BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — On April 28, Dr. Mindy Lam used a pair of oversized golden scissors to snip the red ribbon at Foot Care of Clifton Park’s new location.
Her office had been in the Emma Lane Professional Park since June 2009. It was a smaller space, though, and after some time her practice outgrew those confines. She purchased the property at 870 Route 146, made some pretty drastic renovations and finally the doors opened March 1.
Lam felt that having her business in the same area that she resides in means she’s a stronger part of the community.
“My main goal is to keep active people active,” she said. “A lot of random foot issues occur for people trying to stay active and they either take a lull and then start up again or they’ve been active and are trying to take it to the next level — my passion is keeping them active.”
STEPS TOWARD PODIATRY
At first, Lam didn’t know that her niche would be podiatry. “I started college thinking I was going to be a microbiologist, thinking that I was going to cure some incurable disease,” she said. “Then I realized that I like working with people and with my hands more than with bacteria so I decided to go into the medical profession.”
When she was a junior undergraduate she shadowed a bunch of medical professions in a wide range of fields including family medicine, pediatrics, nursing, nurse practitioner, orthopedics and also podiatry.
“I think feet are interesting,” she said. “Podiatry encompasses a lot of different aspects of medicine, but it’s all focused on the foot.”
Lam grew up in Rockville, Maryland, near Washington, D.C. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Maryland at College Park, and then went on to attend podiatry school at Temple University (2000-2004) in Philadelphia, which is where she met her husband, Steven — a Niskayuna native who also was studying podiatry.
They were married in October 2004 shortly after graduating. The couple continued to reside in Philadelphia for the next three years to complete their surgical residencies; Lam did hers at The Crozer-Keystone Health System.
In June 2007, they moved to Clifton Park to be closer to Steve’s family. They started working for his brother, Tim, who has a podiatry office in Schenectady, then Lam decided to strike out on her own.
“I wanted to work in the same community I lived so opened my own place,” Lam said. “My favorite aspect is getting patients back out there and achieving their fitness goals; I like that my office has an age diversity. I get to treat kids, elderly. . . . I like the mix of patients.”
Steve has since started working for Mark Ginsberg in Albany at Capital Region Foot Care on Hackett Boulevard in Albany.
Spare time is spent with their three children: Brooke, 2; Benjamin, 5; and Noah, 6.
Her practice treats a wide assortment of ailments. Lam sees biomechanical issues of the foot such as flat feet, high arch, bunions, hammer toes, heel pain, planter fasciitis, tendon tears, tendonitis and arthritis. There are a lot of joints in the foot, so there are a lot of areas that can become exacerbated and irritated.
There are also nerve issues such as neuropathy, neuritis, neuroma — pain within the ball of the foot — and tarsal tunnel syndrome in the ankle, the nasty southern counterpart to carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist.
Also, there are many skin issues that Lam sorts through including routine foot care, lesions, warts, ingrown nails, open wounds and removal of foreign objects, especially this time of year, when people are walking around barefoot.
Aside from working in the office, she does outpatient surgeries at Ellis Hospital and St. Peter’s Surgery and Endoscopy Center in Albany.
“A lot of these medical offices are all merging and becoming these giant groups,” Lam said. “I feel like I’m kind of like a mom and pop shop of medicine.”
Her business is continuing to grow. “It’s exciting,” Lam said. “This space definitely had the potential to add on, since I own the land, but for now I’m just kind of getting settled and I’m content.”