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.

Are Your Feet Giving You Trouble?

Do you know when you should go see a podiatrist? It can be hard to tell sometimes! When problems arise with our feet, often times we simply ignore the issue or address it with moderately effective treatments. For example, when you have a bunion, you may just grab a tool meant to cushion the bulge on the side of your big toe to put on when you wear shoes at your local pharmacy. Most of the time, however, this isn’t enough. There is only so much we can do to treat our problems from home. Here are some ways we can tell it’s time to see our podiatrist at McKinney Podiatric Associates:

1.) You have bothersome blisters.

If you have developed blisters, you know how inconvenient they are. Blisters happen so commonly that most folks don’t consider them something to bring up with their podiatrist. If you find yourself frequently developing blisters, we highly encourage you to bring this up with your podiatrist. There could be something right in front our noses contributing to the problem and your podiatrist will help you figure it out!

2.) Calluses and corns are a nuisance.

Not only can they be unsightly, but calluses and corns can also cause discomfort. When you consider how they develop, it makes total sense: the sensitive skin of our feet will thicken into corns and calluses over time where we experience repeated friction and impact. On the thicker parts of our skin, like the pads of our feet or the tips of our toes, we may develop corns and calluses. There are ways to help prevent these from developing and ways to remove them–be sure to ask about it at your next appointment!

3.) Your feet are in business with bunions.

Unlike blisters, corns, and calluses, bunions are a bit more of a commitment. You can take care of corns and calluses, you can nurse a blister away, but once a bunion happens, there are few ways to fix it that don’t involve surgical intervention. If folks in your family have developed them, chances are you will too. When they’re severe, bunions are seriously uncomfortable. Your podiatrist is eager to help you prevent and manage bunions–just schedule an appointment!

We use them all day every day–it’s no surprise that our feet can develop these issues so easily! Be proactive about your foot health. 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.

Foot Health For Fall

We can feel the last stretches of the summer season in the air–however, it’s undeniable that winter is on its way. The air is a little less humid, a little more cool, and let’s not forget.. Everything is pumpkin flavored now! Among all of the lovely perks of the autumn season, there are some “cons” lurking that may pose a risk to our foot health:

With the air getting colder and the weather becoming more harsh, the first risk is to our skin. Second to our faces, cold weather can put us at risk for overly dry skin that can become cracked and painful. In contrast, the cold weather can also pose a risk when our footwear isn’t waterproof and doesn’t protect us from moisture. Excess moisture in the shoes not only may lead to blisters and calluses, but it can also put us at risk for athlete’s foot.

Moisture from the snow and inclement weather can also make it easier to slip when we transition into winter time. Though snow doesn’t always grace the whole of Texas, you never know when it may decide to! Similarly, that moisture can turn to frost, creating icy surfaces in your path. Slipping can so easily lead to a sprained ankle that it is worth every penny you may spend on winter-proof footwear for the season. Shoes with soles that grip the terrain, even in the snow and ice, are the best shoes for winter.

The risks winter has on our foot health are important, but thankfully they don’t outnumber the other joys brought on by the season! Your winter-proof footwear can make autumn’s hiking, apple picking, hay riding, and halloween-candy-eating activities that much safer and more enjoyable this season. If you would like to be smart and proactive about your foot health, it’s time to visit Dr. Scott McKinney at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A.

At your next appointment with us, be sure to ask about any recommendations for your pedicure experience based on your personal history of foot health. Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area!

 

3 Most Common Football Injuries

As the football season kicks off, you may be worried and wondering about what potential injuries your favorite players may face this year. Will it keep them from playing, and for how long? With all of the high intensity gameplay and impact between players, injuries are inevitable. From tackling another player to making a sharp turn to avoid a potential tackle, their bodies are always in rapid motion. That said–did you know that the most common injuries football players face have to do with their feet?

