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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How can I run with blisters?
It’s hard to run with blisters, but a little care can help treat and prevent them. If you already have a blister, take care of it right away. All sores need to be cleaned and covered to avoid infection. Gently wash the area with soap and water, then cover with a bandage. If you can, keep the bubble or loose skin intact. A pad over the bandage with a hole where the sore is can help keep pressure off it.
When you run, wear fitted socks that wick moisture away from the feet. That will help prevent friction and rubbing. You may need insoles or orthotics to help relieve pressure points and pad frequently sore areas as well—or new shoes altogether—to avoid friction points. If your blisters are not healing, frequently reappear in the same spot, or you’re concerned one may be infected, contact the experts at Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. Fill out the form on the website contact page or call our Medford office at (541) 776-3338 to reach us.
How do I treat blisters?
Blisters are painful sores that develop from friction or irritation on your skin, so it’s important to cover the affected spot and reduce the rubbing. You may need to pad your shoes with moleskin or a gel pad to preventing irritation. If a blister recurs frequently in the same location, you may need a custom orthotic to cushion and protect your foot. When one appears, do your best to leave the blister intact, so the raw skin under the bubble will be less likely to get infected. Use a bandage with antiseptic to cover the sore. Cushioned bandages with a hole in the center can protect the spot without putting any direct pressure on it. If you are diabetic, however, contact a specialist like Dr. Evan Merrill right away to make sure the blister is properly cleaned and bandaged to prevent it from deteriorating into an ulcer.
If your blister isn’t healing, or pain from it is limiting your mobility, don’t ignore the problem. That will only allow it time to worsen. Instead, contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. in Medford right away for more information or an appointment. You can reach us by calling (541) 776-3338 or visiting the website contact page.
Is athlete’s foot contagious?
Yes, the fungus that causes athlete’s foot is contagious—but there’s no guarantee that someone who touches infected feet will develop the problem. Not everyone exposed to it ends ups with athlete’s foot. If the conditions are right, however, it can easily pass from one person to another. Socks, shoes, sheets, towels, and even floors in warm, damp places can be contaminated and could possibly pass on the fungus. Direct skin contact can also transmit it. The best way to prevent an infection is to avoid direct contact with high-risk surfaces and locations.
Once you’ve developed the condition it can be hard to eliminate it, so don’t wait and hope it just goes away. You’ll need to be proactive to treat the source and prevent its spread. If you are concerned you may have this infection, contact the experts at Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. for an appointment or more information and take care of your feet today. Call (541) 776-3338 or visit the website contact page to reach us.
How can I prevent athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is a common problem caused by a microscopic fungus that lives in the environment around us, growing just about anywhere that is warm and moist. You can’t avoid encountering it entirely, but you can make it unlikely to contract an infection from the fungi. Dry your feet completely after washing them, especially in between your toes. Wear socks designed to wick sweat away from your feet, especially ones made from natural materials like cotton or wool. Change your socks every day, too—several times a day if you are active or your feet sweat very much. Wear shoes that don’t squeeze your toes and are well-ventilated so your feet are able to breathe. Also, wear sandals or shower shoes in public places that are high-risk for fungus, like pools, community showers, and locker rooms.
If you are prone to fungal infections, Dr. Evan Merrill may recommend you treat your feet and shoes with anti-fungal sprays or powders regularly to help discourage the microorganisms’ growth. If you think you may have already developed athlete’s foot or are otherwise concerned about changes in the skin on your feet, don’t wait and let the problem get out of control. Contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. for an appointment or more information by calling our Medford office at (541) 776-3338.
How do I know if I have athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is categorized as a fungal infection. Fungus that affects the skin can cause painful and annoying symptoms, including cracking and peeling of the skin. As you can imagine, this causes the skin to be red and irritated.
In order to determine if you have athlete’s foot, check the skin on your feet for the common symptoms. This skin infection is often found between the toes. Along with cracked skin, blisters may form. One tell-tale sign of athlete’s foot is itching and burning on the feet. These symptoms cause discomfort, especially when wearing shoes all day.
If this infection is not taken care of in a timely manner, it can spread to the toenails and other areas of skin. Rashes and extreme pain should always be checked by a podiatrist. Dr. Evan Merrill can help to diagnose the source of your pain and help to relieve it! Call Southern Oregon Foot Care LLC today, or schedule an appointment at our Medford, OR office by clicking here.
