Acupuncture and myo-fascial release are among the popular therapies.

With the surge in popularity of complementary and alternative medicine over the last decade, it should be no surprise that Illinois podiatrists are also using these methods.

According to a 2008 survey from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Health (part of the National Institutes for Health), 38 percent of Americans use some form of complementary and alternative medicine. And at least two Chicago-area podiatrists have incorporated some of the more popular CAM therapies, such as acupuncture, for her patients.

“I provide acupuncture for many conditions, and will soon have an acupuncturist on staff at my office to treat all types of aliments,” said Lisa Schoene, DPM, who has offices in Gurnee and Chicago. Schoene said that nerve injuries like tarsal tunnel or neuritis tend to respond well to acupuncture and it often works well on painful scars after surgery and tendon and joint pain, too.

One of Dr. Schoene’s patients, Chicago marketing professional Catherine Morgan, 47, benefitted from Dr. Schoene’s focus on complementary medicine. Morgan injured her foot last spring during one of her tap dance classes and took some time off from dancing to heal. However, the pain persisted and she ended up seeing Dr. Schoene in October.

“Dr. Schoene takes tap classes herself and she treats a lot of dancers at the Joel Hall Dance Center in Chicago so I thought it would be good to see a doctor like that for my injury,” she said.

In addition to acupuncture, Dr. Schoene used Traumeel shots that helped reduce the pain. Traumeel is an anti inflammatory, homeopathic medication containing 12 botanical substances and 2 mineral substances. The shots, combined with manipulation, physical therapy and electric stimulation helped Morgan recover from her injury to the extent that she would take a scheduled vacation to Buenos Aires and tango every night there.

Dr. Schoene said acupuncture is based on inserting tiny needles at key points in the body to bring about pain relief and healing.

“I’m more inclined to use alternative therapies today than ever before because I find that doctors who use them tend to take into consideration the entire patient when treating,” Morgan said.

Buffalo Grove podiatric physician Catherine Halinski, DPM, has also been a big proponent of complementary and alternative medicine technique for the last decade.

“I often use a technique called myofacial release which is a technique made popular by physical therapists and chiropractic and osteopathic physicians to treat musculoskelatol problems, including foot and ankle conditions,” she said. During myofacial release, Halinski gently palpates or manipulates soft tissue.

“I have been using alternative methods since 2000 and I was introduced to myofacial release therapy,or MFR, in 2000 as well,” she said. “Many of my patients are interested in non surgical options so they can consider all approaches to their problems.”

Wheeling resident and bowling enthusiast Leslie Ridgeway, 50, sought out Dr. Halinski for her plantar faciitis a few years ago and credits myofacial release with helping her avoid surgery. Ridgeway worked in a retail environment for several years and believes the constant standing exacted a toll on her legs and feet.

“I was skeptical at first when Dr Halinski suggested myofacial release,” she said. “I had never had a massage before but I soon noticed a change. My calves had developed a lot of tightness from my compensating for my foot injury so she needed to work that out to help my foot problem,” Ridgeway said. Over the course of 10 treatments, Halinski and her staff were able to cure Ridgeway’s plantar fasciitis and help her avoid surgery.

For her part Ridgeway was so impressed she started training for a career as a massage therapist and now works for Halinski as a physical therapy aide.

“I have full function of my feet and have resume bowling every week,” she said.

About the IPMA

The IPMA is based in Chicago and represents more than 600 podiatrists throughout the state of Illinois. For more information about podiatric medicine, visit the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association’s website at or on Facebook at or call 312.427.5810.

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