When you think about it, our feet are pretty amazing. For most, they're an unfaltering foundation - two shock absorbers we rely on daily to hold our weight and propel us through life. Comprised of dozens of bones and hundreds of ligaments, muscles, and tendons, the average person's feet take a fair beating every day - on average, people stand for about four hours every day and take around 5K steps as well. Because your feet are smaller than most other parts of your body, they endure an enormous impact with each step, adding up to hundreds of tons of weight daily.
Strangely, when our feet, ankles, or toes begin to hurt, we do our best to ignore the pain and push through the day. We even give up sports and outdoor activities that we love. Unfortunately, ignoring pain and delaying treatment will further damage your feet and, by proxy, your whole body.
If you're living with foot and ankle pain or have given up on fun activities like hiking and jogging, it's time to change. Why sacrifice a life full of outdoor activities in our beautiful part of the world when you can visit an expert podiatrist in San Marcos, CA?
Welcome to North County Foot and Ankle - where men and women just like you get new leases on life through some of the most advanced podiatric treatments available in California. With more than 50 years of combined experience treating a wide range of foot and ankle problems, our pioneering doctors have helped hundreds of people reclaim their love of walking, jogging, and life in general.
What makes North County Foot and Ankle stand out from other foot and ankle doctors in San Marcos? Unlike some foot doctors, our podiatrists work with a client-first mentality. When you walk through our front doors, the time you spend in our office is all about you. We believe in a strong physician-patient relationship fortified by one-on-one attention and honest communication.
Before offering foot pain treatment options, we perform a thorough evaluation, taking into account your individual needs, goals, and preferences. Once that's done, we'll discuss your treatment options in detail and come to a mutual decision regarding the best treatment plan for you.
Whether you have a minor hangnail or need complex surgery, you will receive the same level of compassionate care from our medical team. As board-certified podiatrists in San Marcos, our doctors are proud to treat you. You can rest easy knowing they will take the time to explain what's causing your foot pain, what treatments are best suited to your problem, and what steps you should take after treatment.
And while our podiatrists are uniquely qualified to perform surgery, we often recommend non-surgical options, using treatments like orthotics to relieve foot, arch, and heel pain. From sports injuries and bunions to gout and blisters, we're here to help you live life to the fullest without nagging, debilitating foot pain.
Patients visit our foot clinic in San Marcos, CA, for many podiatric problems, including:
If you're dealing with chronic foot pain or are concerned about a long-lasting symptom that affects your daily life, we're here to help. Unsure if you need to call to make an appointment? These symptoms are often signs that you might need to visit our foot and ankle doctors:
Most people over 40 know that strange body aches and pains become more common with age. The same can be said with our feet. As we get older, our feet usually spread out and lose the fatty pads that help cushion our feet. If you're overweight, the ligaments and bones in your feet also take an extra beating. Also, with age, foot abnormalities that you were born with become more pronounced, as the joints in your feet lose flexibility and become rigid. To make matters worse, the skin covering your feet dries out, resulting in more cuts, scrapes, and infections.
It's clear that we endure more foot pain as we get older, but what kind of foot pain should we be most concerned about? It can be hard to tell - pain from what looks like normal bruising may actually be a sign that something more serious is occurring. That's why we're listing some of the most common symptoms of serious foot problems. That way, you're better educated and have a better shot at figuring out whether you need a simple bag of ice or a visit to your podiatrist in San Marcos, CA.
When you sprain your foot or ankle or suffer an acute injury, it's normal for your foot to swell up. This type of swelling typically goes down after 48 hours have passed. However, if you hurt your foot and the swelling is severe and doesn't go away after a couple of days, it's cause for concern. Persistent swelling often indicates an ankle or foot injury that needs podiatric care.
North County Foot and Ankle Pro Tip: If you notice persistent swelling of any kind on your body, it's wise to see a doctor. Ankle swelling, in particular, could be a warning sign that a blood clot or heart issue is present.
