Gary N. Oaks, DPM

Dr. Gary N. Oaks brings his expertise in treating ailments of the foot and ankle to a new podiatry clinic at the Roy branch of Tanner Clinic.

Dr. Oaks is board-certified in forefoot foot and ankle surgery, encompassing the greater part of the foot and the foot’s soft tissues. He’s also board qualified in reconstructive rearfoot and ankle surgery, a sub-specialty on heel and ankle disorders.

Dr. Oaks’ focus is on “providing the best care possible,” he said. He strives to provide conservative treatments for most foot disorders, but he’s extensively trained if surgery is required.

Dr. Oaks received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Iowa. Upon graduation he was awarded the Clinical Proficiency Award for exceptional patient services.

He returned to his home state of Utah to complete a podiatric medicine and surgical residency at the University of Utah and Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City. His residency included wound care at the VA hospital for veterans with diabetic and vascular leg wounds.

Dr. Oaks began private practice in Yakima, Washington, relocating to Utah to practice at the Utah Foot and Ankle Clinic in Roy and Salt Lake City.

Dr. Oaks is married with three children. A self-described “Disney fanatic,” he visits the theme parks regularly and also enjoys touring Utah’s national parks. Closer to home, you’ll find him kayaking with his family, hiking Adams Canyon, playing tennis and strength training.

Patient Forms

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What patients are saying about Dr. Oaks

“I love Dr. Oaks! He’s not only a great doctor but also caring and compassionate.”   —  Evelyn on Facebook, Sept. 16, 2014

“Great doctor! Took plenty of time to explain the problem with my foot. Easy to get an appointment and will recommend to friends and family. Finally, a doctor that knows what he is talking about.”   —, Feb. 26, 2014

Wear and Tear on Feet?
Many of us can sympathize with these sensations — the bottom of our foot aches, or the heel feels like it’s stepping on a lump. We might even check our shoes for rocks.

The discomfort disappears soon after the day begins — at least initially. But before long, it can progress to continual pain and difficulty walking.

At some point you’ll be seeking a podiatrist, such as Dr. Gary Oaks, a foot and ankle specialist who welcomes achy and painful feet to his Tanner Clinic Roy practice.

Dr. Oaks, who is board-certified in foot surgery and board qualified in rearfoot and ankle surgery, said these symptoms may indicate plantar fasciitis. This ailment, after all, is the most common cause of heel pain.

Heel is often site of plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis begins with the plantar fascia, a long band of soft tissue that connects the heel to the toes. This ligament’s primary job is to support the foot’s arch against our weight as we stand, walk, run or dance, said Dr. Oaks. It works hard even when we’re standing still.

Sometimes we strain and stretch that soft-tissue band beyond its capacity. This results in an inflamed and irritated strain — and then we do it again. Enough of this repetitive stress can result in plantar fasciitis, said Dr. Oaks.

Plantar fasciitis pain is most common in the heel because the ligament is connected to the heel in a single location rather than being spread among toes, he said.

Runners, flip-flop wearers at risk

Many everyday activities can cause this disorder, said Dr. Oaks. He mentions people who go barefoot or wear flip flops and other flimsy shoes with no arch support. Runners are famous for getting this ailment, as are weekend warriors who don’t take time to adequately stretch. It’s also commonly found in overweight people.

Plantar fasciitis can also result from tight calf muscles and hamstrings. A tight calf muscle, he said, “causes early ‘heel-off,’ which causes uneven distribution of weight around the foot.” Among the common reasons for a tight calf muscle? Wearing high heels.

Recuperate with ‘active rest’

The best conservative treatment for plantar fasciitis is downtime — not couch-potato idleness, but what Dr. Oaks describes as “active rest.” He suggests recovering patients:

▸ Use inserts or orthotics to support the arch and take the hard work off the plantar fascia itself.

▸ Use ice as an anti-inflammatory. Dr. Oaks recommends holding a frozen can of juice or a foam cup or bottle with frozen water against the sore area for five minutes at a time. Never apply ice directly to the skin, he adds. Ice should be applied using the cushion of a thin cloth, dish towel or foam cup.

▸ Elevate the foot to reduce the amount of blood at the bottom of the foot, thereby reducing inflammation and pain.

Conservative treatments such as those recommended above can relief plantar fasciitis for up to 90 percent of patients, said Dr. Oaks. The ailment can actually be cured by discontinuing the activities that caused it in the first place, as well as stretching appropriately and wearing supportive, stabilizing footwear.

More aggressive treatments include:

▸ Anti-inflammatory medication for a period of no more than 10 days.

▸ Steroid injections for people not responding to medications.

Foot Fix: Will It Happen in Clinic or at the Hospital?

Will your foot procedure take place at Tanner Clinic’s procedure room or in a hospital’s operating room?

A determining factor, says Dr. Gary Oaks, a podiatrist at Tanner Clinic Roy, is whether the procedure affects bones or soft tissues.

Procedures relating to soft tissue may be performed at the clinic depending on the issue. In-clinic procedures would include those with a lower risk of infection, such as: skin biopsies, wart removal, percutaneous tendon releases (stretching of a tight toe tendon) and scar modifications.

Surgeries and procedures relating to the 26 bones of the foot require an operating room, as do more complicated soft tissue injuries and procedures. ORs are used for sterility purposes, patient ease and overall patient safety.

“Due to the highly technical nature of the foot there are times when we need the patient to lay completely still,” Dr. Oaks explains. “This can be difficult for the best of us. Therefore certain types of anesthesia may be recommended. If a patient moves during the procedure it can take longer, increase risks and reduce safety and the patient’s comfort.”

— Tanner Clinic staff

Heel to Pay

heel-illo-cropped  HEEL TO PAY — You can break your heel bone in  a fall of just 2 feet, says Dr. Gary Oaks. That’s less  than the distance from a trampoline to the ground.  He adds, “It tends to be a common injury in manual  labor — whether you’re a cable TV repairman or  just pruning the tree.”