3 Facts About Flip Flops

This year it seems we’ve skipped spring and went straight to summer! You know what that means – the flip flops are coming out earlier than usual. For those of us who love the warm weather and feeling the breeze between our toes, this is a huge relief…but flip flop season surely comes with its pros and cons! Yes, there are cons to flip flops – many of them, actually. We know what you’re thinking – how can something that feels so good to wear end up being so bad for our feet? The truth is that flip flops don’t have to have a negative impact on our feet, especially wide feet, if we go about wearing them the right way. Here are 5 helpful tips for getting ready to whip your flip flops out for the summer season:

  • By far the most important aspect of flip flops is finding a pair with appropriate grip and support. If your flip flops resemble a flimsy piece of styrofoam – throw them out! For anyone with foot problems, every pair of shoes needs to have appropriate grip and support for their feet and ankles. There are plenty of options available for thicker and more supportive pairs of flip flops. However, if you have a history of moderate to severe foot problems, flip flops might entirely be out of the question. Be sure to bring it up with Scott McKinney at your next visit!
  • Do your flip flops seem like they’re thinning out? This isn’t your imagination. Poor quality flip flops will thin out due to normal wear pretty fast. Even higher quality flip flops will begin to thin out but it will take a lot longer. If your flip flops thin out to the point of a hole developing in the bottom of your shoes, don’t wait to toss them out. The delicate feet of our skin will quickly develop blisters, corns, and calluses when contacting rough terrain. Be sure to replace them as soon as you notice them thinning out – this will help you avoid slipping and hurting your feet or ankles.
  • Don’t wear them for too long. As previously mentioned – this will wear them out faster, but that’s not all it might do. If your flip flops aren’t on the more supportive side, you definitely don’t want to wear them for too long. This will contribute to your feet quickly becoming fatigued and sore. When your muscles are fatigued and sore, you’re more susceptible to slipping and hurting yourself. Much like high heels, they’re best enjoyed once-in-a-while but not all of the time.

Not sure if flip flops are worth it for you? Skip the uncertainty and find clarity with Dr. McKinney. Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule your next appointment at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston, Texas and downtown area.

baby feet

What To Do: Baby Feet & Shoes

Baby shoes are cute – but what about when your baby needs to transition from cute little baby booties to baby shoes that they will start learning how to walk in? It can seem daunting but don’t worry, your podiatrist is here to help just as much as your baby’s pediatrician when it comes to learning to walk. There are approximately 26 bones in the adult human foot. As an infant, not all those bones are fully formed yet. This goes for their tendons and ligaments as well! Babies are constantly growing and changing both internally and externally. One of the many ways we can make sure they grow safely into their own bodies is by ensuring their feet are fitted with proper footwear. Keep genetics and heredity in mind as well, especially if you or anyone else in your family has flat or wide feet!

In the early stages of infancy, simply cloth booties are sufficient to keep their feet and toes warm and safe. However, when baby starts to kick, crawl, squat, and eventually walk, it’s important to consider how fragile their feet still are when finding age-appropriate shoes. No matter the age of your baby, a pair of shoes that is too tight will always be discouraged. When those bones are developing they need to not be restricted in order to grow properly – this could potentially result in deformities in their later years, like bunions or hammertoes. Another important aspect to consider when choosing new baby shoes for your growing child is the support and grip of the shoes. Even if they’re not full-blown walking yet, a supportive pair of shoes is a great way to begin their relationship with shoes. Support translates into insoles that form to the natural curvature of the feet as well as providing a textured grip to help baby push their feet.

This is essential to helping them develop their muscle memory and ability to stand up from a sitting or lying position. To go the extra mile, ask your podiatrist about some ways to help your baby warm up and stretch their muscles by providing light massage and gentle manipulation of their lower extremities, such as their legs, ankles, and toes. This not only helps aid in healthy circulation but it also provides a great opportunity to check their feet for any abnormalities that may develop – if you ever do see something odd about your babies feet, don’t hesitate to call Dr. Scott McKinney and schedule them to be seen! Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to stay one step ahead of your baby’s foot health.

 

 

wide feet

The Woes of Wide Feet

Don’t get us wrong – having wide feet isn’t the end of the world. However, when you live with wide feet, your perspective on shoes definitely changes! When someone has wider feet, their risk of developing several foot-related conditions increases if the width of their feet isn’t accommodated. Wide width shoes on wide feet = happy feet! But improperly fitting shoes on wide feet are a different story.

