Toronto podiatrist attends European foot surgery conference

On Friday January 20 2012 I attended the Percutaneous (minimally invasive) Foot Surgery Conference in Barcelona, Spain.

It wasn't easy. I left Toronto Wed. night at 10pm and changed planes in Frankfurt Germany where I met up with my friend Dr. Stephen Isham, who was on his way to lecture at the conference. We arrived in Barcelona Thursday afternoon and headed for the Gran Havana hotel in Barcelona. I had time to rest for a short period before it was time to have dinner with the conference instructors. They were some of the best known orthopedic foot surgeons in Europe.

On Friday morning we re picked up by bus at 730 a.m. and taken to the University of Barcelona medical school along with attendees from Spain, Italy, Germany, France England and Mexico.  I was the sole representative from Canada and Steve was the only American.

The main topic for the morning was minimally invasive surgical procedures (M.I.S.) for the treatment if hallux valgus, or Bunions. These lectures included the Reverdin Isham Osteotomy ( named after my friend Dr.sham, and a procedure I perform in my Toronto foot clinic), the Lapidus procedure and the Chevron procedure which is very similar to the Modified Wilson Osteotomy, which I  perform in my Toronto podiatry office. I also lectured on the Modified Wilson Osteotomy, at another Spanish conference, in Madrid in June 2011.

Other surgical topics included the treatment of Tailor's bunions, or bunionettes (those annoying bunion-like bumps at the side of the foot near the baby toe), plantar fasciitis (a leading cause of Heel Pain. and arch pain) and contracted toes or hammer toes (which can make it difficult for people to wear shoes comfortably and cause painful corns). these deformities can be treated without pins and screws whlie leaving very small scars which may not be visible following healing.

Another topic was hallux rigidus which results in stiffness at the first metetarsal joint near the big toe due to arthritis. Hallux rigidus (also called hallux limitus) is often treated in hospitals by fusing the arthritic joint or replacing the joint with an implant - both of these procedures destroy what is left of the joint. In my Toronto podiatry clinic, I prefer to work through small openings in the skin, under local anaesthetic, to remove the arthritic bone spurs, and, in many cases, shorten the first metatatarsal to reduce the jamming of the joint and preserve the joint, not destroy it. In many cases, this will result in less pain and increased mobilty in the joint.

After a long day, the bus brought us back to the hotel at 830 pm and this was followed with a late night dinner, which I am told is typical for Spain.

Saturday was a free day so Steve and I saw some of the sights in Barcelona, including the amazing Gaudi church, which is still not quite finished after 125 years, Old Spain, which is a recreation of an old Spanish town, and the waterfront, where we had lunch. This was followed by a long walk, back to our hotel via a famous boulevard called La Ramblas.

That evening I had dinner with my friends Steve Isham and Fernando Barosso, an orthopedic surgeon from Mexico city.

The next day, Sunday, it was time to fly back to Toronto, again via Frankfurt, so that I could be back to work by Monday. It was short, but sweet.