It is not unusual for people to react to the descriptions of On Lok PACE with disbelief. Does the program actually cover all medical care? Does it really include hearing aids or the dental work I can’t afford? And what if I need to see a specialist?

On Lok developed the PACE healthcare model over 50 years ago, on the belief that everyone should be empowered to age with dignity and independence in the community. The program supports seniors as they age, addressing all their medical needs, including specialty care. Services are delivered at our seven Bay Area On Lok PACE centers, our alternative care settings—including our new On Lok Excelsior Center in San Francisco—at the residence of the participant, and through our network of more than 1,700 providers.

One of our specialists, Dr. Sara Karamloo, is a podiatrist. A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine—a physician and surgeon qualified to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg. Podiatrists can focus on many fields, including surgery, sports medicine, wound care, pediatrics, and diabetic care.

Dr. Karamloo’s experience with footwork began as a patient. “Growing up I was a ballerina, and I had a podiatrist I would see regularly, so it was fate that led me to my career path. My ultimate injury forced me into early retirement and turned my focus and passion for dance to the field of podiatry,” she says.

Dr. Karamloo is double board-certified and an associate of The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and a member of The American Board of Podiatric Medicine. A graduate of Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, she completed her surgical residency at Kennedy Memorial Hospital and at Yale University Hospital. She also holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration from University of California East Bay.

When deciding to become a provider, On Lok PACE’s commitment to seniors resonated with Dr. Karamloo. “On Lok really goes out of its way to help their participants,” she says. “Starting out at the On Lok PACE Peralta center in Fremont, we realized they had a very large presence, and this led us to start a partnership that has now transposed into an onsite relationship as well.”

One of Dr. Karamloo’s goals is to raise awareness of what podiatrists can do to improve quality of life for seniors. “I often examine patients who tell me they did not know there was a doctor they could go to who specializes in the foot and ankle, and that their lifelong problem could be easily fixed with just a visit.”

In the winter months, Dr. Karamloo advises her elderly patients to keep their feet warm to prevent narrowing of the blood vessels at the tips of the toes. “This can lead to complications such as frost bite and in worse cases gangrenous changes. If you feel pain in your toes or see any signs of blistering, get seen right away to prevent further damage and get early intervention.”