Dr. Lorri Riley and Dr. Kale Merrell have many things in common. They are both podiatrists. They are both from Belle Fourche. They are both committed to helping people with foot problems and both are embarking on new ventures.
In 1992, Dr. Riley opened her first office in Spearfish Since then she has accomplished many other goals all directed toward improving the treatment of foot care.
She explained how the importance of foot care became a personal goal for her following an athletic injury playing basketball in college.
Dr. Riley’s injury resulted in a year of seeking treatments for the pain. “It turns out I have flat feet.” The condition can be exacerbated by an injury, aging or other circumstances. Following a long year of seeking help from various specialists she still could not find a doctor who could help her. The pain had grown worse and was affecting her knees.
Finally, she found a doctor who offered her the name of another doctor who might be able to help. Unfortunately, he was booked out for months. As fate wills, the Dr. had a cancellation, an immediate opening. It was a sort of miracle. She had discovered the one doctor, perhaps in the world who could help her. Reconstructive surgery followed.
She was not only able to play basketball again, but became fully committed to becoming a podiatrist to help others. In 1995, She built the surgery center in Spearfish, now under the management of Monument Health.
In addition to serving her patients, Dr. Riley has also had ideas to provide products that have not been previously unavailable for those with flat feet. She is very interested in helping people with Downs Syndrome. She explained that 90% of those with Downs Syndrome are highly vulnerable to develop a host of foot problems that can accrue from having flat feet.
In 2014 she patented the first ever over the counter insoles product. Dr. Riley’s products are available through j1insoles. The website is https://www.j1insoles.com/about-us/
Dr. Kale Merrell grew up in Belle Fourche, where he participated in sports. He liked hunting and fishing too. Following high school graduation he attended Augustana University on a scholarship. Always interested in the health care field, he continued his medical school training in Florida.
Along with Dr. Riley, Dr. Merrell also experienced athletic injuries. His three knee injuries resulted in three surgeries. Like Dr. Riley he was grateful for the help of the medical professionals who repaired the damage. He decided to become an orthopedic surgeon.
Ultimately, Dr. Merrell chose to specialize in podiatry. He is also a foot surgeon. He worked for a large medical podiatrist group in Texas for two years, but the work was somewhat unsatisfying because he didn’t feel that he had the time to treat patients with enough time and attention as they needed. At the same time, he felt drawn back to South Dakota. Belle Fourche has held good memories for him.
Both Dr. Riley and Dr. Merrell are comfortable with their new directions. It seems appropriate that Dr. Merrell has taken over Dr. Riley’s practice in Spearfish, A Step Ahead Foot and Ankle Clinic at 1410 North Avenue # 1 Spearfish, SD 57783. It also seems appropriate that Dr. Riley will move forward to market and promote her various new products. It’s the next step in her life long goal to improve the science and care of those with foot problems.