It's normal for your foot or ankle to "smart" after you stub your toe or twist your ankle. However, if you're experiencing ongoing ankle and foot pain, it's probably not normal. The pain doesn't have to be sharp, either - if you have dull pain, tenderness, or weakness that lasts more than two days, a trip to the foot doctor may be in order.
Minor ankle and foot injuries, like sprains, are quite common. When a sprain happens, it's normal to experience some instability or weakness afterward. Chronic instability, however, is a more serious problem. Long-term instability or weakness may signify torn ligaments or something worse. If you've had trouble standing or walking for a long time, it's best to make an appointment at a foot clinic in San Marcos.
North County Foot and Ankle Pro Tip: Podiatric experts like those at North County Foot and Ankle may have a long-term solution to help reclaim your mobility without surgery. Give our office call today to learn more!
Stiffness is a normal symptom that should be expected with sprains, plantar fasciitis, and arthritis. Often, you can alleviate such stiffness with rest, weight loss, stretching, or even new shoes. With that said, if you're experiencing ongoing stiffness, it could be a red flag that something more serious is going on.
When you've been sitting for a long time, you may have noticed a popping sound from your feet when you stand. That sound is perfectly normal. So long as it's painless, you've got nothing to worry about. However, if you feel pain when you hear a popping noise, it could indicate a subluxation or dislocation, which are conditions that require a podiatrist's attention.
If you're not sure whether you should be concerned about a painful foot or ankle symptom, give our clinic in San Marcos a call ASAP. Our helpful technicians can help answer your questions and set up a time for you to speak with one of our friendly podiatrists.
Here are just a few of the typical foot problems we treat daily.
Do you have intense heel pain that appears when you first stand up, only for it to disappear after a few steps? If so, you could be one of the millions of people in the U.S. suffering from plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is most often caused by an inflamed ligament covering bones on the bottom of your feet. Also called "Policeman's Heel," this painful condition is a common reason for heel pain, but it won't go away on its own.
Almost all cases of plantar fasciitis will get better with easy, non-surgical treatments and lifestyle changes. A good place to start is by refraining from activities or sports that cause pain, like jogging, hiking, running, or aerobic exercises.
Common treatment options at North County Foot and Ankle include:
Orthotic shoe inserts provide you with the arch support that your feet need, especially with shoes like women's flats that don't have much foot support. We also recommend wearing shoes that are appropriate for the activity you're enjoying, like hiking boots on your favorite trail and running shoes on the street or track.
Stretching regularly with gentle exercises can help prevent plantar fasciitis and stop flare-ups. Stretching your calves, specifically, reduces heel pain effectively. After you schedule an appointment at our foot clinic in San Marcos, one of our doctors can explain the proper exercises in more detail.
Wearing a brace or splint while you sleep will keep your plantar fascia stretched. That way, when you wake up and take your first steps of the day, you shouldn't have as much pain because your plantar fascia won't have a chance to tighten up overnight.
North County Foot and Ankle Pro Tip: If you're still struggling with plantar fasciitis after using orthotics, treatments like orthobiologics, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment, or extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) may be more effective.
Ingrown toenails are among the most common foot maladies in the United States. Though common, ingrown toenails can be painful, resulting in swelling, bleeding, pus, and more. Various factors cause ingrown toenails, such as heredity, trauma, hygiene, nail conditions, and improper trimming. Thankfully, with the help of an expert, most ingrown toenails can be treated at home or in a podiatrist's office.
Ingrown toenails happen when the corners and sides of your toenails grow and eventually dig into the flesh around your nail. Most often occurring on the big toe, ingrown toenails become a serious concern when they are left untreated or when an infection is involved. To determine whether your ingrown toenail needs an evaluation by a foot doctor in San Marcos, CA, keep an eye out for initial symptoms and infection symptoms:
To help prevent infection, try cutting your nails in a straight line, and don't cut them too short. Do not cut your nails to match the shape of your toe.
When your toenail becomes ingrown, you need doctors with real expertise in diagnosing and treating foot problems. At North County Foot and Ankle, our doctors are highly qualified to treat the underlying conditions causing your ingrown toenail. That way, you can enjoy long-term relief and also learn the ways to prevent ingrown toenails in the future.
