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.

Is Your Podiatrist The Right Fit For You?

The first month of 2018 is over and some of us are just now really getting to the meat of our yearly to-do lists. Better now than never, right? For healthy Americans, their to-do list includes an annual trip to their healthcare providers, such as a podiatrist! However, doing a quick Google search for podiatrists in your area can sometimes yield overwhelming results and reviews can be confusing or misleading. Maybe you’re lucky and got a recommendation from a family member or friend! But how do you know if the recommendation means this podiatrist is the right fit for you? Here are a few strategies and questions to ask yourself before making your decision.

Check out their website and read reviews. Often times, most podiatrists websites will have a section dedicated to displaying the doctor’s picture and summary of their credentials. Because some people are only comfortable with male or female doctors, this can be a huge help! A surefire sign of a great podiatric practice is when they offer bountiful resources and information about their services and the conditions they treat. Even better, an active blog for the practice says that they care about educating their patients.

Lastly, give them a call! The first line of support comes from their receptionists. A helpful, positive front desk staff is a great way to set apart one practice from another. If browsing their website inspired your curiosity about certain services, take this as an opportunity to ask! Great communication is vital to developing a relationship with your podiatrist and their staff.

Arguably, one of the most important first steps when looking into a potential podiatrist is whether or not they are covered by your insurance. This will save you a lot of time and effort, and potential heartache, if a podiatrist you’re very fond of turns out to not accept your particular insurance. If you’re unsure based on their website, give them a call and confirm!

At McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A., your comfort, and satisfaction are a top priority. We’re more than happy to help you schedule your next appointment with Dr. Scott McKinney. You can 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.

Identifying Foot Pain

During the winter months, some of us tend to become more sedentary…unless you’re on top of those New Year’s resolutions! This gives our feet a chance to rest up, a definite perk for those winter months. However, that rest can sometimes mask problems with our feet due to being less active and irritating our problem areas less often. When you start to become more active again, these underlying pains and areas of discomfort become very apparent to us.

Over half of U.S. citizens experience some sort of foot pain or discomfort in their lifetime. Considering how our feet are made up of hundreds of bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, identifying exactly what is wrong and where can be a difficult task. When you experience pain in your foot, it’s helpful to observe when, where, and how your foot experiences any pain. For example, if the pain happens on the top of your foot when you feel pressure in the middle sole of your foot, this can indicate a different problem than if you only experience pain in another area when going down a flight of stairs.

A helpful way to identify the specific areas so that you are best prepared to identify them in your next appointment with a podiatrist is to practice a few exercises. While sitting, stretch your leg outwards and roll your ankle around. Practice pointing your foot up and down, side to side, and around in a circle while curling your toes off and on. Pay close attention to when and where you experience pain during these exercises and note them for your doctor.

While seated, you can also roll the soles of your feet across a tennis ball to see if this inspires any pain or discomfort. Be sure to do so gently enough to not hurt yourself, but firmly enough to identify problem areas. Using these methods, you and your trusted podiatrist can have an easier time identifying what may be happening within your feet and what treatment methods would be best for you.

The first step to relieve your foot pain or discomfort is to become your own advocate. Keep track of what pain or discomfort you experience and share it with your trusted podiatrist at your next appointment with Dr. Scott McKinney. You can 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.

Foot Pain Is Partly To Blame

Imagine you’re just twelve years old again — somewhere around that age. You were hopping, skipping, jumping all over the place without a care in the world! It’s easy to forget, but once upon a time our limbs, ligaments, and bones could tolerate harsh impact and stretching in awkward ways from our childish adventures.

If you’re like us, you even remember walking on pebbles and gravel without a care! Today, however, it’s much easier to notice the difference. This is especially true for those with frequent podiatric issues throughout their lifetime. There’s no shame in aging — everyone does it! But with aging comes a new normal, and sometimes that new normal means consistent pain or discomfort in our feet and ankles.

That pain and discomfort doesn’t have to control your life or negatively impact your daily activities but the truth for many folks today is that, unfortunately, it does. Recent studies have shown that over half of American citizens experience daily pain and discomfort in their feet and ankles. For folks in the older age range, research shows that this translates into a higher risk of falling and injuring themselves.

In one study, over 1,300 patients over the age of 50 were surveyed. The study showed that nearly 20% of these patients had fallen in the last year, and a smaller percentage had fallen twice or more in the last year. While 20% doesn’t seem like much, in correlation to the entire population of folks over 45-50 years of age in the U.S., it’s a significant number. The numbers speak even more loudly when considering that researchers found nearly 62% of patients who experienced one or more falling incidents also reported having consistent foot and ankle pain or discomfort.

What does this mean for you? These numbers may seem troubling, but it doesn’t have to be! It’s easier to avoid becoming part of the statistics when you regularly see your trusted podiatrists here at McKinney’s and become a supportive ally to your feet and ankles.

You’ve imagined yourself without foot pain, now let’s make it as best of a reality as we can! 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.

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.