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Phone: 541-776-3338
Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, LLC
Call Us 541-776-3338
Toll Free 844-899-6826

Southern Oregon Podiatrists Answer Your Top Questions About Foot and Ankle Pain

Stop questioning your foot and ankle pain. Start getting answers! Read our FAQ articles for tips from our Southern Oregon podiatrists to help you feel better and get healthy.

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  • Should I cut off my wart?

    No, you should definitely not attempt to cut off your own plantar wart. To start with, warts are caused by a virus (HPV) and cutting off the growth will not actually cure it. In time, the wart will likely grow back. More importantly though, performing home surgery puts you at unnecessary risk for an infection that could develop into a serious issue.

    Warts are unsightly and, depending on their location, may lead to discomfort, but they are not harmful and may eventually go away on their own. There are other home care treatments that are considerably safer if you really want to get rid of one sooner, but your best course of action is simply to leave it to the professionals.

    Instead of attempting to cut off your wart, make an appointment with Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C., and let us handle it for you. We provide sterile equipment and trained professionals who will ensure that the procedure is performed correctly and safely. Contact our Medford, OR office by calling (541) 776-3338 or using our online form to request an appointment today.

  • Do I need surgery for a stress fracture in my foot?

    It really depends on your particular situation, but surgery for a stress fracture is rarely necessary. We are more likely to treat one of these fractures with the use of conservative, nonsurgical methods. A major component of treatment is centered on reducing the weight-bearing load on your injured bone until it has healed.

    Rest and walking boots help reduce pressure on your foot. Ice can relieve pain and reduce swelling in the affected area. Once you are able to resume activities (with approval from Dr. Evan Merrill), they must progress on a gradual basis. There are instances where surgery may be necessary, but we always try conservative measures first.

    When you think that you may have suffered a fracture in your bone, even one of these tiny hairline cracks, make an appointment with Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. We will properly diagnose your condition and evaluate the extent of any damage before developing an effective treatment plan for you. Our Medford, OR office is here to provide any information and treatment you may need. Simply give us a call at (541) 776-3338 or use our convenient online form to schedule an appointment today.

  • What is a stress fracture?

    A stress fracture is a tiny crack in bone, often the result of overuse. Most of these fractures happen in the weight-bearing bones of your lower limbs and appendages. When your muscles become fatigued due to the repeated stresses that happen with high-impact sports like basketball or long distance running, they do not absorb as much shock as they typically would. This transfers the pressure (stress) to your bones.

    Your bone tissue undergoes a perpetual cycle of resorbing and regenerating cells. When it is tasked with handling the extra pressure, it resorbs at a faster rate than it regenerates and this leads to tiny fissures in the tissue. With repeated trauma, these fissures become fractures.

    If you feel that you may have fractured one of the bones in your toes, feet, or ankles, contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. Our office is conveniently located in Medford, OR and Dr. Evan Merrill will be happy to help. We’ll provide an accurate diagnosis and create an effective treatment plan so that you can resume normal activities in a timely fashion. Call us at (541) 776-3338 or use our online form to schedule an appointment today.

  • What is a heel spur?

    Your body will sometimes attempt to fix a broken bone by generating new bone tissue. Other times, it will grow the tissue to offer protection from stress or excessive pressure. When this happens, the resulting growth is known as a bone spur, which is often benign but can also cause trouble for surrounding tissue. When you experience heel pain, one of the possibilities is that you have developed a variation of this condition called a heel spur.

    These abnormal growths on your heel often develop when your plantar fascia pulls away from the area. Risk factors for developing one include gait abnormalities, running on hard surfaces, poor-fitting or worn out shoes, and excessive weight or obesity.

    Whether you are experiencing the pain that can accompany a bone spur, or are suffering from any other foot or ankle problem, Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. is your first choice for extraordinary care and treatment. Our Medford, OR office is conveniently located and staffed with the friendly, knowledgeable professionals you should expect from a podiatric practice. Contact us by calling (844) 899-6826.

  • Can orthotics help treat heel pain?

    There are a variety of causes of heel pain—plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, Sever’s disease—but orthotics are an effective nonsurgical treatment for such conditions. Orthotics are custom made inserts intended to treat an array of conditions. Unlike the mass-produced inserts bought in retail stores, these inserts are based on a patient’s unique foot structure and created by highly-skilled professionals.

    When you come to our office with pain in your heel, we will first diagnose the condition and then consider the available treatment options. In addition to customized medical devices, other conservative treatment methods include rest, activity modification, ice, and even over-the-counter pain relievers. What is important is that you start by making an appointment to see a trained professional, like the ones you find at Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C.

