Is Your Podiatrist The Right Fit For You?

The first month of 2018 is over and some of us are just now really getting to the meat of our yearly to-do lists. Better now than never, right? For healthy Americans, their to-do list includes an annual trip to their healthcare providers, such as a podiatrist! However, doing a quick Google search for podiatrists in your area can sometimes yield overwhelming results and reviews can be confusing or misleading. Maybe you’re lucky and got a recommendation from a family member or friend! But how do you know if the recommendation means this podiatrist is the right fit for you? Here are a few strategies and questions to ask yourself before making your decision.

Check out their website and read reviews. Often times, most podiatrists websites will have a section dedicated to displaying the doctor’s picture and summary of their credentials. Because some people are only comfortable with male or female doctors, this can be a huge help! A surefire sign of a great podiatric practice is when they offer bountiful resources and information about their services and the conditions they treat. Even better, an active blog for the practice says that they care about educating their patients.

Lastly, give them a call! The first line of support comes from their receptionists. A helpful, positive front desk staff is a great way to set apart one practice from another. If browsing their website inspired your curiosity about certain services, take this as an opportunity to ask! Great communication is vital to developing a relationship with your podiatrist and their staff.

Arguably, one of the most important first steps when looking into a potential podiatrist is whether or not they are covered by your insurance. This will save you a lot of time and effort, and potential heartache, if a podiatrist you’re very fond of turns out to not accept your particular insurance. If you’re unsure based on their website, give them a call and confirm!

At McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A., your comfort, and satisfaction are a top priority. We’re more than happy to help you schedule your next appointment with Dr. Scott McKinney. You can send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.

Identifying Foot Pain

During the winter months, some of us tend to become more sedentary…unless you’re on top of those New Year’s resolutions! This gives our feet a chance to rest up, a definite perk for those winter months. However, that rest can sometimes mask problems with our feet due to being less active and irritating our problem areas less often. When you start to become more active again, these underlying pains and areas of discomfort become very apparent to us.

Over half of U.S. citizens experience some sort of foot pain or discomfort in their lifetime. Considering how our feet are made up of hundreds of bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, identifying exactly what is wrong and where can be a difficult task. When you experience pain in your foot, it’s helpful to observe when, where, and how your foot experiences any pain. For example, if the pain happens on the top of your foot when you feel pressure in the middle sole of your foot, this can indicate a different problem than if you only experience pain in another area when going down a flight of stairs.

A helpful way to identify the specific areas so that you are best prepared to identify them in your next appointment with a podiatrist is to practice a few exercises. While sitting, stretch your leg outwards and roll your ankle around. Practice pointing your foot up and down, side to side, and around in a circle while curling your toes off and on. Pay close attention to when and where you experience pain during these exercises and note them for your doctor.

While seated, you can also roll the soles of your feet across a tennis ball to see if this inspires any pain or discomfort. Be sure to do so gently enough to not hurt yourself, but firmly enough to identify problem areas. Using these methods, you and your trusted podiatrist can have an easier time identifying what may be happening within your feet and what treatment methods would be best for you.

The first step to relieve your foot pain or discomfort is to become your own advocate. Keep track of what pain or discomfort you experience and share it with your trusted podiatrist at your next appointment with Dr. Scott McKinney. You can send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.

Foot Pain Is Partly To Blame

Imagine you’re just twelve years old again — somewhere around that age. You were hopping, skipping, jumping all over the place without a care in the world! It’s easy to forget, but once upon a time our limbs, ligaments, and bones could tolerate harsh impact and stretching in awkward ways from our childish adventures.

If you’re like us, you even remember walking on pebbles and gravel without a care! Today, however, it’s much easier to notice the difference. This is especially true for those with frequent podiatric issues throughout their lifetime. There’s no shame in aging — everyone does it! But with aging comes a new normal, and sometimes that new normal means consistent pain or discomfort in our feet and ankles.

That pain and discomfort doesn’t have to control your life or negatively impact your daily activities but the truth for many folks today is that, unfortunately, it does. Recent studies have shown that over half of American citizens experience daily pain and discomfort in their feet and ankles. For folks in the older age range, research shows that this translates into a higher risk of falling and injuring themselves.

