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Reunited

Hamm rejoins Hartman at Midwest Foot and Ankle

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Dr. Brian Hamm poses at the Midwest Foot and Ankle Center office. Hamm returned to Fort Dodge in November to practice with Dr. Mark Hartman. The two had practiced together from 1998 to 2008 for Trimark Physicians Group.

A familiar face is back in Fort Dodge practicing podiatry at Midwest Foot and Ankle Center, 804 Kenyon Road, Suite 310.

Dr. Brian Hamm, who worked in Fort Dodge from 1998 to 2008, has returned to work alongside Dr. Mark Hartman.

“I had been wanting for a while to get back in private practice,” Hamm said. “Dr. Hartman called me again and we had talked back and forth for over a year as to whether I was going to come back.”

Hamm first met Hartman while attending college at what was then called Scholl Podiatric Medicine in Chicago.

Later, the two worked together for about 10 years in Fort Dodge when the practice was under the Trimark Physicians Group name.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
An X-ray of an ankle is displayed on the right-hand screen as Dr. Brian Hamm stands at the desk in the Midwest Foot and Ankle Center office.

In 2008, Hamm moved back to his home state of Illinois to be closer to family.

After his children grew up and moved away for college, Hamm thought it would be a good time to consider a move himself.

And in November 2019, he officially joined Midwest Foot and Ankle Center.

“I am coming back basically to the same practice I was before,” Hamm said “I knew the people, I knew the community. It was an easy sell on his part to get me to come back to finish out my career.”

Hamm’s interest in medicine began when he was a child.

“Early on, my mom was a respiratory therapist, so I had exposure to medical field through her work,” Hamm said. “That was the interest that drew me toward medicine.”

Later in life, while in his 20s, Hamm met a doctor who specialized in podiatry.

“My dad had a bunion surgery done in Bloomington (Illinois),” Hamm recalled. “And I had been in there before for an appointment and started talking to Dr. Cortese.”

Next, Cortese invited Hamm to work with him during the summer as an assistant.

“That’s how I got turned toward podiatry,” Hamm said. “Just the exposure I had.”

Hamm would go on to earn his doctorate in podiatry from Scholl.

“Graduating medical school, I was proud of that,” Hamm said of his most cherished accomplishments. “Getting board certified.”

He’s enjoyed seeing past patients.

“Being able to come back to Fort Dodge and restart my practice with everyone here in the practice and see old patients I’ve seen who have found me and come back,” Hamm said. “That’s probably the biggest source of pride.That they thought enough of me to come back and see me.”

He appreciates his working relationship with Hartman.

“It was like deja vu at first because we had been friends for a long time,” Hamm said. “Coming back and working with him is like getting to work with someone you have known for years.

“It was very surreal at first. It was good, it was nice. I know him. He knows me. We get along well and communicate well. It makes for a good day at work and a less stressful day at work. It’s a good opportunity and a good fit.”

Seven people are employed at the office.

Hamm and Hartman treat pathologies related to the foot and ankle.

“Anything from an ingrown toenail, bunions, hammer toes, corrections, up to broken bones and ankle fractures and anything in between,” Hamm said.

Some of the most common conditions include heel pain, bunion and toe deformities and ankle sprains, he said.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamm said scheduling has had to be changed.

“Certainly, we are trying to limit patients’ exposure to COVID,” he said. “So we have had to alter our scheduling. Certainly, alter our apparel, doing the face masks when seeing patients.”

Rooms and chairs are sanitized in between patients.

Hamm said the idea behind the precautions was to slow the spread of the virus.

“The assumption or idea was we would flatten the curve, so everyone didn’t come down with COVID at once,” he said.

“We didn’t want everyone to get it at the same time. It’s not that these measures will keep everyone from getting COVID, it’s just making it so if you do get this disease, there is room and space in the hospital. So we are trying to make that a reality for everyone here in Fort Dodge.

“The idea was to slow it down so everyone didn’t get it. A huge amount of people could have come down in a short amount of town. Flatten the curve, spread it out. A majority of people who have been exposed have not come down with symptoms or problems, but some have and have died. We try to practice sensible measures to try to help people at our practice here in Fort Dodge.”

Hamm was complimentary of the staff.

“It’s a small business,” Hamm said. “We are basically a business so we have the same challenge of keeping good employees, be good with the public. We are blessed with the people we have.”

Things like medical billing is not an easy task, he said.

“You don’t just walk off the street and know medical billing,” Hamm said. “It takes a special person to do that.”

In terms of the profession, strategies continue to evolve in the world of surgery.

“Surgical techniques are refined and changed,” he said. “Every year there’s new directions the profession moves as to what’s the best way to approach and treat different pathologies. Very little of what I did the day I left my residency am I doing the exact same way now. Especially the surgical aspect.”

For example, Hamm said patients spend less time in casts than in previous years.

“A big thing is how quick we get people back to weight bearing and walking,” he said. “We spend less time in casts. We have been using more removable boots that allow for more range of motion.

“People don’t stay in the hospital as long as they used to. Usually in and out of the hospital quickly. We have found out through experience, there’s no need to keep people hospitalized as long. There are better techniques that end up with better results.”

Seeing patients come in with an injury or pain and helping them recover is a gratifying experience for Hamm.

“That’s probably the biggest enjoyment I have with this profession is seeing patients who have injured themselves, restore and return to a normal life,” he said.

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