Holistic Practitioner Spotlight with Dr. Robert Kornfeld, a Podiatrist, Who Searches for the Source of Foot Symptoms and Holistically Treats the Cause
We are speaking with Dr. Robert Kornfeld, DPM, who always looks at the mechanisms of pathology. Instead of simply treating the symptoms, he wants to know why they exist. So he looks for any bio-mechanical problem, as well as burdens on the immune system, that interfere with efficient repair pathways.
Tell Us a Story About a Patient with Severe Foot Pain and How You Helped
Mary presented with an 8 month history of intense foot pain that always was more severe after periods of rest. The pain was in her right heel and would radiate into the arch. Standing still was very painful as was extended periods of walking. The syndrome began when she started a jogging program to get into shape. A sonogram revealed a condition called plantar fasciitis which is an inflammation of the ligament structure that supports the arch.
What had your patient tried before seeking you out?
Prior to coming to my office, she received 3 cortisone injections and a prescription for a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. She went to physical therapy and was given arch supports. None of these helped her for more than a few days at a time.
How did you arrive at your course of treatment?
I always look at mechanisms of pathology. Instead of simply treating the symptoms, I want to know why they exist. So I look for any bio-mechanical problems as well as burdens on the immune system that interfere with efficient repair pathways.
Since Mary’s feet were very cold and she admitted to a history of cold feet (Raynaud’s Disease), I knew that I needed to check her adrenal hormones and neurotransmitters because an imbalance here causes microvascular spasm and that makes it very difficult to get enough blood to the ligament. Mary’s tests demonstrated high cortisol levels and an excitatory neurotransmitter dominance. That means that her body was stuck in a high alert stress mode which directly inhibits healthy immune response.
I also discovered that she had a condition called functional hallux limitus which causes many gait compensations, one of which is a very tight calf muscle that places great stress on the Achilles tendon and the plantar fascia. So it explained why she had the pain and why it was chronic. Conventional arch supports in this foot type will always fail to stop these stresses.
What modalities or therapies did you implement and what was the outcome of the services you provided?
- I placed her in a torsional foot orthotic to enable normal gait dynamics.
- I administered homeopathic injections in her heel (natural, cortisone-free) to stimulate the repair pathway in the area.
- I prescribed the appropriate targeted amino acid therapy (natural amino acid supplements) to normalize her adrenal hormones and neurotransmitters
- I put her on CBD oil drops to facilitate more efficient repair, detoxification, replacement and replenishment which are the 4 pathways that support homeostasis.
Why and When Did You Choose the Holistic Path?
I began my holistic path in 1987 after 5 years in practice. I was very disappointed in the results of cortisone and drug therapy and began to research ways to enhance healing naturally. I was also doing lots of foot surgery at the time and felt that there were too many patients experiencing less than optimal results. I thought that if I found a way to enhance the body’s ability to repair, then I would have better surgical outcomes. I have not veered from this path in over 30 years.
What Lessons Have Your Work and Personal Experiences Taught You?
My experience in holistic medicine has taught me that we must resonate with nature and use what nature provided us if we want to be healthy and happy. Not every situation is handled naturally, but the greater majority of conditions managed by toxic drugs with side-effects can be better managed and often healed naturally. I have also learned that we have a tremendous amount of control of our health and happiness by proper management of our diet, lifestyle and environment.
- State University of New York at Buffalo- B.A. – 1976 – (Major – Biological Sciences)
- New York College of Podiatric Medicine- D.P.M. – 1980 (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) Honors
- Most outstanding graduate in the field of ambulatory foot surgery awarded by the Academy of Ambulatory Foot Surgery – 1980
- Post-Graduate Program – Foot and Ankle Surgery – New York College of Podiatric Medicine/Foot Clinics of New York – 1982
- Director – Post-Graduate Preceptorship in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at Mt. Hope Medical Center – Bronx, N.Y. 1982-1987
- Director – Chronic Foot Pain Center – 1997 – present Founder – Long Island Integrative Medicine Affiliates – 2001
- Adjunct Assistant Professor – New York College of Podiatric Medicine – Dept. of Integrative Medicine – 2007 – 2009
- Founder – Institute for Integrative Podiatric Medicine – 2008
Robert Kornfeld, D.P.M.
Chronic Foot Pain Center
New York, NY United States
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