Down to the Last Detail

  • Fall 2020

Laura Quail

Laura Quail teaches accounting and finance classes at Brookings High School. She spends a lot of time walking and on her feet while educating students. When she began to feel constant pain and discomfort from putting pressure on the ball of her right foot, she knew she needed to seek medical help.

Laura chose to visit Podiatrist Dr. Tyler Harrell at Avera Medical Group Brookings Specialty Care. Based on her symptoms, Dr. Harrell thought Laura had plantar fasciitis, a type of tissue inflammation in the foot. He gave her some stretches to do and had her wear a small boot. 

When Laura came back for a follow-up visit and still had pain, Dr. Harrell knew there was a greater underlying cause to her problem. He ordered an X-ray which showed something else going on. To see more detail in Laura’s foot, Dr. Harrell ordered an MRI at Brookings Health System. 

Laura’s previous MRI experience was several years ago for her back. She felt closed in during the procedure. Brookings Health’s new MRI technology has a wider opening to accommodate people who are claustrophobic. This time, while Laura only had to put her foot in instead of her whole body, she felt much more comfortable. 

The technologist performing Laura’s procedure also put her totally at ease by explaining exactly what was going to happen. Dr. Harrell had ordered the MRI with contrast to help see if there was any inflammation, something Laura didn’t expect. The technologist explained why they used contrast for the procedure.

“The people seemed very sincere and that they actually cared about me,” said Laura. “I wasn’t just somebody coming through the door and they wanted to make sure I understood what was happening and what my diagnosis was.” 

In addition to the team, the new amenities also enhanced Laura’s experience.

“We have such fine facilities here,” said Laura. “We’re very fortunate and there is no need to go anywhere else.”

The additional detail from the MRI revealed Laura had a torn tendon in both her second and great toe. 

“The MRI showed excessively how the tear was, how much it was and where exactly it was located,” said Laura. “There was two little bones in the big toe and the tendon was torn between those two little bones as well as the side of the second toe.”

Dr. Harrell had Laura wear a larger boot for six weeks to further take pressure off of her foot, helping her avoid surgery—something that wouldn’t have happened without the details revealed by the MRI.

Watch Laura’s full story and learn about the medical imaging capabilities available locally in Brookings at