If you have a bony bump near the bottom joint of your big toe, chances are it's a bunion. Bunions are deformities on your feet that are formed when your front foot bones become misaligned. When this happens, the misaligned bones cause the top half of your big toe to point inward toward your second toe. From there, your tendons will tighten, which pulls your toe even further inward. Once your toe is pulled more inward, the bottom joint of your big toe will bulge outward. The bulge you see is actually what we refer to as a bunion.
Without treatment, your toe pain can worsen, and the bunion can grow. Painful swelling in the balls of your feet can also cause hammertoe. Hammertoe happens your second toe is bent out of shape by your misaligned big toe.
Luckily, North County Foot and Ankle is California's go-to clinic for bunion treatment in San Marcos, CA. Our highly-trained doctors can stop these uncomfortable conditions from happening and help prevent worse conditions from developing.
Jason Morris, a board-certified podiatric foot surgeon in San Marcos, CA, is one of the top podiatrists in the greater San Diego area and has successfully treated patients with bunions for over ten years. He offers advanced treatments for bunion pain, such as:
Our hand-made orthotics, which are worn in your shoes, are molded to fit your foot exactly, correcting bone misalignments and relieving pain much better than cookie-cutter, store-bought options.
Drs. Morris and Redkar performs state-of-the-art triplanar correction surgery using 3-D digital imaging and a minimal incision approach. This procedure is very effective and works by rotating misaligned big toe bones back to the proper position. Once your toe bones are back in position, a metal plate is attached to your bones so that they remain aligned over long-term use.
Drs. Morris and Redkar may recommend both surgery and custom orthotics to keep your foot pain-free and your bunion from growing back.
If you’ve been enduring foot or ankle pain that affects your mobility and quality of life, why not make a change for the better? At North County Foot & Ankle Specialists, our podiatrists in Escondido help patients of all ages. Drs. Morris and Redkar take a patient-first approach with all of our podiatry services. Both are highly qualified and recipients of prestigious awards.
Featured in Los Angeles Magazine’s prestigious Top Doctors list of 2021, Dr. Avanti Redkar is a board-certified podiatrist that specializes in foot and ankle pathology. Dr. Redkar earned her undergrad degree in biology at the University of Scranton and her master’s degree in nutrition at SUNY Buffalo. She attended podiatry school at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. Her three-year surgical residency at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York, included foot and rearfoot surgery, wound care, and hyperbaric medicine training. Dr. Redkar also completed a one-year fellowship in sports medicine and ankle reconstruction.
After a rigorous three-year residency at the University of Pittsburgh, Jason Morris, DPM, moved to sunny California to practice podiatric medicine. Once there, Dr. Morris worked as an attending physician at UCLA Medical Center and Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Since relocating to the Escondido area, he has been a staff physician at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido and Poway. Dr. Morris is a podiatric foot and ankle specialist with board certification in rearfoot and forefoot reconstructive surgery. Dr. Morris has undergone extensive training in sports medicine, ankle trauma, diabetic limb salvage, and reconstructive surgery.
If you've been enduring foot or ankle pain that affects your mobility and quality of life, why not make a change for the better? At North County Foot & Ankle Specialists, our podiatrists in San Marcos help patients of all ages. Drs. Morris and Redkar take a patient-first approach with all of our podiatry services. From minor bunion treatments to complex issues like foot fractures, every treatment option we consider is chosen with your best interest in mind.
Our podiatrists are members of several professional organizations, including:
If more conservative treatments are better for your condition, non-surgical solutions like custom orthotics may be the best route. If you need ankle or foot surgery, our podiatrists will complete your procedure with time-tested skill and precision. Because, at the end of the day, our goal is to provide you with the most effective foot and ankle pain solutions with the quickest recovery options available.
Contact us online or via phone today to schedule an appointment at our San Marcos office. By tomorrow, you'll be one step closer to loving life without foot or ankle pain.