    Whether you would benefit from a pair of orthotics or from another form of treatment, you can be assured you will receive the care you need at our practice. Dr. Evan Merrill will provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that takes away your pain and discomfort. Schedule an appointment at our Medford, OR office by calling (541) 776-3338 or using our online form today.

  • Do I need surgery for an ankle sprain?

    Sprained ankles are very common injuries, both for athletes and non-athletes. This condition happens when a foot twists beyond its normal range of motion and one of the ligaments becomes overly stretched or even tears. You will experience pain and discomfort from the injury, but needing surgical repair is quite rare for an ankle sprain.

    Typically, this injury is effectively treated with conservative methods, which include following the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation), protecting the affected ankle with a brace, and easing back into physical activity.

    When a procedure is required, options include either arthroscopy, which is a minimally invasive procedure, or reconstructive surgery. These are only necessary for injuries that fail to respond to conservative treatment options and persist after months of physical rehab, which is atypical for this kind of injury.

    If you have any questions or are experiencing a stubborn sprained ankle that is not recovering normally, contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C., and make an appointment to see Dr. Evan Merrill at our Medford, OR, office. Call us at (541) 776-3338 and get the pain relief you need today!

  • Should I pop the blister on my foot?

    Proper blister foot care is not particularly cut and dry. If you are wondering if you should pop blisters on your feet, the answer is “it depends.” Why? Well, there are some very important variables in the equation, such as diabetes.

    Individuals who are living with diabetes should definitely not pop a blister. The risk of an infection that could lead to a serious complication is too great. If the area surrounding the blister is red, you may already have an infection. Please see Dr. Evan Merrill and have him take care of it for you immediately.

    For other individuals, popping a blister is fine to do. Make sure that you sterilize a needle using either heat or rubbing alcohol, wash your hands and the area surrounding the blister carefully, and do not remove the excess skin. Pat the loose skin down against the sensitive tissue, apply an antibiotic cream or ointment, and cover with a bandage.

    Should you need help with a troublesome blister on your foot, come see Dr. Evan Merrill at Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. Call (541) 776-3338 or make an appointment online today!

  • How does my weight affect my feet?

    You don’t have to be obese to have your weight affect your foot health. Even being 25 pounds overweight can increase the strain on the feet. As a person begins to take on more and more weight their posture begins to adapt to the changes. The knees tend to come closer together, shifting weight to the insides of the feet. This posture and excessive weight can increase the likelihood of acquiring plantar fasciitis or collapsed arches. Other common foot related conditions related to weight gain include gout, diabetes, and peripheral arteriole disease.

    One of the most difficult aspects of weight related foot conditions is that the exercise needed for weight loss can often cause increased stress and pain to the feet. To circumvent this, you can participate in low impact activities like water aerobics to lose weight. To alleviate pain, make sure that you are wearing appropriate footwear that support the feet. If you have any questions on foot care, call our Medford, OR office at (806) 356-8003, or schedule an appointment online.

  • How can I prevent warts on my feet?

    The easiest way to prevent warts on your feet is by protecting the skin from the HPV virus. Walking barefoot is the easiest way to contract warts. Always wear shoes in public areas where the virus can live. Flip flops or shower shoes should be worn in public locker rooms and swimming pools.

    Be mindful not to come into physical contact with areas that are infected. In fact, people react differently to the virus. Someone may have picked up the HPV strains that cause warts, and not exhibit any symptoms. Protect your feet by not sharing shoes or socks with anyone without washing them first. Shoes can harbor viruses and bacteria for extended periods of time, so it is important to wash your socks and shoes regularly. Also, give your shoes time to air out! Avoid wearing the same pair every-day.

    Check your feet often to keep track of changes in the color and appearance of the skin. Make an appointment with Dr. Merrill if you notice any changes. Catching warts early will save you pain and time later!

  • Are plantar warts contagious?

    Yes, plantar warts are contagious. They are not, however, highly contagious. While they can pass from person to person, you are more likely to contract one by picking up the virus in the environment around you. Places with warm, damp atmospheres like public pools or locker rooms are prime grounds for spreading warts, so remember to protect your feet with sandals or shower shoes.

    These growths are caused a strain of the human papilloma virus (HPV). Everyone’s immune system responds to the virus differently, so even if you are exposed to someone’s wart, you are not guaranteed to develop one. It does require a moist environment and a way to enter the body - so if you have frequently sweaty feet and a cut or crack in your skin, you do have a higher risk of acquiring one. If you have noticed a skin growth on the bottom of your foot, don’t wait and let it become uncomfortable before having it investigated and taken care of by Dr. Evan Merrill. Contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. for an appointment or more information today. Your feet will be glad you did! You can easily reach our office by calling (541) 776-3338.

