arthritis

Arthritis Awareness

Did you know that arthritis is categorized as a type of disability? Arthritis is actually one of the leading causes of disability among adults in the U.S. Though many people see arthritis as an inevitable fact of life, education and prevention are keys in managing life with arthritis. Nearly 54 million adults have been diagnosed with arthritis – among other foot problems. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, affecting approximately 31 million people today. When it comes to the numbers, women are affected by arthritis more often than men. This can be attributed partially to the majority of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers being women. There have been connections found between certain conditions and a person’s likelihood of developing arthritis, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Despite arthritis affecting so many people each year, being diagnosed with arthritis or knowing that you might be at risk doesn’t have to be a negative experience! When caught early, arthritis in the feet can be easily managed between you and your podiatrist. Even if you didn’t catch it early, there are some simple ways to help relieve and reduce the symptoms and side effects of having arthritis. Though these tips and tricks will vary depending on the severity and type of arthritis you are afflicted with, here are some helpful ways to manage to live with arthritis:

When your feet and ankles hurt from arthritis, we feel inclined to rest our aching joints. Studies have shown, however, that being active and keeping your joints moving actually helps reduce the pain and discomfort associated with arthritis. As a result, you may lose weight – this will help relieve pain by reducing the workload on your joints!

A piece of advice we all know like the back of our hands, yet following it is sometimes easier said than done. When you eat better, you feel better. Junk food feeds the inflammation that causes arthritis to become more painful…switch the soda for a smoothie! Fruit is great but vegetables are the best. Don’t forget to be mindful of your alcohol intake – since alcohol can be especially triggering to arthritis, keep the phrase “everything in moderation” in mind!

Get yourself on the right track by calling us at (713) 946-1500 and seeing Dr. Scott McKinney at one of our eight convenient locations in the Houston, Texas area.

Change Up How You Lace Up

Did you know that there are different ways you should be tying your shoelaces depending on what kind of feet you have? It doesn’t seem like something that’s all so important, but when you think about it, it makes so much sense! If you have wide feet, why would you string your laces on your shoes the same way that someone with narrow feet would? Here are a few tips and techniques to help you figure out the best way to lace up your shoes!

Lacing Techniques for Narrow Feet

Studies have shown that narrow feet benefit more from a lacing technique utilizing the eyelets that are farthest from the tongue of their shoes. This allows for the sides of the shoe to be brought up towards your arch and hug the narrow shape of your feet. Though it’s important to find shoes that fit and support your feet from the start, this trick can come in handy if and when your shoes start to stretch and wear out. Don’t lace up too tightly, however! This can cause calluses, foot odor, or even bunions, from too much tightness and friction.

Lacing Techniques for Wide Feet

The opposite of a narrow foot is a wide foot. Fittingly, a wide foot calls for lacing up using the innermost eyelets closest to the shoe’s tongue. Instead of bringing up the sides of the shoe, it actually drops it down a bit and allows more room to accommodate wider feet. It will come in handy when you’re getting active! This technique can also be used when you have orthotics and need to create more space. Careful not to make it too loose, which can lead to slipping and sliding around in ill-fitting shoes – undoubtedly an uncomfortable experience!

If you’re not the best at lacing up your shoes and need some help, try visiting your nearest shoe store. The employees at a shoe store should be more than happy to help out! Don’t forget, Dr. McKinney is always here to help too. Get your shoes laced up the right way for you at your next appointment! Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule your next appointment at one of our eight convenient locations in Houston, Texas.

barefoot running

To Barefoot, or Not to Barefoot?

It seems to be an age-old debate whether or not barefoot is better for the health of our feet and ankles. While some praise going back to the ways of our early ancestors sans shoes, some swear by the strong bond between modern man and shoe. As it turns out, it’s not as simple as black and white! Like many debates in life, you must consider all sides. There are pros to going barefoot just as there are cons. Let’s start with the pros!

Our shoes often serve to take the pressure and strain off of certain parts of our anatomy. While this is a good thing, it can also mean that over time, some parts of our feet and ankles may weaken if we never go barefoot. If you’ve only ever worn shoes while jogging, it’s going to feel really weird if you suddenly start jogging barefoot! Many people find that walking, jogging, or running barefoot helps them improve their balance and posture.

While this sounds fantastic, take it in stride. Walking, jogging, or running barefoot can be fantastic…but only when the conditions are right! If you plan on being active where there is nothing but concrete, pavement, or other rock-solid ground, catapult those barefoot dreams right out the window. The skin on our feet, as well as our tendons and bones, are especially vulnerable to injury on these surfaces. The shock-absorbing structure of shoes is meant to make physical activity on these harsh surfaces safe for our feet. If you must go barefoot, plan your activity on the soft ground. Try a park with lots of grass, or a hiking trail with a dirt path! Be prepared, however, to get dirty. When being active while barefoot, make sure your feet are clear of any open sores or injuries that you could worsen by taking a misstep while barefoot.