What is the best diet to prevent gout attacks?
What you eat and drink affects the levels of uric acid in your blood, which contributes to gout. By avoiding foods that are high in purines, which break down into uric acids when you digest them, you can help control and prevent gout attacks. Limit your meat consumption—especially red meat, but also poultry and seafood. Cut down or eliminate your alcohol intake. Reduce your saturated fat and added sugars intake as well. Instead, eat bigger servings of fruits and vegetables and stick to whole grains. Low-fat dairy products are also good for you. Make sure to drink plenty of water every day to dilute the uric acid in your blood as well.
If you’re struggling with painful gout attacks, don’t just suffer through and hope the next one doesn’t come too quickly. Seek help to relieve your discomfort and manage your condition before it causes worse damage. Contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. for an appointment or more information by visiting the online contact page or by calling our Medford office at (541) 776-3338.
How does my diet affect osteoporosis?
Nutrition has a significant impact on the effects of osteoporosis. Eating the right foods can help you build a stronger skeleton, while the wrong ones can break down your bone tissue. Your body needs regular calcium, vitamin D, and protein to be able to build and maintain strong bones. Dairy products, fatty fish and eggs, and various lean meats provide these nutrients. You also need a variety of other miscellaneous vitamins and minerals found in fresh fruits and vegetables.
High-sodium levels, however, stimulate your body to get rid of the calcium it would otherwise use to build up and repair bones. If you already have osteoporosis, you need to avoid products with naturally high or added salt content. If you’re concerned about your bone health, or need help establishing good nutrition habits, contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. here in Medford, OR, for more information or an appointment. You can reach our office by filling out the online contact form or by calling (541) 776-3338.
What can I do to relieve arthritis pain?
Discomfort from arthritis in your feet can be debilitating, but it doesn’t have to control your life. Taking care of your lower limbs can help relieve some pain symptoms. Wear properly supportive shoes or orthotics that stabilize and cushion high pressure areas. Consider getting a foot massage to relax the muscles and connecting tissues. Exercise and stretch your feet regularly to help build up their strength and maintain their flexibility. They don’t have to be complicated movements—something as simple as stretching your calves, wiggling your toes, and pointing and flexing your feet affect the important but hard to reach muscles.
You will also want to have the arthritis examined every year to check for changes and discuss management options with Dr. Evan Merrill. If your pain is persistent, various anti-inflammatory pain killers, or even topical medications, can be prescribed. Whatever you use for pain relief, don’t ignore the problem and allow the irritation to get out of control and warp your joints. Instead, contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. for an appointment or more information by calling (541) 776-3338 or visiting the online contact page.
How does arthritis affect my feet?
There are different forms of this disease. Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints due to normal wear and tear, but it can also present itself as an autoimmune response that attacks the synovium, a thin membrane that lines the joints. Since this condition targets the joints, it is commonly found in the feet and ankles. There a variety of symptoms.
Some effects on the joint include:
- Continuous pain or tenderness
- Degradation of cartilage
- Formation of corns, bunions, lumps, or rashes
- Limited range of motion (especially in the morning)
- Swelling of one or more joints
In regard to the symptoms above, many patients experience a change in their normal gait. If the hind foot is affected by arthritis, the bones of the foot may become misaligned and can lead to flat feet. This condition is also associated with pain and difficulty when walking.
Not all forms of arthritis are preventable, and in some cases the effects are irreversible. Getting early treatment for arthritic conditions is vital to effective treatment. Schedule an appointment online with Dr. Evan Merrill or contact our Medford office at (541) 776-3338.
Are CrocsRX™ good for my feet?
You know how the trendiness of Crocs spread quickly, but did you know some styles made especially to protect your feet? Crocs work shoes and RX models are designed with such features as extra-depth to make room for shoe inserts, shock-absorbing foot beds, and toe caps with extra protection. These styles give you all the lightness and comfort of their regular style, but with added support for working feet, and relief for foot problems that may be causing you pain and discomfort. Conditions that can benefit from these casual shoes include bunions, arthritis pain, diabetic issues, heel bruises, and foot irregularities.
