Dr. Theresa Schinke of Northeast Wisconsin Foot & Ankle Associates 

Forgive the interviewer, a Seinfeld aficionado, for starting the discussion by asking Dr. Theresa Schinke if she gravitated to podiatry because of the pinky toe. 

Clearly this one has been heard before, but she’s kind enough to offer the requisite chuckle. Schinke then began an articulate description of her path, profession and practice. 

“Podiatry is a unique specialty and there aren’t a whole lot of us out there,” Schinke said. “A lot of people just don’t know what we do.” 

That’s a great place to start. 

As a partner in Northeast Wisconsin Foot & Ankle Associates, Schinke treats patients with a wide range of foot and ankle conditions: foot pain, ankle pain, heel pain, arch pain, fractures, sprains, bunions and hammertoes, to name a few. Her extensive training includes evaluation and management of foot, ankle and lower leg pathology and trauma, as well as pediatric deformities. 

That’s why Schinke gravitated to podiatry. 

“I love the variety of the profession,” Schinke said. “I like the fact that I do a bit of everything, from an ingrown toenail to major Achilles tendon reconstruction.” 

There is variety in her patient base as well: her youngest was a three-day old infant, her eldest 105. 

Schinke’s parents influenced her medical journey. Her father was a medic in the National Guard, her mother a nurse. Schinke started her undergraduate experience as a nursing major but soon switched to pre-med. 

“I wanted more decision-making capabilities,” Schinke said. “I realized early on that I don’t take orders very well.” 

She did a lot of job-shadowing of physicians, and that’s when she was introduced to podiatry. She soon realized of all the specialties, podiatry was the best fit for her personality and what she wanted out of life. 

“I knew I wanted a family and, more importantly, wanted time for my family,” Schinke said. “The profession offers a nice mix of office environment, direct patient care and hands-on surgical involvement, which provides me time to be with my husband and my children.” 

Theresa and Mike Schinke with their children Allison, Lauren and Emily.  

Their children, three girls, are all into gymnastics and very active. A cabin up north provides tons of opportuni­ties for the girls to be active throughout the year.  

For Schinke, such week­end adventures provide the quality family time she envi­sioned when first entering the profession.  

Schinke has been at Northeast Wisconsin Foot & Ankle Associates for nearly 15 years, a practice her part­ner Dr. Tim Tougas started more than 30 years ago. Both share a commitment to uncompromising excellence in podiatric care.  

It begins with listening.  

“We sit down with patients at their very first visit to discuss the issues  

and how those issues are impacting their daily lives,” Schinke said. “What­ever they’re trying to get back to, it’s our main goal to help that happen.”  

As partners with extensive education, training and experience, Schinke and Tougas also have the ability to collaborate with each other on complex cases where a patient might not be responding appropriately to treatment.  

With the hypothetical pinky toe start a distant memory, I move to some­ thing real and not comedic in any way: my bunions.  

Schinke takes the time to listen to my story — and my fears about sur­gery – and delivers her expertise (Schinke’s a frequent presenter/lecturer  

and extensively published) in understandable and approachable terms. “Bunion surgery is very successful if you don’t wait too long,” she said. Uh, oh. I’ve had these painful beauties for a while. And my toes tilt way to the sides, like a dog’s head after a question.  

“It’s one of the most successful surgeries we do as long as we catch it before there is end stage damage,” said Schinke. “Before they get severe, we have easier surgeries, easier recoveries and much better long-term re­sults.”  

She spotted the look in my eyes. “If you’ve waited too long that doesn’t mean we can’t make them better.  

We might look at different surgical procedures, like joint fusion,” Schinke said. “We can still make you pain-free and get you back to the activities you love.” Whew. Thank you.  

Northeast Wisconsin Foot & Ankle Associates provides podiatric sur­gical bundles to employers choosing to offer NOVO Health as part of their benefits plan.

Scott Hutchinson

Scott Hutchinson

Scott Hutchinson is a writer and content creator for NOVO Health.

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