Best Foot Forward
Southside Foot Clinic Celebrates 50 Years
Dr. Wendy Winckelbach fondly remembers accompanying her father, Dr. J Winckelbach, to the hospital to see patients when she was a little girl. As they went on rounds, Wendy carried her dad’s medical bag and he lovingly referred to her as his “bag lady”.
Wendy spent her summers through high school and college working at her father’s practice, and was always struck by how podiatrists are often able to alleviate a patient’s problem or suffering in one office visit.
“Being able to make an impact like that for people on a day-to-day basis is a really great way to spend your working life,” she says.
Wendy chose to follow in her father’s footsteps, becoming a third-generation practitioner as her grandfather also practiced podiatry.
J had originally planned to become an archeologist. He took medical courses and 28 hours of Spanish so he could work in Mexico and Guatemala. Ultimately his cousin, a podiatrist, persuaded him to switch gears.
“Instead of working on dead bones I worked on live bones,” says J, who opened the Southside Foot Clinic in 1970.
J moved the office in 1973, 1976 and 1981. Several years later a group of physicians asked J if he wanted to join them to build an office on County Line Road, east of Shelby Street. J was there for nearly 15 years before moving to an office west of that location. At that point Wendy joined her father in the practice. The pair were there for five years, and then moved to the company’s current location at County Line Road and Old Meridian Street.
“Each time I moved, the practice increased significantly in size,” J says. “Plus, I had to move every so often. It’s the only way I’d clean off my desk.”
Father and daughter worked together for 11 years before J retired in 2013. Dr. Michael Carroll joined the practice in 2008. A former classmate of Wendy’s, Carroll chose the field after shadowing a podiatrist and noticing that his patients were always happy to see him as they left his office received of pain.
As the years have gone by, the field of podiatry has dramatically changed.
“It’s amazing the changes that have occurred in the modernization of care,” says J, noting that when he first started, there were no lasers, power surgical equipment or scopes for surgeries.
Carroll says recent progress made in surgical instrumentation is considerable.
“Even doing arthroscopic work, going in and cleaning out someone’s ankle with a scope, the visualization that you can get far exceeds what it was 10 years ago,” he says.
Carroll says the staff handles most closure procedures with a plastic surgical closure, where the sutures are under the skin. They place different tapes over the incision to protect it. Carroll jokes that gone are the days of telling patients to spray themselves with Febreze for two weeks in lieu of a shower. Depending on the type of surgery, patients can potentially get their foot wet after two days.
“Thanks to advancements made in podiatry, what used to be an amputation can now be salvaged,” Carroll adds. “That’s life-changing for a patient.”
Dr. Kathryn Alleva joined the practice in July, and has trained with more than 30 podiatrists in the area. She met the Southside Foot Clinic team through her residency, and the team members were impressed with how she matched up with their surgical, professional and personality standards. She was equally impressed with how much the patients at Southside Foot Clinic loved their doctors.
Physicians at the clinic are board certified. They can handle reconstruction, various types of injuries, and treatment for all ages.
“There isn’t anything in the foot and ankle that we can’t fix,” Carroll says.
Alleva says the staff approaches each patient holistically.
“Our goal is to not only manage the patient’s foot pathology, but allow the patient to participate in decision-making and feel comfortable with their treatment plan,” she says.
The doctors also help to train podiatry residents at Community Hospital in surgeries each week.
J served for 40 years as podiatry section chief at Community and St. Francis hospitals. When he stepped down, Wendy was voted in as section chief at St. Francis, and Carroll was voted in as section chief at Community South.
“It’s nice that we have a say in what happens with our profession moving forward at the hospitals,” Carroll says.
J’s father was president of the Indiana Podiatric Medical Association. J later became president, and in 2018 Wendy assumed the role. Carroll will serve in that capacity next.
Wendy, a Greenwood native, is grateful to be able to deliver quality care to people on the south side, where she makes her home.
“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to interact with patients who were my father’s, as well as the occasional patient who saw my grandfather back in the day,” she says.
J’s wife Susan lends her baking talents to the practice as well. It’s a tradition that dates back to 1973, when she found a cookie cutter in the shape of a foot.
“We started making foot sugar cookies with red and green icing, and distributing them to doctor’s offices who referred patients to us as a thank-you for their support every Christmas,” J says.
Each December Susan spends five days baking, during which she whips up between 3,500 and 5,000 foot-shaped cookies. Though it’s a lot of work, receptionists throughout the area are ecstatic when the treats are delivered.
The Southside Foot Clinic is located at 33 East County Line Road, Suite B in Greenwood. For more information, call 317-882-9303 or visit southsidefootclinic.com.