Christiana Care doctors reach out to needy

Christiana Care Health System’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is celebrating the holiday season with outreach, according to a press release.

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is providing new shoes, socks and foot exams for free to nearly 100 people — many of them homeless — on Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the Sunday Breakfast Mission, a homeless shelter in Wilmington. The event is part of a campaign by a national organization known as Our Hearts to Your Soles, whose mission is to provide indigent people with shoes and free foot examinations.

Christiana Care Health System’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery will also provide free knee and hip replacements to three local patients Nov. 30 through Dec. 5 as part of Operation Walk USA 2015.

Soles4Souls and Red Wing Shoes will donate a total of 100 pairs of new shoes through the organization, and Independence Prosthetics-Orthotics, Inc. will donate nearly two dozen pairs of specialty shoes for people with advanced diabetic foot needs. In addition, the nonprofit Dignity U Wear will donate 200 pairs of socks to homeless people during the event.

Paul Kupcha, M.D., section chief of Foot and Ankle Surgery at Christiana Care and an orthopedic surgeon, is the local coordinator for the event. Dr. Kupcha said that foot health provides a clue to a person’s overall health. Joint stiffness, for example, can indicate arthritis; tingling and numbness can be connected to diabetes; swelling can indicate high blood pressure or diseases of the heart and kidneys.

Hypertension, respiratory illness and foot problems are the three most common health issues that the homeless face, says Rev. Tom Laymon, executive director of the Sunday Breakfast Mission. “People who are homeless largely have to walk everywhere they go which means that their feet are taking a greater beating than the rest of us,” Laymon said in the release. “The ability for them to get shoes that fit and see a doctor is incredibly meaningful to them. Like putting new tires on a car, you’re retreading them in a lot of ways by giving them shoes and foot care.”

Operation Walk USA 2015 is a collaborative effort between the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and participating hospitals and health systems, including Christiana Care. Through this effort, all aspects of treatment – surgery, hospitalization, and pre-and post-operative care – are provided at no cost to participating patients who cannot afford joint replacement surgery on their own.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to provide expert care so our neighbors can experience more active and productive lives," said Andrew Gelman D.O., the local physician leader for Operation Walk USA. "By alleviating the disabling arthritis in their knees and hips, we give our patients the gift of mobility so they can return to employment and enjoyment of life."

Operation Walk USA began in 2010 following the tremendous success of Operation Walk, an international volunteer medical service organization that provides treatment for patients with arthritis and joint conditions throughout the world. To date, nearly 600 patients have received free total joint replacements through Operation Walk USA. As part of Operation Walk USA 2015, an estimated 80 patients nationwide will undergo free hip or knee replacements from 55 volunteer orthopedic surgeons across the nation. For more information, visit





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