The 'little city that could' is all grown up as Fortune ranks San Marcos #20 best city in America for families.SAN MARCOS, Calif. — You know that sinking feeling of panic when you forget someone's birthday? In this Zevely Zone, I made it to San Marcos just in time.I've lived in San Marcos for 20 years, and I had no idea my city was celebrating a major milestone. The 'little city that could' is celebrating its 60th birthday. Sometimes the biggest...
The 'little city that could' is all grown up as Fortune ranks San Marcos #20 best city in America for families.
SAN MARCOS, Calif. — You know that sinking feeling of panic when you forget someone's birthday? In this Zevely Zone, I made it to San Marcos just in time.
I've lived in San Marcos for 20 years, and I had no idea my city was celebrating a major milestone. The 'little city that could' is celebrating its 60th birthday. Sometimes the biggest birthdays sneak up on you. "Well, we've been telling people but not everyone listens of course," said San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones. She grew up in Ramona and El Cajon but roots for a new home team now.
Credit: City of San Marcos
If San Marcos had a cheerleader, she'd be on the squad. "Oh, I'm the head cheerleader," laughed Mayor Jones who showed us her city's weekly Farmers Market in what's now called North City.
The entire area with new housing and commercial space just seemed to pop up overnight. "Yes, you want to know what's funny is back in 2009 when we actually approved this it was a dirt lot. It was a dirt lot where people just threw their unwanted furniture," said Mayor Jones.
The City of San Marcos was recently selected by Fortune as a top finalist in its Best Places to Live for Families ranking. Out of nearly 2,000 places Fortune evaluated, the City of San Marcos ranked #20 for its high-quality amenities for families raising children and caring for aging parents.
To select the top 25 Best Places to Live for Families, Fortune evaluated cities, towns, suburbs, exurbs, villages and townships with 25,000 to 750,000 residents across all 50 states in the United States. Fortune analyzed comprehensive data on education, aging resources, general wellness, financial health and livability for each location. The ranking focused on cities and towns with affordable housing, diverse neighborhoods and resources for multigenerational families.
Credit: Maya's Cookies
"When I first moved here there were 2,000 people," said 82-year-old Pia Harris-Ebert. She served on the city council for six terms and 24 years. "Today it is the place where people want to go and want to live and want to stay," said Pia. I asked the former councilmember if she would ever to live anywhere else. "Of course not, I live in the same house I bought a long, long time ago," Pia said.
In the 1960's, San Marcos was known for its dairy farms and chicken ranches but now a new Kaiser Permanente hospital is under construction. The city boasts quality schools and higher education at California State University San Marcos.
San Marcos has not one but two Costco's. There is also a new Creek Project, not to mention the city's nickname I had to ask the mayor about. "San Parkos? Yes, we have so many parks here in San Marcos and we have about 72 miles of walking trails," said Mayor Jones.
Above all, city leaders are proud to be inclusive and support people from all walks of life. "I am so proud of San Marcos," said Pia who became the first woman ever elected to San Marcos city council in 1982. "I was immigrant from Sweden. They started early in San Marcos to accept immigrants on their city council," said Pia.
From cow fields to cookies San Marcos has come a long way. Maya Madsen could have opened her African American owned business Maya's Cookies anywhere but chose San Marcos. "Why would I not? I mean it's an amazing city, the mayor is amazing, the community support, the university it just goes on and on," said Maya. From bowling to breweries, San Marcos is also famous for sunshine. "The nice thing is we don't have the gloom from the coast, and we are not as hot as Escondido," said Mayor Jones.
Not to mention the perfect place to eat a Wynston's Ice Cream Cake. I joined a group of city leaders and residents as we sang Happy Birthday to San Marcos.
"I am exceptionally honored to serve as mayor while San Marcos marks this momentous occasion," said Rebecca Jones, mayor of San Marcos. "I'm looking forward to the chance to celebrate how our city has progressed while remaining true to what makes San Marcos so special – our people, our businesses and our history as a place where people can thrive together."
94,926 people live in San Marcos making it the fastest growing population in North County. For more information about the City of San Marcos' current projects and historical facts, please visit san-marcos.net.