If you have foot pain, come in and see Dr. Evan Merrill at Southern Oregon Foot and Ankle. He can provide you with other helpful recommendations as well as expert foot care to fit your needs. Just call (541) 776-3338 or stop by our Medford, OR, office today.
Can the food I eat prevent injuries?
If you’re concerned about a foot injury, nutrition can definitely play a role in preventing one. Good nutrition is vital for bone, muscle, and connective tissue health. You need dense bones to support your body and the pressure of your activities. Your muscles need to be healthy enough to maintain your mobility and stabilize your motion. Connective tissues need to be tough and elastic enough to stabilize the right kind of movement through your feet. Eating well provides your body with the nutrients it needs to keep these tissues strong enough to avoid injuries.
This is especially true for your bones. The right foods can help you combat osteoporosis, a condition that could cause serious and repeated fractures. Products with sufficient calcium, vitamin D, protein, and other miscellaneous nutrients allow you to build dense bones, so you should consume dairy, fish, lean meats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. If you’re concerned about the impact nutrition has on your lower limbs, or are struggling with an injury or osteoporosis, contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. in Medford, OR. Fill out the online contact form or call (541) 776-3338 to reach us for an appointment or more information.
How do I treat an ankle sprain?
Every ankle sprain is different. Dr. Merrill will evaluate your injury and prescribe the best treatment specific to your case. X-rays are often taken when the issue is bone related, or when children present signs of a sprain. Children have sensitive growth plates in the bones that need to be carefully monitored when injured. Bone scans, CT scans, and MRIs are often used to acquire more accurate representations of specific tissues and blood flow.
Immediately following a sprain, there are a few things you can do at home. You should keep all weight off of the sprained ankle, and brace it if you have one available. Bracing can also be achieved by taping up the ankle, or by wearing high top shoes or hiking boots for short-term care. Ice the injury immediately; this greatly helps to reduce swelling and any possible bleeding. If the skin turns white you should stop icing immediately as you may have a cold injury. If you have been diagnosed with a vascular disease, diabetes, or nerve issues, please speak to Dr. Merrill before applying ice as it could cause further complications. Get gravity on your side by elevating the ankle to help reduce swelling. Physical therapy is sometimes needed for flexibility, stability, and strength training of the ankle. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the ligaments of the ankle.
Dr. Evan Merrill is "The Running Expert." As an avid runner himself, Dr. Merrill gives advice for fellow runners on how to keep their feet happy and healthy. To read more about Dr. Merrill, visit his blog Dr. Merrill on the Run or visit Our Staff page.
How do I avoid ankle sprains?
There are certain things that you can do to decrease the likelihood of spraining your ankle. You should always warm up before exercise or rigorous activity. This allows for the muscles to be stretched. Take special care to avoid uneven surfaces. Improper footwear, such as high-heeled shoes, also increase the risk of an ankle sprain. Just like terrain that is not smooth, wearing heels impacts balance and makes missteps more likely. Training that focuses on stability and balance is helpful in the prevention of these injuries. Participating in nearly any sport increases the risk of sprains.
Prior sprains and ankle injuries are risk factors of future injury. Think of a rubber band; once you have stretched one out over a long period of time, it loses tension and can never be as tight as it once was. Ligaments are similar in this aspect. Does ankle pain have you missing out on your favorite activities? Call the office of Dr. Evan Merrill to make an appointment today! Call or schedule on-line.
What are the symptoms of an ankle sprain?
Pain is typically the first symptom after an ankle sprain has occurred. Swelling, bruising, and a limited range of motion in the foot are also common. If you hear a clicking or popping noise in the ankle, this can be indicative of more serious complications and you should contact Dr. Evan Merrill as soon as possible. Broken bones are not always obvious to the patient.
Ankle sprains tend to vary in intensity. If weight bearing on the foot is limits your activity, you should contact Dr. Merrill today. The level of pain that comes with the sprain is closely associated with the amount of time it will take to heal. It’s essential for you to understand that the more intense the injury you’ve obtained, the longer and more involved the healing process will be. This process can be greatly accelerated by scheduling an appointment today.
What are the different degrees of ankle sprains?
An ankle sprain occurs as the tissues contained within the ankle are extended, stretched or twisted beyond their normal limits. When this occurs the ligaments that connect to the ankle bones can become severely damaged. However, the extent of damage within this fibrous tissue often dictates the treatment methods necessary for each case.
