Surgical and Medical Podiatric Care
Evan C. Merrill, DPM, FACFAS
2924 Siskiyou Blvd., Suite 100
Medford, OR 97504
Aside from your bones, muscles, and connective tissues, your feet are jam-packed with blood vessels and nerve cells, winding around through every nook and cranny. They are necessary members of your feet—without blood, none of the cells could stay alive, and without nerves, your tissues wouldn’t be able to respond to their environments. So when you develop a problem with your blood flow or your nervous tissue, the complications that arise can have serious consequences.
Your blood brings vital nutrients to your body tissues, so when vascular flow is restricted, especially for an extended period of time, your feet feel the pinch. Damage to the nerves in your feet can originally stem from blood-related problems, but result in a different set of issues – pain and weakness among them. There are many different conditions that can cause issues with your nerves or blood flow, and their symptoms vary to reflect that. One thing that they all have in common, however, is that they are uncomfortable and can cause real damage if allowed.
Acrocyanosis – This condition refers to blueness in the skin of your feet. Spasms constrict the blood vessels, significantly restricting blood flow. The lack of oxygen turns the skin a blue or purple color. The feet also feel cold to the touch and may swell.
Alcoholic Neuropathy – This nerve damage is caused by excessive alcohol consumption, usually related to alcoholism that has been present for ten years or more. The alcohol poisons your nerves, injuring or even killing them. Numb spots, tingling, sharp or burning pains, and muscle aches can all result from the deterioration.
Chilblains (cold feet) – These small, itchy bumps develop as an unusual response to cold. Poor circulation often plays a part, allowing the feet and toes to grow cold quickly so the skin develops abnormal swellings. Generally these spots are red and tender, and they may burn. Extreme cases may develop blisters.
Ischemic Foot – This painful condition is the degenerated form of intermittent claudication. It results from regularly insufficient blood flow to the feet. The lack of oxygen causes muscle cramping and frequent aches, even when at rest. The foot then becomes very vulnerable to gangrene and ulceration.
Neuroma – This is a swelling or benign growth of nerve tissue in your feet. The extra width causes it to become uncomfortably pinched between other structures in the foot. It can cause pain, burning or tingling sensations, and even numbness in the toes. The most common kind occurs in between the third and fourth toes and is called Morton’s neuroma.
This is by no means an exhaustive list; additional problems include erythromelalgia, spasms, and venous stasis. Dr. Evan Merrill understands the difficulties associated with vascular and nerve conditions, but also recognizes that many can be treated with conservative, noninvasive remedies. Also, the earlier they are caught, the more likely they are to respond to treatment. So if you are experiencing foot pain or numbness, or have noticed any visible changes in your feet, don’t ignore it and hope it gets better on its own. Contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle, L.L.C. in Medford for an appointment or more information. Your feet will thank you for it. You can always reach our office by calling (541) 776-3338.
2924 Siskiyou Blvd, Suite 100
Medford, OR 97504