By Camille Gillies

One of the things you don’t need to worry about if you’re a New Tampa or Wesley Chapel resident is trying to find a great podiatrist, orthopedic surgeon or pain management specialist nearby. The Medical Group of Tampa Bay, part of the Florida Hospital Zephyrhills Orthopaedic and Spine Institute, has an office staffed with experts in these fields which is conveniently located in the Summergate Professional Center, directly behind Sam’s Club off S.R. 56.

Among the physicians currently seeing patients at this location is Mazen A. Abboud, DPM. Dr. Abboud, a Board-certified podiatrist, specializes in a broad spectrum of foot care for children and adults, from minor treatments for warts and ingrown toenails to major surgeries that save feet and amputations that save lives.

As a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), Dr. Abboud is a medical doctor who received extensive education and training focused on the lower extremities of the body.

“I spent the second half of medical school learning about the lower half of the human anatomy,” he says. “I like podiatry because there are so many aspects of it. It gives me the opportunity to do something different each day.”

For example, his busy schedule involves treating patients in Wesley Chapel on Mondays and in Zephyrhills on Tuesdays and Thursdays, performing elective surgeries on Wednesdays and treating wounds on Fridays. His patients have sports injuries, foot and ankle fractures, complications from diabetes, neuropathies, wounds and club foot deformities, in addition to common problems such as bunions and hammer toes.

The excitement he finds in this field is what he found lacking in dentistry. “I started out at NYU (New York University) College of Dentistry and after a year-and-a-half, I decided I couldn’t spend my life working on teeth every day.”

His brothers, both podiatrists, advised him to join their profession, which led him to attend the School of Podiatric Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia. There, he earned his DPM degree and completed his podiatric surgical residency at Tenet Roxborough Memorial Hospital. Dr. Abboud received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts in Boston, a city where he says he probably would be living today if his wife hadn’t been drawn to Florida.

“My wife Joanne had relatives living in Clearwater and Dunedin and wanted to move to Florida,” he explains. “That’s why I decided to start my practice here.”

He began practicing medicine in South Tampa in 2006 but quickly identified a need for podiatric physicians in Zephyrhills, where he eventually anchored his practice. Dr. Abboud currently has hospital privileges at Florida Hospital Zephyrhills and Pasco Regional Medical Center in Dade City, but also performs surgery at the New Tampa Surgery Center in Wesley Chapel. When the new Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel opens, he will be affiliated with that facility as well.

Dr. Abboud lives in New Tampa’s Pebble Creek community with his wife and four children, ages 2 to 9. He says one of his biggest admonitions to his own kids regarding their feet involves wearing shoes.

“I am always telling them not to walk around barefooted,” he comments. “That is one of the best things you can do to protect your feet.”

He also emphasizes the need for pedal hygiene, explaining that if your feet perspire excessively, it’s important to put powder on them to prevent fungal infections. It’s also key to trim your nails routinely and keep your feet clean. If that sounds like common sense, it is, but that doesn’t mean people practice good habits. Take, for instance, folks who mow their lawns or do other yard work while wearing flip flops. He says he often sees injuries that result from people simply using poor judgment.

Another tip from Dr. Abboud for which your feet will thank you: Invest in high-quality shoes. Feet need support. After all, with every step, they carry the weight of your whole body. He finds that many shoes on the market for children and adults offer little or no support and often aren’t made of breathable material, another component to look for when shoe shopping.

“Poor gait is one of the biggest problems we see,“ Dr. Abboud says. “Wearing better quality shoes will provide support and improve your gait.”

Diabetes patients frequently require the care of a podiatrist, and Dr. Abboud sees quite a few patients with the disease. He advises patients with diabetes to control their sugar; inspect their feet daily and practice good pedal hygiene; wear white socks to easily spot blood; wear shoes when outside; and never wear flip flops.

Sports injuries are another specialty of Dr. Abboud’s practice and he often treats tendon tears and stress fractures. He advises runners to replace their shoes regularly — choosing athletic shoes manufactured by companies such as New Balance or Nike (there is at least one major brand he does NOT recommend, however; call to find out which one) — and he advocates stretching exercises before any sports-related activity.

If you find yourself experiencing foot or ankle pain that persists for a period of 10 days to two weeks, Dr. Abboud recommends making an appointment to get the problem checked out. Assuming the pain will go away and continuing to put pressure on the foot will exacerbate the problem and may lead to chronic pain. It’s possible your condition may only require stretching exercises, orthotics or a new pair of shoes.

To make an appointment or learn more about Florida Hospital Zephyrhills Orthopaedic and Spine Institute, call 782-1200 or visit The Medical Group of Tampa Bay is located at 27416 Cashford Cir.

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