How can you tell if you have wide feet? Easy! See your trusted podiatrist for an exam! In addition to this, taking a trip to your local shoe store where a professional can measure your feet for you is another efficient way to see if you have wide feet. However, if you can’t immediately get in with your podiatrist or take a trip to your local shoe store, there are some other telltale signs of wide feet: blisters! Are you prone to developing blisters? Blisters can come about simply from walking too much, even in properly fitted shoes, but properly fitted shoes sure do help with blister prevention.

Besides blisters, wearing ill-fitting shoes with wide feet can set you up for developing corns and calluses due to the friction of not having adequate space for your width. Wide feet can even be more prone to developing hammertoes when your toes aren’t given enough space and get crammed up against the top of your shoes. If you’re an active person, it’s a good idea to get your wide feet and ankles the support they need for physical activity.

There are a lot of myths about how someone gets wide feet, but you can consider those myths busted – wide feet are almost entirely genetic! In some cases, wide feet can be due to physical trauma, obesity, or going shoeless too often during early development…but the most likely reason is purely genetics.

Keep your feet happy and see your podiatrist to talk about what you can do for your wide feet. Give us a call at (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston, Texas and the downtown area.

diabetic limb loss awareness

Diabetic Limb Loss Awareness

In addition to April being Foot Health Awareness Month, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association, it is also Diabetic Limb Loss Awareness Month! In the podiatric world, the loss of the foot below the ankle is more common than you might think. Did you know that limb amputations account for nearly 25% of the annual Medicare expenditures in the U.S.? Astonishingly, this translates into over two thousand amputations per day.

Thankfully, many of these are non-traumatic amputations, the majority of them due to ulcerative complications from diabetes. Ulcers are open sores that heal slowly or fail to completely heal. These sores are at risk of repeatedly breaking open during the healing process, leaving them vulnerable to severe, prolonged infection. Some signs and symptoms of diabetic ulcers can include discoloration, swelling, warmth and tenderness, foul-smelling discharge, and callused or thickened skin around the wound.

In patients with diabetes, ulcers on the feet often develop due to the destruction of blood vessels and nerve endings, otherwise known as diabetic neuropathy. These blood vessels supply the nerves in the feet with oxygen and nutrients. When they become damaged or completely destroyed through neuropathy, the feet of a diabetic patient become extremely vulnerable to developing ulcers. Approximately 15% of patients with diabetes, especially those with Type 2 diabetes, will lose a limb due to an ulcer.

However, studies done by today’s medical professionals show that the majority of non-traumatic amputations are avoidable when the patient receives consistent and high-quality podiatric care. The most efficient way to reduce a patients vulnerability to ulcerative amputation is not only consistent and high-quality podiatric care, but also consistent and high-quality primary and home care to work at increasing their circulatory health, lowering their blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol levels.

With the support of your podiatrist and primary care physician, managing and preventing ulcers to reduce a diabetic patients’ risk of needing an amputation is more than hopeful! Give Dr. Scott McKinney and team a call today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule your next appointment and help spread awareness about diabetic limb loss.

The Do’s & Don’ts of Shoe Shopping

It’s time to get a new pair of shoes with the change of season coming up and you’ve found yourself baffled by the whole process – don’t worry, you’re not alone! It can be overwhelming to search for a new pair of shoes with confidence, but Dr. Scott McKinney is always here to help. Here are some do’s and don’ts of shoe shopping to assist your search.

DO try before you buy… Buying a new pair of shoes online is easy and tempting for just about anyone with a busy life, but trying them on in store before buying them can save you time and grief if they don’t fit or support your feet how they should!

DON’T skip on quality because of cost… This is easier said than done, we understand! But in the long run, spending a bit more on properly fitting shoes saves you both money and fatigue in your feet and ankles. Quality means they’re built to last!

DO factor in orthotic inserts… When you’re trying on a pair of shoes but you wear a pair of custom orthotic inserts, bring them with you! If your shoes fit without them, they will only feel snugger and increase your chances of fatigue and discomfort during physical activity when the insert is put in.

DON’T assume it will “stretch out”… This is a common podiatric myth – consider it debunked! Not every pair of shoes will stretch out when you wear them for a while. Sure, you need to “wear in” a pair of shoes, but if they’re uncomfortable from the start… take this as a sign they’re not right for your feet.

DO research the brand and read reviews… Nothing makes your decision-making process easier than reading some reviews and researching some brand names. If a brand advertises being wide-foot friendly but their reviews say otherwise, it’s time to say…NEXT!

