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.

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“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.

How To Maximize Your Summer Pedicures

When you hear that someone is going to go get a pedicure, you instantly visualize a relaxing environment that may include a massage chair, hot stones, and soft, calming music. For some, pedicures are an occasional luxury, while others regularly visit their favorite pedicurist monthly, or even weekly! There are pros and cons to getting pedicures done at home or by a professional and necessary precautions to take when looking to get pampered. Pedicures certainly benefit the appearance of our feet and legs, and getting pampered has some great benefits for your overall foot health.

Here are some ways that pedicures can benefit you and your feet:

  • Increase blood flow and circulation of the legs and feet.
  • Help prevent infection of the toenails and ingrown toenails.
  • Reduce foot odors.
  • Keep skin moisturized and healthy.
  • Clean the feet of potentially harmful dirt and bacteria.
  • Reduce stiffness and stress in foot and leg muscles.
  • Help identify problems early on, such as bunions or fungal infection.

When looking to get a pedicure, be sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Ask if they use tub liners–these can prevent the spread of bacteria and fungi.
  • Wooden tools cannot be sterilized; Ask for reusable sterilized tools or a new pair of tools.
  • Cuts on feet or legs are vulnerable to infection, hold off on a pedicure until it’s healed.

As you can see, there are a few potential drawbacks when treating yourself to a pedicure. With careful consideration of the tools used for your pedicure and the condition of your feet, these drawbacks can be avoided and you can enjoy a worry-free pedicure. At your next appointment with Dr. Scott McKinney at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A., 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!

6 Ways To Ensure A Good Fit

Our feet,​ ​like​ ​the​ ​foundation​ ​of​ ​a​ ​building,​ ​are​ ​important​ ​to​ ​providing​ ​structure​ ​and​ ​stability​ ​in our​ ​bodies.​ ​Improperly​ ​fitting​ ​shoes​ ​aren’t​ ​just​ ​uncomfortable–they​ ​can​ ​cause​ ​damage​ ​in​ ​the​ ​long term​ ​to​ ​our​ ​lower​ ​extremities.​ ​Everyone’s​ ​feet​ ​are​ ​different.​ ​The​ ​shape​ ​of​ ​our​ ​feet​ ​will​ ​change throughout​ ​our​ ​lives​ ​as​ ​we​ ​age​, and even​ ​if​ ​we​ ​experience​ ​pregnancy​ ​or​ ​illness.​

Enlisting​ ​the​ ​help​ ​of Dr. Scott McKinney ​at​ ​McKinney Podiatric Associates will​ ​give​ ​you​ ​the​ ​tools​ ​you​ ​need​ ​to​ ​know​ ​what​ ​to​ ​look​ ​out​ ​for​ ​when​ ​getting your​ ​next​ ​pair​ ​of​ ​shoes.​ ​Here​ ​are​ ​some​ ​tips​ ​to​ ​help​ ​you​ ​figure​ ​out​ ​if​ ​your​ ​shoes​ ​truly​ ​fit:

  • Find a​ ​fitting​ ​specialist near you.​ ​Get​ ​both​ ​feet​ ​measured,​ ​as​ ​there​ ​may​ ​be​ ​a​ ​difference in​ ​sizes​ ​between​ ​your​ ​feet.
  • Ask​ ​a​ ​fitting​ ​specialist​ ​if​ ​the​ ​shoes​ ​are​ ​straight​ ​or​ ​curved.​ ​Shoes​ ​are​ ​made​ ​of​ ​varying materials​ ​and​ ​can​ ​be​ ​uncomfortable​ ​if​ ​the​ ​material​ ​isn’t​ ​strong​ ​enough​ ​to​ ​support​ ​the​ ​foot.
  • Take​ ​a​ ​stroll​ ​in​ ​your​ ​shoes​ ​before​ ​purchasing​ ​them.​ ​Pay​ ​careful​ ​attention​ ​to​ ​any​ ​tightness or​ ​friction​ ​and​ ​where​ ​it​ ​is​ ​occurring.​ ​Be​ ​sure​ ​to​ ​let​ ​the​ ​fitting​ ​specialist​ ​know!
  • At​ ​your​ ​next​ ​appointment​ ​with​ Dr. McKinney,​ ​tell​ ​him​ ​about​ ​any​ ​symptoms​ ​of​ ​discomfort. This​ ​will​ ​help​ ​him​ ​figure​ ​out​ ​where​ ​your​ ​feet​ ​need​ ​more​ ​support​ ​and​ ​corrective​ ​footwear.
  • Check​ ​with​ ​Dr. McKinney ​to​ ​see​ ​if​ ​your​ ​feet​ ​would​ ​benefit​ ​from​ ​supportive​ ​orthotic shoe​ ​inserts,​ ​or​ ​if​ ​you need​ ​medical​ ​grade​ ​orthotic​ ​inserts​ ​or​ ​shoes.
  • When​ ​deciding​ ​if​ ​a​ ​new​ ​pair​ ​of​ ​shoes​ ​is​ ​necessary,​ ​give​ ​your​ ​insurance​ ​hotline​ ​a​ ​call–Some​ ​insurance​ ​companies​ ​will​ ​cover​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​cost​ ​of​ ​orthotic​ ​inserts​ ​or​ ​shoes​ ​to​ ​help you​ ​feel​ ​better.

