Inland Hospital podiatrist shares foot health tips

Dr. Jared Wilkinson, DPM, with Northern Light Podiatry in Waterville says foot health can say a lot about a person’s overall health. Contributed photo

You depend on your feet to get you everywhere in life but are you giving them the respect and attention they deserve? April is national Foot Health month and Northern Light Podiatry is stepping up to help you love your feet!

The average person takes thousands of steps a day so good foot health is critical to an active life. Foot health can impact your knees, hips, back, and your attitude! The American Podiatric Medical Association estimates that twenty percent of the population has at least one foot problem every year so it’s a topic worth more ‘sole’ searching!

Dr. Jared Wilkinson, DPM, is with Northern Light Podiatry, in Waterville. He has nearly 20 years experience as a board-certified podiatrist. We sat down with him for a rapid fire Q & A about all things feet – from bunion treatments to the effects of toenail polish, smelly feet, and much more.

Can my foot health actually indicate my overall health?

Dr. Wilkinson: Foot health is definitely an indicator of overall health as your feet can show skin conditions, vein/artery problems, and neurological issues. Sometimes foot deformity and mechanical problems can cause stress on other nearby joints, which can be an indicator about overall health. Those with diabetes should pay close attention to their foot health.

What are some of the most common foot issues you see as a podiatrist?

Dr. Wilkinson: We see ingrown toenails, warts, heel pain, skin lesions, nail deformities and changes, foot and ankle deformity including bunions, flatfoot deformity, and various fractures amongst many other foot and ankle issues.

Dr. Wilkinson talks about bunions and foot health with a patient. (contributed photo)

What causes bunions, and what can be done about them?

Dr. Wilkinson: Bunions can be a potentially debilitating problem of the big toe joint which can cause physical deformity of the foot along with joint changes over time. Basically, it is a deviation of the big toe toward the lesser toes with a prominent bump on the inside part of the foot. That “bump” is complex – it’s a reflection of an unstable joint that makes your bone drift out of alignment. Typically, it is a slow onset or progression that can start as a child. Usually there is a genetic predisposition to bunions.

To treat bunions, we usually start with addressing some basics, such as stretching and wearing appropriate supportive shoe gear with arch supports. Wide toe box supportive shoes can be helpful for some people. Various toe splints spacers can also be used but they do not cure the bunion. Sometimes anti-inflammatories or pain reducers can be helpful initially.

If those treatments don’t help, and the pain of a bunion is causing a disruption in your daily living and activities, then it may be time to look at a surgical treatment. I’m excited about a new 3D bunion surgery called Lapiplasty® that we’re doing now at Northern Light Inland Hospital. In my experience, it’s been very helpful because it helps us fix the root cause of the bunion problem – an unstable joint.

Why do my feet smell sometimes?

Dr. Wilkinson: Smelly feet can be caused by a condition called hyperhidrosis, where the sweat glands in various parts of the body, which are used for temperature regulation, produce greater amounts of sweat than is required. Combine this with the foot being in a dark, covered place with a shoe and sock, it can contribute to excessive moisture and odor. Sometimes a condition called bromhidrosis can also occur which has a bacterial component and causes odor.

Conservative treatments include frequent sock changes and choosing moisture wicking material such as polypropylene socks as opposed to cotton; shoes that have breathable material are also an option. Sometimes an antiperspirant can be applied topically to the bottom of the feet which can also help. If the condition does not respond in several weeks, ask for a formal workup as there could be other causes for the smell.

Can long-term use of toenail polish cause problems?

Dr. Wilkinson: Toenail polish can potentially cause nail plate damage due to the chemicals and adhesives involved, especially if worn long-term. Toenail polish can be worn for short periods of time but should be removed periodically to assess the health of the nail. Certain health conditions, such as renal or cardiovascular disease, metabolic disturbance, and auto immune conditions, among others, can manifest with nail changes or changes around the nail structure itself, which can be hidden with prolonged use of nail polish.

Do feet grow as we age? I’m a shoe size bigger than I was 25 years ago.

Dr. Wilkinson: Your feet are not actually ‘growing’, but everyone’s foot size does tend to increase as we age because the foot architecture is slowly collapsing due to loss of elasticity and strength in the ligaments and tendons. It’s very common for a person to gain a shoe size in length and width over the course of their lifetime due to this natural progression.

