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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Putting the Best Foot Forward

Dec 01, 2014 09:12PM ● By Beth Davis

Dr. Robert Kaplan

Dr. Robert Kaplan, owner of Twin Rivers Podiatry, in Easton, began his Podiatry career more than 30 years ago. With a strong interest in sports medicine, much of his practice was focused on treating athletes—and doing a lot of surgery. All of that changed, though, when Kaplan underwent unsuccessful back surgery in 2003.

I was out of work on disability for over six years,” said Kaplan. “I became a chronic pain patient.” In 2006, he had revisional surgery on his back, finally bringing him some relief. By 2009, he was ready to return to his practice.

This time, however, things were different. “I don’t do any surgery now,” he explained. “After what I went through, my emphasis really shifted. I understood what it’s like to have chronic pain and I had compassion for others.”

Today, Kaplan takes an extremely comprehensive approach in treating chronic and acute foot pain, plantar fasciitis (one of the most common causes of heel pain) and more with cutting-edge technology. After determining the cause of the issue, he develops a personalized treatment plan that leans toward non-surgical options. If surgery is still required after exhausting all other possibilities, he will refer the procedure to another doctor.

Dedicated to helping patients walk more easily, comfortably and pain-free, Kaplan has invested in state-of-the-art equipment and procedures as part of his new approach to care.

For those experiencing burning and/or tingling in their feet, he offers the Epidermal Nerve Fiber Density (ENFD), a skin biopsy test to measure the density of small sensory nerve fibers in the skin. This can tell a person if their problem is small fiber neuropathy (SFN), a relatively common complication of several medical disorders including metabolic disorders like diabetes, as well as viral and infectious diseases, genetic abnormalities, drugs and toxins and autoimmune diseases. Symptoms of SFN include painful and/or burning feet with reduced perception of temperature and pain or numbness, tingling, prickling, aching and shooting pain in the limbs. Despite the magnitude of the symptoms, there are few objective methods to identify and quantify these neuropathies.

ENFD testing is a technique that allows for quantification and qualification of small fiber peripheral neuropathy. Since the skin biopsy is minimally invasive, the biopsy can later be repeated to evaluate the progression of the neuropathy and/or response to therapy.

“Some patients think they have neuropathy, but they may not,” noted Kaplan. “The biopsy test takes about five minutes and will tell us for sure—it’s really state-of-the-art. Once we have the results, we can then put a plan in place to treat them accordingly.”

He explains that although medications may help with pain relief, they don’t target actual nerve damage. Nutritional supplements may help regenerate nerves and specific treatments can promote healing in the nerves and muscles. For example, Kaplan utilizes MicroVas therapy, a pain-free, non-invasive modality that uses electronic impulses to cause muscle contraction and relaxation cycles which stimulate circulation. Increased blood flow raises the oxygen level in the tissues, which promotes healing in the nerves and muscles that have been damaged. The neuropathy treatment uses a powerful, deeply penetrating waveform to creating dramatic and lasting therapeutic effects.

“The MicroVas pain management system can help with diabetes, arthritis, sports injury and vascular pain relief, as well as wound healing and care,” stated Kaplan.

He added that, with any treatment, the ultimate goal is to help get patients out of pain and off of their pain medications—or at the very least, get them on a lower dosage. “We understand that if someone is experiencing severe pain—say a 10 out of 10 on the pain scale level—it may not be possible to bring them to a zero. But, we can get them to a level that is more manageable.”

Another problem many patients face is toenail fungus. Nail fungus can be caused by heavy foot perspiration, poor sock/shoe ventilation or by walking barefoot in damp areas such as gyms or locker rooms. It can be painful, cause an odor and spread to other nails. However, many people are hesitant to take medication prescribed to eliminate the fungus, as it can be potentially harmful to the liver. For those searching for a safe, effective alternative to medication, Kaplan offers state-of-the-art, FDA-approved laser technology that has been proven to safely and efficiently eliminate the fungus, without the side effects of prescription medication.

“It’s an expensive piece of equipment, therefore, not many doctors are offering the laser therapy,” noted Kaplan. “We get patients from all over, and we get great results.”

For Kaplan and his staff, great results are just one part of the practice. He says: “From the moment they walk in the door, we are very personable. We take a personal interest in our patients and go beyond what is necessary. I don’t like to rush them through; I want to get to know them.”

Knowing he is making a difference in people’s lives is inspiring. “I am so grateful to be practicing again. I can actually help patients get out of pain and that’s what gets me up in the morning. I’m really appreciative.”

Twin Rivers Podiatry is located at 1901 Hay Terrace #7, in Easton. For more information, call 610-253-2251 or visit TwinRiversPodiatry-Easton.com.

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