In one study, over 1,300 patients over the age of 50 were surveyed. The study showed that nearly 20% of these patients had fallen in the last year, and a smaller percentage had fallen twice or more in the last year. While 20% doesn’t seem like much, in correlation to the entire population of folks over 45-50 years of age in the U.S., it’s a significant number. The numbers speak even more loudly when considering that researchers found nearly 62% of patients who experienced one or more falling incidents also reported having consistent foot and ankle pain or discomfort.

What does this mean for you? These numbers may seem troubling, but it doesn’t have to be! It’s easier to avoid becoming part of the statistics when you regularly see your trusted podiatrists here at McKinney’s and become a supportive ally to your feet and ankles.

You’ve imagined yourself without foot pain, now let’s make it as best of a reality as we can! Take the next best step and reach out to your trusted podiatrist. Ask Dr. Scott McKinney at your next appointment what options are available for you. Send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.

When In Doubt…Schedule It Out!

If you’re like nearly half of Americans, you likely suffer from some form of discomfort or pain in your feet or ankles. However, you have a chance to be different. How? By utilizing your podiatrists here at McKinney Podiatric Associates! With the New Year steamrolling in, now is a better time than ever to give us a call and schedule your next foot and ankle checkup. In the meantime, did you know there are plenty of ways to care for your foot and ankle health at home when your discomfort is mild? Here are just a few ways to care for the part of your body that arguably works the hardest to keep you moving!

Rest and relaxation are key. Now, this doesn’t mean you can go quitting your day job to rest all day long! What this really means is that it’s important to set aside time for yourself when you feel that you’re close to or might have overworked your feet or ankles. Especially if you’ve had a foot or ankle related injuries in the past, paying mind to their stress tolerance goes a long way.

When pain and discomfort are mild, the simple act of self-massage, a hot soak, or elevating your feet will do you and your aching feet wonders. These pain relief methods are easy and affordable — all you need is what you already have at home! It’s good to keep in mind, however, that when the pain and discomfort don’t

easily subside or you find yourself frequently relying on over the counter pain relief, a trip to the podiatrists sooner rather than later is a good idea. If you haven’t already, be sure to bring up the topic of orthotics at your next visit…they will change your entire view on how comfortable shoes can be!

Remember, if simple methods for relieving mild pain and discomfort at home does not work for you like they used to, it’s time to schedule yourself to see us! Ask Dr. Scott McKinney at your next appointment and what options are available for you. Send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.

 

Signs & Symptoms of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

For those of us with diabetes, diabetic neuropathy is a commonly talked about condition. Even if your diabetes is well controlled, it’s always good to know what the signs and symptoms are of conditions that you are more likely than others to develop. Arming yourself with knowledge is the best ally in prevention and the best defense in catching it early on!

Diabetic neuropathy, as the name implies, is the occurrence of neuropathy in an individual with diabetes. Neuropathy is when the nerves are diseased or dysfunctional, which can cause various symptoms ranging from weakness to numbness in the extremities. There are four different types of neuropathy: peripheral, autonomic, radiculoplexus, and mononeuropathy. According to the statistics, at least half of diabetic individuals will experience peripheral neuropathy in their lifetime. When a person with diabetes suspects they have peripheral neuropathy, studies have shown that the following symptoms are the most commonly experienced:

  1. Tingling, burning, freezing, prickling, or stabbing sensations.
  2. Heightened sensitivity to hot and cold, vibrations, or touch.
  3. Weakened muscle movements or instability.
  4. Dizziness, lightheadedness, or digestive issues.

For many people with peripheral neuropathy, the tingling, burning, or sensations of numbness commonly start out slow in their extremities and spread upwards from the fingers or toes. A heightened sensitivity to temperatures, vibrations, or touch can be especially dangerous when paired with weakness in the muscles and dizziness — so it’s no surprise that many folks with peripheral neuropathy may experience falling more frequently as their symptoms arise. What comes as a surprise to many people who are diagnosed with diabetic peripheral neuropathy is that their increase in sweating and bladder or bowel problems were indicative of neuropathy developing. Knowing these symptoms can help you or a loved one identify neuropathy early on!

