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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Is laser treatment for fungal nails safe and effective?
Laser treatment for fungal nails is still a fairly new advancement in medical technology. As with anything new, patients sometimes wonder if this form of treatment is safe and effective.
To start, laser therapy is completely safe. All drug products and medical equipment used in our country has to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This agency is responsible for ensuring the safety of these things that can have tremendous impacts on our physical health. Laser therapy for toenail fungus is FDA-approved.
Now, being safe and being painless aren’t exactly the same. We have good news, though – fungal nail laser treatment is also painless. You may experience a slight warming sensation, but this is rather minimal.
With regards to effectiveness, laser treatment eradicates the fungus responsible for your discolored, unsightly nails. Before this technology was developed, there were two options for fungal toenail treatment – oral and topical medication. Laser therapy combines the best parts of both, without their respective downsides.
Topical medication can address fungus on the surface of a nail, but cannot reach spores living underneath. Laser light safely travels through the nail to reach those hard-to-get spores. Oral medication travels through the bloodstream and can get to the spores, but it may produce undesired side effects. There are no side effects with laser therapy.
Given that laser therapy is a safe, painless, and effective way to treat toenail fungus, there’s no need to live with the embarrassment of toenails discolored by a fungal infection. Contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle online today, or schedule an appointment for our Medford, OR office by calling (541) 776-3338.
How do I know I have the right shoes for my feet?
The right shoes for your feet are those that provide proper support and comfort. Don’t depend fully on a shoe size number to tell you everything. Your feet can change size over time, and a size 9 in one shoe brand might not match the same number in another. Feel is really your best indicator of a proper fit.
Certain places to pay special attention to when fitting your shoe include the heel, toes, and arch. The heel should rest nicely against the back of the shoe without slipping. The toe box of the shoe should also be somewhat roomy, and have about a half-inch between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Finally, the arch should be supportive, but not rise up so high that it places pressure against the foot. Above all, don’t “break in” a pair of shoes. If they don’t feel right from the get-go, they are not for you.
For more help determining the right pairs of shoes for your feet and any special conditions you might have, contact us at Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle. You can schedule an appointment with our Medford office by calling (541) 776-3338.
What are the best ways to stay fit as you age?
Staying fit as you age is an important goal toward retaining strength, maintaining stability, and avoiding troublesome conditions. As opposed to previous ideas that exercise for seniors is not fully worth it, studies have found that older people respond quite well to strength and aerobic training.
Before starting any sort of program, it is always wisest to check with your doctor to ensure your plans are best for your individual needs. Common forms of fitness activity that tend to be recommended are low-impact activities such as jogging, swimming, cycling, or walking. These activities place a lower amount of force on the feet and ankles, helping to prevent unwanted injuries.
Set a reasonable goal for yourself and work slowly up toward it. There’s plenty of time, and you don’t want to set yourself back with an overuse injury such as a stress fracture or Achilles tendonitis. Lifting is also effective, but once again be careful and gradually build your strength under the recommendations of a doctor.
For help on determining the best senior foot care tips for you or a loved one, please call us at Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle: (541) 776-3338.
Is Wearing High Heels Bad for my Feet?
Yes, high heels can be bad for your feet and can lead to many different foot problems. High heels can cause what’s often called a “Pump Bump,” which is a painful bump on the heel caused by the rigid shoe material rubbing up against your heel. This can cause blisters and painful swelling.
High heels also force your feet into an unnatural position that puts stress on the balls of the feet. This causes the bones and nerves surrounding that area to become inflamed and painful. Chronic pressure can also lead to hairline fractures in the balls of your feet. You also have to be careful while wearing high heels because you are less balanced and can easily lose your footing and twist or sprain your ankle.
Wearing high heels occasionally is not bad. However, you should limit how often you wear them. If you love heels but still want to care for your feet, try a lower heel or shoes with chunkier heels, which will help you maintain balance.
If you are experiencing chronic foot pain, or have questions regarding your foot health, feel free to call Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C., and let us provide the help and answers you need. Call our Medford, OR office at (541) 776-3338 or use our online form to schedule an appointment today.
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.
What does R.I.C.E. stand for?
Staying physically active is very important—for weight management, cardiovascular fitness, and many other health benefits. There is a risk of injury though, particularly in a sport such as running. Taking training too far, too quickly, wearing a poor-fitting pair of shoes, or landing on an uneven surface can lead to a number of foot or ankle injuries. The term R.I.C.E. is an acronym used to describe the treatment you should take immediately after an injury. With an ankle sprain for example you would start with “R” which stands for rest—taking weight off your foot to remove pressure and further strain. Second, “I” stands for icing your ankle to alleviate pain and swelling. Third, the “C” stands for compression, which means wearing a bandage or compression sock to also help with inflammation. Last, the “E” is for elevation—keeping your ankle elevated above your heart will also help reduce swelling and pain.
If you have a foot or ankle injury or require further information about foot care, contact Dr. Evan Merrill at Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle. You can reach our Medford, OR office by calling (541) 776-3338 or you can request an appointment online.
How do I prevent cancer in my feet?
As with any medical condition, protection of the bones and tissues involved is crucial to the prevention of problems. Since most cancers that affect the feet are caused by overexposure to sunlight, patients should utilize sunblock whenever their feet are exposed to UV rays. Viruses, chemicals, and chronic ulcers can also lead to cancer formation and can be avoided by wearing proper socks and footwear during any job or activity in which an individual is exposed to these factors. By using appropriate protection in all aspects of life, the risk of acquiring cancer can be largely reduced.
As cancerous tissue looks different in the feet than in any other part of the body, professional help should be sought as soon as a problem is detected so the condition can be treated before it begins to spread. Contact or Medford office at 541-776-3338 for any concerns you may have for your foot health. Appointments can also be scheduled with Dr. Evan Merrill online.