What is one of the most common questions you hear from people in your job?

Dr. Wilkinson: One of the most common questions I get is “How can you look at feet all day?” I jokingly tell people that there are probably worse things to look at all day and somebody has to do it! All kidding aside, I enjoy being able to focus on one specific anatomic location and with the foot and ankle it allows me to see and treat a wide variety of medical issues. One of the great enjoyments of my job is being able to help people improve their overall health by assessing their foot and ankle problems and coming up with a plan whether it be simple or complicated. Happy feet can have a significant improvement on a person’s overall quality of life.

Ask your primary care provider for a referral to Northern Light Podiatry or learn more at

Three scouters honored for decades of service to scouting

Scott Bernier, of Augusta, was cited for lending a hand for 45 years. (photo by Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

Three scouters were recognized for decades of service helping youth develop in the scouting programs. Scouting only happens due to the continued service of these volunteers. Scott Bernier, of Augusta, was honored for 45 years of scouting tenure, Alan Duplessis for 35 years and Karla Talpey for 30 years. Both Duplessis and Talpey are from Jackman. All three were recognized during the Kennebec Valley District Scouting Recognition Dinner held ,on March 24, at the Winslow Parks and Recreation Hall.

The Veteran Award recognizes adults for their tenure in Scouting. (Note, however, that tenure earned as a youth member may be included.) Veterans agree to live up to their scouting obligations, make themselves available for service and be active in promoting scouting as circumstances permit. They must also be currently registered in the BSA. Veterans receive a a certificate and veteran pin, which is for non-uniform wear.

EVENTS: Understanding land surveying

A landscape painting by Uliana Fournier, Winslow High School, grade 10. (contributed photo)

An Understanding Land Surveying workshop will be held at the Benton Grange Hall, 29 River Rd., Benton, on Wednesday, April 17, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

The sight of land surveyors peering into tripod-mounted equipment by the roadside is common enough, but what are they actually doing? Frank Siviski, a professional land surveyor with more than 30 years of experience, will shed light on the seemingly mysterious world of boundary determinations. Siviski has taught survey-related courses at Unity College, and is formerly an instructor at Kennebec Valley Community College, in Fairfield. His talk will help landowners understand how surveys are created, standards that are applied, and how landowners’ goals shape the outcome. If you have questions about boundary surveys, this is an opportunity to have those questions answered.

EVENTS: Bird migration in central Maine

These eastern bluebirds huddle in an attempt to stay warm. (photo courtesy of Massachusetts Audubon Society)

A bird migration in central Maine lecture will be held on Thursday, May 9, at 6:30 p.m., Unity Community Center, 32 School St., Unity

The Sebasticook River watershed provides a diversity of habitats that host well over 200 species of birds annually. Although many nest here, species composition changes throughout the seasons due to migration. Tom Aversa will lead in an evening of fun and exploration as they learn when and where to find this vast array of species. Aversa enjoys birds year-round while serving as the SRLT chairman. He has studied our avian friends for over 50 years, having penned several books on birds, serving on the Maine Bird Records Committee, and traveling worldwide in pursuit of natural history.

EVENTS: Safe, practical storage and display spaces for historic objects

Conservator Ron Harvey of Tuckerbrook Conservation. (contributed photo)

Explore the best ways to care for your personal or museum collections. Come join this free workshop Monday, May 6, 2024, Safe, Practical Storage and Display Spaces for Historic Objects Workshop, at the L. C. Bates Museum at Good Will-Hinckley. This collections care and storage workshop will provide training on how to better care for your historic objects or family treasures. The National Endowment for the Humanities sponsored collections workshop will be led by renowned conservator Ron Harvey. The L. C. Bates Museum workshop will cover the basic needs and care of collections and include hands-on activities led by the conservator. There will be time to ask the conservator about your special collections and their care. A take home archival storage container will be provided for all participants. The May 6 workshop will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Please email ( or call (207-238-4250) the museum for additional information or to register for this engaging program.





Bar Harbor Bank & Trust accepting scholarship applications

Bar Harbor Bank & Trust is currently accepting applications for the Bank’s 2024 Career & Technical Education Scholarship. The $1,000 scholarship is awarded to income-eligible high school seniors who attend a technical career program as part of their high school curriculum and are planning to attend a college or technical school in the academic year immediately following graduation.

