Brooks H. Potter, DPM
A broken ankle when he was playing football for Utah State University sidelined Dr. Brooks H. Potter into a career as a podiatrist. Although he retains a particular affinity with sports medicine, Dr. Potter now treats foot-related ailments in patients of all ages at Tanner Clinic in Layton.
Dr. Potter, a native of Logan, Utah, received his undergraduate degree in pre-physical therapy from USU. He continued on to earn a DPM from the California College of Podiatric Medicine in San Francisco.
Dr. Potter completed two podiatric-surgery residencies, beginning at the VA Loma Linda Medical Center in Loma Linda, Calif. He completed his training at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Conn. He returned to Utah to join Tanner Clinic in 2002.
Dr. Potter is board certified in podiatric surgery by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery.
Sports still remains his primary off-hour interest; he also enjoys traveling, racquetball and spending time with family and friends.
What patients are saying about Dr. Potter
“Dr. Potter was wonderful. He listened patiently and made sure he understood the full situation. He gave an honest assessment and practical recommendations. Based on the information (he) provided, I was able to make a more educated choice on treatment. It is good to find someone you can trust.” — Facebook, Oct. 30, 2013
“I had Dr. Potter do a procedure on my toenails a couple of years ago because I had recurrent ingrown toenails. I just wanted to say how wonderful it has been — I have not had a single problem or pain with my toes since then. Thank you so much.” — Facebook, Nov. 21, 2013
Podiatrist Finds That to Every Foot Ailment, There Is a Season
Dr. Brooks Potter, a podiatrist at Tanner Clinic, treats bouncy, sneakered children’s feet. He sees steamy teenaged toes, and middle-aged ankles fractured in a church basketball game.
All foot types and ages find their way to Dr. Potter’s practice in Tanner Clinic in Layton. Many of the ailments he sees are age-specific — in other words, more predictable in certain stages of our lives.
So what does Dr. Potter see most often, depending on the patient’s age? Here’s a list of common foot ailments in the timeline of our lives as bipeds:
Sever’s disease: Heel pain sometimes experienced by children ages 8 to 12 who play athletics. It occurs when the cartilage in the back of the heel becomes inflamed. Children are at risk for this because the growth plate has not yet developed completely into bone. The pain can be eased with stretching and heel lifts; sometimes it requires a break from sports.
Plantar warts: These warts, which appear most commonly on the sole and grow inward, are caused by a virus that enters the skin through a small cut. Plantar warts are more common in young people, Dr. Potter believes, because their immune systems are not fully developed.
Ingrown toenails: Common in teens who forget to trim their toenails.
Athlete’s foot: A fungal infection that causes reddish, dry, itchy skin on the bottom of the foot, often associated (for good reason) with sweaty feet — moisture provides a healthy habitat for fungus.
20- and 30-somethings
Heel pain: The most common ailment for which patients seek help from Dr. Potter. See all below.
Metatarsal stress fractures: A fracture in one of the metatarsals — the long thin bones that connect the ankle to the toes. It may not show on an x-ray, but it can be plenty painful. The cause is usually overuse or trauma.
Bunions: Often by this age, the big toe begins to “drift” toward the baby toe, leaving a bony bump at the base joint of the big toe. Tight shoes only exacerbate the bony bump, making it painful and tender.
Gout: Gout manifests itself as a red-hot, inflamed toe joint — most often the big one. It’s caused by an excess of uric acid, normally a body waste product. The uric acid produces tiny, sharp crystal inside your toe’s joints and tissues — no wonder it hurts. It’s more common in those who drink alcohol, but can also be genetic.
Plantar fasciitis: This painful condition is quite common, occurring when the tendon that runs along the length of the sole and forms the arch becomes stretched. It’s treated with nonsteroidal anti- inflammatories like ibuprofen or with corticosteroid injections.
Middle age — 40s to 60s
Achilles tendonitis: Painful inflammation of this large tendon, caused by micro tears; the result is plenty of pain near the bottom of the foot. Because it often occurs in people who suddenly begin a rigorous activity, it’s known as the weekend warrior’s injury.
Ankle sprain: Also usually occurs in overambitious weekend warriors.
Degenerative diseases: First hints of osteoarthritis and other wear-and-tear distress appear in this age group.
Neuropathy: This lack of feeling in the feet comes in two forms: One type desensitizes your feet, so you feel few warning signs of injuries; the other is appropriately called “painful neuropathy.” Neuropathy is most often caused by diabetes and poor blood circulation.
Diabetes: Because of the numbness caused by neuropathy, which is very common in diabetics, injuries to the feet often go unchecked. This can result in diabetic ulcers or even osteomyelitis, infection of the bone.
Fallen arches (flat feet): This weakening of the tendons near the ankle is the result of age, injury and wear-and-tear arthritis. It can cause significant pain from the ankle up to the knee and hip.
60s and older
Onychomycosis: In layman’s terms, this is simply toenail fungus. Toenails become thick, yellowish and unsightly. Although caused by a fungal infection, diabetics are especially susceptible. Best treated with oral medications.
Osteoarthritis: This degenerative disease most often affects the big toe joint, which has been jammed through years of use. Often, arthritis causes toes to push up, almost to the stage of dislocation of the toes. Patients complain that it feels as if they’re “walking on marbles”.
Corns: This painful callus-like hardening of the skin most often forms on the heel, big toe or between the toes. The cause is a prominent bone underneath — the corn forms to protect the skin when it rubs against a shoe.
Stinky feet: “I’m numb to it,” says Dr. Potter.
High Heels: A Platform for Painful Foot Issues
Women may be asking for trouble when they slip on their high heels — as if they didn’t already have enough to worry about.
Wearing high-heeled shoes can put you at risk for:
• Pump bump: So named after pump-style shoes. This bony protrusion on the back of the heel can be quite painful and irritated if the area rubs up against any type of footwear. It’s caused by wearing shoes with rigid backs. To be fair, men who wear dress shoes can develop similar bumps.
• Ingrown toenails: This often occurs when tight shoes compress toes together, forcing the big toenail to grow into the skin. It’s especially compounded by shoes with pointy toes.
• Hammertoes: Better known in medical parlance as “crooked toes.” One or more toe joints becomes bent, making the middle joint jut up; eventually, the joints stay that way. Can be caused by shoes that scrunch up the toes.
• Equinus: Mom always said your crossed eyes would stay that way — a point that is actually true when wearing high heels. In equinus, the muscles in the back of the leg contract to adapt to the abnormal position of the shoes, leaving you walking on tiptoes (like a horse or ballerina). This can cause a multitude of other foot problems.
• Neuroma: A benign growth of nerve tissue on the bottom of the foot, usually between the third and fourth toe, causing numbness and pain; you may experience it as hot needles piercing your foot. Occurs when downward pressure on the ball of the foot by high-heel or narrow shoes crunches the toes and compresses the nerve.
• Corns: Calluses caused by pressure from ill-fitting shoes. The painful corns between toes, known as soft corns, are caused by tight shoes and moisture.
— Tanner Clinic staff