  1. The Big Toe: Think about it–no matter what position a player is in, what’s the first part of their foot to endure any impact? The big toe is what we use to push off when the game starts. The pressure of pushing off isn’t usually enough to injure the big toe, however. It’s when they tackle, or are tackled, that the big toe is in danger. Especially during pile ups, the big toe is vulnerable to being crushed, over extended, or broken.
  2. The Ankle: Along with the big toe, what helps a player push off to start the game? Our ankles are a powerhouse of tendons and ligaments surrounding the bone and have extreme flexibility that is taken advantage of when playing football. Their flexibility allows a player to maneuver quickly to avoid a tackle. Understandably, these quick movements combined with high impact tackling and play fields that are sometimes slippery can be a recipe for a sprained, ruptured, or broken ankle.
  3. The Big Toe Nail(s):  Certainly if the ankle and big toe are at such a high risk of injury when playing football, it’s no surprise that the third most common foot injury in football is to the toenail. The necessary footwear for athletes can be tight, and stopping short or being tackled can cause the foot to smash into an otherwise roomy shoe. Broken or bruised toenails are very common, and this is especially so when the player already has athlete’s foot, a type of fungus that can affect the toenails.

You can rest assured that when your favorite football player finds themselves with a foot related injury, they are promptly cared for by a podiatrist! Because foot injuries are so common for football players, developing a relationship with their podiatrist is crucial to their career. Just as it’s important for them, it’s important for you, too! Be proactive about your foot health and visit Dr. Scott McKinney at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area!

 

The Weight Loss & Foot Pain Connection

While the past few generations have yielded admirable results, the United States has infamously known for its problem with obesity. With our culture’s habits around food and dining, it’s no wonder we tend to weigh on the heavier side-but did you know that even just being 25 lbs. overweight can lead to foot pain and problems? Besides the obvious benefits of developing healthier eating and exercise habits, like feeling better and curbing our vulnerability to developing conditions like diabetes or heart disease, weight loss yields an unsuspected benefit to the health of our feet. When your feet are doing less work and carrying around less weight, this can mean less pain and discomfort for you! Who wouldn’t want that? Excess weight can negatively impact our foot health in a few key ways

  • Feet: Excess weight can, over time, put so much pressure on the many bones of our feet that it weakens our arches and begins to flatten them. Many issues can arise from flat feet, such as decreased flexibility and stability of the feet.
  • Plantar Fasciitis: Something you never want to experience is severe plantar fasciitis-sufferers have been known to describe it as a sharp, stabbing, and burning sensation on the bottoms of their feet. This can happen when excess weight causes the fragile tissues connected to our heel become strained, inflamed, weak, and swollen.
  • Osteoarthritis: Carrying extra weight can also cause the cartilage in our joints to wear down more quickly, leading to pain and stiffness that make it difficult to get active. While aging is the leading cause of developing osteoarthritis, excess weight is a close runner up.
  • Tendinitis: Giving the tendons in our feet more work to do on a daily basis can cause them to become irritated or inflamed. This leads to pain and tenderness that can happen all over the body, but excess weight can cause it to localize in our feet.

But enough about the risks that excess weight can have on your foot health–let’s talk about how weight loss can help your feet become healthier! If you have existing foot issues, or you would like to be smart and proactive about your foot health, it’s time to visit Dr. Scott McKinney at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. At your next appointment with us, be sure to ask about any recommendations for your pedicure experience based on your personal history of foot health. Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area!

Don’t Give Boots the Boot!

It’s a common misconception that boots are just for folks in professions that work mostly outside, in construction, or in any rugged terrain. There is certainly a reason why professionals in these work environments rely on boots to get their work done effectively and safely, but those benefits to wearing a pair of high quality boots aren’t just for working in rugged environments!

