Have a Question About Foot Pain or Treatment? Find the Answer Here

We get asked a lot of questions about foot and ankle pain. In fact, we’ve compiled a list of frequently-asked questions (and their answers) to give our patients fast access to common podiatry issues. Use the search bar on this page or browse through our list of frequent questions for solutions to your problem.

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  • How long does it take to recover from a torn Achilles tendon?

    The recovery and rehabilitation time for a torn Achilles tendon, also called an Achilles tendon rupture, can vary based on factors such as the severity of the initial injury, the treatment procedure selected, and how well you follow your doctor’s guidelines for rehabilitation.It is important to properly recover from a torn Achilles tendon!

    For many Achilles ruptures, you have a choice to make between conservative treatment (immobilization via a cast or walking boot, allowing the tendon to heal on its own) or surgical tendon repair. The recovery time can be similar for both treatments, although full rehabilitation may be faster with surgery.

    In either case, you’ll probably need to wear a cast or walking boot for about 6-8 weeks while the tendon injury heals. After that, you’ll gradually return to more weight-bearing activity and perform rehabilitation exercises. The average time for a full return to your previous sports or level of activity is around 6 months, although it can vary quite a bit (4-12 months).

    Achilles ruptures are serious injuries that need immediate attention in order to get you the best long-term outcome. To make an appointment with Dr. Victoria Melhuish and Sierra Foot & Ankle in either Carson City or Gardnerville, please call (775) 783-8037.

  • How is Achilles tendinitis treated?

    There are multiple approaches to treating Achilles tendinitis, depending on the ultimate underlying cause of your pain and extent of tendon injury. Fortunately, the vast majority of cases will resolve with conservative care. Some common approaches include:Treating Achilles Tendinitis

    • RICE therapy. That means rest (avoiding vigorous activity while you heal), followed with ice, compression, and elevation to combat swelling and pain.
    • Physical therapy. Stretching and strengthening exercises for calves and ankles relieve tightness and pain, as well as build resistance to re-injury.
    • Supportive Taping or Bracing. Support is very important even with normal daily walking activities to allow rest and prevent further injury while the tendon is inflamed.
    • Custom orthotics. Quite often a foot structural biomechanical issue plays a role, interesting both flat feet and well arched feet develop issues because of alinement changes to the heel bone.  A custom orthotic will re aline the heel bone thus supporting and relieving strain on the Achilles tendon. Our office is unique with an onsite lab enabling precise fitting and individual customization of orthotics on site.

    Don’t let Achilles tendinitis keep you from enjoying your activities—or just getting though your day without pain. Achilles tendinitis if left untreated, not improving or getting worse can weakening the Achilles Tendon and lead to tears or rupture. If the back of your heel or lower Achilles tendon is hurting and hasn’t improved after a few days, make an appointment with Dr. Victoria Melhuish at Sierra Foot & Ankle in Carson City, NV. Reach us at (775) 783-8037. 

  • What causes Achilles tendinitis?

    Someone holding their foot in painAchilles tendinitis is one of the most common sports injury conditions and sources of heel pain. There’s no one single cause of Achilles tendinitis, but some of the potential contributing factors include:

    • Biomechanics. Our feet aren’t always well-suited to the hard, flat surfaces of modern life, and that’s especially true if you have particularly flat arches or tight calves.
    • Age. Tendinitis is most common during and beyond middle age, since the Achilles tendon isn’t usually as strong or flexible as it once was.
    • Activity level. If you do a lot of running or play high-impact sports like tennis or basketball, and you don’t give your feet time to rest and recover between exercise sessions, the repetitive strain can build over time.
    • Training choices. Sometimes you’re your own worst enemy—for example, sticking by your worn-out running shoes long after the time they need to be replaced.
    If you’re suffering from painful Achilles tendinitis, you probably just want it fixed so you can get on with your life! Fortunately, this condition is usually correctible through non-invasive forms of treatment, such as custom orthotics (which we fit and make on site). To get on top of your pain, call Sierra Foot & Ankle today at (775) 783-8037 for an appointment in either Carson City or Gardnerville, NV.

  • Can what you eat affect your feet?

    Yes! Just as with the rest of your body, what you eat affects your feet. A good diet promotes healthy, strong, durable feet that resist pain, disease, and injury.

    Healthy food promotes foot heathCalcium and Vitamin D are two important minerals that help maintain strong bones. Because of the high amount of weight, pressure, and stress you place on your feet every day, foot bones are often the first to crack or break due to osteoporosis (brittle bones).

    On the flipside, too much refined sugar, trans fats, saturated fats, and other less healthy substances can cause inflammation and pain in the feet, and they can also damage your peripheral nervous system. Often the first nerves to be affected are the ones in the feet, leading to tingling, burning, shooting pain, numbness, cramping, and other symptoms.

    If your feet are hurting, a healthy diet is often part of a long-term recovery and prevention program. To learn more, please schedule an appointment with Sierra Foot and Ankle in Carson City or Gardnerville, NV by calling (775) 783-8037 today.

  • What are the side effects of pills for toenail fungus?

    Oral antifungal pills, an older and still-common treatment protocol for eradicating toenail fungus, unfortunately can have some problematic side effects. For some people these are quite mild, but in others they can cause nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, headaches, rashes, and in some cases even liver damage. For these reasons, oral antifungals are usually not recommended for people with existing liver problems, congestive heart failure, or who are taking certain medications.

