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.

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.