Students must reside in counties in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont where the bank has a branch location. Applicants selected to receive a 2024 scholarship will be eligible to apply for an additional $1,000 scholarship in 2025 to be used for their second year of college or technical school.

The deadline to apply for the 2024 Career & Technical Education Scholarship is May 1, 2024. Interested students can visit for more information about eligibility and to download the application.

The Bank established the Career & Technical Education Scholarship in 2018 and has awarded 84 scholarships to date.

Bill to protect veterans unanimously clears key legislative committee

Veterans in Maine may soon have more financial security after a bill providing protection from fraudulent and predatory claims practices cleared a key legislative committee last week. The bill, LD 2259, was sponsored by Sen. Brad Farrin, R-Somerset, and provides increased protection for veterans who are applying for U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) benefits.

The predatory practices, which according to the VA are conducted by people or organizations whom they call “Claim Sharks,” include aggressive and misleading tactics aimed at veterans, their families, survivors and caregivers. These practices often result in hefty fees to “assist” or “consult” veterans and survivors with the filing of their VA benefits claims.

During an awareness campaign launched last year, the VA said unaccredited claim sharks have no formal training in the VA system and operate outside the law. The Federal Trade Commission estimated that such scammers cost veterans and their families about $292 million in losses in 2022.

Since the passage of the PACT Act in 2022, which was the largest benefit and health care expansion in the VA’s history and now covers veterans who were exposed to burn pits and toxic substances, activity by claim sharks and other scammers has only risen. The sudden spike led to the introduction of competing U.S. House and Senate bills that will reinstate fines and jail time, which were suspended during the pandemic to aid the VA to catch up on benefits claims. Both bills have very strong support.

Typical tactics used by such predators often include offering a consultation from their own network of doctors while promising an expedited examination and guaranteeing an increased disability rating or percentage increase to their benefits. Claim sharks then apply hefty fees for their assistance or demand a high percentage of the veteran’s earned benefits.

The VA says veterans are never required to pay for benefits they earned. They launched a website to help veterans prevent fraud and how to report it and seek help if it occurs. They also have an online tool to aid veterans who are searching for accredited Veterans Services Organizations (VSOs) to help with various services.

“My bill will provide an extra wall of security for our veterans, further protecting them from predatory and deceptive practices that target their hard-earned monetary benefits. Veterans should never have to use their benefits to pay for these predatory practices; and I thank the Veterans of Foreign Wars for bringing this to my attention,” said Farrin. “Veterans did their duty for our country and deserve the greatest protections possible. It is our duty as a country and as a state to provide them with that security and provide as much information about VSOs as possible.”

The bill now moves to the Senate and House chambers for final passage.

Local students named to dean’s honor list

Zachary Craig, of Benton, Catherine Estes, of Sidney, and Rebecca Riley, of Chelsea, were named to the dean’s honor list at Cedarville University, in Cedarville, Ohio, for Fall 2023.

Emma Concaugh named to College of the Holy Cross’ dean’s list

Emma Concaugh, of Oakland, a member of the class of 2024, was named to the College of the Holy Cross dean’s list, in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Oakland bike group takes the plunge for charity

From left to right, Lynn Woodard, Director Megan Bragdon, Nick Leavitt, Road Captain Dawn Brasil, Treasurer Brad Wing, and Assistant Director Mark Spence. (photo by Sharon Roode)

On March 16 the American Legion Riders of Decker-Simmons Post #51, Oakland, along with other groups from the area gathered at the boat launch in Oakland for the Polar plunge to raise money to help fight food insecurity at the Alfond Youth and Community Center. They raised $1,986 with a grand total over all of $30,000.

Director Lynn Woodard was quoted saying “Motorcyclists sometimes, we don’t get a good reputation. So we’re here for the community. Our group, we’re not like a motorcycle club, we’re just riders, we represent the American Legion. A lot of our activity is just for the veterans, but today it was for the children.”

“That’s what life’s all about, helping everybody else,” added Assistant Director Mark Spence.

The group is taking the plunge to help fight food insecurity at the Alfond Youth and Community Center. (photo by Sharon Roode)