If any of these signs or symptoms sound familiar to you, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Ask Dr. Scott McKinney at your next appointment what options are available for you. Send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.

New Years Resolution: Prevent A Fall

All of us at McKinney’s would like to officially welcome you into the New Year! We hope your celebration was fun, meaningful, and safe for everyone. If you’re like most fellow Texans, you might have set a New Year’s goal to eat a little healthier, take the stairs more often, or walk the family dog a few times extra daily. However, for some of us, our goals were a little more simple: prevent falls from happening.

Though injuries from falling occurs across all ages, statistics show us that falling is the leading cause of severe to fatal injury in people over 65 years of age. We’re not sure about others, but that certainly inspires us to do some research on fall prevention! The biological systems responsible for helping us prevent falls from happening include our bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and most importantly: our central nervous system! In order for the latter to respond to a hazard that might make us fall, our central nervous system needs to be able to process the sensory input telling us that these risks exist. However, if we are unaware of risks, there is little time for us to prepare and prevent a fall.

According to various studies, the primary causes of falls include footwear and foot pain. It seems like a no-brainer, but your choice of footwear has a lot to do with your level of protection against accidental slips and falls. It’s a combination of the support of a shoe to your foot and the ability of the shoe to provide traction in a variety of situations. In this case, if you feel you are at risk of falling more than before or think you may become at risk, talking to your doctor about orthotics and recommended footwear is a fantastic start. When considering foot pain, unaddressed discomfort in our feet can become dangerous. If you have an untreated heel spur or a painful bunion, certain movements can trigger pain reflexes that weaken your feet and ankles, making you prone to fall.

If reading this post makes you wonder if you’re more prone to falling because of foot pain or improper footwear, don’t hesitate to ask for help. We’re here for you at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A.! Ask Dr. Scott McKinney at your next appointment what options are available for you. Send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.

Bunionectomy: Is Surgery Necessary?

Let’s say the past few times you’ve visited the podiatrists you’ve brought up a recurring issue with your foot. That issue is pain and discomfort, and the pain is localized around your big toe. Over the past year you’ve noticed your big toe has shifted to point inward and at the base of your big toe, there’s a bulge that has grown in size. That bulge is often warm to the touch and is agitated with higher levels of activity, like running or jumping. It’s a burning, aching pain that throbs at its worst. But what if you haven’t gotten to the point of your bunion developing that the discomfort tends to keep you up at night? How do you know when surgical intervention is necessary?

A bunion happens when your big toe is deformed due to a bony growth at the base of the toe bone. This growth pushes your toe inward and causes inflammation and pain, visible to us by redness and swelling around the growth. Sometimes this happens slowly and never becomes an issue beyond occasional discomfort…but other times, the deformity and its accompanying discomfort can become debilitating. It can negatively impact the sufferers sleeping habits, keeping them up at night, and can deter them from getting the exercise they need due to exercise being too painful on their affected foot.

When the deformity is still relatively mild, treating the bunion at home with pain relief methods can be highly successful. These methods include anti-inflammatory medications, bunion splints to relieve pressure from the bony growth, personal massage, and much more. However, for many, those do-it-yourself treatments aren’t enough and surgical intervention is the next step.

With the support of your podiatrists at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A., surgical intervention isn’t all that intimidating. Although they are a nuisance, bunions are extremely common — which means that bunionectomy, or the surgical correction of a bunion, are commonly performed. There’s little reason to worry and many reasons to ask Dr. Scott McKinney at your next appointment what options are available for you. Send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.

 

Gout 101

Arthritis, an inflammatory disease of the joints in our bodies, effects approximately 350 million people in the world today. In the US alone, nearly 40 million people are affected! If you’re one of those people, you know all too well how arthritis can make being physically active more difficult…But did you know that it also puts you at risk for developing gout, too? Gout is a form of arthritis where crystals of uric acid build up within the joints, causing painful inflammation, redness, swelling, and can even lead to kidney failure when severe or left untreated. Among those affected by arthritis, only 4% will develop gout–which is 4% too many!

