• Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington
  • Medical degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine
  • Two-year residency program at POH Medical Center in Pontiac, MI
  • Board qualified in foot surgery by the American Board of Podiatric Surgeons
  • Member of American Podiatric Medical Association
  • Member of North Carolina Foot & Ankle Society

Dr. Southerland is happily married to her wonderful husband of 14 years. They have three boys: five-year-old twins and a two year old. She enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach, boating, and playing tennis.


  • Foot and ankle pain
  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Fungal nail
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Heel and arch pain
  • Diabetic care
  • Wounds and ulcers
  • Arthritis
  • Nerve pain and neuromas
  • Swelling
  • Fractures
  • Warts
  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Sprains
  • Cysts
  • Gout
  • Kid’s feet
  • Diabetic shoe program
  • Custom braces
  • Custom orthotics
  • Casts
  • Cryosurgery
  • Injection therapy​

Articles & Interviews

HEALTH WATCH: Getting a Leg Up on Foot Pain

By Stephanie Bowens StarNews Correspondent

The causes of foot and ankle pain vary, and so do the treatments

From the heel, toes, and arch to the instep or bottom of one’s foot, pain or discomfort can be felt anywhere in the foot. For some, foot pain and its various causes can cause difficulty walking or running and hinder one’s ability to go about daily routines.

Dr. Rose Southerland, DPM, a board-qualified podiatrist at Wilmington Health, 1202 Medical Center Drive, Wilmington, enjoys providing foot and ankle care and helping eliminate patient’s pain. She said many options are available to help people who have foot pain.

1) Diabetes and Gout are among some common medical causes of foot pain

Foot pain can be caused by several medical conditions. For example, Southerland commonly sees patients with foot pain due to diabetes and gout.

“Diabetes is probably one of the biggest health problems that causes foot problems,” she said. “It affects the nerve in the feet and that causes numbness which can really affect a person’s every day life.”

Southerland said diabetes left uncontrolled can have serious impacts on the feet.

Gout is a type of arthritis that causes pain and swelling in the joints. The most common symptom of gout is pain in the affected joint, such as the big toe. However, gout can also occur in other toe joints, the ankle and knee, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Southerland said some other common medical causes of foot pain include peripheral vascular disease, with which a person has decreased blood circulation to their legs and feet; Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune and inflammatory disease; psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory type of arthritis that can cause pain, stiffness and swelling of the joints; and Morton neuroma, where an injury to the nerve between the toes causes thickening and pain.

2) Plantar fasciitis, ingrown toenails, callouses, and warts are common causes of foot pain

According to the U.S. national Library of Medicine, foot pain can also be caused by other factors such as aging, being on one’s feet for long periods of time, being overweight, injury, wearing shoes that fit poorly or lack proper cushioning, excessive walking or sports activities and trauma.

“Plantar fasciitis is a very common cause of heel and arch pain,” Southerland said.

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot becomes swollen or inflamed, particularly due to overuse or being overstretched.

“We see Plantar fasciitis in a lot of people who must stand up for their jobs and in people who have to stand on concrete floors,” Southerland said. “That’s really hard on your feet, and if you’re not wearing proper supportive shoes, the band of tissue on the bottom of your foot can become strained and overused, and it can get very inflamed ….”

Southerland said she treats many who have pain from ingrown toenails, bunions, callouses, and plantar warts, which she said some mistake for callouses.

3) From surgery to shoe inserts to medications and creams, treatment options vary

Depending on the cause, treatment options can range from surgery to non-surgical methods such as medications, including anti-inflammatories, cortisone injections, special shoes or braces, inserts for shoes, change of shoes, activity modification, stretching, and RICE — rest, ice, compression and elevation.

Southerland said activities where you spend a lot of time on the ball of your foot and wearing shoes that are too narrow can contribute to problems such as Morton neuroma by increasing pressure on the nerve in the foot. Therefore, modifying such activities and changing the shoes one wears can alleviate pain.

4) Choosing the right pair of shoes, even flip-flops, can alleviate some foot pain

“We live in an area where sandals and flip-flops are prevalent for nine months out of the year, and a lot of times the sandals and flip flops that we wear give our foot no support,” Southerland said. “Plus, our foot has to work harder to stay in the flip-flop by gripping it with the toes and trying to keep the shoe on since it’s not strapped in or laced up.”

She said she encourages patients to have good supportive shoes or flip flops to wear inside their homes, shoes that provide a proper cushion, particularly if one’s home has tile or hardwood floors. If one wants to wear flip flops around the house, Southerland said wear some with “a good supportive arch and thick sole that gives you some shock absorption.”

5) Stretching may help prevent some foot pain

“One way to prevent a lot of the foot pain people come in to see us for is stretching,” Southerland said. “Stretching is the key. As we get older and our lives are busy, we don’t take the time to stretch.”

She said being disciplined in stretching one’s legs and muscles in one’s feet after waking up in the morning is beneficial.

“You can look online for great stretching exercises that you can easily do at home,” Southerland said. “Being able to stretch your ankle is a good thing, but if you can add something to it like an exercise band and really pull it back more and get a really good calf stretch you can really help reduce a lot of the pain in your feet.”

Dr. Southerland is a board-qualified podiatrist who truly cares about her patients’ outcomes. She takes great pride in providing care that eliminates her patients’ pain. Dr. Southerland’s goal is to provide a caring and friendly environment that promotes patients’ needs first. She prides herself on offering care that is in the patient’s best interest. She enjoys providing residents and visitors the best possible foot and ankle care. She takes time to listen and understand each patient’s needs and issues.

Patient Satisfaction

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How does Rose Southerland compare?

  • How would you rate getting an appointment as soon as you needed? 

    4.62 out of 5
  • How would you rate how well this provider communicates? (easy to understand, listens carefully to you, shows respect for what you had to say, sensitivity, friendliness)

    4.85 out of 5
  • Using a number from 1 to 5, where 5 is the best provider possible and 1 is the worst provider possible, what number would you use to rate this provider?

    4.91 out of 5
  • When this provider orders a blood test, x-ray, or other test for you, how would you rate how well this provider’s office follows up to give you those results?

    4.49 out of 5


''Awesome experience! Dr Southerland is one of those Doctors that truly cares and in the business to take care of Patients. If there was a way to leave a higher rating I would. Highly recommend''


''Dr. Southerland was professional in every way possible. I had a knee replacement and could not come up Leland to see her for some time. She immediately saw some issues (Infection) And addressed the issue without hesitation.''


''So professional and caring.''