Boots are known as a type of shoe that covers a portion of your leg as well as the entirety of the foot. Because it covers more than just your foot, boots are known for their protective qualities, making them ideal for rugged working environments. The history of boots go back as far as ancient Greece, from 3000 to 1400 B.C.E, where shoemaking was performed by highly skilled crafters and considered to be a form of fine art. In Greek mythology, the king “Minos” was infamous for his fashion sense, often portrayed as wearing colorful tunics and skirts and sporting many different kinds of shoes, such as boots. Theater was especially important to the ancient Greeks, and historians found that the stage actors in these dramatic plays wore boots during their performances. Even when boots were used in sporting events, the influence of “Minos” inspired their boots to be colorful and decorative.

The rich history of boots as a reliable and safe, yet fashionable, footwear is undeniable. Today, boots have surely evolved in their aesthetic appearances, but their usage remains the same: as a durable, protective form of footwear that can be just as fashionable as other shoes. If you’ve ever tried on a pair of boots and found them to be too bulky or stiff, chances are you hadn’t found the right pair of boots for you. When you find the right pair, they will fit like a dream! The right pair will have the following qualities:

  • Boots are more protective. Even if you don’t regularly go hiking or work in a rugged environment, it never hurts to add extra protection from external hazards.
  • Boots are warmer! It’s common knowledge that boots are worn more often in colder seasons than in the summer. However, it can sometimes still get pretty chilly on summer evenings!
  • Boots are more stable. When compared to flimsy flip-flops or other kinds of slip-on footwear, boots are far more able to prepare your feet to handle uneven or rugged surfaces.

Here at McKinney Podiatric Associates, our doctors are experienced and knowledgeable. We are eager to help you find the right pair of boots for you–or any kind of shoe for that matter–that will help you have healthier feet. Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment at one of eight locations in the Houston area.

 

 

Your Guide to Ingrown Toenails

As we near the end of the season, hopefully you’ve been able to get out and about this summer despite that Houston heat! If you’re like some folks, you sometimes get active too much too fast, and your feet may pay the price. Among the many conditions that can affect our feet, ingrown toenails are one of the most common–and the most unbearable! Ingrown toenails are painful and inconvenient, sometimes rendering a person immobile if the pain is too severe. Hopefully if an ingrown toenail has reached that point, the sufferer has already sought the help of their trusted podiatrist.

Dr. Scott McKinney strongly advises that if you suspect you are at risk of developing an ingrown toenail or one is currently plaguing you, don’t hesitate to schedule your next appointment. Here are some helpful tips to figure out if the symptoms you’re experiencing are an ingrown toenail, what you can do to treat it, and how to prevent ingrown toenails from developing in the future:

What to watch out for:

  • Feeling pressure near where the corner of the toenail and skin meet.
  • Inflammation and redness.
  • Minor discomfort on or near the nail bed.
  • Infection–inflammation and redness accompanied by warmth and pus.
  • Numbness, burning, or warmth on or around the nail.

Ways to tell if you’re at risk:

  • Improper nail trimming and improperly fitted shoes.
  • Aggressive or amateur pedicures–be selective with your pedicurist and let them know upfront that you need them to be extra careful when trimming your nails.
  • Bunions/flat feet can provoke ingrown toenails from pushing your toe around.
  • Arthritis–similar to bunions and flat feet, it can deform your bone, pushing your toe into the next one and triggering your nail to break the skin.
  • Poor foot hygiene can also turn a moderate ingrown toenail into a full blown infection.
  • Naturally curling-inward toenails call for extra precaution to prevent frequent and recurrent ingrown toenails.

How to take care of it:

  • Soaking your feet in warm water to soothe inflammation.
  • Gently lifting the nail bed–this is easier to do when the nail is soft from a foot soak. If it is too painful, please seek the help of your podiatrist.
  • Sitting down with Dr. McKinney to talk about proper nail trimming, finding better fitting shoes, if pedicures are right for you, and so much more

At McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A.,we are here to help you protect your feet from painful, inconvenient ingrown toenails. Podiatrists like Dr. McKinney help people take better care of their feet! Get to know us and how our quality care can help you by scheduling your next appointment at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns, or by calling us today at (713) 946-1500.