The onset of gout is quick and marked by the affected area becoming discolored and warm to the touch. Though gout can affect many joints in the body, such as those within our knees, fingers, wrists, and elbows, it can also attack our ankles and feet. The most common joint for gout to affect is our big toe, another reason to always check with your trusted podiatrists to see if you’re at risk for developing gout. Thankfully, most cases of gout will subside within a few hours, sometimes days. Even more rarely, some cases of gout can last over a week!

Interestingly, men are affected more often than women by gout, and black men even more often than white men. Other risk factors that can make someone more susceptible to developing gout include obesity, alcohol consumption, high blood pressure, certain medications, conditions, and diseases that can cause elevated uric acid levels, people with hypothyroidism, and those with any abnormalities in kidney function. Don’t let this information discourage you — gout can be treated and even prevented with proper diet, exercise, hydration, and regular check-ups with your podiatrist.

Ask Dr. Scott McKinney at your next appointment if gout is a condition you need to worry about and how to decrease the likelihood of developing gout. Send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.

3 Methods for Bunion Relief

Among some of the most common ailments found in podiatry patients are dreaded bunions. Many people don’t realize they have a bunion, especially if it’s been there a long time or hasn’t become noticeably painful. However, if it has become uncomfortable, there’s no doubt that you may have tried at home or store-bought remedies to ease the discomfort. These methods can work for some and keep it at bay from developing further, but nothing can outmatch the support and treatment of our trained podiatrists.

Sometimes the “do-it-yourself” method is a necessary trial-and-error process before realizing an appointment is needed. You may wonder what DIY treatments for bunions you can perform at home. Here are the top 3 do-it-yourself methods for managing bunion discomfort at home:

  1. The sling: Whether it’s a literal sling or a splint, the main goal here is to keep your big toe straight. This takes some pressure off of the bony growth and can provide relief from discomfort, as well as possibly slowing down the process of it developing further. People commonly wear these to bed!
  2. The cushion: Wearing shoes becomes a hassle when you’ve got bunions because of how its material rubs up against the tender bony growth. A bunion cushion provides relief by creating a soft barrier to lessen the impact and friction between your bunion and shoe.
  3. The insert: If you haven’t already used them, shoe inserts are a fantastic way to take your foot health to the next level. You’ve heard of inserts for heel or arch pain, but did you know there are inserts made for aligning the foot to relieve bunion discomfort? Combined with other methods, this can be a great way to slow down the progression of a bunion.

There are many ways to manage the discomfort that accompanies a bunion, but not every relief method will work for everyone. When relief methods aren’t working for you, it’s definitely time to see the foot doctor! Ask Dr. Scott McKinney at your next appointment what options are available for you. Send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.

DIY: Is It Worth It?

If you’ve been on the internet recently, it’s hard not to notice how common videos and articles about corns and calluses have become. They’re among the top podiatric issues that plague many people just like you! While corns and calluses generally do not cause discomfort, they can be unsightly and displeasing. Along with many of the articles and videos about corns and calluses comes an array of advice on how to treat them yourself at home.

While some folks get it right, others sometimes give advice that can be downright hazardous. For example: using an unsterilized razor blade to shave off calluses! This is a recipe for disaster — there is nothing to protect you from your grip slipping, and unsterilized equipment can cause infection if you were to go too deep.

If you want to go the DIY route, be sure to get tools that are meant for your safety. Many products marketed as “pedicure” tools are safe to use. For example, a round “egg” like tool with a bottom that looks like a cheese grater can be great to work away at corns and calluses. They’re best used after soaking your feet in warm water and can provide some aesthetic relief to the appearance of your feet.

As with any DIY treatments, proceed with caution–if you are working away at a corn or callus and it hurts you, listen to your body and stop. If this happens or if you ever find yourself unsure of a pedicure tools safety, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at McKinney’s Podiatric Associates, P.A.! It’s better safe than sorry when it comes to the health of your feet, especially if you are prone to infection.

Doing it yourself can be relaxing and easy, but only when done with your safety in mind. Never second guess yourself if you’re unsure, we are always here to help! At your next appointment with our doctors at McKinney Podiatric Associates, ask about the doctor’s recommendation for at home corn and callus treatments. To learn more, message us or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule your next appointment with Dr. McKinney and associates at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.