By Jessica L. Dupree
Dr. Ebonie Vincent always knew that she wanted to work in the field of medicine. She shadowed orthopedics and other physicians while searching for the career path that would allow her the type of lifestyle that she desired outside of her profession. Initially, it was sports medicine that interested her, but when she realized that she could be a surgeon by impacting the lives of others, she chose to be a podiatrist.
“What inspired me about the field of podiatry is that I can help people with small things daily such as injections or building inserts, to larger things like foot reconstruction. It was also inspiring to see that podiatrists are very helpful and happy physicians,” Dr. Ebonie tells Heart & Soul Magazine.
The highly trained foot and ankle surgeon based out of Orange County, California co-stars as one of the podiatrists on TLC’s hit show “My Feet are Killing Me.” This season, Dr. Ebonie performed the most difficult surgery of her career. With extensive experience in the latest treatments for foot and ankle conditions and specializing in minimally invasive surgical techniques, Dr. Ebonie’s skills were challenged and put to the test when patients suffered from elephantiasis, treeman syndrome and even ectrodactyly came knocking on the doors of her medical practice.
“I try to be as prepared as possible with speaking to the patients, ordering all of the proper labs and imaging and going over everything multiple times and having numerous plans set in place in case things need to be changed, I pray a lot too. I know that I am doing the best I can for each patient and God will have to take me and the patient the rest of the way,” said Dr. Ebonie.
Dr. Ebonie sat down with Heart & Soul Magazine to discuss how foot health impacts overall health, how we as black women can maintain mental wellness during the pandemic, prevention and much more.
How does foot health impact overall health?
There are many foot pathologies that can be very telling about a person’s overall health. For instance, if someone does not have feeling to their feet or progressing numbness that could mean that a person has developed peripheral neuropathy. This could be a bigger indication for diabetes or other nutritional status. Furthermore, if someone has swelling in their limbs or difficulty healing wounds on their feet this could lead to a more concrete diagnosis of vascular disease or heart failure. Our feet really do tell a story of someone’s overall health,
How do we as Black women maintain mental health during the pandemic?
Maintaining your mental health, especially in times during the pandemic are essential. Focusing on foot health and really taking time to treat your feet to soaks and massages can really be not only healthy but therapeutic as well. Epsom salt soaks and warm water soothe as well as reduce inflammation to your feet. Massages with essential oils or shea butter can provide moisture and stimulate circulation to the feet as well. The additive bonus of relaxation with essential care while caring for your feet is great!
Which foot condition affects black women the most and how can they be prevented and/or treated?
Some of the most common foot disorders affecting Black women specifically are flat feet, corns and bunions. Corns specifically prove to be not only painful but a source of shame due to the obvious skin discoloration that can arise from the constant friction of the skin. Often times, there is an underlying bone that is the root cause of the corns and hammertoes that can be addressed surgically. Or the corn develops due to some level of genetic predisposition for developing hammertoes but is made worse with tight-or ill-fitting shoes, increased friction to the areas that result in a painful corn and hammertoe. To treat these, I would suggest a change in shoe gear to prevent friction, toe sleeves to go over the toes to prevent rubbing, and if all else fails, I suggest surgery to correct for the hammertoe to get rid of the irritated skin as well as the root cause of why it developed.
How do you stay grounded?
My family definitely keeps me grounded. We are very close, and we do everything together and they always help me with every journey in life. They make sure I’m not working too hard or taking myself too seriously. They definitely make sure to help me put everything in perspective to keep true to myself.
Please tune into the season finale of “My Feet Are Killing Me”
Airing tonight at 10/9c on TLC.
You can follow Dr. Ebonie on Instagram at @dr.ebonie or follow @TLC.
You can also follow the hashtag #MyFeetAreKillingMe for more information.