 

The Podiatrist Difference

Everyone knows that they should go to the doctors at least once per year–you get weighed, have some bloodwork done, receive a flu vaccine, the works. Primary care doctors are like operators: they help you when you have a cold, but most other issues, they direct you to where you need to go–to a specialist! When it comes to the bottom half of your body down to the bones, muscles, and tendons, primarily your feet, a primary doctor can only do so much to help you. A good doctor will recommend you to see a podiatrist when your complaints or symptoms align with what may be a podiatry related issue.

This might make you wonder: what is the difference between a primary care doctor and a podiatrist? A podiatrist is a doctor in the same way that your primary care doctor is, meaning that podiatrists have completed the same foundational schooling as primary care doctors. To specifically become a podiatrist, our doctors have gone on to continue their education and specialize in the foot, ankle, and related body systems, such as the nerves, tendons, muscles, and bones within your feet and ankles.

A podiatrist spends four additional years studying podiatric medicine in a post-graduate residency program. During this time, their entire lives are dedicated to their craft. After they finish the additional four years of podiatric studies, they are not a podiatrist just yet:

  • First, they must pass their national and state examinations to become licensed to practice podiatric medicine in a certain state…like Texas!
  • If a podiatrist has passed their national and state examinations they can now go on to practice as a licensed podiatrist…
  • …or they can choose to continue their education further to become a podiatric surgeon by pursuing certification from the American Board of Podiatric Surgery.

At McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A., Dr. Scott McKinney went through intensive studies, training, and certification processes to ensure that you get the best care to ensure the health of your feet. Podiatrists like Dr. McKinney help people of all ages with their podiatry related problems, like hammer toes, bunions, athlete’s foot, and much more. Podiatrists are specially trained to diagnose, treat, and prevent these conditions and diseases to help you lead a healthier, happier life. Get to know Dr. McKinney and staff by scheduling your next appointment with Dr. McKinney and associates at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns, or call us today at (713) 946-1500.

 

 

“Orthotics: Are They The Right Fit?”

Compared to other limbs, our feet sure do a lot of work–they carry us around everywhere we go, up and down flights of stairs, across smooth and rough terrain, and take the brunt of our physical activity. In 2014, it was found that nearly 80% of Americans experience foot pain, yet barely one third of those suffering from discomfort would seek the help of a podiatrist. For the able-bodied person, relying on your feet is essential and even minor discomfort can deter a person from taking an evening stroll. One of the many ways your podiatrist can help you get back on your feet is by recommending the right fit of orthotics.

Orthotics are specially designed to help the foot align in a way that is best for your anatomy. In a way, orthotics are like prescription eyeglasses in that they provide corrective care for your feet, allowing them realign to a healthier position that they otherwise wouldn’t achieve on their own. Unlike store-bought insoles, orthotics are biomechanical medical appliances made from actual imprints of your feet–not someone else’s! Orthotics can help you with many foot related issues: bunions, leg and knee pain, hip pain, hammer toes, and even neck pain!

When you are prescribed custom orthotics, it may take some time for your feet to adjust. At first, it might feel uncomfortable, but giving yourself adequate time to adapt to your new orthotics is essential. You may opt to start wearing them on the weekend to give yourself plenty of time to adjust and feel them out. Once your feet have adjusted, wearing your custom orthotics as often as possible is the best path to success for pain-free feet. However, if you often participate in physical activities, you may want to order a second pair to wear when being active. Almost any pair of shoes with removable insoles can fit your custom orthotics in them, making orthotics even more appealing! Imagine how good it will feel knowing that you are helping your feet rather than harming them by wearing unsupportive shoes through your long, strenuous day.

If you think that custom orthotics are something you would like to try, reach out to your reliable podiatrists at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. for advice on how orthotics may benefit you and your foot health. 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.