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.

Foot 101: Plantar Fasciitis

Though the top three most common issues to arise with our feet are bunions, calluses, and corns, other foot related issues are still common and just as troublesome to experience! Plantar fasciitis, for example, is when the tendon along the bottom of your feet are damaged. This damage can happen due to a traumatic injury or it can develop over time from over use of the tendon or ill fitting, non-supportive shoes. The pain of plantar fasciitis can be mild to severe and greatly impact your ability to walk.

As a coping mechanism, many people will change the way they walk to avoid or decrease the discomfort associated with their plantar pain. When it goes untreated for long periods of time, sometimes plantar fasciitis can lead to developing a bone spur on the heel where the tendon meets the heel bone. At this point, walking can be too painful to bare and it is likely that the sufferer would already be on their way to their podiatrist for relief!

If you ever find yourself experiencing plantar pain, the first step is to see your podiatrist. Your specialized and trained podiatrist will be able to examine your feet and let you know the options that you have for treatment–from orthotics to surgical intervention. In the meantime, try to find shoes which focus on arch and ankle support. It isn’t a cure, but it will help decrease your pain and discomfort until you and your podiatrist have a closer look at your feet.

At your next appointment with our doctors at McKinney Podiatric Associates, be proactive and ask any questions you may have lingering! To learn more, message us conveniently online 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.

Take A Hike, But Do It Right!

As the leaves change colors and fall from the trees, our choices of footwear change for the season as well. The beauty of the autumn and winter seasons are undeniable. Often times here in Texas, the summer seasons can be too brutal to truly enjoy the great outdoors.

Dr. Scott McKinney encourages you to consider your options to get outside and enjoy the views with friends and family. Not only is it great for your mental health but your physical health too, keeping your legs, ankles, and feet moving and flexible! Maybe you’ve been eyeing a hiking trail and want to try it out this weekend. Here’s some advice on how to tackle your hiking bucket list in a safe way for your feet and ankles.

  • Do some research. When it comes to finding friendly trails, Google is your best friend! You can also ask some friends on social networking websites who could give you personal recommendations as well. You could even invite that friend with you to the trail if they have already been there!
  • When looking for an ideal trail, be sure to consider your current activity level. If you’re often sedentary but want to get active, you might not want to start with Mt. Everest! Find a local park or conservation park with trails that are categorized as “easy” or “family friendly” and that are clearly marked.
  • Once you’ve found a trail to start with, plan your day. This will include not only mapping out where you would like to explore, but bringing the necessities to keep you enjoying your hike. A backpack can hold a water bottle or two, a blanket to take a break on, some light snacks to keep you fueled up, and what ever else you may need!

Last but most importantly: make sure you’re wearing the appropriate shoes! You want a pair of quality shoes with soles that are meant for rough terrain. Even if your trail is paved, you may need to go a bit off trail to get the perfect photograph of that beautiful view. With rocky terrain, you can never be too careful.

Address any questions about proper footwear to help you get active at your next appointment with our doctors at McKinney Podiatric Associates. 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.

4 Tips to Clean Shoes & Happy Feet

Our shoes are there with us through it all. They trek across puddles, through the mud, and against rough gravel and pavement. They may not be able to speak, but your shoes are telling you something: they want to be cleaned. Did you know that you don’t have to always go to a professional to get a shiny finish on your shoes? Here are some tips to help your older shoes look younger again and keep your new shoes looking fresh even longer.

Soak ‘em!

Using a bucket just a little larger than the width of your shoes side by side, fill it with just enough water to soak your shoes up to where the rubber sole meets fabric. You will want to put a tiny, tiny amount of laundry detergent in the water. Put on a pair of gloves and mix it up until the warm water begins to bubble and soak your shoes for 5-10 minutes.

Scrub ‘em!

After the 5 – 10 minute mark, you can take them out of the water and begin scrubbing. Be sure to use a soft bristled brush that is just abrasive enough to get the tough-to-reach dirt in the soles of your shoes but gentle enough to not scratch and damage the rubber. With a damp towel, rub any spots on the other parts of the shoe to clean off debris or dirt. Being that the water in the bucket is dirty, make sure you rinse your shoes off with clean water only.

