“A Step Into Biomechanics”
by Mary Alderson.
Dr. John Tassone attended podiatry school at the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, now known as Kent State University, College of Podiatric Medicine. After graduation, he completed his residency at the DVA- McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia. This residency gave him experience in all areas of podiatric medicine with an emphasis on diabetic complications and wound care.
physicians are confident in knowing that patients will be treated conservatively first
Currently, Dr. Tassone is practicing in Glendale, Arizona as a part of Summit Medical Group. This multi-specialty group consists of about 50 physicians from disciplines such as family medicine, internal medicine, general surgery, neurology, endocrinology, pain management, pediatrics, and podiatry. Although he is able to practice all things podiatry, Dr. Tassone chooses to be clinic-based and has found a niche in biomechanics. Within this multi-specialty group, other specialties refer to each other when needed, and they appreciate Dr. Tassone’s practice. Since he is nonsurgical, physicians are confident in knowing that patients will be treated conservatively first and surgery will only be recommended if all other options have been extinguished.
Dr. Tassone found podiatry while working toward his biology degree in college. He attended a talk given by a podiatrist and he really came to like the field. The passion for biomechanics came from his love of physics.
“Biomechanics allows me to get to the root of the problem and understand the reason for the pathology. This allows me to do more than simply treat the symptoms.”
To stay current in the field and to understand the biomechanics of the lower extremity, Dr. Tassone regularly reads articles and attends conferences like APMA and ACFAOM. He is also board certified by ABPM which, although not required, encourages him to study and continually build upon his knowledge.
Being a biomechanical specialist allows Dr. Tassone to work with all types of patients.
“To have a successful practice, one does not need to be situated in a community that is heavily into sports. Although that can help, biomechanics is able to accommodate all activity levels. When looking for a place to set up a biomechanical practice, the practitioner should look for a diverse community. Elderly patients and sports-minded patients can both benefit from a complete biomechanical and gait exam.”
In regard to patients needing help with their biomechanics, Dr. Tassone can help by recommending a specific support system. This can include anything from an over-the-counter insert, a specific shoe type, or an orthotic. While previously working in private practice, Dr. Tassone was able to look into the statistics for orthotic prescribing, comparing his biomechanical based practice to other more general practices. Although he did not find a substantial increase in the amount of orthotics he was prescribing compared to other practices, his knowledge has allowed him to complete casts and prescriptions more accurately, helping him build a stronger relationship with the orthosis lab.
Dr. Tassone also sees value in being an educator. In addition to belonging to the Biomechanics Department at Midwestern University, Dr. Tassone tries to educate the community by giving talks to the various libraries and church groups. In the office, he educates his patients on the pathology behind the problem and why the treatment plan is recommended for their current situation. Educating the patient and helping them understand why they are following a certain treatment plan helps to increase patient compliance.
Currently, Dr. Tassone is working on writing a chapter on integrating imaging and biomechanical exams. An invaluable imaging tool that is useful in aiding a biomechanical exam is ultrasound. He believes physicians are not utilizing ultrasound enough.
“Ultrasound allows practitioners to identify soft tissue pathology. It can be better than an MRI because you are also able to complete the exam during the same visit. Ultrasound is also a dynamic scan, allowing me to pick up subtle injuries that MRI may not be able to pick up because I am able to move the structure. This can help me formulate and implement the treatment plan more rapidly.”
For anyone wanting to specialize in biomechanics, Dr. Tassone would suggest learning as much as you can from CME, reading articles, and taking it one step further to better yourself by becoming board certified with ABPM.
by Mary Alderson.
School: Arizona School of Podiatric Medicine
Special Edition, Surgery, Interview
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