On your feet

Dr. Mark Hartman opens Midwest Foot and Ankle

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Dr. Mark Hartman, of Midwest Foot and Ankle Center, poses at his office, located at 804 Kenyon Road, Suite 310.

Dr. Mark Hartman, of Midwest Foot and Ankle Center, has seen injuries ranging from a fractured ankle to a black powder burn, and even someone who was gored by a bull.

And in one instance, Hartman helped to treat all three of those injuries in the same weekend.

That’s because a string of separate events involving physical activities were taking place throughout Webster County.

“There was a weekend years ago where we saw six ankle fractures, someone who was gored by a bull, and a black powder burn,” said Hartman, who has been practicing podiatry in Fort Dodge since the 1990s. “It was just crazy. It was a collection of things that nobody would have thought would happen in a 72-hour period.”

The injuries happened during a Labor Day weekend when the Labor Day Weekend Couch Freak Boogie skydiving event was held at the Fort Dodge Regional Airport. Also that weekend, there were events going on at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village and a rodeo in Dayton.

Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Dr. Mark Hartman, of Midwest Foot and Ankle Center, left, and Philip Burton, a podiatry resident, look over an X-ray at the office.

Most days don’t involve things like black powder burns, but Hartman said there’s plenty of variety to his work.

“Every day is different,” he said. “We literally can have a consult at the hospital in the ICU or go over to the birth center for a counsel.”

Hartman went into independent practice earlier this year.

He opened the Midwest Foot and Ankle Center office at 804 Kenyon Road, Suite 310, in January.

It is located on the UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center campus, but is a separate entity from the hospital.

An office manager, patient service representative, nurse, and radiology technician, are employed at Midwest Foot and Ankle Center.

Hartman, formerly of UnityPoint Foot and Ankle, sees a wide range of patients.

“We have an opportunity to see people from infancy — newborn babies with club feet and other types of things that require care, and we also see people until their last days,” Hartman said. “Many of my patients I have had with me my whole time in Fort Dodge here.”

Hartman said he’s seen about everything that deals with the foot or ankle.

“From skin problems to ulcers to nail care, ingrown toenails,” he said. “A lot of sports medicine, plantar fasciitis, aches, sprains. We see quite a bit of fractures and trauma, tendon ruptures. There’s inherited conditions like bunions, flat fleet, and hammer toes. So we have complete care for all of those problems, through conservative therapy or through surgical therapy if needed.”

He said some smaller scale surgeries are performed daily within the office.

Between four and eight surgeries are performed on a weekly basis within UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center, according to Hartman.

There are some injuries or conditions that are more common than others.

“We see a tremendous amount of plantar fasciitis, pain in the arch and heel,” Hartman said. “We see a lot of bunions and hammer toes and flat fleet. A large amount of arthritis. The longer people are fortunate enough to live the more arthritis they have to deal with as a result.”

In terms of arthritis, Hartman said the big toe joint is a common source of pain.

In that case, he said the pain can often be helped with some sort of insert for the shoe.

“Likewise we see a lot of ankle pain,” Hartman said. “If you can wear a brace or something that would take the pressure off of that joint it will help tremendously.”

Surgery is usually the last resort, he said.

“A lot of times we can make people comfortable with ice and elevation, anti-inflammatory medications,” Hartman said. “Many arthritic problems can be dealt with firm supportive shoes, or an insert in the shoes.”

He added, “If those conditions fail to respond to conservative therapies, we discuss surgery to treat those conditions.”

Diabetics are at an increased risk for foot problems because sometimes they lose feeling in their feet.

“We see a tremendous amount of diabetics in this area,” Hartman said “Many of them will develop peripheralneuropathy, and as a result of that they have diminished feeling in their feet. They can develop sores and ulcers without really being aware that that’s happening. A callus will form and for most of us we would notice discomfort and have it looked at. Sometimes in creates so much pressure that it destroys skin underneath and those can lead to infections, hospitalziations, and unfortunately, amputations.”

He said anyone with diabetes should have their feet checked on a regular basis.

Many diabetics we see several times a year just to make sure they haven’t developed any problems,” Hartman said. “The local providers do an excellent job of screening their patients and sending them to us when it’s warranted.”

Hartman said he’s enjoyed meeting patients and helping them.

“Over the years, I’ve gotten to know a ton of kids who go to school here and in surrounding communities,” he said. “It’s fun to see a wide variety of patients and age groups.”

Meeting other health care professionals has also been a highlight.

“We just have so many good health care professionals in this area,” Hartman said. “I have benefited working with them. In many ways, people in the community aren’t aware just how many excellent providers there are in this area.”

He’s worked often with Dr. Michael Willerth, the director the wound center.

“We see a lot of wounds,” Hartman said. “There are a lot of great many providers that work there and we partner with them to take care of different wounds.”

Keeping up with the needs of the community is a constant challenge.

“We are working hard to work out a deal for a partner to come to town,” Hartman said. “That will help tremendously. This practice at one point had three full-time podiatrists, and currently it’s just myself, so there’s certainly an opportunity if we can find the right person for the job.”

Hartman said he strives to get people the help they need in a timely manner.

“I think over the course of time I have been here, we have worked extremely hard to improve our roads to access for our patients,” he said. “When someone wants to be seen we try to get them in as soon as possible. Our goal is to make sure people from our area get their care in our area.”

Patient relationships are of utmost importance, he said.

“We take a lot of pride in hopefully having every patient leave this office feeling like they got the attention they deserved,” Hartman said. “We work very hard to help them, but also explain to them what’s happening. People need to understand why you are doing something. Patient education is a huge part of having a successful practice. You can be the best doctor in the world, but if you can’t explain something to them in the way they can understand it, you aren’t helping them as much as you can.”

About Dr. Mark Hartman

Hartman is a Cedar Rapids native. He played football, ran track, and wrestled in high school.

“I was involved in a lot of sports while I was in school,” he said. “That’s when I got some exposure to sports medicine and rehab.”

Hartman graduated from Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine and the University of Iowa.

He completed his residency at Trinity Regional Medical Center.

Hartman is board certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery in foot and reconstructive rearfoot/ankle surgery and podiatric surgery.

He has practiced in the Fort Dodge area since 1994. Hartman worked for Trimark Physicians Group before it was later purchased by UnityPoint Health.