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.

Hiking With Your Feet In Mind

The peak of hiking season is just a few months away. Maybe you’ve been keeping active with shorter hikes throughout the winter, or maybe you haven’t — we wouldn’t blame you! With the upcoming Spring season in mind, it’s time to start thinking about how to get the most out of your future hiking adventures.

Getting up and out in nature is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. However, jumping right into a moderate to difficult hiking trail is a quick way to hurt yourself — especially your feet and ankles. It may seem like a no-brainer, but learning how to hike with your podiatric health in mind is a learning process. Here are some tips on how to get started…

First and foremost, your shoes can make or break your experience — literally! Obviously, we wouldn’t advise hiking in high heels. Less surprisingly, even wearing sneakers can be a hit or miss depending on what kind of terrain you will be hiking. Think “arch support!”

If you have a history of podiatric issues, we would certainly advise starting slowly with the easy terrain. Basically, don’t go straight into hiking across moss-covered boulders in whitewater rapids! Make sure your shoes are foot friendly and made for hiking. The more traction the better!

When you really want to up your hiking game, try ankle-high boots with cleats on the soles. Ankle-high boots are best for stabilizing the ankle bones, joints and ligaments much like an ankle brace would. Additionally, cleats give you a major upper-hand with traction, especially during incline or decline, and if there are any remaining patches of ice or snow along the way.

Another fantastic way to safeguard your feet and ankles during hiking adventures is to use trekking poles! There are many different types varying in size, weight, and material. Trekking poles allow you to take some of the work off of your knees, ankles, and feet by allowing your arms to help stabilize you along the way. Don’t want to buy trekking poles? Try one or two identical fallen branches from a tree — just make sure they’re thick and sturdy!

Our last and most important piece of advice is to make an appointment to see your trusted podiatrist at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. and address any concerns you may be having about your foot and ankle health with Dr. McKinney. You can even conveniently schedule an appointment online today or call us at (713) 946-1500.

Is A Standing Desk Right For You?

Have you ever wondered what a standing desk might feel like? If you work in an office environment and have ever had back pain or feel inspired to be more active, the concept of a standing desk has probably crossed your mind. You’re not alone! Standing desks are a fantastic option for some people, but not for everyone. There are many proven benefits to standing desks. Some of those benefits include improved circulation, less back pain, and decreased stiffness from not sitting for hours on end. In our current culture, many people sit for long periods of time for their jobs.

Many health professionals today feel that “sitting is the new smoking,” meaning that sitting for long periods of time is just as bad for your health as smoking regularly! Though the benefits are tempting, it’s important to approach the transition from all angles. One of the most important and overlooked factors of standing desks is that balance and moderation are key. Sitting all day is bad, but so is standing all day! You need a little bit of both, switching off and on throughout the day, to truly benefit from a standing desk. Otherwise, you may find yourself experiencing discomfort in an entirely different way. Let’s imagine someone has a history of repeated injuries to their ankle. Repeated ankle sprains can, over time, permanently weaken the joints and ligaments in the ankle.

When you’re standing, your body uses the same muscles, joints, and ligaments to keep you balanced the entire time and quickly become fatigued. In contrast, the motion of walking evenly distributes your weight among your muscles, joints, and ligaments. This means that standing for 2 hours will be a lot more uncomfortable for your ankle than walking for 2 hours. When using a standing desk, you really must consider the health of your feet and ankles. Balance and moderation between sitting and standing, as well as how easy it is to switch from one position to the other, is important when deciding on what kind of desk to purchase.

You don’t have to make the decision alone! If you’re considering making the switch to a standing desk but you have existing podiatric issues, it’s time to make an appointment to see your trusted podiatrist at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A., to address any concerns you may be having about your foot and ankle health with Dr. McKinney. You can even conveniently schedule an appointment online today or call us at (713) 946-1500.

Winter Blues In Your Shoes

Have you spent most of your winter indoors? Well, so have your toes! During the coldest months of the year, our poor toes get stuck in our shoes day in and day out. Especially if you need to double up on socks, this can create an environment inside your shoes that is perfect for developing ingrown toenails. You are most susceptible to developing ingrown toenails when one or more toes are compressed inside your shoe.

Whether it’s due to wearing an extra layer or thicker pair of socks, or if your shoes don’t quite fit right and your toes are squeezed together, the nail bed of your toenails can start to grow and press inward, causing irritation, inflammation, and potentially puncturing your skin. Our feet are very sweaty, especially during the cold months when they’re confined to compressed, warm shoes with very little ventilation. This can breed bacteria that, once your nail has punctured your skin, can lead to infection!

The symptoms of infection include tenderness, the area being warm to touch, and any blood or pus coming from the affected area. If you notice any one or a combination of these symptoms, be sure to reach out to your podiatrist right away. However, some folks are lucky enough to catch their ingrown toenail before it becomes punctured and infected. It can be treated in the comfort of your home using a few quick tricks:

  1. Soak the affected foot in warm water and Epsom salts.
  2. Once the nail is softened, gently lift the nail from where it was ingrown.
  3. If it is too painful, or if you notice any pus or blood, stop immediately!
  4. Dry your foot thoroughly.
  5. Wear less restrictive footwear, especially while symptoms persist.

If your ingrown toenail is too painful to touch, is showing any sign of infection, or is not healing on its own, don’t hesitate — give your trusted podiatrist a call. 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.

How To Deal With Below-The-Heel Pain

Every now and then each one of us will experience some sort of foot pain. Whether it’s because we’re walking longer distances than we’re used to or maybe because we stepped down too hard on a rough surface, foot pain is an experience that will make you very appreciative of reuniting with your couch! For those of us who experience pain below our heels, knowing how to tell if it’s time to see a doctor about that discomfort can be difficult. Sadly, many people become so used to pain below the heel that they simply accept it as a way of life! It doesn’t have to be that way.

Most of the time, pain below the heel is found to be plantar fasciitis. When you have plantar fasciitis it means that somewhere along where the long and large ligament is attached to the base of your heel has become irritated, damaged, or torn. Oftentimes the pain of plantar fasciitis will begin merely as a mild pain to the arch of the foot or the bottom of the heel. Many people who experience plantar fasciitis note that the first few steps in the morning are the most painful, then over the course of the day the discomfort eases to a dull ache. As you can imagine, this contributes to why it takes some people a lot longer to address it with their doctor! For others, plantar fasciitis might begin as a mild pain but quickly develops into something much more uncomfortable.

Plantar fasciitis can also be triggered due to a spur developing on the heel bone. Heel spurs can sometimes cause plantar fasciitis to go undiagnosed because the pain the patient is experiencing is attributed to the spur, rather than the spur being seen as the cause of the fasciitis. Since sometimes plantar fasciitis symptoms start out as mild pain in the arch of the foot, rather than below the heel, it can be difficult to figure out how to make yourself feel better at home.

Skip the uncertainty and have your feet checked out by a trusted podiatrist instead! 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.