gout

Getting Active with Gout

As someone living with gout, you are already fully aware of the pain and discomfort that can come with a gout flare-up including going about your daily activities — even just standing! Although doctors would recommend rest and seeking medical attention for severe gout flare-ups, it’s a wise move to talk to your doctor about how to accommodate other activities in your life when your feet aren’t experiencing a flare-up.

What about exercise? When you live with gout, exercise can be even more cumbersome than before. Leading podiatrists agree that while it may be difficult, it’s not impossible to still lead a physically active life when living with gout. When a gout flare-up happens, it can be extremely painful. Gout causes uric acid crystals to rapidly form in the affected joint, which is most often experienced in the big toe joint of diabetic patients. Those crystals are sharp and painful, causing inflammation, tenderness, and radiating warmth from the affected joints when moving or using your feet.

Because of the painful abrasiveness of these crystals, gout sufferers are strongly discouraged from physical activity during a flare-up. However, when gout is controlled or dormant, physical activity is possible. It’s important to consider low-impact exercise as the most gout-friendly way to get fit. Some low-impact and accessible activities to enjoy with well-fitting shoes include taking a leisurely walk, going for a bike ride, swimming, or doing yoga. Depending on what other illnesses or conditions you may have, the lower the impact the better – swimming will reign supreme here as you are nearly weightless when suspended in water!

If you’re worried or unsure about how to get started with physical activity when living with gout, discuss it further with Dr. Scott McKinney. It’s always better to be safe than sorry – start slow and if it’s painful, stop until you can talk with your trusted podiatrist. Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule your next appointment at one of our eight convenient locations in the downtown Houston area!

sore feet

Summer Heat & Sore Feet

If you haven’t already, now is the time to plan your summer vacation. Just you, a nice breeze, the summer heat, and… sore feet? That last part doesn’t sound very relaxing at all! We know what you’re thinking – we go on vacation to have fun and melt the stress away, not to get our feet and ankles in a jam. Get the most out of your vacation by practicing some of these #lifehacks during your next vacation:

  • When you check in at the concierge, ask for extra towels! By doing this, you’ve ensured that you have protection for your feet before and after each shower. Hotel staff clean thoroughly, but it’s better to be safe than to develop athlete’s foot or an infection if you have an open sore!
  • If you’re someone who enjoys sights and sounds the most when traveling for vacation, this one is especially important for you. If you’re not used to walking a lot, a few miles can go by quickly when you’re in a new place…that means blisters and foot fatigue, ahoy! Get one step ahead by applying blister protection, like a band-aid, and packing a few over-the-counter pain relief tablets.
  • Vacationing by the water? Don’t forget to bring an extra pair of shoes. When your shoes get wet and they’re not dried or changed for quite some time, this leaves room for bacteria to grow while you’re out being active. Bacteria can turn into an infection, fungus, or foot odor. For each pair of shoes, be sure to bring several pairs of socks!
  • Are you ready to be so prepared that your podiatrist will start calling you a foot pro? Hold on to your flip-flops – invest in a pair of orthotics! Go the extra mile and combine them with compression socks. These will help keep your feet comfortable and keep the swelling down.

When you practice these tips, you’ll be relieved when your hard work and preparation comes in handy during your next vacation. Our last and best piece of advice is to check in with Dr. Scott McKinney to make sure all of your feet and ankle needs have been met before the big trip! Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment at one of our eight convenient locations in the Houston, Texas and downtown area.

Feet Can Cause a Stink

Summer is here! Hello swimming, warm weather, flip-flops, and… foot odor? If you’re like us, you’re a bit less enthusiastic about that last one. During the warmer months, foot odor tends to be at its worst. Foot odor is something everyone experiences sometime in their lives, be it odor genuinely coming from their feet or from a stinky pair of shoes leaving a lingering scent. If you’re in your teens or you’re pregnant, you’re more likely than others to develop foot odor, but the truth is – anyone can develop foot odor! Hormonal changes and stress levels have a lot to do with triggering the development of stinky feet. If you find yourself with feet that are causing a stink, heed our advice:

  • Let your feet breathe. We know that flip-flops and other open-toed shoes are popular choices in the warmer months, but did you know that foot odor can still develop even when wearing these kinds of shoes? This is even true for people whose feet might spend an hour or more in a pair of wet shoes, even if they’re open-toed.
  • Sweating it out is a leading cause of food odor. Did you know that our feet can sweat the same way our armpits can? Gross, but fascinating! Foot sweat can be triggered by heat and stress. Same as our armpits, we can use deodorant to combat the effects of sweaty feet. Doing this in combination with practicing quality foot hygiene, like cleaning thoroughly between your toes, will have you on your way to extinguishing foot odor in no time.
  • Variety is the spice of life! If you find yourself struggling with foot odor, try not to wear the same shoes every day. Do you wear uniform shoes for work? If you can, purchase an extra pair to switch every other day. Be especially aware of shoes you wear while exercising. It could just be your shoes that stink, but the build-up of bacteria responsible for that smell can cause your feet to develop an odor too.