Dry ‘em!

It’s time to dry! Prepare a dry towel on the floor to place your shoes. If you have a fan in the room, be sure to turn it on as this will help dry it faster. Better yet – if you have an outdoor space and it is a nice day, you can put your shoes outside to be air dried by the warm sun.  Placing them upside down will help them dry even more quickly! Leave your shoes to dry for a few hours.

Spray ‘em!

Now that your shoes are dry, it’s time to spray them. At many shoe stores, you can get an easy to use spray can containing a protective formula that will dry onto your shoes and make them less susceptible to wear and tear, as well as help them be more waterproof. This will ensure that your old shoes stay nice after you’ve worked hard to clean them and will keep your new shoes looking better even longer.

Now you know how to keep your shoes shining throughout the year. At your next appointment with our doctors at McKinney Podiatric Associates, your shoes are sure to impress! 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.

 

 

 

The Top 3 Questions To Ask Your Podiatrist

Do you ever find yourself wondering what sort of questions you should be asking at your podiatry appointments? You’re not alone! It’s bound to happen that folks come to their appointment with their questions and concerns…but when they go home, something else comes up that they forgot to ask! This is totally normal. Here are some tips on what you can ask at your next appointment with Dr. Scott McKinney that may help stimulate a valuable and productive conversation about your foot health.

1. Do I have flat feet?

This is a fantastic question to start out with for many reasons. Flat feet are not only extremely common, but because of their commonality, they often go unnoticed. Flat feet that go unnoticed can sometimes give someone unnecessary discomfort to deal with in their everyday lives. It can be hard to tell if your feet are flat, but asking your podiatrist is the first step to finding out if they are, or if you’re at risk of developing flat feet and what that might mean for your foot health.

2.  Are my shoes good for me?

Much like flat feet, improper shoes for your feet can cause unnecessary discomfort every day that you may not even realize is related to your shoes. Like most people, you may have opted for a cheaper pair of sneakers to wear to the gym…but what do we do at the gym? We work out! Our feet experience a lot more activity than normal. The discomfort you feel afterwards may not be normal and it may be attributed to the kind of shoes you wear!

3.What can I do to improve my foot health?

This is by far our favorite question. Similar to how an apple a day keeps the doctor away, asking good questions at your podiatry appointment can keep your foot discomfort away! Who wouldn’t want that? By asking this question, your doctor is able to tell you their thoughts that are custom tailored to you. They know your foot history and, combined with their education and training in podiatry, are able to give you the best possible advice to keep your feet happy and healthy.

We are all ears! Ask away at your next appointment and visit our doctors at McKinney Podiatric Associates to get started. 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.

See Em’ Before It Snows!

I know what you’re thinking. We just passed Halloween, it’s too early to talk about the snow! The reality is, however, that it is never too early to prepare for the winter months to come…especially when you or a loved one have any foot or ankle related issues. Seeing your podiatrist before the winter season has many benefits…here are just some of those!

  1. Asking all of those questions that have been piling up.Let’s face it. All of us have “the list.” It’s a slowly, or rapidly compiling list somewhere on a sticky note in our desk, on the fridge, or maybe even in our phones. By seeing your podiatrist before it snows, you can get all of those lingering questions off your mind.
  2. Checking up on older issues before the weather gets bad.Depending on how long it’s been since you last saw your podiatrist, it’s probably time to check up on those pre-existing issues from a year ago. Be sure to let the doctor know what has changed in your life, such as your activity level–maybe you just started jogging!
  3. Running your winter footwear by your doctor.Seeing your podiatrist before it snows is a fantastic opportunity to run your winter footwear by them and get the seal of approval…or is it the shoe of approval? Either way, your podiatrist can offer insight into how safe your shoes are for the winter season.
  4. Getting tips and tricks on how to stay foot-safe in the snow.

Speaking of winter footwear, what good is a pair of shoes if you’re not prepared to get the most out of them? You can have the most high quality pair of orthotic shoes, but you will still want to be prepared to keep your feet safe in inclement weather.

Be proactive about your foot health and safety. Visit our doctors at McKinney Podiatric Associates before the snow arrives! 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.