  • What are plantar warts?

    Plantar warts are lesions on the skin that are caused by the human papillomavirus, more commonly known as HPV This virus can enter into the skin on your feet through tiny cracks and cuts, and form bumps with tiny black specks in the middle. These are not the “roots” of the wart like many falsely believe, but are small blood clots. These pesky annoyances may also cause calluses, as they are often located on high pressure areas of the feet.

    Warts can appear as a single lesion or in formations of several. “Kissing warts” are warts that have formed in areas that have contact with each other like in between toes. This is because warts are contagious, and the virus can easily spread to other areas of the foot. Another formation that is common is called a “mosaic.” This develops when several warts are clustered together to form what looks like a single, giant wart.

  • What is the difference between hammertoes and mallet toes?

    Hammertoes and mallet toes are conditions that have a lot in common, but they are separate disorders and affect slightly different areas. Both are common problems that affect joints in the smaller toes—especially the second digit, next to the big toe. They both cause the joints they affect to bend and stiffen. They are also both affected by your footwear choices and foot mechanics: shoes that squeeze your toes or an existing problem that puts unnatural pressure on your toes can induce either issue. The difference is the joint that each affects. A hammertoe affects the middle joint, while mallet toe bends the one closest to the nail.

    Fortunately, both hammertoe and mallet toe can be easily managed with conservative treatments. Shoe changes and exercises that stretch out and strengthen the toes can reduce the pain and straighten the affected areas. Sometimes orthotics can also help. If you’re experiencing pain or trouble in your toes, don’t wait and allow them to stiffen to the point that you need more involved treatment to deal with the problem. Instead contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. for an appointment or more information by calling (541) 776-3338.

  • Can I still run with sesamoiditis?

    Sesamoiditis, the inflammation of the tendons surrounding the sesamoid bones, is commonly associated with pain beneath the big toe, swelling of the area, and difficulty or pain when moving the big toe. Many patients often wonder if it’s possible for them to continue rigorous exercise, like running, with this foot condition.

    As the sesamoids act as pulleys for the majority of movement within the foot, any recurring motion or pressure to the feet tends to impact them negatively. Running, as well as any other high impact activities, should be avoided until the sesamoiditis has been eliminated. In place of these activities, many patients often choose to take up cycling or swimming as it allows for the feet to recover more easily.

    This foot condition can often be remedied by rest, icing, and the use of orthotics. In some extreme cases the sesamoids can be removed to eliminate pain, but this is an irreversible surgery that can lead to other biomechanical issues.

    Dr. Evan Merrill can help you find the treatment that’s best suited for you. Our Medford, OR office can be reached at (541) 776-3338 or appointments can also be scheduled online.

  • Why does my toe hurt?

    The sesamoid bones are tiny, pea-sized bones that are embedded in the tendon beneath the big toe joint. They provide a smooth surface so the toe moves easily and they alsohelp distribute weight across the ball of the foot. If you have toe pain that also radiates into the ball of the foot, it is possible you have an injury called sesamoiditis. The tissues surrounding these bones may have become irritated or inflamed or the bones may have even fractured. This can happen if you are a runner, dancer, baseball catcher, tennis player,or have increasedthe frequency and intensity of your activities too quickly.

    Pain in your toe could also result from a bruise, an ingrown toenail, stubbing your toe, or a number of other conditions. Be proactive and find out the source of your discomfort so we can treat the problem accurately and get you back to living without pain. Call Dr. Evan Merrill at (541) 776-3338 or request an appointment online.

  • What are the most common conditions seen by a podiatrist?

    There are a wide variety of foot conditions, and a few have become much more common than others. This is largely due to human nature, prolific microorganisms, and hereditary causes.

    Some common foot conditions include:

    Bunions – Bunions develop as the foot slowly becomes deformed due to poor foot mechanics and is worsened by pressure from shoes.

    Corns and Calluses – These tend to develop as a result of friction between the foot and shoe.

    Dry Skin – Dry skin occurs for many reasons and can be treated with moisturizers and mild soaps.

    Fungal Infections – These are generally caused by excessive shoe wear. Damp socks and shoes that are not changed periodically create the perfect environment for the growth of fungi.

    Hammertoe – As the tendons that control movement within the foot become shorter, the joint can stiffen and enlarge into a hammertoe.

