Taking Steps to Make It Work
Of all your body structures, your feet carry the most weight. They support your entire body when you stand, and absorb even more pressure when you push off the ground to walk, run, or jump. Since they carry so much every day, many people think it is normal for their feet to be uncomfortable—however, this simply isn’t true. Feet have an incredible design that allows them to bend, move, and adjust so they can absorb shock while still remaining stiff enough to hold you up. As long as they stay in the proper alignment with sufficient support and cushioning, they should work pain-free. Only when things are not functioning properly does discomfort come into the equation.
General Information and Tips
Pain can have many different causes. It functions as a signal flag, warning you that something is not right with your body. It can be related to an injury, a structure not working correctly, fatigue, or illness. In most cases, pain in your feet can be managed using conservative measures. When you’re experiencing discomfort, don’t ignore it. Most conditions are easiest to manage when they are caught early and not much damage has been done.
Dr. Evan Merrill will examine your feet thoroughly and may request various diagnostic tests to determine the source of your discomfort. Once that has been diagnosed, he works with you to develop the best possible solution for your needs. Often treatments are simple, conservative methods that adjust foot alignment, relieve pressure, and build up strength. Some of the most common—and the most effective—ways of managing pain include shoe changes to achieve a better fit, physical therapy to relax and strengthen muscles and connective tissues, and orthotics to stabilize and cushion the feet.
Management for Specific Conditions
Specific conditions have different types of pain, such as diabetic nerve damage and plantar fasciitis. Both are very uncomfortable, but they have different needs and are handled accordingly. Problems like sprained ankles need to be immobilized and supported while they heal. Bunions need shoe adjustments and padding. Toe and ball of the foot pain can often be managed by physical therapy, though it depends on the individual diagnoses. Some discomfort, like nerve damage, is chronic and needs regular, intentional care so that you are able to maintain your mobility.
Dr. Evan Merrill is an expert at treating a wide range of nerve-related disorders of the feet and ankles. Nerve pain can be hard to treat—the tissue doesn’t re-grow once it has been damaged. Different conditions can cause swelling, inflammation, and deadening of nervous tissue, resulting in discomfort. With conservative intervention, however, swelling and inflammation can be reduced before damage becomes permanent.
Your feet were not meant to be in pain. They were designed to carry you and handle an incredible amount of pressure while staying strong. When they are uncomfortable, it is a sign something has gone wrong. Fortunately, pain can be managed or even eliminated in most cases using conservative treatments. By working with an expert to diagnose your specific condition, your treatment can be targeted to the affected structures and your individual body. Don’t ignore pain and allow the problem to get worse. Contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. for an appointment or more information by calling (541) 776-3338.