Check out more Zevely Zone content below:
SAN MARCOS, Calif. — The heavy rain this week has had quite the impact on communities throughout San Diego, including in San Marcos, where one woman’s entire home flooded.The homeowner has lived on Terrace Lane in San Marcos since the early ’70s and says this is the first time anything like this has happened, but it was something she was worried about, being located on a dirt road with nowhere for the water to go.“It was wet dirt, it covered all of the floor,” Darelene Kruswick described.Aft...
SAN MARCOS, Calif. — The heavy rain this week has had quite the impact on communities throughout San Diego, including in San Marcos, where one woman’s entire home flooded.
The homeowner has lived on Terrace Lane in San Marcos since the early ’70s and says this is the first time anything like this has happened, but it was something she was worried about, being located on a dirt road with nowhere for the water to go.
“It was wet dirt, it covered all of the floor,” Darelene Kruswick described.
After a lot of rain on New Year’s Eve, Kruswick returned home New Year’s Day to find water had entered the home. A debris line on the dryer in the garage indicated the water was about 10 inches high at one point.
Her carpets have been stripped and drying machines are now running throughout the home. Tape on the walls indicates how high the water damage is, which will have to be removed entirely, because the 1970s home was built with asbestos.
Kruswick says at some point in the ’80s or ’90s, the city allowed for the end of her street to be filled.
“They put all of that landfill in and blocked off the drainage so now, when the surge comes in from the creek, it had no place to run back.”
Due to the holiday, it took a while to get the clean-up started. Kruswick is prepared to be displaced for quite some time.
“I have children, grown children and I can couch surf for a long time.” said Kruswick, who is taking the news with a good attitude.
She says she is planning on contacting the city to ask about any possible assistance available and thinks others in the city who live on similar dirt roads could potentially experience flooding too.
“I’ve got flood insurance, but maybe other people don’t and they’re going to have to carry all this themselves,” Kruswick said.
FOX 5 spoke to several San Marcos city departments on Tuesday afternoon, but none were available to formally comment on this particular situation due to several people still being out for the New Year.
FOX 5 will update this story with any additional information we receive.
Lakehouse Resort, located on the 80 acres recreational Lake San Marcos, has announced that it’s bringing back a its Summer Concert Series on the lakeside stage.Lakehouse Resort is letting the good times roll all summer long with a lineup featuring artists including Prince Again, Wanted: Bon Jovi Tribute, The Killer Dueling Pianos, Elton Dan and the Rocketband, and Young Guns (Superstars of Country), .Prince Again: Kicking off the Summer Concert Series on Saturday, April 1, ...
Lakehouse Resort, located on the 80 acres recreational Lake San Marcos, has announced that it’s bringing back a its Summer Concert Series on the lakeside stage.
Lakehouse Resort is letting the good times roll all summer long with a lineup featuring artists including Prince Again, Wanted: Bon Jovi Tribute, The Killer Dueling Pianos, Elton Dan and the Rocketband, and Young Guns (Superstars of Country), .
Prince Again: Kicking off the Summer Concert Series on Saturday, April 1, Prince Again is hitting the stage to perform the legendary music of Prince.
Wanted: The Bon Jovi Tribute Band: On Saturday, May 20, Wanted: The Bon Jovi Tribute Band will recreate the extensive catalog of Bon Jovi’s top hits like ‘Living on a Prayer’ and ‘You Give Love a Bad Name.’
The Killer Dueling Pianos: The duel of the summer is happening on Saturday, June 10, as The Killer Dueling Pianos battle it out on the piano with songs ranging from the likes of Frank Sinatra to Lady Gaga.
Elton Dan and the Rocket Band: Paying tribute to one of the greatest musicians of all time, Elton John, Elton Dan and the Rocket Band will have everyone on their feet on Saturday, July 15.
Young Guns: To close out the summer, Young Guns (Superstars of County) will tear up the lakeside stage with songs from iconic country artists old and new on Saturday, August 12.