In summary, going barefoot for walking, jogging, or running is really only a good option for very few people in this world. It has its benefits, but for anyone with a history of foot or ankle issues, trust us – you might just want to keep your shoes on. Got any more hankering questions? Ask away at your next appointment with Dr. Scott McKinney in Houston, Texas by calling 713-946-1500 today. We look forward to helping your feet and ankles lead a happier, healthier life!

 

foot problems

Easy Fixes For Your Feet

Have you found yourself with a plethora of minor foot problems? Maybe you stubbed your toe earlier today and it’s still a bit sore, or you wore your new shoes for too long and now you’ve got yourself a big blister! For the foot problems you face, there are plenty of easy fixes for your feet.

Let’s start with those pesky blisters!

Everybody gets them, but nobody likes them. Blisters are painful, inconvenient little sacks of fluid that develop in an area that has experienced high-traffic friction and irritation. The fluid sack, albeit unsightly, serves as a home-made air-bag to protect the raw, irritated skin from further friction. If you find yourself getting blisters often, an easy fix if to cover your problem-spots with band-aids. You can do this to both prevent and help heal a blister that has already formed!

Next up is that sore stubbed toe.

The pain of a stubbed toe can take a few deep breaths to tough it out, but they can remain sore for a day or two afterward. Be wary, however, of pain that lasts longer than a few days! For mild discomfort after a stubbed toe, add an ice-pack covered with a towel to the affected area for a cool, calming touch that will soothe your pain!

Got a “bad” ankle?

If you’ve fallen a few times or sprained your ankle before, this can contribute to long-term foot and ankle pain. This can translate into your ankle easily becoming fatigued after walking or exercising, other times it may mean that your ankle quickly becomes swollen throughout your daily routine. Try investing in a compression sleeve for your ankle. Compression sleeves work by gently squeezing your ankle and promoting faster blood flow and circulation that can decrease swelling and pain in your ankle.

Remember, these easy fixes might be quick for you to do at home, but if your discomfort continues or worsens, be sure to reach out to Doctor Scott McKinney. Our team at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. is here to help when easy fixes don’t quite fix you up! Call our office today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule your next appointment at our location in Houston, Texas.

gout

Getting Active with Gout

As someone living with gout, you are already fully aware of the pain and discomfort that can come with a gout flare-up including going about your daily activities — even just standing! Although doctors would recommend rest and seeking medical attention for severe gout flare-ups, it’s a wise move to talk to your doctor about how to accommodate other activities in your life when your feet aren’t experiencing a flare-up.

What about exercise? When you live with gout, exercise can be even more cumbersome than before. Leading podiatrists agree that while it may be difficult, it’s not impossible to still lead a physically active life when living with gout. When a gout flare-up happens, it can be extremely painful. Gout causes uric acid crystals to rapidly form in the affected joint, which is most often experienced in the big toe joint of diabetic patients. Those crystals are sharp and painful, causing inflammation, tenderness, and radiating warmth from the affected joints when moving or using your feet.

Because of the painful abrasiveness of these crystals, gout sufferers are strongly discouraged from physical activity during a flare-up. However, when gout is controlled or dormant, physical activity is possible. It’s important to consider low-impact exercise as the most gout-friendly way to get fit. Some low-impact and accessible activities to enjoy with well-fitting shoes include taking a leisurely walk, going for a bike ride, swimming, or doing yoga. Depending on what other illnesses or conditions you may have, the lower the impact the better – swimming will reign supreme here as you are nearly weightless when suspended in water!

If you’re worried or unsure about how to get started with physical activity when living with gout, discuss it further with Dr. Scott McKinney. It’s always better to be safe than sorry – start slow and if it’s painful, stop until you can talk with your trusted podiatrist. Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule your next appointment at one of our eight convenient locations in the downtown Houston area!

sore feet

Summer Heat & Sore Feet

If you haven’t already, now is the time to plan your summer vacation. Just you, a nice breeze, the summer heat, and… sore feet? That last part doesn’t sound very relaxing at all! We know what you’re thinking – we go on vacation to have fun and melt the stress away, not to get our feet and ankles in a jam. Get the most out of your vacation by practicing some of these #lifehacks during your next vacation:

  • When you check in at the concierge, ask for extra towels! By doing this, you’ve ensured that you have protection for your feet before and after each shower. Hotel staff clean thoroughly, but it’s better to be safe than to develop athlete’s foot or an infection if you have an open sore!
  • If you’re someone who enjoys sights and sounds the most when traveling for vacation, this one is especially important for you. If you’re not used to walking a lot, a few miles can go by quickly when you’re in a new place…that means blisters and foot fatigue, ahoy! Get one step ahead by applying blister protection, like a band-aid, and packing a few over-the-counter pain relief tablets.
  • Vacationing by the water? Don’t forget to bring an extra pair of shoes. When your shoes get wet and they’re not dried or changed for quite some time, this leaves room for bacteria to grow while you’re out being active. Bacteria can turn into an infection, fungus, or foot odor. For each pair of shoes, be sure to bring several pairs of socks!
  • Are you ready to be so prepared that your podiatrist will start calling you a foot pro? Hold on to your flip-flops – invest in a pair of orthotics! Go the extra mile and combine them with compression socks. These will help keep your feet comfortable and keep the swelling down.