Keep these tips in mind to keep your feet happy when you get out and enjoy life this summer. Dr. Scott McKinney is here to help you and your feet thrive! Get your next appointment booked today by calling (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment at one of our eight great locations in the Houston, Texas, and downtown area.

fitness

Happy Feet & Fitness

Do your persistent foot problems have you feeling like getting physically fit is an unattainable goal? First and foremost, make sure you’ve had a recent checkup with Dr. Scott Mckinney before getting started. Secondly, be sure to have properly fitting shoes for physical activity! There are plenty of ways to get active this spring and summer season without putting so much pressure on your feet or ankles. These activities are considered easy on the feet and are sometimes referred to as “low impact” exercises. The options are nearly endless, but here are just a few fitness examples to inspire you to get moving!

  • Weight Lifting – Lifting a set of weights requires very little effort on your feet! Most often, lifting can be done in a sitting position as well to reduce fatigue.
  • Cycling or Biking – Depending on the intensity, biking and cycling work your whole body while putting minimal pressure on your feet due to your weight being evenly distributed.
  • Rowing or Kayaking – When rowing, you rely on your upper body and arms entirely. Your feet and ankles get to relax as you push your upper body using your knees!
  • Hiking or Climbing – The great thing about hiking and climbing is that you get to choose the difficulty by researching your chosen trail ahead of time. A short hike with a steep incline will reduce foot fatigue but do wonders for your cardio needs!
  • Yoga or Pilates – These two activities are relaxing, renewing, and wonderful for improving your stability and circulation. Best of all, it’s easy on your feet!
  • Swimming – Thanks to physics, swimming is the lowest possible impact sport you could imagine. Not only is it low impact on your feet, it’s virtually no impact on your entire body!
  • Walking – The great thing about being bipedal is that it encompasses many different activities in one: hiking, using an elliptical or stair master, golfing, or simply taking a walk in the park.

There you have it – your starter list of physical activities and sports that are low impact exercises and easy on the feet. It can’t be said enough how important it is to check in with your podiatrist before committing to a fitness regimen. Remember, slow and steady wins the race! Get a head start on your spring and summer fitness today by calling us at (713) 946-1500 to schedule your next appointment.

3 Facts About Flip Flops

This year it seems we’ve skipped spring and went straight to summer! You know what that means – the flip flops are coming out earlier than usual. For those of us who love the warm weather and feeling the breeze between our toes, this is a huge relief…but flip flop season surely comes with its pros and cons! Yes, there are cons to flip flops – many of them, actually. We know what you’re thinking – how can something that feels so good to wear end up being so bad for our feet? The truth is that flip flops don’t have to have a negative impact on our feet, especially wide feet, if we go about wearing them the right way. Here are 5 helpful tips for getting ready to whip your flip flops out for the summer season:

  • By far the most important aspect of flip flops is finding a pair with appropriate grip and support. If your flip flops resemble a flimsy piece of styrofoam – throw them out! For anyone with foot problems, every pair of shoes needs to have appropriate grip and support for their feet and ankles. There are plenty of options available for thicker and more supportive pairs of flip flops. However, if you have a history of moderate to severe foot problems, flip flops might entirely be out of the question. Be sure to bring it up with Scott McKinney at your next visit!
  • Do your flip flops seem like they’re thinning out? This isn’t your imagination. Poor quality flip flops will thin out due to normal wear pretty fast. Even higher quality flip flops will begin to thin out but it will take a lot longer. If your flip flops thin out to the point of a hole developing in the bottom of your shoes, don’t wait to toss them out. The delicate feet of our skin will quickly develop blisters, corns, and calluses when contacting rough terrain. Be sure to replace them as soon as you notice them thinning out – this will help you avoid slipping and hurting your feet or ankles.
  • Don’t wear them for too long. As previously mentioned – this will wear them out faster, but that’s not all it might do. If your flip flops aren’t on the more supportive side, you definitely don’t want to wear them for too long. This will contribute to your feet quickly becoming fatigued and sore. When your muscles are fatigued and sore, you’re more susceptible to slipping and hurting yourself. Much like high heels, they’re best enjoyed once-in-a-while but not all of the time.

Not sure if flip flops are worth it for you? Skip the uncertainty and find clarity with Dr. McKinney. Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule your next appointment at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston, Texas and downtown area.

baby feet

What To Do: Baby Feet & Shoes

Baby shoes are cute – but what about when your baby needs to transition from cute little baby booties to baby shoes that they will start learning how to walk in? It can seem daunting but don’t worry, your podiatrist is here to help just as much as your baby’s pediatrician when it comes to learning to walk. There are approximately 26 bones in the adult human foot. As an infant, not all those bones are fully formed yet. This goes for their tendons and ligaments as well! Babies are constantly growing and changing both internally and externally. One of the many ways we can make sure they grow safely into their own bodies is by ensuring their feet are fitted with proper footwear. Keep genetics and heredity in mind as well, especially if you or anyone else in your family has flat or wide feet!