    Ingrown Toenails – The pain that comes with this common nail condition is caused by the toenail piercing the skin of the toe. This is most common in the big toe.

    Spurs – Spurs are growths composed of calcium formed by a strain on foot muscles. Standing for long periods of time, improper footwear, and weight issues can cause spurs.

    Warts –The result of a virus--podiatric assistance is usually required.

  • How can I prevent black toenails?

    There are several simple ways you can prevent black toenails. This common runner’s malady is caused by trauma as the tips of the toes repeatedly bump the ends of your shoes. You’ll need to switch to properly fitted running shoes. Their ends should be roughly half an inch longer than your longest toe. Your feet shouldn’t slip forward in them, either. Make sure you trim your toenails regularly. Too-long nails are more likely to bruise. In some cases, you may be gripping the ground too hard when you run and increasing the impact on your toes that way. You may need an orthotic to help correct your foot mechanics and cushion your lower limbs.

    Black toenails are unsightly and embarrassing, but also preventable. If you get them often, contact the experts here at Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. for an appointment to analyze why. You can reach our Medford, OR, office by calling (541) 776-3338 or filling out the website contact form.

  • What is black toenail?

    This nail condition occurs when the toes collide with the front of the shoe as the foot impacts the ground. This repetitive motion can create a blister under the toenail that causes excess fluid and blood to pool beneath the nail, giving it a blackened appearance. In many cases, this toe problem may go away on its own after 24 hours. If it persists, podiatric assistance is usually necessary. Over the next few months the damaged nail and tissue will grow out and full regrowth of the nail should occur after three months. For the prevention and treatment of black toenail, patients should try to get the right kind of shoes for their activities.

    Our podiatric office in Medford is ready and willing to help patients of all walk of life through any toe or nail problems. Our office can be contacted at 541-776-3338 and appointments with Dr. Evan Merrill can be scheduled online.

  • How can I avoid toenail fungus?

    We treat many patients who come to us with discolored, thickened, and crumbling nails from a toenail fungus infection that has taken over. This common foot problem can become unsightly and difficult to treat in the later stages, making it very important to do what you can to prevent it from the start.

    Prevention only takes a little time and effort, and it will pay off when it comes to the health of your toenails. The fungus that leads to this infection is most often found in warm, moist environments, so always wear shoes in public areas such as showers, locker rooms and pools. Keep your feet clean and dry whenever possible and your toenails nicely trimmed. Don’t pick at the skin around your nails, because a minor opening or injury becomes vulnerable to infection. Wearing socks with a synthetic fabric to wick away moisture will help remove dampness from your feet that would invite such an infection to grow.

    If you see a small spot on your nail, it could be the beginning of toenail fungus. Be proactive and call Dr. Evan Merrill for treatment. You can reach Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle in Medford, OR at (541) 776-3338. 

  • Who is most susceptible to nail fungus?

    Your risk for getting nail fungus infections depends largely on your exposure to the microorganisms that cause it and some personal health factors. Fungus thrives in warm, moist atmospheres, so you’re likely to encounter it in hot, humid climates and community places with a lot of damp air, like public pools, locker rooms, and saunas. If your feet are frequently sweaty and you come in contact with the fungus, you’re more likely to become infected. Preexisting conditions like diabetes, psoriasis, poor circulation, or an otherwise weakened immune system also make you more susceptible.

    A few other factors can make a difference, like age and gender. Both men and people over 50 are more likely to develop an infection. Fortunately, there are also many different ways to prevent fungal toenails. If you notice changes in your nails, don’t take it for granted and assume it will go away. You could have contracted a nail fungus. Contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. for more information or an appointment to take care of the problem before it spirals out of control. Visit the contact page online or call our Medford office at (541) 776-3338 to reach us.

  • Why is my toenail discolored?

    If you notice that your toenails seem discolored, there are a couple of possible reasons. First, if the color is reddish or purple, it is likely the nail sustained some bruising and blood is pooling underneath it. If you see yellow, brown or grayish portions of the nail, then the problem is likely a fungal infection.

    A fungus enters through a tiny space between your nail and the underlying nail bed on your toe. The infection often starts out as a small white or yellow spot and progresses from there. If left untreated, your nail can become thick, brittle, and deformed. A fungal infection does not go away on its own, so we encourage you to contact our office for treatment as soon as you notice any color changes in your nail. Topical or oral medications and laser therapy are the most common treatments for infected nail. Dr. Evan Merrill can find what works best for you. Call our office today at (541) 776-3338 or find more information online.