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August 30, 2015
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Introducing The Surgeons of Academy Foot and Ankle:


While you can read his professional bio on our website (, here are some fun facts about our very own Dr. Dacus!


Meet Dr. Joel Dacus


My hobbies are: flying amphibious aircraft and air camping

If I could spend the day with one person (alive or passed) it would be (and why):  I always wanted to meet Neil Armstrong the first man on the moon. Though I never got to meet Mr Armstrong, his courage, strong stable principles and his accomplishments were always an inspiration. I could easily spend a day with him talking all about his experience on the moon and his trip through space. 

I would like to meet: Felix Baumgartner the daring pioneer who jumped from a helium balloon at over 125,000 ft from near space.

Some things about my family: I am happily married to the best woman on the planet!  A true stable partner who gives me strength and purpose. We have three children- two boys and a girl of which we are so proud. All our children are accomplished and entering early adult life. One of our boys flys for the United States Navy.

The most important thing to me: Jesus Christ, Wife and children and grand children

My favorite pace I’ve traveled: Mt Kilimanjaro Kenya and Victoria Falls Zimbabwe

My top bucket list item: Flying my plane across Australia to Tasmania with my wife

Make an appointment with Dr. Dacus today at our Keller location!  817-424-3668.

August 30, 2015
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Soccer season: Prime time for foot, ankle injuries

Southlake, TX 76092  August 31, 2015 -- Soccer season is in full swing and a local foot and ankle surgeon strongly urges parents and coaches to think twice before coaxing young, injury-prone soccer players to “play through” foot and ankle pain.

“Skeletally immature kids, starting and stopping and moving side to side on cleats that are little more than moccasins with spikes – that’s a recipe for foot and ankle sprains and worse,” cautions Dr. Suttle, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

“Kids will play with lingering, nagging heel pain that, upon testing, turns out to be a stress fracture that neither they, their parents nor their coaches were aware of,” she said. “By playing with pain, they can’t give their team 100 percent and make their injuries worse, which prolongs their time out of soccer.”

Dr. Suttle said she has actually had to show parents x-rays of fractures before they’ll take their kids out of the game. “And stress fractures can be subtle – they don’t always show up on initial x-rays.”

Symptoms of stress fractures include pain during normal activity and when touching the area, and swelling without bruising. Treatment usually involves rest and sometimes casting. Some stress fractures heal poorly and often require surgery, such as a break in the elongated bone near the little toe, known as a Jones fracture.

“Soccer is a very popular sport in our community, but the constant running associated with it places excessive stress on a developing foot,” Dr. Suttle said. She added that pain from overuse usually stems from inflammation, such as around the growth plate of the heel bone, more so than a stress fracture. “Their growth plates are still open and bones are still growing and maturing – until they’re about 13 to 16. Rest and, in some cases, immobilization of the foot should relieve that inflammation,” Dr. Suttle said.

Other types of overuse injuries are Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis (heel pain caused by inflammation of the tissue extending from the heel to the toes).

Quick, out-of-nowhere ankle sprains are also common to soccer. “Ankle sprains should be evaluated by a physician to assess the extent of the injury,” said Dr. Suttle. “If the ankle stays swollen for days and is painful to walk or even stand on, it could be a fracture."

Collisions between soccer players take their toll on toes. “When two feet are coming at the ball simultaneously, that ball turns into cement block and goes nowhere. The weakest point in that transaction is usually a foot, with broken toes the outcome,” he/she explained. “The toes swell up so much the player can’t get a shoe on, which is a good sign for young athletes and their parents: If they are having trouble just getting a shoe on, they shouldn’t play.”

For further information about various foot conditions, contact one of the doctors at Academy Foot and Ankle Specialists at (817-424-3668 or visit

August 19, 2015
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Thickened yellow toenails are most commonly a result of a condition called onychomycosis, or fungal toenails.  Onychomycosis is most commonly caused by the fungus trichophyton rubrum, T. Rubrum for short, but can also be caused my several other types of fungus.  The types of fungus that affect the skin and nails are called dermatophytes.  Onychomycosis can also be caused by yeast caused candida as well as several types of molds. 

Can Nails become thickened and yellow for reasons other than onychomycosis?

Nails can also become naturally thickened as we get older, and sometimes due to any trauma from running, playing sports, or just simply stubbing your toe.  This trauma causes the nail to lift off its attachment underneath, the nail bed, which causes skin cells to start to accumulate underneath the nail bed.  The nail bed is normally protected from “shedding” skin cells by the nail plate.  This shedding of skin cells happens on the exposed skin of our body and is called keratinization.  The skin under the nail does not keratinize in a healthy nail.  However, when the nail lifts off the nail bed the nail bed can then start shedding its skin cells through keratinization, causing the nail to appear thick.  In this instance, the thick nail is actually not a thick nail.  The keratinizing skin underneath the detached nail is causing the nail to appear thick.  This is why when you visit the doctors of Academy Foot and Ankle Specialists we will take a section of this nail to send to a pathologist and help us determine if the nail in fact has fungus in it.

So my nails are thickened by trauma or thickened by fungus?

Almost, but that doesn’t completely summarize it.  If you’re interested, Dr. Bradley Bakotic, a podiatric dermatopathologist organizes nail unit dystrophy into four different types:

Type 1- Non-mycotic, non-keratinizing nail unit dystrophy    

• Traumatic (matrical): median nail dystrophy    

• Metabolic: Beau’s lines, diabetes mellitus/peripheral vascular disease    

• Inflammatory: psoriatic pitting    

• Genetic: some forms of ectodermal dysplasia    

Type 2- Non-mycotic, hyperkeratotic nail unit dystrophy    

• Trauma/microtrauma (nail bed): traumatic keratinizing nail unit dystrophy, onycholysis    

• Metabolic: diabetes mellitus    

• Inflammatory: psoriatic keratinizing nail unit dystrophy    

Type 3- Primary mycotic nail unit dystrophy    

• Keratinizing    Dermatophytic (T. rubrum)    Saprophytic (S. brevicaulis)    Yeasts (rare Candida sp.)    