DON’T forget about socks… Similar to orthotic inserts, make sure you consider what kind of socks you wear on a regular basis…and on an irregular basis! If you mostly wear thin socks, keep the winter season in mind when you might switch to thicker socks and your shoes may be a little snugger on your feet.

DO check in with your podiatrist… When searching for a new pair of shoes that fits just right, be sure to check in first with your trusted podiatrist. Getting an exam out of the way will keep you in-the-know about what will be the best investment for you and your feet.

It’s as easy as calling and scheduling with us today to be on your way to shoe shopping with care and confidence. Our staff at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. is happy to help you at (713) 946-1500.

3 Ankle Hacks for Spring Time

This past winter sure was a rough one, but it’s time to put it past us and spring forward! The bears aren’t the only creatures coming out of hibernation at this time of year. Springtime fills the heart with inspiration to get moving, but if you’re like most people, you might have been pretty sedentary during the winter season.

When we get up and moving again, it’s important to keep our ankles in mind. As the snow melts and transforms dirt into mud, our risk of slipping or falling can increase. No part of our body despises slipping and falling like our ankles do! Each time we injure our ankles it becomes that much more difficult to heal — it can sometimes even lead to chronic ankle sprains. This spring, keep in mind these 3 hacks for your ankle health when considering your new pair of shoes:

Hack #1 – Stabilize Your Step!

When looking for a new pair of shoes, think “stabilization.” You can tell when shoes are better for stabilizing your step if they are advertised as especially supportive or are ankle-high. Footwear that covers part or all of your ankle keeps you stable when your ankle slips or slides into a weird position.

Hack #2 – Good Grip? No Slip!

Along with stabilization, consider the quality of your shoes’ grip as another great hack for your ankle health. You wouldn’t go hiking in flip flops, right? That’s a recipe for a sprained ankle! The better texture and grip your shoes have, the less likely you are to slip and fall. No matter your age or weight, getting a good grip on your footwear is the key to avoiding unnecessary injuries.

Hack #3 – Support Your Soles!

Last but not least – one of the most important hacks mentioned here is to consider the support of your soles. A big piece of the foot health puzzle is making sure the soles of your shoes are truly supportive for your feet. If they provide great support for your feet, they’re also providing support for your ankles by reducing fatigue in other areas of your feet that may contribute to fatigue-related weakness.

Looking for more ways to hack your foot and ankle health? Take the time to talk to Dr. Scott McKinney at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A., to learn more. Visit us online or call us at (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment! Your feet and ankles will thank you.

3 Most Common Myths About Feet

Here at McKinney’s Podiatric Associates, P.A., we’ve decided to start off April the right way by celebrating “Foot Health Awareness Month” with the American Podiatric Medical Association! Though your foot health is always important to us, April is a great time of the year to talk about dispelling some of the myths of foot health. Here are three myths about foot health that have been myth-busted by our podiatrists:

Myth #1 – “Feet get worse with age.”

The first myth to be busted is that our feet get worse as we age! Though aging is an unavoidable process of life, word has it that it’s “natural” or “normal” for our feet to worsen with age. Well, you can consider this myth busted: it’s not true! Our muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones do age along with us, but many of the symptoms and conditions we associate with “old age” are preventable. Establishing a relationship with your podiatrist as soon as you experience problems is the best way to avoid your feet worsening as you grow older.

Myth #2 – “Walking barefoot is good for our feet.”

Many people believe that walking barefoot is good for the health of their feet – they feel that it can strengthen their muscles and toughen them up. The strange part about this is that the only thing “toughening up” when we walk barefoot is the skin of our feet. When we walk barefoot, it leaves our sensitive skin and muscles exposed to harsh terrain. This can lead to developing callused feet, or extremely thickened skin, to protect your skin from the terrain. Calluses can be uncomfortable and unsightly, and our feet are simply not equipped to walk barefoot anymore, so do them a favor – wear protection in the form of supportive shoes!

Myth #3 – “Our feet don’t need sunscreen.”

Our third myth to be busted is perhaps the farthest from the truth – no matter what part of your body is exposed to the sun, it needs to be protected from harmful UV rays that can cause sunburn and potentially even skin cancer. Since our feet are covered up the majority of the time, the skin on the top of our feet is especially sensitive to the sun’s harsh rays. If you’re wearing sandals, be proactive and apply sunscreen at least 15-20 minutes before putting them on to head outside. Your feet will thank you later!

We may have only gone over 3 of the most common myths about feet but trust us, there is a whole lot more where that came from! Take this opportunity to celebrate foot health awareness month by calling in today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment with your trusted podiatrist.

