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.

“The High Cost of High Heels”

There is an old saying that “pain is beauty,” and nothing comes to mind quicker than the plight of those who live and swear by wearing high heels. In the downtown streets of Houston, high heels are bound to be seen on the feet of many folks. You can’t blame them for being drawn to the appeal of high heels–they’re sleek, attractive, and advertise a person’s fashion sense. Like any other form of wearable attire, high heels are a fashion statement and allow a person to express themselves in ways that wearing gym shoes might not.

However, that mode of self expression can come at a high cost to the health of the feet in those high heels. Even just two or more inches of heel on your shoes can cause problems. This is especially true if you have had foot-related conditions and injuries in the past, and high heels not only make you vulnerable to repeating or worsening these conditions or injuries, but can help cause them in the first place:

Bunions:

A bunion is a deformity of the big toe bone, or the hallux, caused by long term exposure to pressure and constraint of the big toe. Bunions can also be developed due to disorders like arthritis, or because your family has a history of bunion development. Shoes that are tight, narrow, and higher in the heel are linked to bunion development. There are various treatment methods for bunions, but ultimately, surgery is the only way to possibly correct the bunion.

Foot Pain:

Regular shoes allow our weight to be distributed evenly, where it is appropriate, across our whole foot. When you put on a pair of high heels, your weight is significantly shifted. Even a three-inch heel can apply three-times your normal weight to the ball of your foot, which bears the brunt of it all in high heeled shoes. Besides bunions, other conditions like a neuroma or hammertoe can develop alongside a bunion, increasing pain and discomfort even more.

Muscle and Joint Pain:

When you wear high heels, not only are you shifting the way your weight bears on the joints, tendons, and bones of your feet, but you’re shifting how your knees, hips, and back carry that weight as well. It can even cause pain and discomfort as far up as the neck and shoulders because of the change in posture.

While wearing high heels everyday is strongly discouraged by any podiatrist, treat them like dessert–indulge yourself now and then and be sure to care for your feet in between, making up for any discomfort that high heels may have caused (foot massage, anyone?). Explore your options and utilize McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. for advice on how high heels will impact 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.

Is Your Child Foot-Intelligent?

For children, many decision-making situations can be overwhelming. When it comes to picking the right pair of shoes for your child, there’s no exception to this rule. Children are constantly growing little by little every day, and before you know it, those shoes you bought for them last week won’t fit by this time next month! Better yet, your child said they fit because they wanted to get shoe shopping over with, and one month later, they’re disinterested in them because they’re uncomfortable.

When you go to a children’s foot store there are more options than there are days of the year, but it’s a good time to sit down with your children and have a talk about foot intelligence. Be sure to explain to your child, in a way they will understand, that taking a little extra time to find a pair of shoes they not only like the looks of, but also the feel of is important.

When talking to your child, explain that there are many bones in their feet, 26 to be exact! Those bones of theirs are always growing, and we need to make sure we don’t squish them and instead give them plenty of room to grow. Tell them how sometimes when we buy shoes that look cool but don’t really fit, we can hurt our feet!

Having unhappy feet means that it’s uncomfortable to run around at recess, and when they’re more grown up, can lead to foot problems like bunions, hammertoes, or ingrown toenails. When you schedule your next appointment with your podiatrist, be sure to let your child know that Dr. Scott McKinney and his team of foot doctors would agree that flashy shoes are cool, but knowing that they’re good for our growing feet is even better.

Your child wants cool looking shoes, and you want your child to feel confident as well as comfortable. Before heading off to the shoe store, call ahead and tell the shoe specialist that you’re looking to help your child make a better decision with a comfortable, safe pair of shoes. Help makes the sometimes overwhelming decision easier and simplify the task–let your child choose just a few pairs of shoes to try on at a time.

Ask your child how they would feel sitting at their school desk, running around at recess, or even going for a walk with family in those shoes. This will help them think critically and they will feel good about having a say in the decision. Next time you visit McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A., let your child tell Dr. McKinney all about how he or she helped make a good decision for his/her feet and developed better foot intelligence. Call us at (713) 946-1500 or schedule an appointment online today to visit one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area.

Summer Heat & Cracked Feet

Now that we’re in the last legs of summer, we may start to see some changes in our feet. All of this extra activity during the warmer months from swimming, hiking, or playing barefoot in the yard is sure to take a toll on our feet. Sometimes this added activity paired with the exposure of open toed shoes can set us up for developing cracked heels. When the fragile skin on the bottoms of our feet are exposed to the elements, it can dry out and irritate our skin. This can cause the skin to break and form “cracks” on our heels that can be painful and difficult to walk on. Some causes of cracked heels can include the following:

  • Harsh weather, especially colder temperatures
  • Experiencing dehydration when you don’t drink enough water
  • Taking frequent hot showers, baths, or soaking in a hot tub
  • Scrubbing or exfoliating too much
  • Using soaps that are harsh and drying to the skin

Our feet are responsible for carrying the weight of our bodies–they get us from one point to another and have carried us through all of our happiest memories. How can we avoid something like painful, dry, cracked heels from occurring? There are some simple steps you can take to aid in getting smooth, comfortable heels. When you do the following with the guidance of your podiatrist, it becomes easier to avoid developing dry, cracked heels:

  • Drink plenty of water! Hydration is our best defense against dry skin.
  • Avoid excessively hot water, i.e., in the shower, or in a hot tub.
  • Treat yourself to an occasional pedicure and pamper your feet!
  • Develop the habit of moisturizing your feet daily, you could even turn it into a massage!

When you follow these simple steps and develop habits, such as drinking water or regularly moisturizing your feet, treating or avoiding painful, dry, cracked heels becomes much easier. It is important to note that dry, cracked heels are susceptible to infection due to the open skin allowing bacteria and viruses to enter easily. Cracked heels can also be a warning sign of diabetes or obesity. At your next appointment with Dr. Scott McKinney, be sure to mention if your dry, cracked heels are persistent and painful. Call McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. today at (713) 946-1500 or visit us online to schedule an appointment at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area.

Keeping Your Feet Safe This Summer

We’re in the hottest stretch of our summer now and what better way to celebrate the heat by enjoying the water! Whether you’re going to the pool or to the beach, white water rafting or kayaking, any podiatrist would recommend adding water footwear to your next adventure. Water footwear is designed to be used during activities that involve the water.

This means that water footwear may be waterproof, but most importantly, designed with the slippery and rough textures of moss and stones in mind to protect your feet. When considering which water footwear suits the summer adventures you have planned, keep these three factors in mind: safety, comfort, and durability.

Safety is super important. If you find yourself exiting a water raft and stepping onto submerged stones coated in slippery moss, you will want your water footwear to have good traction to prevent slipping. A sprained ankle from slipping on moss is no fun!

Comfort is key to foot health. Unlike regular shoes, water footwear is much more comfortable when wet. Being active in and around the water can quickly cause fatigue and soreness, but a comfortable pair of water footwear can avoid discomfort.

Durability is definitely a priority. Regular shoes use materials, like leather, that break down over time as they are exposed to water. Some materials can even develop mold if not properly dried after getting wet! Water footwear is guaranteed to last through all of your water adventures.

What fun is it to spend all summer unable to enjoy the water safely? Investing in a pair of water footwear that is right for you will reward you with fond memories of safe, happy feet and an adventure in the great outdoors. Explore your options and utilize McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. for advice on what would work best for you when planning your next outdoor adventure. Being active is a lot more fun when your feet aren’t in discomfort!

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.