Each concert is performed on the Lakeside Lawn with all lawn seating, so guests are encouraged to bring a blanket or low-back chair. Lakehouse Resort Summer Concert Series 2023 tickets are $45 and are available to purchase here.
Lakehouse Resort is located at 1025 La Bonita Drive, San Marcos, CA 92078.
For more info and updates, visit the website here and follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
See you there, San Diego!
SAN MARCOS, Calif. — A San Marcos neighborhood suffered a series of vandalism attacks on their Christmas decorations.Neighbors in the San Elijo Hills community say multiple homes were hit, and the destruction was all caught on camera. Ring surveillance footage captured the vandals knocking over and ripping out Christmas decorations outside of several homes.“It’s definitely hard not to be angry when you’re watching this on camera,” homeowner Tony Lopez said.Lopez says his home was hit two nig...
SAN MARCOS, Calif. — A San Marcos neighborhood suffered a series of vandalism attacks on their Christmas decorations.
Neighbors in the San Elijo Hills community say multiple homes were hit, and the destruction was all caught on camera. Ring surveillance footage captured the vandals knocking over and ripping out Christmas decorations outside of several homes.
“It’s definitely hard not to be angry when you’re watching this on camera,” homeowner Tony Lopez said.
Lopez says his home was hit two nights ago. His Ring camera caught the vandals in the act.
“You just see a bunch of teenagers being completely reckless and destructive for no apparent reason,” Lopez said.
Down the street from Lopez, Julie Mabie’s home was also hit.
“It feels like an attack on Christmas and Grinch behavior because again this is all for the kids and they’re just destroying Christmas for the kids and that’s probably what’s most disheartening about it all,” Mabie said.
Neighbors started sharing with each other videos and screenshots from their Ring cameras of the attacks.
“Why would you want to destroy Christmas? Christmas is about bringing joy and laughter and caring and bringing the community together,” Mabie said. “That’s why we spend the time doing this.”
Many surveillance cameras captured what appears to be the same group of young people in a white car targeting mostly Christmas inflatables.
“We’re not going to stand up for that,” Mabie said. “We’re going to come together as a community and make sure you’re held accountable.”
Neighbors say they’ve filed multiple reports with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department hoping the surveillance videos can lead to an arrest. While the vandals may be trying to kill the Christmas spirit, Lopez says they won’t win.
“My sons were pretty disappointed,” Lopez said. “One of them was like ‘We shouldn’t decorate anymore’ and I said ‘No, we can’t do that. Next year, we’re going to go even bigger.”
Neighbors say about 15 homes were hit in the last six days. FOX 5 reached out to the Sheriff’s Department and has yet to hear back.
The University of Saint Katherine doesn’t have a traditional campus or a library. But it’s picking up momentum as it heavily recruits student athletes. Prospective students can find UC Santa Cruz difficult to ignore. It’s nestled among sweet-scented fir trees overlooking the Pacific and has academic programs known around the world.But Antonio Chavez’s gaze didn’t linger there when he was shopping for a college. He picked the University of Saint Katherine in San Marcos, a tiny new school that does...
Prospective students can find UC Santa Cruz difficult to ignore. It’s nestled among sweet-scented fir trees overlooking the Pacific and has academic programs known around the world.
But Antonio Chavez’s gaze didn’t linger there when he was shopping for a college. He picked the University of Saint Katherine in San Marcos, a tiny new school that doesn’t have a traditional campus, a library, an endowment, plentiful housing or name recognition.
Chavez liked the fact that USK, as its called, is a short drive from his home in Oceanside and that it features small classes with lots of access to teachers. It also offered him something that Santa Cruz might not have provided — a chance to play on the soccer team.
“That was a big goal of mine,” said Chavez, a senior. “I love the game.”
He found a spot on the team through an unusual business strategy that’s being employed by USK, whose classes are mostly confined to a single floor of an office building on state Route 78, across from Cal State San Marcos.
The school, which markets itself as the only Orthodox Christian university in the country, heavily recruits student athletes as a way of helping to build enrollment.
