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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  • What are the symptoms of nail fungus?

    While attempting to identify a fungal nail problem can be made difficult by the variation in types of conditions, there are a few key factors to look for to make it easier. As many of these symptoms may occur without pain, it is essential that you inspect your feet on a daily basis to ensure the condition does not persist. When scanning over a possible toenail fungus condition you should look for the following:

    • The nails becoming brittle or crumbly
    • Thickening of the nail
    • The shape of the nail becoming distorted
    • A lack of sheen or luster / the nail becoming more dull
    • Darkening of the nail
    • The presence of a foul odor

    In some cases patients may also experience pain or a condition known as onycholysis, where the nail separates from the nail bed. Nail conditions will initially be seen as a small white or yellow spot beneath the tip of the nail.

    As these conditions are particularly resistant to healing if left untreated, medical attention should be sought at the first sign of trouble. Be sure to contact our Carson City or Gardnerville, NV office before your fungal infection develops any further.

  • Is toenail fungus contagious?

    You've most likely seen unsightly, yellow toenails at the beach, around the public swimming pool, or in public showers, and you’ve probably questioned "Is toenail fungus contagious?" Well, the answer is yes!

    If you've developed fungus, it has probably come from one of the areas described above. In order to protect your feet from this bacteria, it is essential to avoid public places while barefoot. If unavoidable, wear protective footwear or socks. Never share shoes and keep your feet as dry as possible. Nail fungus spreads through direct contact, much like the flu. It has a long incubation period, which means that by the time you notice symptoms, it may have been developing for weeks.

    If you're worried that you may have toenail fungus, contact Sierra Foot and Ankle in either Carson City or Gardnerville, NV for more information about nail health. Schedule your appointment today by calling (775) 783-8037 or by submitting an online contact form.

  • What do hammertoes look like?

    If you have a bent or sore toe, you may wonder what hammertoes look like, what symptoms they have, and if you should be concerned about your foot. Hammertoes are common forefoot deformities that can affect any of the four little toes. The middle joint of the affected digit contracts and stays bent. You may develop uncomfortable corns on the top of the bent joint, or calluses underneath the tip of your toe. You may or may not notice a redness around the toe. If the condition is severe, you may not be able to straighten out the digit, and sores may form rather than corns or calluses.

    Fortunately, this condition is treatable using only conservative methods if caught early enough, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your toe. If you’re concerned that you have hammertoes, let our staff at Sierra Foot & Ankle examine your lower limbs to accurately diagnose the condition and help you treat it. Contact our Carson City or Gardnerville, NV, office by calling (775) 783-8037 or sending us a request through our website.

  • What are the causes of toe deformities?

    High arches, flat feet, traumatic toe injuries, and underlying diseases such as diabetes are some causes of toe deformities. These conditions create a muscle imbalance in the foot that puts you more at risk for hammertoes, mallet toes, and claw toes.

    Diseases that can create an imbalance include multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome. The more inflammatory diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, can also cause problems in your toes.

    Another thing that creates muscle imbalance? What you wear on your feet. If your shoes are too short, your second digit might have to bend to fit inside the shoe, which can cause mallet toe. Those who wear high heels are also at risk for claw toes, since the pointed shoes cram and squish the toes together. When you walk, your foot won’t receive the right pressure to keep your feet healthy.

    Toe deformities are a big pain that can greatly affect the way you walk. If you need treatment, set up an appointment with Dr. Victoria Melhuish. Feel free to call our office in Gardnerville, NV, at (775) 783-8037. Sierra Foot & Ankle can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest! 

  • Who does hallux rigidus affect?

    If you have arthritis in multiple places, you may be concerned about a stiff big toe and wondering, “Who does hallux rigidus affect, anyway?” Hallux rigidus is osteoarthritis in the first joint of the big toe, so it can affect anyone. However, the older you are, the more likely you are to develop the problem. The condition is most common in adults between 30 and 60 years old. The problem also appears far more frequently in women than in men. Some researchers theorize this is because women are more likely to wear fashionable shoes that overuse the big toe joint, stressing it over the years.

    Certain foot anatomy can increase your risk for the problem as well. An unusually long or poorly aligned first metatarsal, or an inefficient arch, may strain the forefoot and contribute to arthritis. Having a family history of the problem or a past injury to the joint also make the problem more likely. If you notice a stiffness and pain in your big toe, let Dr. Victoria Melhuish in Carson City, NV, know. See how the Sierra Foot & Ankle staff can help. Call (775) 783-8037 or send us an online request to make an appointment.