• Non-keratinizing    Dermatophytes (T. mentagrophytes)    Saprophytic molds (rare Fusarium sp.)    Yeasts (Candida sp.)    

Type 4- Secondary mycotic nail unit dystrophy    

• Any form of type 2 nail unit dystrophy complicated by dermatophytic or non-dermatophytic onychomycosis.

So what can Academy Foot & Ankle specialists offer me for treatment?

Now that we understand that there is more to thickened nails than a simple fungal infection we can discuss treatment.  The first thing we will likely do to determine proper course of treatment is to take a small sample of your nail to send to a podiatric dermatopathologist who will then perform special tests on your nail and look at it under a microscope to help pinpoint what is responsible for this thick nail.  We will then discuss options for treatment including topical, oral, and laser therapy.  You should also eliminate any microtrauma by possibly changing shoegear and keeping nails trim.  Unfortunately, there is not one simple cure-all for thickened fungal toenails, but working with the team at Academy Foot & Ankle Specialists we will fight this condition and find a solution together using the most scientifically advanced techniques available. 

Come visit Academy Foot & Ankle Specialists at any of our four locations in Southlake, Flower Mound, Hurst, or Keller to for all your foot and ankle with our physicians Dr. Paul Marciano, Dr. Sara Suttle, Dr. Brady Mallory, Dr. Greg Amelung, Dr. Joel Dacus or Dr. Philip Parr.


June 14, 2015
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Going barefoot? Beware!

Tips for a safer barefoot summer in North Texas!

Parents and families can prevent cuts, puncture wounds and other injuries from going barefoot by following some simple recommendations from one DFW foot and ankle surgeon.

            "Shoes are the best way to protect your family's feet from injuries," says Paul Marciano, DPM with Academy Foot and Ankle Specialists.  "But if your summer just wouldn't be the same without kicking off your shoes or sandals, you can still make it a safe season."

            Academy Foot and Ankle has offices in Southlake, Hurst, Keller and Highland Village and offer these tips for a safer barefoot summer:

--See a foot and ankle surgeon within 24 hours for a puncture wound.

Why: These injuries can embed unsterile foreign objects deep inside the foot. A puncture wound must be cleaned properly and monitored throughout the healing process. This will help to avoid complications, such as tissue and bone infections or damage to tendons and muscles in the foot. Foot and ankle surgeons are trained to properly care for these injuries.

--Make sure you've been vaccinated against tetanus. Experts recommend teens and adults get a booster shot every 10 years.

Why: Cuts and puncture wounds from sharp objects can lead to infections and illnesses such as tetanus.

--Apply sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of your feet.

Why: Feet get sunburn too. According to, rare but deadly skin cancers can develop on the feet.

--Inspect your feet and your children's feet on a routine basis for skin problems such as warts, calluses, ingrown toenails and suspicious moles, spots or freckles.

Why: The earlier a skin condition is detected, the easier it is for your foot and ankle surgeon to treat it.

--Wear flip-flops or sandals around swimming pools, locker rooms and beaches.

Why: To avoid cuts and abrasions from rough anti-slip surfaces and sharp objects hidden beneath sandy beaches, and to prevent contact with bacteria and viruses that can cause athlete's foot, plantar warts, and other problems.

--Use common sense.

Why: Every year, people lose toes while mowing the lawn barefoot. Others suffer serious burns from accidentally stepping on stray campfire coals or fireworks. Murky rivers, lakes and ponds can conceal sharp objects underwater. People with diabetes should never go barefoot, even indoors, because their nervous system may not "feel" an injury and their circulatory system will struggle to heal breaks in the skin.

If you have any questions or concerns, make an appointment today with one of the doctors at Academy Foot and Ankle Specialists at 817-424-3668.

For more information on puncture wounds, plantar warts, diabetic foot care and other topics, visit the ACFAS Web site, or at

June 14, 2015
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Sunscreen on Your Feet?

Doctor urges sunscreen use and exams to prevent skin cancer on feet!

When at the pool or lake we all lather up with sun screen to protect our skin from the harmful rays of the sun. But do we remember to apply sunscreen to our feet?

Many don’t realize skin cancer can occur on the feet from unprotected sun exposure, and overlook applying sunscreen to the area. The doctors at Academy Foot and Ankle Specialists warn skin cancer of the foot is prevalent and can even be fatal if not caught early.

While all types of skin cancer, including squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma, can be found on the foot, the most common is the most serious form, melanoma. Symptoms can be as subtle as an abnormal-looking mole or freckle found anywhere on the foot, and often go unnoticed without routine foot exams.

According to foot and ankle surgeons at Academy, early diagnosis is key to effective treatment for the condition. But because people aren’t looking for the early warning signs or taking the same precautions they do for other areas of the body, often times skin cancer in this region is not diagnosed until later stages.

“I advise my patients to regularly inspect their feet, including the soles, in between their toes and even under their toenails, for any changing moles or spots and to have any suspicious areas promptly examined by a foot and ankle specialist,” Dr. Suttle explains. 

For more information on skin cancer of the foot contact one of the Foot and Ankle Surgeons at Academy Foot and Ankle Specialists at 817-424-3668.  Or visit for more information!





Dr. Paul Marciano On Ingrown Toenails 









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