Put your feet up with Doc Mike

May 9, 2013 Denise Romano
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Dr. Michael Szczepanski, better known as “Doc Mike,” is a foot and ankle specialist with a thriving Fifth Avenue practice.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Doc Mike moved to New York in 1996 when he graduated from his residency at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine, which is an affiliate of Columbia University. He opened his business in Bay Ridge seven years ago.

Doc Mike said he remembers the moment that he became intrigued with the field.

“I remember sitting with my father on our back patio in Cleveland, listening to the ballgame, and he said, ‘Put your feet up and relax,’” he recalled. “I must have been 13 or 14 and just wanted to run around and play. I didn’t understand how important it was.”

The loquacious podiatrist said that he loves what he does. “The nice thing about being a foot specialist is that you can do anything,” he said. “I handle ages zero to 100. I had a couple-of-months-old and a 98-year-old come in on the same day.”

Doc Mike also said that he feels it’s important to be connected with the community. That’s one of the reasons why he has various sports memorabilia in front of and inside his shop, complete with replicative chairs from Yankee and Shea Stadiums.

“It’s great being a storefront. People always walk by. We are constantly changing our window,” Doc Mike said. “It’s fun.”

Doc Mike is also the recipient of the Humanitarian Award from The Brooklyn Board of Real Estate. He has made many medical missionary trips to Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent, Jamaica and Grenada.

“I give them the same care I would in the office. I have been in a rainforest in Trinidad turning a church into a clinic,” Doc Mike said. “It’s neat. You just go out and help people with what they need. If I can’t, I pass it onto the next guy.”

Locally, Doc Mike participates in health clinics and fairs, and is also a member of the Fifth Avenue BID.

“There are so many people doing so many things here. If you have an open window, they will look inside,” he said. “People like to shop locally because lots of us live and work in the neighborhood.” What does the future hold for Doc Mike? He said that by the middle of this year, he will scale back his practice to three days a week so he can focus on solar light and oxygen projects.

“I want to re-create my dad’s porch with trees around it in Brooklyn,” he said, adding that he will participate in the Fifth Avenue Storefront Art Walk this year as he does every year.

“I just want to create a little bit of oxygen to show how much people can do with so little,” he said. “Even if there is a small patch of grass on your fire escape, it’s still a little bit more that wasn’t there before.”

But his focus will always be on his patients – who come from Brooklyn, as well as New Jersey, Staten Island and Connecticut.

“I love my job,” Doc Mike said. “To help so many people in so many different ways…I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Doc Mike is located at 7708 Fifth Avenue. He can be reached at 718-748-7544 or by visiting www.docmike.org.

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