Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Making Feats for the Feet with Naval Hospital Bremerton’s Podiatrist

    Making Feats for the Feet with Naval Hospital Bremerton’s Podiatrist

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | Making big steps in foot care at Naval Hospital Bremerton… Lt. Edee Renier, staff...... read more read more

    When it comes to healing heels, such feats for the feet are the specialty of Naval Hospital Bremerton’s foot doctor.

    Lt. Edee Renier, staff podiatrist assigned to NHB’s Orthopedic department, is helping Navy and Marine Corps personnel keep operational ready and able to stand on their own two feet.

    “Foot care is critical,” said Renier, citing that the anatomy of everyone’s feet is as intricate as are the foot issues and injuries which many people experience.

    “Each foot has 28 bones, 33 joints, 29 muscles and over 30 ligaments,” explained Renier. “The military is a high demand workplace. Your feet carry you everywhere your orders demand. When your feet are hurting it limits your ability to serve to the fullest capacity. If every step hurts you, you can’t take a step forward. If you feel like you can’t trust your ankle to carry you, how can others trust you to carry your team forward?”

    The list is long with such conditions as ankle sprains and strains, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, blisters, bunions, corns, calluses and ingrown toenails. Wear and tear can also cause arthritis and tendonitis.

    Taking a step back through history offers numerous footnotes of the travails experienced by American servicemembers.

    George Washington’s Continental Army at Valley Forge from 1777 to 1778 was forced to deal with severe cold which led to many afflicted with frostbite and resulted in lost toes.

    Foot immersion condition(s) were also prevalent. Soldiers during World War I, World War II and Korean War had to deal with trench foot, the result of longstanding exposure to damp conditions.

    In the Vietnam War it was jungle rot, similar to trench foot, with feet getting damaged by continual damp conditions, as well as a tendency to also get infected.

    Compiled data from Operation Enduring Freedom - 2001 to 2021 in Afghanistan - shows foot and ankle injuries accounted for almost a quarter of those wounded.

    Even Pulitzer Prize recipient Bill Mauldin, when assigned to the 45th Infantry Division slogging their way in Europe during WWII made wry note of common foot-related occurrences in his award winning cartoons featuring GIs Joe and Willie.

    In one sketch, Willie expresses his gratitude to Joe for saving his life, “Yesterday ya saved my life. I’d swore I’d pay ya back. Here’s my last pair of dry socks.”

    Another scene featured Willie having his feet examined by an Army medic, who confides that although he’s “jest a country doc,” he does consult with Private First Class Johnson, “The big blister specialist.”

    For those stationed aboard a Navy ship or submarine in an environment of non-forgiving surfaces – including knee knockers and ladder wells – as well as tight quarters bringing personal hygiene to the fore, foot placement while haze-gray underway could at times be a concern.

    Laughter alone might not be the best medicine.

    “In the active duty population, I see a lot of patients who have sprained their ankle and never fully recovered. It’s common for me to find torn ligaments, tendons and even damaged cartilage in these patients. This can be serious and, in some cases, lead to chronic pain and arthritis at the ankle joint. Plantar fasciitis is also a serious problem in any foot and ankle clinic, and if left untreated or undertreated, it can have a serious negative effect on my patient’s lives, said Renier, adding that foot injury awareness is gradually becoming more commonplace.

    “The military has some very strong, brave, and pain tolerant individuals that often try to push through the pain to continue serving,” Renier continued. “Trying to treat these high level athletes can be difficult because they have so much mind-over-matter training engrained into their lifestyles.”

    There are several priorities which Renier advocates for personal foot care.

    “[The] top priority for foot care amongst our active-duty service members is preventing infections by keeping your feet clean and dry in your boots, especially in Washington where it’s constantly raining and hard to keep your socks dry,” said Renier.

    “Taking the necessary time to recover from an injury can also be very difficult for individuals who don’t want to let their teams down,” remarked Renier. “But returning to activity before you are ready can prevent a full recovery and leave you permanently injured. I’m here to provide helpful tips and hints on prevention of foot and ankle injuries. When they do end up occurring, I am able to help maximize your recovery potential.”

    For those who might be unsure or uncertain when an appointment should be made to see a podiatrist, Renier has a prompt answer.

    “When your feet hurt! If you had an injury, you never fully recovered, or if something on your feet just doesn’t feel the way it used to, I’m happy to take a look! I’m always happy to see acute injuries as well, like ankle sprains, broken toes etc.,” exclaimed Renier.

    Being centered in Puget Sound with the Navy’s third largest fleet concentration allows Renier to share her expertise in caring for foot and ankle specific medical conditions. Appointments are made via referral from primary care managers and providers of patients. Consults can also generated from such clinics as Urgent Care and Physical Therapy. Depending on the diagnosis, her treatment for those in need could be anything from prescription ankle braces and custom made orthotics to surgical repair or steroid injections.

    “Navy Medicine is a mission focused team-based effort. Protecting our warfighters and their families has always been a top priority for me. The unique approach that military healthcare takes is something rare and highly undervalued in modern medicine. NHB has a strong commitment to patient’s wellbeing and a patient centered approach to national defense,” stated Renier, a Santa Cruz, California native and Scotts Valley High School grad.

    She completed undergraduate education requirements at Iowa State University and developed an affinity for her Midwest surroundings.

    “I loved my time in Iowa and ended up staying to complete my doctorate in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, graduating in 2016,” related Renier.

    During her third year of medical school, Renier began to reconsider her future after becoming a doctor.

    “Is this really all I could be? I always felt like I missed a step in developing myself as a leader and an American. Somewhere in the whirlwind of higher education I had missed out on the opportunity to serve my country. I contacted several military branches. The Navy career path was the clearest fit for the skills I had to offer,” Renier said.

    With no Navy podiatry residencies, Renier completed a civilian residency in Seattle specializing in rearfoot trauma and reconstruction. She was then commissioned into the Navy following completion of her residency.

    “It’s been a massive learning curve becoming acquainted with Navy tradition and protocol. Now that my podiatry practice at NHB is in full swing. Life has become wonderfully busy. I’m happy to fill my schedule with patients I can help,” said Renier.

    Renier attests that the best part of her career has been the positive follow-through when helping patients.

    “One of the most rewarding parts of podiatry is seeing your patients recover from the pain they had and walk confidently again,” Renier said.

    When asked to sum up her experience with Navy Medicine in one sentence, Renier replied, “I’m proud to be here starting off on the right foot!”



    Date Taken: 12.19.2023
    Date Posted: 12.19.2023 14:25
    Story ID: 460364
    Location: BREMERTON , WA, US

    Web Views: 761
    Downloads: 0