Are you flat-out flat footed?”

Feet are funny things, aren’t they? They look like the distant cousins of our hands and function similar yet very differently. We may not think twice about it, but within our feet are complex architectural systems of ligaments, tendons, and bone. Speaking of bones… there are approximately 206 bones in our entire body by the time we are adults but 26 of those bones are in our feet alone–that’s a whole quarter of the entire population of bones in our bodies!

With so many bones, tendons, and ligaments, it’s no wonder that conditions like flat feet can affect many people today. Flat feet can happen to anyone! Some of those tendons that we mentioned earlier can become worn down or injured over time. This damage to those tendons can lead to that typical arch shape of the foot flattening out.

Did you know that you can tell if your feet are “flat” using this simple trick? When standing straight with your feet flat on the floor, if you feel the bottom of your entire foot contact the ground, you likely have flat feet. If there is a break in sensation, this means your foot is not flat. This can be easier to determine when using a colder or warmer surface to gauge the sensation.

So, you have flat feet–now what? It’s actually normal for some people to have naturally flat feet. It can even run in your family’s DNA! But did you know that learning early on if your feet are flat can save you a lot of time and discomfort? Telling early on that your feet are flat allows your podiatrist to give you a head start on foot smart strategies to reduce any pain or discomfort that can come along with having flat feet.

If you’re sure you have flat feet, or you want the help of a professional to find out, our doctors at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. are here to help. 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.

 

 

3 Ways To Strengthen Your Ankles

These days, folks are always on their feet. We walk everywhere, stand for long periods of time, and sometimes we don’t always wear the most supportive shoes. After some time, if we don’t take care of our feet and ankles, we can make ourselves more susceptible to spraining or breaking our ankles. Taking just ten minutes every day to focus on your ankles flexibility and strength will go a long way to ensure its stability.

1.) Range-of-Motion

While sitting in a chair, use your foot to spell out the entire alphabet. Tracing every letter will stretch and move each ligament and tendon on our ankles. Repeat this 1 to 3 times as you feel comfortable.

2.) Stretching

Grab a towel. Sit in a chair and extend your leg. After rolling the towel up into a tube shape, place it on the ball of your foot while holding both ends. Gently pull towards you while keeping your leg and knee straight. Hold for about one minute, or as long as you feel comfortable. If it is ever uncomfortable, adjust as necessary, or stop altogether.

3.) Balance & Control

While standing, hold on to a secure, anchored object. Then, gently stand up on one ankle. Slowly and carefully lift yourself up to the ball of your foot, and gently lower back down so your feet are flat on the ground.

Remember, just ten minutes per day will have you on your way to better foot and ankle health in the future. 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.

Cramped Toes Cramping Your Style?”

Are cramped toes cramping your style? If you find yourself frequently plagued by unpleasant cramping in your feet or toes, you may want to listen in! Cramps in the feet or toes might be common but this doesn’t mean you have to be in unnecessary pain. If you’ve ever had a cramp in your feet or toes, you know exactly how painful it can be! A cramp can happen at any time. You might be more prone to getting cramps than other people.

Medical Conditions

If you have a medical condition like diabetes or liver disease, you may develop side effects that negatively impact your nerves. Overactive nerves or nerves that do not function properly can be vulnerable to painful cramping. Be sure to check with your podiatrist and see if there is a correlation between your medical conditions and foot cramps.

Medications

Sometimes the medication we take to help us feel better can have unexpected side effects, like susceptibility to cramping. It varies from medication to medication, but diuretics and medications for cholesterol management are known to cause muscle cramping that may affect your feet and toes.

Naturally Aging

When you get older, you eventually begin to lose muscle mass. This means that the muscles left over have to work harder than they did before. Most people start the process of losing muscle mass around age 40, but this can be combatted by being more active as you age.

Activity Levels

Being active will always benefit you no matter what age you are, but physical activity is especially beneficial to those in the aging process. It’s extremely important, however, to understand your boundaries for physical exertion and to stay hydrated. Exerting yourself too much and getting dehydrated are major triggers for cramping!

Our feet are our best allies in this busy world, let’s do what we can to keep them healthy and free of cramping. Contact 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.