Meet The Foot Squad! These three Arvada Chamber members specialize in foot health and have recently connected to find ways to grow their businesses together. Dr. Jen Perez is a chiropractor out of Golden who specializes in feet, gait and biomechanics. Bryan Acheson recently launched Sole Theory LLC, which offers a mobile service for 100% custom, molded insoles under $100. Owner Richard Lee, RN, and Michelle Schneider, business development, represent Specialty Foot Care, offering world-class foot care clinics provided in the comfort of your home.
How did you originally get into feet?
Dr. Jen: I hated feet. I hated my own feet and everyone’s feet. I was planning on specializing in shoulders and went to a seminar to learn how to tape shoulders and the instructor kept talking about feet. She opened my eyes to the biomechanics of how feet affect the entire chain in the body. She completely changed the way I looked at the foot. Four years later I joined her practice in Golden, Colorado.
Bryan: I’ve had the opportunity to work on the retail side of feet as the general manager of a Sports Authority. Now I work on the distribution side and sell to the retailers. I have a unique perspective. The first thing that I do when I meet somebody is watch their feet. I see footwear that could be better. I see pronation or wobbling that we could help fix. And I want to educate the consumer on how to buy shoes and what shoes to buy. It’s not just selling products; it’s teaching you.
Dr. Jen: Education is everything.
Richard L.: At one point was the Director of Clinical Services for two hospices here in Denver. Nurses do not do toenails. One Saturday, I had a family that requested somebody go to the nursing home to cut their momma’s toenails. So I was the guy who went. I get to the nursing home and I cut our client’s toenails and the nursing home wants to know what I’d charge to cut theirs. That’s where it started. Before too long, it was my part-time business and I was too busy to go to work.
Michelle S.: He was the hospice nurse for a group of homes that I was the manager of. He sent a lot of my ladies to heaven with good looking feet and good looking legs.
What are some big misconceptions about health, related to feet?
Dr. Jen: Going barefoot is so good for you for a couple reasons, with the exception of diabetic neuropathy or something like that where they can’t feel their feet. One reason: neurologically. You’re stimulating hundreds of thousands of nerve endings at the bottom of your foot. Your feet are literally the connection of the earth to your body; if you can’t feel what’s around you because you’re shoving your foot in a sock and shoe, you’re not giving your brain that information. The second reason: biomechanically. Your foot is designed to absorb force and propel you forward. Instead, we have shoes do all the work for us. So our feet get lazy and get weak. The more barefoot you walk, the stronger your feet and your body can get.
Bryan, does that run counter to your work?
Bryan A.: She’s 100% right. But we agree that the client has to be willing to do the work to strengthen the feet and muscles in order to be able to support you when you’re not wearing shoes and insoles. And I’ve found a lot of people don’t need to go through the work. I think we marry very well.
Dr. Jen: Plus, for example, with something like plantar fasciitis, you have to offload that tissue so the tissue can heal. He offers a really great affordable option for me so that I don’t have to order $400 orthotics that the patient will only wear for six months.
Bryan A.: As far as misconceptions, big bulky orthotics can’t fit in dress shoes typically. I can take care of that and bring some fashion back into your lives. A misconception is that you can’t wear fashionable shoes with orthotics. Most of them you can’t. I can help you in that perspective.
Richard L.: Something I learned, clinically-speaking, every chronic disease process, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and neuropathy, manifests itself in the feet. The other thing is, feet are the last place to get circulation. That’s where we’re most vulnerable with circulation. As we age, our immune system ages just as the rest of our body ages. A foot assessment is our primary responsibility. It’s our job to make sure we catch a small infection before it becomes a life-limiting infection.
Do you have a favorite success story from your work?
Richard L.: I had a man in his nineties come in with a cane and a callous on his foot about the size of a business card. It took me an hour and a half to file it with a Dremel that turns 9,000 RPMs. It made a cloud of dust that settled over the entire room. We sat there for a long time. I dug that callous out and it was about a half-inch deep below his skin. We went through the rest of the process with the foot bath, massage, moisturizer and put his shoes back on. He took one step and he asked me what I did. I told him I just took the callous off. He said “I had a callous? This is the first step I’ve taken without any pain. I’ve had this limp since I got out of World War 2 in 1945.” As he walked off, it occurred to me, “How does a doctor treat him for 70 years and not inquire about the limp? And [Dr. Jen] brought it up: how does that affect your allignment all these years?”
Bryan A.: In Fort Wayne Indiana, a woman came into our shoe store. She had plantar fasciitis for about a month and it was the worst pain she ever felt. She tried a couple of other insoles, went to the foot doctor, etc. Luckily the stars aligned when I was there. To fix this, it’s not just about the inserts. It’s the shoe recommendation and then we got her in a compression sleeve which is huge for healing. I recommended waking her feet up with tennis balls before she gets out of bed in the morning to get the blood pumping. She emailed me about a month ago and said: “You helped me big time.” I help a lot of people like that.
Dr. Jen: I met a woman at a networking event who was scheduled for a bunionectomy the next week. Her bunyon had been killing her for three months but she asked if I could help get her out of surgery with some direction. So she came into the office and I saw there was no reason that her joints couldn’t move properly and be realigned. There is a growth with the bunyon that can’t be fixed but the alignment itself and the function of the big toe can. She canceled the surgery and three weeks later, before our third visit, she came in crying because she no longer had foot pain. She said it completely changed her life.
Do you have a favorite foot joke?
Bryan A.: What shoes do frogs wear? Open toad shoes!
Connect with The Foot Squad:
Dr. Jen Perez
Website | (303) 278-2623
Sole Theory LLC
Website | (303) 981-3999
Specialty Foot Care
Website | (303) 980-0015