Spring Into Fitness

Have you been trying to get inspired to get in shape? We all know how hard it can be to get started. Here’s the thing – getting in shape isn’t just about losing weight. Becoming physically fit benefits all parts of your body, including your feet and ankles! When you start getting active, your whole body experiences positive changes. Physical activity, when performed safely and appropriately for your level of physical fitness, can help improve the flexibility and strength of the ligaments and muscles in your ankles.

As crazy as it seems, being active can actually help decrease some of the aches and pains we get in our feet and ankles after a long day. When you experience weight loss, even just a few pounds, your feet and ankles greatly benefit from the reduction in weight load on their inner structures. This can help reduce fatigue and swelling from long days on your feet.

For those of us with a history of ankle injuries or other conditions, such as bunions or plantar fasciitis, you want to make sure you start out slow. Sitting down with your trusted podiatrist to talk about your options and resources is a great place to start! Sometimes, simply starting out with a light stretching routine every morning is all you need to create a snowball-effect of fitness. Getting off to a slow start is the key to avoiding injuring yourself further and potentially delaying your progress on your journey to fitness.

If you feel ready to have a conversation with Dr. Scott McKinney about the benefits fitness and weight loss may have on the health of your feet and ankles, reach out! Spring just arrived, but with summer only a few months away, you’ll thank yourself later. Call us at (713) 946-1500 and schedule an appointment at one of our eight convenient locations in the Houston area.

The Silent Symptoms of Poor Circulation

If you were to ask someone how they would rate their circulatory health on a scale of one to ten, you would probably get a confused look followed by “uhh, I don’t know.” If you’re lucky, they might even give it a half-hearted guess! Stop and think – have you ever thought about your circulation? What about ways to improve it? If your answer is no, that’s okay! Dr. Scott McKinney says it’s never too late to get interested.

If you’ve ever had a trip to your podiatrist because of pain in your feet, you will want to know how to tell if your circulation is silently becoming a problem. For some people, it starts out simply with some aches and pains in their feet after a long day. As their decreased circulation goes without medical attention, they may also experience their feet becoming cold easily and quickly, or their feet will “fall asleep” and feel like “pins and needles” more often than before.

When poor circulation worsens, it will develop into more outwardly noticeable symptoms, such as a decrease in hair growth from the knees down or their toes becoming discolored to shades of red, purple, or even blue. Even in the early stages of poor circulation, simply putting your feet up and taking all pressure off of your soles feels immensely relieving. Understandably, putting your feet up feels great for anyone! It’s typically when you have two or more of these early warning symptoms that poor circulation should become a front and center concern for you and your trusted podiatrist.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to help improve your circulation! For starters, making sure your shoes aren’t too tight, or even opting for orthotic shoes can help improve the circulation in your feet. If you work in an office, making sure you stand and walk around every 15-30 minutes can help improve circulation as well. Maybe next year you could opt for standing at the bar on St. Patrick’s Day instead of sitting!

These and more fantastic tips to improve your circulatory health are just an appointment away. If you suspect you’re experiencing poor circulation, don’t wait until it gets worse. Visit us online to schedule an appointment or call our main office today at (713) 946-1500. At McKinney’s Podiatric Associates, P.A., we’re here to help you put your health first.

How Are Tiger Claws Similar To My Toenails?

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to talk about toenails. What is there to talk about? You may be surprised at some interesting facts about our toenails. Our toenails often get trapped in sweaty shoes, stubbed up against curbs or stairs, or cut too short during a trip to the nail salon. They may seem like more of a burden, but it turns out that the nails on our toes do a lot more than we give them credit for!

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, our nails served a much different purpose than they do today. When humans were hunters and gatherers, we didn’t use shoes! As horrifying as that sounds, our feet, and toenails adapted to our needs by toughening up the skin on our feet into calluses, as well as the thickness and length of our toenails. This came in handy when we spent long periods of time walking and foraging in all kinds of different terrain.

As you may have thought, this means our toenails serve a similar purpose to the claws of other animals! Our toenails certainly don’t look like the claws of a tiger, but when it comes to function, they are similar in nature. Our toenails are made from a type of protein called “alpha-keratin” that also makes up the claws, hooves, and horns of other animals. This means that your toenails are made of the same stuff that a billy goats horns are made of!

At McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A., we are here to help you protect your feet from painful, inconvenient ingrown toenails. Podiatrists like Dr. McKinney are passionate about helping you feel better! Visit us online to learn more and to easily schedule an appointment at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns, or by calling us today at (713) 946-1500.