When you practice these tips, you’ll be relieved when your hard work and preparation comes in handy during your next vacation. Our last and best piece of advice is to check in with Dr. Scott McKinney to make sure all of your feet and ankle needs have been met before the big trip! Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment at one of our eight convenient locations in the Houston, Texas and downtown area.

Feet Can Cause a Stink

Summer is here! Hello swimming, warm weather, flip-flops, and… foot odor? If you’re like us, you’re a bit less enthusiastic about that last one. During the warmer months, foot odor tends to be at its worst. Foot odor is something everyone experiences sometime in their lives, be it odor genuinely coming from their feet or from a stinky pair of shoes leaving a lingering scent. If you’re in your teens or you’re pregnant, you’re more likely than others to develop foot odor, but the truth is – anyone can develop foot odor! Hormonal changes and stress levels have a lot to do with triggering the development of stinky feet. If you find yourself with feet that are causing a stink, heed our advice:

  • Let your feet breathe. We know that flip-flops and other open-toed shoes are popular choices in the warmer months, but did you know that foot odor can still develop even when wearing these kinds of shoes? This is even true for people whose feet might spend an hour or more in a pair of wet shoes, even if they’re open-toed.
  • Sweating it out is a leading cause of food odor. Did you know that our feet can sweat the same way our armpits can? Gross, but fascinating! Foot sweat can be triggered by heat and stress. Same as our armpits, we can use deodorant to combat the effects of sweaty feet. Doing this in combination with practicing quality foot hygiene, like cleaning thoroughly between your toes, will have you on your way to extinguishing foot odor in no time.
  • Variety is the spice of life! If you find yourself struggling with foot odor, try not to wear the same shoes every day. Do you wear uniform shoes for work? If you can, purchase an extra pair to switch every other day. Be especially aware of shoes you wear while exercising. It could just be your shoes that stink, but the build-up of bacteria responsible for that smell can cause your feet to develop an odor too.

Keep these tips in mind to keep your feet happy when you get out and enjoy life this summer. Dr. Scott McKinney is here to help you and your feet thrive! Get your next appointment booked today by calling (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment at one of our eight great locations in the Houston, Texas, and downtown area.

fitness

Happy Feet & Fitness

Do your persistent foot problems have you feeling like getting physically fit is an unattainable goal? First and foremost, make sure you’ve had a recent checkup with Dr. Scott Mckinney before getting started. Secondly, be sure to have properly fitting shoes for physical activity! There are plenty of ways to get active this spring and summer season without putting so much pressure on your feet or ankles. These activities are considered easy on the feet and are sometimes referred to as “low impact” exercises. The options are nearly endless, but here are just a few fitness examples to inspire you to get moving!

  • Weight Lifting – Lifting a set of weights requires very little effort on your feet! Most often, lifting can be done in a sitting position as well to reduce fatigue.
  • Cycling or Biking – Depending on the intensity, biking and cycling work your whole body while putting minimal pressure on your feet due to your weight being evenly distributed.
  • Rowing or Kayaking – When rowing, you rely on your upper body and arms entirely. Your feet and ankles get to relax as you push your upper body using your knees!
  • Hiking or Climbing – The great thing about hiking and climbing is that you get to choose the difficulty by researching your chosen trail ahead of time. A short hike with a steep incline will reduce foot fatigue but do wonders for your cardio needs!
  • Yoga or Pilates – These two activities are relaxing, renewing, and wonderful for improving your stability and circulation. Best of all, it’s easy on your feet!
  • Swimming – Thanks to physics, swimming is the lowest possible impact sport you could imagine. Not only is it low impact on your feet, it’s virtually no impact on your entire body!
  • Walking – The great thing about being bipedal is that it encompasses many different activities in one: hiking, using an elliptical or stair master, golfing, or simply taking a walk in the park.

There you have it – your starter list of physical activities and sports that are low impact exercises and easy on the feet. It can’t be said enough how important it is to check in with your podiatrist before committing to a fitness regimen. Remember, slow and steady wins the race! Get a head start on your spring and summer fitness today by calling us at (713) 946-1500 to schedule your next appointment.

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.