Curtis Long in the pediatric surgery section of Hospital Escuela, the state-run hospital in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Long is examining Nancy, a 10-year-old girl with a serious flat-foot deformity, as the girl’s mother looks on.
The mission was good for their souls, and good for their patients’ soles.
Dr. Curtis Long and his wife, LPN Janet Long, recently returned from a mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. They made the trip to teach new surgical procedures to doctors there.
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The Longs’ suggestions for foot health:
Don’t go barefoot in the house. You could stub your toe, fall, get slivers or get cut on a sharp object.
Wear comfortable, good-quality shoes. “Get shoes with a leather upper, non-slip sole and have plenty of room for your toes. A stable, sturdy, roomy shoe,” Curtis Long said.
Stay active for foot and overall health. “Walking is the best,” he said, as it’s good exercise and helps with circulation and muscle tone. “A study was done where a diabetic walked for 15 minutes after every meal and they had a lot more blood sugar control,” he said.
The group included four orthopedic surgeons and Dr. Long, a podiatrist. The Longs were pleased to be able to participate in the opportunity to teach and heal.
The training took place at busy Hospital Escuela, the main government hospital in Honduras.
“We were there eight days and did surgery on five days,” Curtis Long said.
The team helped a total of 14 children, and gave extra training to many doctors and medical professionals.
Dr. Long has practiced in the Valley for 37 years. He grew up here, on a farm north of Walla Walla, so to return home after his residency made sense.
After earning an undergraduate degree at Washington State University, Long received his doctorate in podiatric medicine from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, Cleveland. He joined the Marine Corps and was wounded five times while serving in Vietnam for 13 months.
He and his wife met in Portland at the Multnomah School of the Bible. Janet had been teaching in Nebraska.
“I decided I only needed three things: get good study habits, pursue Bible studies and I needed a wife. I went to Multnomah and got all three,” Curtis Long said.
Podiatric issues have huge implications for your mobility and overall quality of life, he said.
“Your feet should be comfortable. If they’re not, that’s a sign that something’s not right,” he said.
“The main causes of foot problems are diabetes and obesity. Also a lack of exercise,” Janet Long said.
“Then you put smoking on top of that,” Curtis Long said.
“Diabetes is getting more prominent. Every country is getting fatter except for those having famines,” he said.
“The western lifestyle has an impact on calorie intake,” she said.
“High fat, sweetened drinks, fruit juices — that’s a lot of calories,” he said. The more a person weighs, the more pressure on their feet.
Long’s practice includes standard office visits, but part of his routine harkens back to days gone by, when doctors made house calls.
“Several days a month I set aside for home visits,” he said. “People need foot care and sometimes it’s difficult for them to get out of their house.”
As exemplified by the mission trip to Honduras, Long is also willing to travel across the globe to reach people who need help in a variety of ways.
The Christian Medical & Dental Associations, (visit ubne.ws/12SYqlt), which organized this trip, sponsor missions worldwide.
“We chose this one primarily just for doing surgery. Other missions focus on other things such as building schools,” Curtis Long said.
“The fault of a lot of third-world countries is that they don’t educate their people. Many schools require uniforms. Many families are too poor to buy uniforms, so their children can’t go to school,” he said. This selectively eliminates the poorer families from improving their situation.
After helping some of these underprivileged in Honduran society, the Longs returned home in early June with great memories and a sense of accomplishment.
“The trip to Honduras was a wonderful, rewarding experience,” he said.
Karlene Ponti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-526-8324.