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 benefits of soaking my feet in Epsom salt?

    Soaking feet in Epsom salt has a variety of benefits for your lower limbs. Epsom salt helps relieve muscle aches, reduce tissue strain, heal cuts, soften skin, and eliminate foot odor. The mineral isn’t actually salt at all—it’s a natural compound of magnesium and sulfate, which are minerals your body uses for muscle function, enzyme control, healthy circulation, and even nerve efficiency. The compound absorbs easily through your skin, allowing the minerals to enter your body through your feet and directly benefit any tissues that may need them.

    It’s best to soak your feet in an Epsom salt bath before they get sore, but you will still reap benefits at any point. Make sure you thoroughly dry and moisturize your lower limbs after a soak. If you’re struggling with aching feet, you should have that investigated. For any questions about pain or how to create a foot soak, contact Sierra Foot & Ankle in Carson City and Gardnerville, NV. Use our website contact form or call (775) 783-8037 to make an appointment.

  • Can allergies affect my feet?

    People often think about sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny noses when they think of an allergy, but it is important to note that allergies affect feet, too. Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is a condition that involves skin irritation and inflammation and occurs from direct contact with an allergen. Part of this condition will typically entail an itchy sensation, and you may experience reddening in the affected area as well. ACD often results from exposure to metals, detergents, cosmetics, latex, and poisonous plants. Other sources include rubber, adhesives, and solvents. There are airborne allergens, too, like ragweed and insecticides.

    If you suspect that you have foot allergies, and live in the Carson City, NV area, do not hesitate to contact Sierra Foot & Ankle. We can perform a skin test to identify the cause of your ACD and then get you started on a treatment regimen to alleviate your symptoms. Yes, allergies affect feet, too, but we can take care of that for you. Call (775) 783-8037 to schedule an appointment with Victoria L. Melhuish, DPM.

  • What can tight shoes do to my feet?

    Many times, shoes are the main culprits of the pain you feel at the end of the day. Of course, we all know the dangers of high heels, but tight and ill-fitting shoes can also create a lot of problems.

    If your toes are constantly pushing against the front of your shoe, you might develop a condition known as hammertoes. Black toenails and ingrown toenails are also caused by your toenails suffering repetitive injury after hitting the front or side of the shoe.

    Blisters happen when a shoe—especially a tight one—rubs on a vulnerable or sensitive area of your foot. You might also develop corns, which are round, calloused bumps on the skin that form when the tops of your toes bump against the tops of your shoes too much.

    Tight shoes might also cause foot pain like plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Make sure you get the right fit. If you need any advice, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at Sierra Foot & Ankle by calling (775) 783-8037.

  • Can I still wear heels if I have plantar fasciitis?

    Yes, but you should eventually stop wearing high heels altogether. However, heels and plantar fasciitis should be approached—and quit—with caution. If you immediately switch from regularly wearing high heels to donning flats after a bout of heel pain, you might be doing yourself a disservice.

    That’s because your calf muscle has shortened over time and can no longer handle being stretched so far or so suddenly. When you step into a flat, the Achilles tendon has a chance of tearing, ripping, and becoming even more damaged than it was while wearing the heels!

    To prevent more pain, gradually wean yourself off of this towering footwear. Try changing to shoes with a 1- or 2-inch heel to slowly stretch the Achilles tendon and lower your foot closer to the ground. When you’re back to wearing flats, make sure they have enough support with orthotics and shoe inserts. This way, your heel pain won’t come back.

    If you have a case of plantar fasciitis that won’t go away, make an appointment with Victoria L. Melhuish, DPM, at Sierra Foot & Ankle by calling (775) 783-8037. We have offices in both Carson City and Gardnerville, NV, and we're also on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

  • How can I tell my correct running shoe size?

    If you’re a runner, you want to make sure your feet are comfortable and supported so you can keep on going. Knowing what the right size is can be difficult, and often the sales associates aren’t helpful. Fortunately, there are some tricks you can use to make sure you are getting the right running shoe size for you!

    To ensure the correct fit, the heel should be snug but not constricted when the shoe is laced but not tied. When trying on your shoes, make sure that you have enough room to spread your toes, and that there is about ½ inch of space between them and the front of the shoe. Measure your foot—the traditional shoe sizes are just guidelines. Besides, it is common to have one foot bigger than the other and you’ll want to fit the larger of the two. Remember, you want a snug fit without it being too tight.

