Dr. David Gunzel opened the program at Carmi Kiwanis, April 4, 2019, talking about his time as a former Kiwanian, and actually helping to establish a club in the past. He is returning to southeastern Illinois after several years’ absence. His father’s family was from the Shawneetown area, so he has deep roots in this part of the state. He practiced podiatry in Harrisburg from 1993 to 2008 with his cousin, Dr. Roger Herrin. Following the Harrisburg flood of 2008, he joined a practice in Carbondale and remained there until 2018. He has now returned to take a position with Ferrell Hospital, based in Eldorado.
Dr. Gunzel said that podiatry has changed in southern Illinois over the last 25 years. When he began his practice, he was one of only a handful of podiatrists in all of southern Illinois. Today, there are more than a dozen podiatrists. Foot health is now recognized as an integral part of overall physical health.
Dr. Gunzel said that his practice helps patients from as young as six months old to patients in their 90s. Treatment ranges from diabetic foot care to skin and fungal conditions, nerve damage, circulation issues, and bone and joint issues, including surgical and non-surgical procedures.
He presented a history of podiatry dating back to the early 1800s. He told the Kiwanians that President Lincoln used a podiatrist. However, podiatry was mainly for the treatment of corns, calluses and other foot deformities in those days. Today, podiatry requires a three year residency program and is being included in medical school programs, rather than as just standalone programs.
When asked about the most important areas of foot care, Dr. Gunzel said that he believed that two things were key: one, using the correct shoe for the activity. In other words, do not play basketball in flip flops. Two, properly fitting shoes can make all the difference. He pointed out that shoes purchased in the United States are manufactured all over the world. Unfortunately, that means that standard measurements for a particular size may no longer exist. He also shared another interesting observation: premanufactured orthotics may be as effective as custom orthotics in many instances. What that means to the average patient is drastically reduced costs with similar results.
Dr. Gunzel is available to see patients on Thursdays at the Ferrell Hospital Clinic in Carmi, located at 1340 IL Highway 1, near WalMart. Additionally, he can see patients in Eldorado on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.