For those who are overweight, losing weight can be an essential part of relieving foot pain.
If you're looking to lose weight, why not try adding a walk into your daily routine? Scenic walking routes abound here in Klamath. Why not try the dog-friendly walking trail found at Steen Sports Park? If you'd like to enjoy birdwatching while walking, try the Link River Trail, which follows the Link River in Klamath Falls. Additionally, Moore Park includes many walking trails, including those with varied terrain for when you're ready for a challenge. Finally, if you're feeling unmotivated to keep moving, geocaching may be for you. There are over 900 geocaches in the Klamath area, and hunting for them serves as a fun way to keep you moving.
If foot pain is preventing you from beginning a walking routine, a visit with our podiatrist, Jeff Merrill DPM FACFAS can help get you moving again.
The holidays are over, but most regions of the country face a few more months of winter. Whether you’re slogging through deep snow and sub-zero temperatures in the north, or contending with dampness, chill, and muddy conditions in the south, it’s important to take care of your feet all winter long. You’ll want them to be healthy and ready for action when spring finally arrives.
Most Americans will have walked 75,000 miles by the time they turn 50, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Is it little wonder, then, that a 2014 APMA foot health survey found that foot pain affects the daily activities—walking, exercising, or standing for long periods of time—of a majority of Americans?
“Each season presents unique challenges to foot health,” says Jeff Merrill, DPM, a podiatrist at Klamath Falls Foot and Ankle, LLC and APMA member. “Surveys and research tell us that foot health is intrinsic to overall health, so protecting feet all year long is vital to our overall well-being.”
APMA offers some advice for keeping feet healthy in common winter scenarios:
Finally—and although this one seems like it should go without saying, it bears spelling out—don’t try to tip-toe through winter snow, ice, and temperatures in summer-appropriate footwear.
“More than one news show across the country aired images of people in sneakers, sandals, and even flip-flops during severe winter weather,” Dr. Merrill says. “Exposing feet to extreme temperatures means risking frostbite and injury. Choose winter footwear that will keep your feet warm, dry, and well-supported.”
Jeff Merrill, DPM, is a podiatrist at Klamath Falls Foot and Ankle, LLC in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Call 541-850-6463 or visit kffootandankle.com to make an appointment. Visit www.apma.org to learn more about foot health and care.
As COVID-19 appears to be building momentum worldwide, America’s podiatrists say they’re treating some of the sickest patients of their careers—but those patients are not suffering from the coronavirus. Instead, they’re patients with diabetes who have delayed care due to fear of the virus. As a result, they are suffering serious complications, ranging from severe diabetic foot wounds to gangrene to sepsis.
“People with diabetes are at high risk from COVID-19,” said Jeff Merrill, DPM, of Klamath Falls Foot and Ankle, LLC. “They should absolutely take appropriate precautions, such as wearing masks in public and avoiding large gatherings. But those precautions do not extend to avoiding regular care for their diabetes.”
In fact, Dr. Merrill said, the risks of avoiding diabetes care are much higher than the risk of exposure to the coronavirus in a medical facility. Physicians’ practices are taking extensive precautions to keep patients and providers alike safe during the pandemic. Safeguards include additional PPE, requirements for patients to wear masks, social distancing in waiting areas, temperature checks, pre-appointment questionnaires, disinfection between patients, and more. Virtual appointments may also be available.
“I strongly encourage people with diabetes to keep their appointments in order to keep their feet,” said Dr. Merrill. “If a patient with diabetes ignores a wound or an infection, the possibility of amputation is very real. Once a person with diabetes suffers an amputation, the five-year mortality rate is higher than for many cancers.”
Dr. Merrill suggests three steps for people with diabetes to maintain control of their diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Stay active. Engage in regular exercise. Don’t be tempted to overindulge in comfort foods. Instead, stick to a sensible diet designed to help control blood sugars.
2. Stay alert. Track blood sugar levels daily and be sure to have regular bloodwork to monitor your A1C (a measure of average blood sugar level over the past couple of months). Be vigilant about daily foot exams. Watch for changes in the color or temperature of the feet and any new injuries. Wear shoes, even around the house, to avoid the risk of injury and infection.
3. Stay in contact by keeping all your regular, preventive health-care appointments.
“Keep your appointments with every member of your care team—your primary care doctor, your endocrinologist, your ophthalmologist, and your podiatrist,” Dr. Merrill said. “If you notice a change in your feet or sustain an injury, you should contact your podiatrist immediately. Never try to treat a problem at home.”
Jeff Merrill, DPM, is a podiatrist at Klamath Falls Foot and Ankle, LLC in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Call 541-850-6463 or visit www.kffootandankle.com to make an appointment. Visit www.apma.org/diabetes to learn more about foot health and diabetes.
Klamath Falls Foot and Ankle, LLC Staff