    For more running shoe shopping tips, come visit Dr. Victoria Melhuish in Carson City or Gardnerville, NV. Schedule an appointment by calling (775) 783-8037. Don’t let bad shoes ruin your run. 

  • What's the difference between running shoes and other athletic shoes?

    When you buy new exercise footwear, the choice inevitably arises: running shoes vs. athletic shoes. There are differences between these styles of footwear. Running shoes are lightweight and built to move you forward efficiently. They tend to be flexible in the toe area and curved up slightly at the ends to allow you to push off the ground smoothly during your stride. Traditional running shoes also tend to have thick, cushioned midsoles and heels for better support, though minimalist shoes break this trend. Other athletic shoes are designed with other purposes in mind, including supporting side-to-side motion, shock absorption, and stability. Typically these shoes are heavier with wider soles, though that may vary with the specific type.

    If you’re not sure what kind of shoe would benefit your feet the most during your activities, don’t just guess. Let Sierra Foot & Ankle help you fit the right shoes for your feet. Contact our Carson City or Gardnerville, NV, office by calling (775) 783-8037 or use our website to make an appointment.

  • Can I still run with shin splints?

    Shin splints occur when the muscles in the front, lower leg become inflamed from overuse. This is usually a result of increasing the intensity of your physical activity routine before your muscles have time to get used to it. One of the biggest components of the healing process is rest. If you try to push through the pain, you may end up with even worse discomfort and a number of other problems. Instead of continuing to run, you should consider switching to a lower-impact sport such as swimming or cycling. If you follow this strategy, it will take less time to completely heal. You can also apply ice, engage in physical therapy, and wear arch supports during this healing time as well.

    If you have more questions about treating and preventing shin splints, call Dr. Victoria Melhuish at (775) 783-8037 to schedule an appointment at Sierra Foot & Ankle in either Carson City or Gardnerville, NV.

  • Is laser treatment for nail fungus painful?

    No, laser treatment for nail fungus is not painful, though some people report a warming sensation in the toes during the procedure. Laser therapy employs a highly focused, intense light that passes painlessly through your hard nail tissue to the infected area underneath. The light destroys the microorganisms that are festering out of reach of normal topical medications. The healthy tissues in the nail bed and around the hard keratin remain unaffected. It does take a few months for the healthy tissue to regrow, but the procedure itself is over quickly and has no known side effects—painful or otherwise.

    If you’re struggling with stubborn nail fungus, don’t let fear of discomfort keep you from seeking the treatment you need. Contact the experts here at Sierra Foot & Ankle in Carson City and Gardnerville, NV, for an appointment or more information to explore your options for remedies. Fill out the website contact form or call (775) 783-8037 to reach us.

  • Does laser therapy for nail fungus hurt?

    Most people say that laser therapy for fungal nails is painless. You may feel some warming in the toes from the laser, but the treatment uses an intense light without UV radiation or harmful X-rays. You shouldn’t have any discomfort either during the procedure or after it’s completed. You should also be able to return to your regular activities right away. It may take a few treatments to completely eliminate the infection, but once the fungus is destroyed, healthy nail tissue can grow in.

    You shouldn’t put off treating the fungus—the longer it festers, the harder it is to eradicate, and it won’t clear up on its own. Don’t let the fear of pain from laser therapy for fungal nails keep you from dealing with the infection. Contact Dr. Victoria Melhuish at Sierra Foot & Ankle in Carson City and Gardnerville for more information or an appointment by calling (775) 783-8037 or visiting the online contact page.

  • How does laser therapy for nail fungus work?

    Nail fungus laser therapy uses intense light to penetrate the hard keratin tissue and vaporize the infection festering underneath. This laser light breaks down the fungal cells that are multiplying in the nail bed, leaving your hard tissue and nail matrix intact. The whole procedure is relatively painless and has no known side effects. Many times the nail infection is eradicated after just one or two treatments, but serious conditions may need a few more. Once the fungus is eliminated, new healthy tissue is able to grow in and push out the damaged nail.

    If you’re struggling with fungal toenails and want to eliminate the source quickly, laser therapy may be an option for you. Contact Sierra Foot & Ankle for an appointment or more information to see if this treatment could help your toes. Fill out the form on our online contact page or call our Carson City or Gardnerville office at (775) 783-8037 to reach us.