  • What is the best way to stretch my feet?

    The best practices for stretching feet depend on your unique needs, but generally performing exercises that affect the calves and the smaller muscles and tendons in your feet help. Lunges, calf raises, and towel stretches pull gently on the calf muscles and Achilles tendons and encourage them to relax. Ankle rotations and toe points work the lower leg and foot muscles. Massaging your sole with a ball, spreading your toes, and picking objects up off the ground with your feet work the smaller, harder to reach tissues. These stretches and exercises help you build up strength and relax, so your lower limbs are conditioned for your activities.

    Stretching your feet is an important part of keeping them fit and avoiding preventable injuries. If you aren’t sure how to perform any of these exercises, or are concerned about pain in your feet or ankles, contact the experts at Sierra Foot & Ankle for help. Visit the website contact page or call us at (775) 783-8037 for an appointment or more information.

  • When is the best time to stretch?

    The best time to stretch partially depends on how stiff and tight your muscles are. Stretching after a workout is the best time to relax and loosen muscles, since they are already warm and flexible. Stretching before you exercise may decrease your athletic performance, but after your routine may help you avoid painful stiffening in your limbs. However, if your muscles feel tight and uncomfortable throughout the day, take a few minutes to stretch them. Loosening your soft tissues can help refresh your body and improve discomfort from stiffness.

    There isn’t necessarily a “best time” for stretching during the day that benefits your body more than other hours. Listen to your lower limbs and how they feel. If you struggle with frequently tightened tissues, or aren’t sure how to stretch safely, request more information or an appointment from Sierra Foot & Ankle. Call (775) 783-8037 or use our website contact form to reach our offices in Carson City or Gardnerville, NV.

  • What is an overuse injury?

    The words “overuse injury” kind of explain themselves. To be more specific, though, it’s any injury to your joints and muscles that develops when you do too much, too soon.

    Repetitive activity can bring on this type of pain, which includes conditions like stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, black toenails, and Morton’s neuroma.

    Most of the time, this happens from training and technique errors. For training, injuries are sustained when you run longer than your body can handle or workout for an amount of time that’s past your physical threshold. Problems are also caused when you amp up your intensity level too fast.

    For technique, you could be using bad posture during weight lifting or during sports like tennis, golfing, or baseball. Either you’re too tired or not strong enough to hold the pose. Either way, pace yourself!

    Don’t feel bad if you have an overuse injury—they’re pretty common and happen to enthusiastic athletes and first-time exercisers alike. For the best treatment, call Sierra Foot & Ankle in Gardnerville at (775) 783-8037 to schedule an appointment.

  • How do I know if I have a stress fracture?

    Most people know to be wary of cracks in the bones, but you may wonder, “How do I know if I have a stress fracture?” The symptoms are your clues. Stress fractures are overuse injuries, so usually the symptoms develop over time. You’ll notice an increasing discomfort when you put pressure on the affected limb. Usually, you feel the pain in a specific spot on the foot. The pain will also decrease when you rest, releasing the pressure on the foot.

    However, to truly identify the problem, you’ll need to have your foot examined. Our staff here at Sierra Foot & Ankle will use a variety of tests and diagnostic images to determine if you have a crack in a bone or not. Stress fractures are often difficult to see on X-rays, but images can confirm the diagnosis in many cases. If you’re concerned that you may have a stress fracture, don’t wait for the problem to get worse to seek help. Contact us here in Carson City, NV, for an appointment -- we also have an office in Gardnerville, NV. You can submit a request through our website or call us directly at (775) 783-8037. 

  • What does stretching do for my muscles?

    Most people know stretching is good for your body, but you may wonder: what does stretching do for your muscles, anyway? Stretching increases tissue flexibility, allowing your muscles to relax and grow longer. It affects the tendons and ligaments, too, increasing their length and loosening them somewhat as well. This keeps your joints supple and maintains your range of motion. It can also help reduce pain from your tissues tightening, especially after you’ve participated in a tough workout or held one position, like sitting, for too long.

    For some sports, stretching before you exercise may not be quite as beneficial for your performance. Relaxing your muscles afterward, however, is very good for your body. If you aren’t sure how to stretch your feet and lower legs safely, request more information from us here at Sierra Foot & Ankle in Gardnerville, NV. You can reach us by using our online contact page or by calling (775) 783-8037.