’re worried that sudden wealth could have a negative impact on them in terms of retaining values and a good work ethic. One popular solution to this concern is the use of an incentive trust. This type of trust sets standards of conduct or achievement that must be fulfilled before distributions are made to beneficiaries. A trust structured this way can also help to control estate taxes, and provide professional asset management.

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