In the early stages of infancy, simply cloth booties are sufficient to keep their feet and toes warm and safe. However, when baby starts to kick, crawl, squat, and eventually walk, it’s important to consider how fragile their feet still are when finding age-appropriate shoes. No matter the age of your baby, a pair of shoes that is too tight will always be discouraged. When those bones are developing they need to not be restricted in order to grow properly – this could potentially result in deformities in their later years, like bunions or hammertoes. Another important aspect to consider when choosing new baby shoes for your growing child is the support and grip of the shoes. Even if they’re not full-blown walking yet, a supportive pair of shoes is a great way to begin their relationship with shoes. Support translates into insoles that form to the natural curvature of the feet as well as providing a textured grip to help baby push their feet.

This is essential to helping them develop their muscle memory and ability to stand up from a sitting or lying position. To go the extra mile, ask your podiatrist about some ways to help your baby warm up and stretch their muscles by providing light massage and gentle manipulation of their lower extremities, such as their legs, ankles, and toes. This not only helps aid in healthy circulation but it also provides a great opportunity to check their feet for any abnormalities that may develop – if you ever do see something odd about your babies feet, don’t hesitate to call Dr. Scott McKinney and schedule them to be seen! Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to stay one step ahead of your baby’s foot health.

 

 

wide feet

The Woes of Wide Feet

Don’t get us wrong – having wide feet isn’t the end of the world. However, when you live with wide feet, your perspective on shoes definitely changes! When someone has wider feet, their risk of developing several foot-related conditions increases if the width of their feet isn’t accommodated. Wide width shoes on wide feet = happy feet! But improperly fitting shoes on wide feet are a different story.

How can you tell if you have wide feet? Easy! See your trusted podiatrist for an exam! In addition to this, taking a trip to your local shoe store where a professional can measure your feet for you is another efficient way to see if you have wide feet. However, if you can’t immediately get in with your podiatrist or take a trip to your local shoe store, there are some other telltale signs of wide feet: blisters! Are you prone to developing blisters? Blisters can come about simply from walking too much, even in properly fitted shoes, but properly fitted shoes sure do help with blister prevention.

Besides blisters, wearing ill-fitting shoes with wide feet can set you up for developing corns and calluses due to the friction of not having adequate space for your width. Wide feet can even be more prone to developing hammertoes when your toes aren’t given enough space and get crammed up against the top of your shoes. If you’re an active person, it’s a good idea to get your wide feet and ankles the support they need for physical activity.

There are a lot of myths about how someone gets wide feet, but you can consider those myths busted – wide feet are almost entirely genetic! In some cases, wide feet can be due to physical trauma, obesity, or going shoeless too often during early development…but the most likely reason is purely genetics.

Keep your feet happy and see your podiatrist to talk about what you can do for your wide feet. Give us a call at (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston, Texas and the downtown area.

diabetic limb loss awareness

Diabetic Limb Loss Awareness

In addition to April being Foot Health Awareness Month, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association, it is also Diabetic Limb Loss Awareness Month! In the podiatric world, the loss of the foot below the ankle is more common than you might think. Did you know that limb amputations account for nearly 25% of the annual Medicare expenditures in the U.S.? Astonishingly, this translates into over two thousand amputations per day.

Thankfully, many of these are non-traumatic amputations, the majority of them due to ulcerative complications from diabetes. Ulcers are open sores that heal slowly or fail to completely heal. These sores are at risk of repeatedly breaking open during the healing process, leaving them vulnerable to severe, prolonged infection. Some signs and symptoms of diabetic ulcers can include discoloration, swelling, warmth and tenderness, foul-smelling discharge, and callused or thickened skin around the wound.

In patients with diabetes, ulcers on the feet often develop due to the destruction of blood vessels and nerve endings, otherwise known as diabetic neuropathy. These blood vessels supply the nerves in the feet with oxygen and nutrients. When they become damaged or completely destroyed through neuropathy, the feet of a diabetic patient become extremely vulnerable to developing ulcers. Approximately 15% of patients with diabetes, especially those with Type 2 diabetes, will lose a limb due to an ulcer.

However, studies done by today’s medical professionals show that the majority of non-traumatic amputations are avoidable when the patient receives consistent and high-quality podiatric care. The most efficient way to reduce a patients vulnerability to ulcerative amputation is not only consistent and high-quality podiatric care, but also consistent and high-quality primary and home care to work at increasing their circulatory health, lowering their blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol levels.

With the support of your podiatrist and primary care physician, managing and preventing ulcers to reduce a diabetic patients’ risk of needing an amputation is more than hopeful! Give Dr. Scott McKinney and team a call today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule your next appointment and help spread awareness about diabetic limb loss.

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.