CPMS students help Special Olympics athletes keep their feet fit

Matthew Knabel volunteered with Special Olympics athletes.
Matthew Knabel, D.P.M.’17, was among the DMU volunteers at the annual “Fit Feet” event for Special Olympics Iowa.

Student volunteers from the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery recently participated in the annual “Fit Feet” event at Special Olympics Iowa. This event has been a staple of the Iowa games for many years and is driven by local podiatric physician Charles Gilarski, D.P.M. Athletes performing in the games received a basic healthy foot examination, which included dermatological, vascular and biomechanical analysis.

Fit Feet volunteers expressed gratitude for this opportunity and referenced the importance of working with a diverse population of patients.

“I was able to be hands on with a unique and upbeat group of individuals, which certainly re-energized my outlook in terms of being a future podiatrist,” explained Lindsey Hjelm, D.P.M.’18, one of the student volunteers. “I still have a lot to learn as a student, but Fit Feet reminded me how rewarding this profession will be.”

The Special Olympics participants also had teeth screenings through “Healthy Smiles,” an initiative driven by local dentists and visited with nutritionists in a discussion titled “What’s in your Food?,” which gave the athletes healthy ideas to consider when preparing meals.

By the end of the day, Fit Feet volunteers worked with over 150 athletes, not only gaining valuable clinical experience, but also making memories which will undoubtedly have an impact through their careers.

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