Conifer Foot Clinic

Conifer Foot Clinic is Both Social Service and Social Event

by Stephen Knapp

This is a good service,” said Dale Hoffman, a longtime Conifer resident and foot-clinic patron. “They treat everybody like family.”

That sounds about right. Indeed, many of the regular clients know the gals from Mount Evans better than they know their barbers, and none of them stand on propriety.

“Women like guys with short toenails,” Ritter winked. Relaxed in the chair in front of her, Art Hudak laughed out loud. “I’ve got a daughter your age, for cryin’ out loud!”

Nurse Kris Schuld with Art Hudak … Nurse Terri Ritter with Dale Hoffman

While warmly casual and decidedly social, Mount Evans’ foot clinics aren’t pedicure parties. The people who come for the chatter and chop are there because they need to be. Inconveniently situated at the furthest end of the human structure, the feet are simply out of many peoples’ reach.

“I had back surgery four years ago,” explained Al Huffman, who drove in from Evergreen for the clinic. “Since then I need a little help.”

For Ritter and Schuld, job one is simply cutting back the surplus, which isn’t as simple as it sounds. Many of their clients suffer from diabetes, and a careless nick could have serious medical consequences. Still others walk in with digital disorders that, left undiagnosed and untreated, could put a major hitch in their git-along. In between all the light-hearted jabber and jests, the nurses are always on the lookout for potential problems.

“We’re looking for sores, skin issues, nail issues, fungus,” said Ritter, moving on from Hudak’s rightie to his leftie. “We might recommend anything from Vicks VapoRub to a podiatrist.”

“We don’t find serious problems often, but it does happen,” Schuld added. “We’re also looking for swollen legs, discoloration, and other signs of trouble. Sometimes subtle things pop up. Doctors would charge $100 a foot for this!” she jokes.

Mount Evans merely asks for a $20 donation from each client, but won’t throw a shoe if somebody can’t kick in. The nonprofit also holds foot clinics at Project Support Senior Center in Idaho Springs, at the community center in Black Hawk, and just last month stepped into the Park County market by launching bi-monthly foot care assessments and services at the Park County Sheriff substation on Highway 285 in Bailey.

“It’s a nice to come here and see the gals, and see some folks you know,” Hoffman smiled. “And I hate to cut my own toenails.”

To sign up for the next Conifer foot clinic, call the Mountain Resource Center at 303-838-7552. To learn more about Mount Evans’ other foot clinic times, dates and locations, call Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice at 303-674-6400, or visit www.mtevans.org.

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