Stephanie Massie, CPed, goes more than the extra mile for her
patients with diabetes.
Sometimes, she journeys up to 100 miles. And when she gets to her
destination, she might take out their trash, help them fill out forms that come
in their mail and play with their pets.
“I am a road trip kind of girl,” she said, grinning. “I
love it. Most of my patients are elderly. This is like my ministry. It also
appeals to me because I don’t have my parents any more to watch
|Image: Craig B, O&P Business
Massie is a pedorthist who makes house calls. Her base is a Foot
Solutions franchise store in the St. Louis suburb of Creve Coeur. Her office is
a little silver Nissan that is crammed with sample shoes and the requisite gear
for proper foot evaluations and footwear fitting.
“I take everything but a grinder,” explained Massie, who said
she was certified as a pedorthist about 15 years ago. “I have sample
shoes, a Brannock device, stretching equipment, tongue pads, heel wedges, foam
boxes for casting their feet – you name it.”
Yet she confesses that even the best laid packing plans can go awry. One
day, Massie drove off without her heat gun.
“I was going to stretch some shoes for a woman and needed some
heat. So I asked her if she didn’t by any chance have a hair dryer.”
The woman did, and Massie was able to complete her task.
While Massie works out of St. Louis, she heads east to see her patients
who are are scattered across south-central and southern Illinois. Her maximum
range from the store is about 100 miles.
Commonly, she calls at East St. Louis, Alton, Lebanon, Carlyle Lake,
Pontoon Beach, Millstadt, Smithton, O’Fallon, Waterloo, Evansville and
other communities in Illinois.
“I go to a lot of farms, too,” she said. “Sometimes, on
these little roads, the corn in the summer can be taller than the car, which
makes it difficult to find the homes.”
Massie’s silver Nissan comes standard equipped with sample shoes and
At first, Massie traveled with maps or directions patients gave her.
“They’d try to tell me where they were, and I’d get lost in the
cornfields. So my partner Ernie gave me a Tom Tom. They are magic boxes.”
The GPS helps her serve about 1,300 patients who came to her when she
operated Heart to Sole, her pedorthics facility in Fairview Heights, Ill., just
across the river from St. Louis. “When I closed, they started calling me
as well as many of my doctors. They wanted me back.”
She wanted to return to her profession, but was unsure how. Finally, she
partnered with Bill Wirz, who owns the Creve Coeur store. “I sent out
information to all of my docs — I have 293, most of them podiatrists
— to let them know I was back.”
Wirz furnished Massie with a company car and off she went. She’s on
the road Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and works in the store Wednesdays and
Saturdays to relieve Wirz and Jason Davis, the staff pedorthist.
On traveling days, she usually leaves the store parking lot about 8:30
a.m. She takes Interstate 64, which passes Busch Stadium and St. Louis’
famous Gateway Arch before crossing a Mississippi River bridge into Illinois.
She sees her first patient around 10 a.m.
“I do all the paperwork for them the night before. All of my
patients have my cell phone number, and sometimes they’ll call and say,
‘Just come when you are over here’ or ‘I’ll come to the
store.’ But I tell them I am over here all the time. I bring the store to
On a typical trip, she schedules some patients for evaluations and
others for shoe delivery. “You go twice. First, you measure them, evaluate
their feet, make castings with the foam box and they choose the shoes. Then you
come back with the shoes.”
She said Dr. Comfort shoes make the most sense for her patients. “I
bring the Brannock, measure them and the shoes fit perfectly. They’re
great. But some of my patients still want Drews, and I have access to them
through the store.”
Shoes and socializing
Often, visits are more than foot exams and footwear deliveries.
“A lot of them live alone and they are so appreciative. Sometimes,
a patient will say, ‘Stephanie, can I ask you to take out the trash?’
or ‘Stephanie, can you look over this form that came in the mail? It
doesn’t make any sense to me.’”
Many days, she returns to the store with gifts from grateful patients.
“One lady makes necklaces out of different colored ribbons. She gave me
one, and I wear it all the time. Another lady made me a beaded necklace. I
receive many little types of jewelry.
“And I get potholders. Another elderly woman makes dusters out of
coat hangers and yarn. I use one to clean out my car. One gentleman likes to
draw, and he makes me something on each visit.”
Sometimes, Massie must give her patients less time than they would like.
“They want to make me lunch or visit a little longer. I tell them, I wish
I could, but my schedule is pretty tight every day with many folks to
Massie saves time by snacking in the car, gobbling crackers and cheese
and slugging down soft drinks between stops. So far, bad weather and car
trouble have not stayed her from her appointed rounds.
“One day, snow was forecasted, and a man who lives in the country
near Belleville called and said, ‘You don’t have come if it
snows.’ I told him that I love snow and hoped it would snow, so I could
take pictures. It did snow. It was hilly, and I had a hard time getting there,
but I loved it, and I did take pictures.”