Pictured: Dr. Cuttic/
When you get a minute, stop and consider those things at the end of your legs. No, not your shoes … what’s inside them. They’re called feet and ankles, and those body parts are some of the most overlooked, according to Dr. Marianne Cuttic, whose Mammoth Foot & Ankle podiatry practice is for anything below the knee.
Sheet: People don’t think about their feet that much.
Cuttic: “That is a classic statement. People really don’t think about them that much, until they’re hurt. Unlike most body parts, we tend to rely on having them both all of the time.”
Originally from rural, upstate Pennsylvania, Cuttic, a graduate of the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, considers her Mammoth practice as sort of getting back to her roots, and said she’s always known her life’s work would be as a doctor. “I was born with that “ah hah” moment,” Cuttic quipped. “My mom said I had always wanted to be a doctor.” She danced ballet from age 5 until age 22, at which point she was a semi-professional in the art while living in Philadelphia.
“As the oldest of four, I was always trying to keep up with my next younger brother, and play whatever sport he played,” she recalled, playing football. Cuttic ran cross-country and track in high school. All those and one non-sports related experience helped arc her career path toward podiatry.
“My grandmother got me into sewing when I was 8, and I found that I really loved fine, detailed work,” Cuttic remembered. “I looked into general orthopedics and knew I wanted a sports-oriented practice, but I found my niche when I paid a visit to Dr. Neil Kramer, a podiatrist in Bethlehem, Penn. He’s the one who told me there are 27 bones in the human foot. I was like, ‘Wow!’ He became my mentor, and helped me through medical school. He was even on hand to present me with my diploma personally.”
Cuttic said the emergency room almost pulled her away from podiatry. “But I wanted to be a mom, and [the ER] wasn’t conducive to the lifestyle I wanted.”
After moving to California 17 years ago, she opened her own practice in the South Bay, Redondo Beach 10 years ago. “Other than skiing with my kids, I said to my husband that I’d love to practice here in Mammoth,” Cuttic said. Her husband, by the way, is none other than legendary professional mixed martial artist, UFC Hall of Famer and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor Royce Gracie, who is well versed in the need for healthy feet and ankles. Gracie teaches classes at Snowcreek Athletic Club when in town.
Sheet: How many years have you and Royce been married and how did you two meet?
Cuttic: “We’ve been married 18 years this July. We met when I was doing my residency. My best friend and her husband owned a gym in Philadelphia, and I was doing personal training on the side. Her husband taught jiu-jitsu, and brought Royce into the gym. He walked right through one of my aerobics classes and I gave him the evil eye. He was flirting with the ladies and I didn’t know who he was then, but that’s the kind of socially flirtatious Brazilian man he is. My friend and her husband wanted to go out to dinner and show Royce around, and asked me to come along, which I reluctantly did. We talked for hours and have been inseparable since.”
Sheet: Seems as though a doctor being married to a traveling athlete is challenging. What’s your secret to managing family life?
Cuttic: “My secret is I’m a great multitasker! My family always had a great work ethic with lots of chores to do. I’m an independent personality, and I can function fine whether he’s here or not. My friends say I must have 26 hours in my day! Even today his schedule is as hectic as it ever was. It’s a juggling act and sometimes. I wonder when his next event is. I tell him, ‘Go, you’re messing up my routine!’”
She and Royce are the parents of 3 boys and a girl, who’s the youngest.
A major impetus to hanging her shingle here was on a flight to Los Angeles. “I was talking to a girl sitting next to me who was on her way to L.A. for surgery because there was no podiatrist here,” Cuttic related.
“I met [local pediatrician] Dr. Maria King about a year ago, and she asked me if I wanted to become office mates. We did, and it’s been a great relationship,” Cuttic added.
In addition to her husband, Cuttic is used to a mostly athletic clientele, but loves the diversity of patients she sees here. “I get kids, athletes, seniors, hikers, bikers,” she noted. “With all the running, and winter and summer sports, it’s no wonder the orthopedics department at Mammoth Hospital is getting slammed. I thought it was going to be dead during summer, but it was really busy. I felt like I had something unique to contribute to the community and everyone has been receptive.”
She also spends part of her time in surgery, when needed, and has hospital privileges.
One thing she stresses for prevention is proper footwear. “In this environment, there are a lot of jobs and activities that keep people on their feet constantly, and patients who are prone to certain problems can find those exacerbated,” she notes. Of course, Cuttic points out that genetics is a significant factor in roughly 40% of cases involving bunions, hammer toes, flat feet and other feet-related problems.
“It’s important to get your feet looked at, especially children. Half of all kids with flat feet outgrow it, but kids don’t have all the bones in their feet until age 5. It might be symptomatic, it might not, but if it’s going to be an issue, then I have a better chance of correcting it at a younger age, as opposed to when they’re teenagers and their growth plates are closed.”
With older people, checkups are a good thing, Cuttic thinks, since by the time most have severe pain, the damage has potentially been done.
A runner as well, Cuttic also said she plans to tap into her love of dance, mulling a revival of holiday performances of “The Nutcracker,” among other artistic pursuits. She might also be a contender in next year’s Mammoth Hospital “Dancing With The Docs” fundraiser.
Still splitting her time between Redondo Beach and Mammoth, Cuttic said she can see spending more and more time here, and eventually either selling her SoCal practice or making it secondary to this one. “I grew up near the Poconos, and love pine trees and mountains … I think of Mammoth as a ‘get back to my roots’ environment.”
Dr. Marianne Cuttic’s practice is located in Mammoth at 437 Old Mammoth Rd., just a few doors down from Giovanni’s. Office hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 760.934.1111. In Redondo Beach, her office hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, closed Thursday. Call 310.316.7020.