About 85 percent of its 275 students play on Saint Katherine’s 10 men and women’s teams. By comparison, the figure at most traditional colleges and universities is below 20 percent and, at many, below 5 percent.
“Our athletics department is phenomenal at recruitment,” said Dr. Frank J. Papatheofanis, who founded the school in 2010 and serves as its president. “We didn’t intend for that to happen ... They’re great recruiters. And so we just went along with it.
“We get students who couldn’t afford this caliber of education basically because of athletics, (and)athletic scholarships.”
The dominance of sports is reflected in USK’s employment roster. The school has 10 full-time coaches and seven full-time academic teachers. Roughly $1.2 million of the school’s $5.5 million budget goes to athletics.
It might be a short-term thing.
Papatheofanis, a former faculty member at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, said he would like to reduce the number of student athletes to the 25-percent to 30-percent range over time.
For the moment, though, the private, nonprofit and accredited school intends to use sports to raise its public profile and help boost enrollment to about 500, roughly over the next decade.
It will do so far, far away from the glare of big time college sports.
Saint Katherine is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, or NAIA, which is largely composed of small schools, many which have religious affiliations. The NAIA is usually overshadowed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, which has an abundance of famous mid-to-large sized schools, such as UCLA, Ohio State and Notre Dame.
Saint Katherine belongs to NAIA’s California Pacific Conference, which includes other little-known schools, including the University of Antelope Valley and Arizona Christian University.
For a young school, USK is holding its own. The men’s baseball team won the conference championship last year, and the women did the same in beach volleyball and softball.
“This (level of competition) is just fun,” said Eryn Leja, coach of the women’s volleyball team and assistant athletic director.
“You have a better opportunity to play at the national tournament because there are less teams than (in) the NCAA,” she added. “I like knowing that we have a chance to play on a national level.”
Papatheofanis, who is 63, began thinking about creating a school like USK during his high school years, when he was living in Chicago and wondering where to go to college.
“All of my friends had denominational schools (to choose from),” he said. “My Catholic friends had Notre Dame, my Protestant friends had Wheaton College, my Jewish friends had Brandeis. “I didn’t have anything ...
“I was surprised to discover so early in my life that although my ancestors came and built churches they didn’t build schools, they didn’t invest in educational systems or networks.”
He was expressing his desire to attend a college that was based on Orthodox Christianity which, along with Catholicism and Protestantism make up the three main branches of Christianity.
Today, there is an estimated 260 million to 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, the majority of whom live in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe. About 7 million orthodox Christians live in the U.S.
The number living in California isn’t clearly known. Papatheofanis believes the figure is large enough to support a university, so he started one. The school offers degrees in four main areas, the largest being kinesiology, followed by business, the arts and humanities, and the natural sciences.
USK charges about $27,000 in annual tuition, which is on the low side for a small, private school.
The university’s smallness holds big appeal for some students.
“I always pictured myself going to some big college with a huge campus,” said McKenna Clugston of Murrieta, the president of the student senate. “Then I came here on a visit and loved the family atmosphere.”
The ambience also captivates Alden Reynoso, a human resources expert who teaches career development part-time at USK.
“I’m in a business where you don’t always get to bring your faith to work,” Reynoso said of working in HR. “But here I get to. That’s important to me.”
Recruiting student athletes to such a school can be a challenge, said Kai Harris, coach of the women’s basketball team.
“The big push is trying to build an atmosphere where people would rather be here than anywhere else,” Harris said. “Sometimes, we lose out to the big shiny lights and the nice locker rooms (of other schools). But we really try to find those players where culture is something really important to them.”
For Harris, the effort comes with a small but important near-term goal.
“We have a Handel’s ice cream place right down the street,” he said. “It has all of the local schools painted on the wall. You’ve got San Marcos High School, Mission Hills High School, Cal State San Marcos, Palomar College.
“But there’s no USK. My secret mission is (for us) to be relevant enough, loud enough, make enough waves, to where we get painted on the Handel’s wall.
*Disclaimer: results are not guaranteed, may not be permanent, and can vary per individual. Some images are of models, not actual patients.
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