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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Can I prevent heel pain?
Heel pain affects millions of Americans every day. Fortunately, there are an array of conservative treatment options to resolve the issues responsible for painful symptoms. Even better, there are ways to prevent heel pain from developing in the first place.
The actual preventative measures will depend on the root source of heel pain you are looking to avoid. In the case of soft tissue injuries like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis, these techniques will include stretching on a regular basis, wearing appropriate footwear (especially if you are physically active), and warming up before activity. To prevent stress fractures in your heel bone, you should avoid performing too much high-impact activity—we recommend cross-training with low-impact activities as a great way to lower injury risk—and make sure you ease into new exercises and physical activities.
For adolescents, a common cause of heel pain is Sever’s disease. Unfortunately, this results from a difference in growth processes between the heel and Achilles tendon, so prevention isn’t completely possible, but limiting activity can help.
If you’d like additional information, simply give Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle a call at (541) 776-3338 or use our online form to contact us now.
Are certain running shoes better for flat feet?
Yes, there are certainly some running shoes that are better for individuals who have flat feet than others. The companies that manufacture footwear for runners have become smarter throughout the years with regard to engineering their products. Part of this means that they now offer models that can accommodate any arch style, including fallen arches.
It is important to know what to look for when you are in the market for running shoes. If you have flat feet, you should seek out models that offer superior support, stability, and motion control.
Finding shoes that provide motion control is good, but even better is having our experts prepare custom orthotics for you. We will measure your foot and analyze your gait to create medical inserts for your unique feet.
Here at Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C., we can help you pick out appropriate footwear and provide you with custom orthotics. All you have to do is contact our Medford, OR office by calling (541) 776-3338 or using our online form to request your appointment today.
Can I treat flat feet?
The answer is “yes,” but a better question is whether you actually need flat feet treatment in the first place. If you have this particular structural issue and are not experiencing any pain or difficulties as a result, then treating flat feet is unnecessary.
In the event your fallen arches do lead to unwanted consequences, there are a variety of conservative treatment methods that may be used, including rest, stretches, icing, and medication. Physical therapy is another option that can help the condition. Orthotic devices, customized for your unique feet, can help to provide structure and redistribute the forces that come with running or walking.
While not especially common, severe cases can be treated with surgery. There are various procedures and we will discuss them thoroughly so you can make the best possible decision.
If your low arches are causing pain or difficulty, contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C., and let us provide the help you need. Call our Medford, OR office 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 to correct my flat feet?
Surgery for flat feet is rarely needed. Many people with low arches do not have any discomfort, and those who do can usually be treated using conservative measures. Prescription orthotics, taping, shoe changes, and physical therapy have all been successful in helping to relieve arch pain. Only feet that are especially flat and not responding to non-invasive treatment are remedied surgically.
If you’re struggling with flatfoot pain, have the condition evaluated by a specialist like Dr. Evan Merrill. He will examine your low arches and determine the best way to relieve your discomfort. If conservative remedies are not working, the doctor may recommend a procedure to rebuild your arch or repair damaged tissues. Don’t wait until surgery is your only option, however. Contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. for an appointment. Or if you'd like more information, you can visit our website contact page or call our Medford office at (541) 776-3338.
Can I run with flat feet?
Yes, you can run with flat feet, though you are at higher risk for injuries than someone with a normal arch. Take precautions--low or fallen arches are not as strong as regular ones, and they allow your foot to over-pronate, or roll inward too far, when you run. This can lead to shin splits, ankle injuries, arch pain, and other problems if you’re not careful.
To avoid injuries, you should wear shoes that offer sufficient arch support with firm midsoles. If footwear is not enough, orthotics can provide that extra bracing you need. Stretches and exercises to build up the muscles that support the arch can help increase your natural stability. Run on flat ground, since uneven surfaces can exacerbate over-pronation.
If you’re concerned about your low arches, or are already experiencing pain, don’t wait until it hurts too much to run—contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. for an appointment or more information. Visit the online contact page, or call (541) 776-3338.
Are flat feet painful?
Most cases of flat feet occur without complications or symptoms. Patients may even go their entire lifespan without ever realizing they have this condition. However, some people may develop pain in the arches or heels as improper distribution of forces during activity can increase pressure on these areas. Individuals can often experience swelling in the feet from this condition. The associated discomfort that comes with this breakdown in biomechanics can be further exaggerated by aging, arthritis, obesity, or injury to the foot. To treat the aches and pains of flat feet, our office may recommend treatments like the use of orthotics or special shoes and proper stretching techniques.
While most instances of this condition are pain-free, flat feet can often develop into more serious conditions over time. In order to determine the best treatment and prevention methods for your unique case, contact our Medford office at 541-776-3338 or schedule an appointment with Evan Merrill DPM online.
What is a stone bruise?