Levels of Damage:
- First Degree – Sprains to the ankle at this level are quite mild. They involve tenderness of the ankle and some swelling; bruising is uncommon. Treatment typically involves resting, ice, and elevation of the joint. These injuries will heal in four to six weeks.
- Second Degree – More moderate pain and swelling occurs with this degree of sprain. Bruising often occurs within days of the injury and the joint may be abnormally loose. Treatments utilize short term splinting, physical therapy and the R.I.C.E. method.
- Third Degree – These are the most severe form of sprain and result in the complete tearing of the ligaments. The joint will be very unstable and weight-bearing is extremely difficult. To alleviate painful symptoms and allow for healing, bracing or casting is often necessary. Many patients will require physical therapy or even surgical reconstruction of the ankle.
The differences between these degrees of damage are often very subtle and require a professional diagnosis. To receive the best treatment possible, call our Medford office at 541.776.3338 or schedule an appointment online with Evan Merrill DPM.
What causes an ankle sprain?
A sprained ankle is usually caused by trauma to the foot. This often involves the rolling, twisting or turning of the ankle in an unnatural way. Running or walking on an uneven surface may also lead to a sprain. Typically, the ankle rolls outward as the foot turns inward. Such action can stretch or tear the ankle’s ligaments. These ligaments are necessary to stabilize the joints of the foot and prevent involuntary movement.
The amount of damage to the ankle can vary. While some sprains may simply need icing and rest, more complicated cases might require surgery. If you have any question as to the severity of an ankle sprain, you can contact our office here. Dr. Evan Merrill and his expert staff will determine the best course of action for your injury. It’s important to seek treatment right away, because untreated sprains can lead to long-term joint weakness and pain.
What stretches are good for Achilles tendinitis?
Anyone can suffer from Achilles tendinitis, not just athletes. Your muscles can become tight from use throughout the day, and if they not stretched properly they can pull on the tendon and damage it.
A good stretch for the Achilles tendon involves extending your legs in front of you and then reaching for your toes. You can try doing a soleus muscle stretch by standing with hands against a wall and one leg out behind you. Lean forward against the wall until you feel a pull in your calf and ankle. If you do this stretch with a bend in your knee, you will stretch the gastrocnemius as well, which is excellent for staying limber and strong. When you do these stretches, make sure your muscles are warmed up first or you put yourself at risk of injury.
For more information about safe stretching call Dr. Evan Merrill at (541) 776-3338 to schedule an appointment in our Medford, OR office.
How do I prevent Achilles tendinitis?
Achilles tendinitis is a fairly common overuse injury, especially for runners. Preventing this injury involves a little care and proactive treatment. Condition your lower legs to handle strain by building up your activity levels slowly. Stretch and strengthen your calf muscles with specific exercises. Always warm up before and cool down after working out. Make sure your shoes properly support your arches and cushion your soles. Take days off to rest from your activities, so your Achilles tendons have time to relax and recover, and consider cross-training with low impact exercises.
These strategies can go a long way in preventing Achilles tendinitis, but they aren’t guaranteed to stop it. If you develop pain in the back of your ankles when you’re active, don’t ignore it—seek treatment right away to keep potential problems from worsening. Contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. for an appointment or more information by visiting the online contact page or calling our Medford office at (541) 776-3338.
What can I do for Achilles tendonitis pain?
The Achilles tendon connects the heel to the muscles of the lower leg. When this tendon is irritated by overuse or trauma it can easily become inflamed and very painful to move. In order to relieve the pain caused by this inflammation, patients can follow the R.I.C.E. method of treatment. Resting, icing, compression, and elevation will solve many of the foot and ankle pains that come with Achilles tendonitis. In addition to this conservative method of pain management, many people have found physical therapy and strength training useful in stimulating the natural healing process of the body and stretching the tendons in the ankle. In order to prevent the condition from getting worse many patients cut down on their physical activities or replace them with low impact exercises like biking, yoga, or swimming.
If you’re looking for quick relief for your Achilles tendonitis pain then contact our Medford office at 541.776.3338 and Dr. Evan Merrill will prescribe the best treatment for your lifestyle. Appointments can also be scheduled online.