 

After​ ​reading​ ​this​ ​helpful​ ​list,​ ​you​ ​will​ ​surely​ ​be​ ​on​ ​your​ ​way​ ​to​ ​getting​ ​a​ ​better​ ​fitting​ ​pair​ ​of shoes.​ ​Dr. McKinney and associates are trained ​to​ ​answer​ ​any​ ​questions​ ​you​ ​may​ ​have when ​finding​ ​a​ ​properly​ ​fitting​ ​pair​ ​of​ ​shoes.

At McKinney Podiatric Associates, our doctors are ready and eager to help you find the right pair of shoes. Call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment at one of eight locations nearest to you.

 

“Should I See A Podiatrist?”

In the busy state of Texas, we are always on our feet: commuting to work, going to the gym, running around with the kids, walking the dog, and much more. There are 26 bones in our feet, each one bearing the brunt of our weight every day! For nearly 8 out of 10 people in the US, foot pain simply doesn’t go away. It can even prevent us from being as active as we would like to be! How do you know when a trip to see Dr. Scott McKinney at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. is really necessary? Here are some helpful tips to know when it’s time to schedule your next appointment:

  1. Knowing how to perform self-care on aches and pains is a valuable skill. Giving yourself a foot rub is quick, easy, and free! Filling the tub with warm water takes just minutes, and soaking your feet in the water is blissful. This can increase blood flow to the feet to reduce swelling and discomfort. But when a nightly foot rub or a soak in warm water doesn’t really relieve your discomfort, it’s time to schedule an appointment with McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A.
  2. Over the counter pain medication is an easy resource for minor foot pain. When taking over the counter pain medication at the suggested dose, it can offer us relief. However, relying on over the counter medication for long term relief isn’t ideal for everyone and it won’t always ease your discomfort entirely. If you find yourself frequently relying on over the counter pain medication to relieve your foot pain, it’s time to schedule an appointment with McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A.
  3. Shoe inserts are a quick solution to manage minor foot pain. Found in grocery and convenience stores, shoe inserts target different painful areas of the foot. They can relieve minor fatigue from a long day on your feet. However, they cannot repair or treat underlying issues. If you find yourself with persistent pain and discomfort even after purchasing a pair of shoe inserts, it’s time to schedule an appointment with McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A.
  4. When foot pain strikes, the body has a natural instinct to rest. Taking time off from any physical activity can relieve minor foot pain. When resting, elevating one or both feet above your heart not only feels good, but allows the blood to flow more easily, can reduce swelling, and ease discomfort. If you take time to rest and your foot pain persists, it’s time to schedule an appointment with McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A.

Though there are many ways to relieve minor aches and pains in the feet that are easy and free, Dr. McKinney and associates offer specialized services that take foot pain management to the next level. If you’re like the 8 out 10 people in the U.S. whose foot pain does not go away with minor pain management, visiting our doctors is the next step in caring for your painful feet. Call us today at (713) 946-1500 and address your persistent foot pain at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A.

Veiny Feet: What Does Normal Look Like?

At McKinney Podiatric Associates we encourage our patients to visually explore their feet from all angles, at several different times throughout each day.

Take a note of various temperatures and how the heat and cold will change the size and shape of the veins on the top of your feet, and along both the inside and outside of your ankles.  Patients often express concern if their veins appear thicker, darker blue beneath the skin, and more pronounced in general.

Most of the time, a minor change in the appearance of the foot’s veins is no cause for alarm, however it is vitally important to report any sudden or alarming changes in the color of your skin, especially when combined with excessive or pillowy swelling on the tops of feet.  These symptoms might indicate a more complex problem affiliated with vasicular circulation health and must addressed with a care provider.

Many afflictions of the foot have common symptoms, and can be treated in different ways (often, incorrectly) with home remedies.  We urge you to call our main phone number (713) 946-1500 to schedule an appointment for routine check ups and for any of your footcare needs or visit us at our seven conveniently located Texas offices to have the veins of your feet examined, and to help you ease your mind.

Ahead of your appointment, grab a paper and pen to take note of a few important things. This way you can share the details with the podiatrist easily.

Take Notes If You Are Experiencing the Following:

  • Swelling of the veins especially if accompanied by pain or tingling sensation.
  • Abnormal Sensitivity to pressure such as a light touch on skin surface.
  • Redness and swelling of the fleshy part of the top of foot.
  • Softened nail beds or nails whose pink color turns pale.
  • Nail beds that appear white for more that a few seconds when manually depressed downward.
  • Trauma, or Injury.
  • Hard to resolve or persistent hygienic problems.
  • Poor nail hygiene (scrub with a clean nail brush daily and closely monitor the nail for changes).

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As always, Mckinney Podiatric Associates welcomes you for all of your foot health concerns.  Nobody should suffer when they don’t have to.

Thank you for your continued trust in Mckinney Podiatric Associates.