The phrase “stone bruise” is sometimes used as a catch-all to describe specific, localized, acute pain on the bottom of the foot—it may feel as if you’ve stomped on a stone or sharp object. The underlying cause may in fact be that you landed on such an object. A forceful, blunt trauma, perhaps from running on hard or uneven surfaces, may bruise the bone or soft tissue structures and can make putting any weight on your foot very painful and difficult.
Other potential explanations might include metatarsalgia (if the ball of your foot hurts) or plantar fasciitis (if the pain is in your heel and feels worse in the morning when you take those first few steps).
If you feel pain in the bottom of your foot that feels like a deep stone bruise, rest and ice the affected area, then call Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle for an evaluation. We will evaluate your condition and, if necessary, work with you to develop a treatment and recovery plan right for your situation. Call us in Medford, OR at (541) 776-3338
What causes high arches?
When the feet have high arches, it is sometimes referred to as cavus foot. Contrary to flat feet, this arch condition is much less common. If you notice signs of having a high arch, check your family. Does anyone else have high arches? This condition is usually dependent on the mechanics of your feet and heredity. However, abnormally high arches can also be a symptom of a very serious underlying cause. Many neurological disorders cause cavus foot, including Polio, Muscular Dystrophy, and Cerebral Palsy.
Cavus foot may or may not be painful. If pain is present, it will be important to make an appointment with a podiatrist quickly to get the condition checked. Tell your doctor all of your symptoms, in order to get an accurate diagnosis and find the true underlying cause of the high arch. Talk to Dr. Evan Merrill to learn about treatment options for cavus foot.
Can I treat my high arches without having surgery?
The short answer- yes. There are several options for the treatment of cavus foot. Dr. Evan Merrill will discuss treatments like orthotics, braces, and modifications to your shoes with you before resorting to surgery. Many times, these techniques and devices are used in order to help stabilize and cushion the feet.
Your podiatrist will first want to evaluate your pain and look at the severity of the condition. Sometimes, arches that are high do not cause pain. However, when pain is severe and persistent, you can be sure that Dr. Merrill will do everything he can to reduce the discomfort.
Orthotics and braces will help straighten the foot and ankle, as well as support the muscles that aren’t strong enough to stabilize the foot themselves. This may be sufficient to reduce pain and help prevent the condition from getting worse. Make an appointment with Dr. Evan Merrill today to discuss your specific condition.
What are the most common causes of heel pain?
Pain in your heel is most commonly attributed to plantar fasciitis--inflammation of the plantar fascia along the bottom of the foot. This condition can be caused by repetitive stress on the feet from sports, from standing for long periods of time, or from obesity. However, there are also several other conditions that can lead to pain in the heel.
Achilles tendinitis can cause heel pain along with pain in the back of the legs. The stress on the Achilles tendon often causes it to pull on the heel where it attaches to the bone. This condition is most commonly attributed to a sudden increase of activity such as lengthening the duration of your exercise routine.
Another reason for heel pain is the presence of a heel spur. This is a bony growth of calcium located under the heel bone (also known as the calcaneus). This condition often accompanies plantar fasciitis.
If your heel pain is severe, and has lasted for an extensive period of time, it may be due to a stress fracture in the heel. Bone breaks require a great amount of rest and time to heal before normal use of the foot can resume.
Do I need surgery for heel pain?
Heel pain is the most common condition affecting the feet and rarely requires surgery. Most soreness in the heel will usually improve with rest and the proper conservative treatments. These methods may include medications, the use of orthotics, and physical therapy. If all non-surgical options fail, however, and pain persists for a more than 12 months, then a surgical procedure may be considered.
Surgical options will depend on the source of the problem. In the case of plantar fasciitis, the calf may be surgically lengthened to decrease stress on the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia itself may also be partially or fully cut to relieve tension.
Most patients recover well from heel surgery. Some procedures come with slight risks of nerve damage or incomplete pain relief, which is why they often serve only as a last resort.
If you suffer from pain in one or both heels, let Dr. Evan Merrill and the staff of Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. help you determine your full range of options for finding relief. Call our office at (541) 776-3338 or use our online form to arrange an appointment.
Why do I have pain in my heels when I wake up in the morning?
Morning heel pain is the most common symptom of plantar fasciitis. This is a condition that affects the tendon that runs along the bottom of the foot-- the plantar fascia. Repetitive pounding of the feet from running and jumping on hard surfaces causes irritation and stress on the soles of the feet. When this tissue is overstretched, very tiny tears form. The result is inflammation and pain in the bottom of the heel, and sometimes in the arch of the foot.
Pain from plantar fasciitis has been reported as most severe in the morning, or after long periods of rest. Pain will subside as the day progresses since walking tends to gently warm up and stretch the plantar fascia calming the inflammation. Stretching is the best way to reduce the initially harsh pain that is typical in the morning.
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.