    Fortunately, a new treatment option exists with no known side effects: laser therapy. Our office’s PinPointe FootLaser is a non-invasive option that features none of the medical downsides of oral antifungals and has a much higher success rate as well. If you just want your toenails fixed with the minimum amount of risk and hassle, laser therapy is absolutely the choice you want.

    To set up an appointment in Carson City or Gardnerville, NV for your consultation, please contact Sierra Foot & Ankle at 775-783-8037. 

  • What are foot and ankle biomechanics?

    In short, biomechanics refers to how your body moves, including all the structures (such as bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments) that contribute to locomotion and how they interact with each other. Foot and ankle structures such as flat feet, high arches, or tight calves can affect your biomechanics significantly, and because your feet are the body’s foundation point, faulty biomechanics in the feet can pull your entire body out of alignment, all the way up the spine.

    Unfortunately, modern society makes walking with good biomechanics difficult, leading to poor posture and chronic pain. We spend almost all our time walking on hard, flat surfaces with no forgiveness, while gravity is constantly pulling us down and wearing out the naturally spring of our arches. The good news is that, just like glasses for eye or braces for teeth, custom orthotics from our on-site lab can help support your arch, align your joints, and retrain your muscles to establish healthy biomechanics and posture and relieve pain. If you’re struggling with chronic foot pain due to fault biomechanics, let Sierra Foot & Ankle in Carson City, NV help. Set up your appointment by dialing 775-783-8037 today. 

  • Will I have to miss work after foot or ankle surgery?

    Planning ahead for a surgical procedure is important, especially when it comes to considerations regarding work after foot or ankle surgery. In short, yes, you will likely have to miss at least some work following your surgery.

    The amount of time you will need to request off varies, naturally, based on the procedure we are performing for you. When we discuss your surgical options, Dr. Melhuish will provide a reasonable timeframe with regards to the surgery and your recovery period.

    There are other things to consider, including making travel arrangements and planning for child care (since it can be difficult to keep up with children when you need to recover from surgery). We will discuss all of this in advance so you can know what to expect.

    Our goal at Sierra Foot & Ankle is to try and provide the relief and treatment you need without resorting to surgery. The good news is that we are able to do so in many cases. Contact us for more information on how we can address whatever lower limb problem is affecting you. Either give us a call in our Carson City, NV office at  (775) 783-8037 or take advantage of our online form.

  • When is surgery necessary for my foot problem?

    There are essentially two general situations when surgery is necessary for a foot problem – if the condition is unresponsive to conservative care or it is progressive.

    Our goal at Sierra Foot & Ankle is always to address your lower limb issue with the use of nonsurgical care. To that end, we will attempt everything we can to avoid surgery. Unfortunately, sometimes conservative treatment is simply not enough. In cases like these, we will recommend surgical procedures so you can have relief from pain and be able to use your foot as intended.

    Progressive conditions, like bunions, are ones that will continue to worsen over time—especially if left untreated—and cannot be corrected with conservative methods. Now, sometimes we can provide relief and keep the condition from worsening without resorting to surgery, but this is not always the case.

    If you need expert foot and ankle care, whether conservative or surgical, come see us at either our Carson City or Gardnerville, NV offices and we will provide the treatment you need. Call us toll-free at (888) 608-8406 or request your appointment online so you can get back to doing the things you love!

  • Are custom orthotics better than ordinary insoles?

    If you need cushioning for a favorite pair of heels you wear occasionally, you could just get a gel metatarsal pad or thin foam insole to make them a bit more comfortable. However, if you have been diagnosed with flat feet or struggle with overpronation issues like bunions, calluses, and plantar fasciitis, you may benefit from custom orthotics.

    Sierra Foot & Ankle offers orthotics lab services at both our Gardnerville and our Carson City, NV locations. Dr. Melhuish has many years of experience in diagnosing foot issues, making detailed molds of feet, crafting a pair of supports specifically designed to address particular biomechanical issues, and following up to make sure the orthotics do what they are designed for.

    Your job is to break them in properly, wear them consistently, and enjoy your new life without foot pain! Generic insoles may provide occasional cushioning, and heel cups can help treat your child’s tendonitis or Sever’s disease symptoms temporarily, and that is fine. An orthotic, however, can be a long-term solution that brings comfort and relief for many years.

    Call (775) 783-8037 or our toll-free number (888) 608-8406 and set up an appointment at Sierra Foot & Ankle to discuss whether custom orthotics might help you.

  • Does it matter whether I go to Carson City or Gardnerville for my appointment?

    Things just got a little easier if you are looking for a podiatrist in Carson City, NV, as Sierra Foot & Ankle expands to a second location. Of course, if you are used to going to our Gardnerville office, you can gladly continue to go there, and you can still call us at (775) 783-8037, or our toll-free number at (888) 608-8406, to schedule in Carson City or Gardnerville.

    Either way, you can be assured of excellent care for your foot issues. Both locations are equipped with all the diagnostic and treatment tools we need to figure out why you are having symptoms and offer relief for them.

    Besides distance, your decision may be based on your schedule. Full services are offered Tuesday and Thursday at Gardnerville, and Wednesday and Friday at Carson City, including early Friday hours to fit your work schedule. For urgent care at any time, call us and we will determine the best place for you to be seen.

    We are happy to offer this additional location in the Douglas County area for your convenience and look forward to a long and happy relationship helping you keep your feet safe and healthy.