Podiatrist returns home to practice

FAIRMONT – Dr. Luke Madsen knew as a high school student in Truman that he wanted to go into medicine, but a lawn-mowing accident when he was just a little boy helped steer him toward his career as a podiatrist.

Madsen returned to the area recently with his wife, Fairmont native Sarah (Winkelman) Madsen, and just began seeing patients at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont.

“When I was young I had a lawnmower accident with my foot. I needed more than 100 stitches. They basically put my foot back together,” he said.

Madsen grew up on a farm between Fairmont and Truman and graduated from Truman High School in 1998. He excelled in the sciences, earning a full scholarship for his bachelor’s degree. He took a couple years off before medical school to work at Mayo Clinic in Rochester in the operating room labs.

“I saw a lot of aspects of medicine before I went to medical school,” he said.

In medical school in Chicago, he decided on podiatry, which brought him to the Detroit area for a three-year residency.

Anything below the knee is his terrority. Our feet contain nearly half the bones in the human body.

Beyond bones, Madsen treats dermatological issues, such as fungi. He also works on structural deformities, such as hammertoe, which is typically caused by women’s footwear. He has also removed sarcoma, a type of cancer; helped countless patients with rehabilitation after they’ve suffered ankle injuries; and even clipped toenails for diabetic patients who lack feeling in their extremities.

“Diabetic limb salvage is my specialty,” he said.

The variety of his field means work is always interesting for Madsen. He has an opportunity to do a fair amount of surgery, see patients in a clinical setting, and literally help people get back on their feet. For example, he told the story of a former patient who approached him at a gas station, took his shoe off to show the foot Madsen reconstructed after a chainsaw accident.

“It’s so rewarding, knowing you’re making an impact,” Madsen said.

Coming back to Fairmont to live near their families was the Madsens’ goal from the beginning. The couple have been together since they were in high school, and Sarah accompanied her partner across the country through each leg of his journey to become a podiatrist.

“Sarah has been super supportive,” Madsen said. “She went with me everywhere, even on the little trips.”

Their little boy, just 17 months old, has also traveled the country, visiting 28 states. After all their traveling, the family is glad to be back home.

“It’s nice to enjoy life in a rural area again,” Madsen said.

Working for Mayo is icing on the cake.

“The Mayo system does probably one of the best jobs in patient care I’ve seen in my work experience,” Madsen said. “… I want to be part of that.”