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New Years Resolution: Prevent A Fall

All of us at McKinney’s would like to officially welcome you into the New Year! We hope your celebration was fun, meaningful, and safe for everyone. If you’re like most fellow Texans, you might have set a New Year’s goal to eat a little healthier, take the stairs more often, or walk the family dog a few times extra daily. However, for some of us, our goals were a little more simple: prevent falls from happening.

Though injuries from falling occurs across all ages, statistics show us that falling is the leading cause of severe to fatal injury in people over 65 years of age. We’re not sure about others, but that certainly inspires us to do some research on fall prevention! The biological systems responsible for helping us prevent falls from happening include our bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and most importantly: our central nervous system! In order for the latter to respond to a hazard that might make us fall, our central nervous system needs to be able to process the sensory input telling us that these risks exist. However, if we are unaware of risks, there is little time for us to prepare and prevent a fall.

According to various studies, the primary causes of falls include footwear and foot pain. It seems like a no-brainer, but your choice of footwear has a lot to do with your level of protection against accidental slips and falls. It’s a combination of the support of a shoe to your foot and the ability of the shoe to provide traction in a variety of situations. In this case, if you feel you are at risk of falling more than before or think you may become at risk, talking to your doctor about orthotics and recommended footwear is a fantastic start. When considering foot pain, unaddressed discomfort in our feet can become dangerous. If you have an untreated heel spur or a painful bunion, certain movements can trigger pain reflexes that weaken your feet and ankles, making you prone to fall.

If reading this post makes you wonder if you’re more prone to falling because of foot pain or improper footwear, don’t hesitate to ask for help. We’re here for you at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A.! Ask Dr. Scott McKinney at your next appointment what options are available for you. Send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.

Bunionectomy: Is Surgery Necessary?

Let’s say the past few times you’ve visited the podiatrists you’ve brought up a recurring issue with your foot. That issue is pain and discomfort, and the pain is localized around your big toe. Over the past year you’ve noticed your big toe has shifted to point inward and at the base of your big toe, there’s a bulge that has grown in size. That bulge is often warm to the touch and is agitated with higher levels of activity, like running or jumping. It’s a burning, aching pain that throbs at its worst. But what if you haven’t gotten to the point of your bunion developing that the discomfort tends to keep you up at night? How do you know when surgical intervention is necessary?

A bunion happens when your big toe is deformed due to a bony growth at the base of the toe bone. This growth pushes your toe inward and causes inflammation and pain, visible to us by redness and swelling around the growth. Sometimes this happens slowly and never becomes an issue beyond occasional discomfort…but other times, the deformity and its accompanying discomfort can become debilitating. It can negatively impact the sufferers sleeping habits, keeping them up at night, and can deter them from getting the exercise they need due to exercise being too painful on their affected foot.

When the deformity is still relatively mild, treating the bunion at home with pain relief methods can be highly successful. These methods include anti-inflammatory medications, bunion splints to relieve pressure from the bony growth, personal massage, and much more. However, for many, those do-it-yourself treatments aren’t enough and surgical intervention is the next step.

With the support of your podiatrists at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A., surgical intervention isn’t all that intimidating. Although they are a nuisance, bunions are extremely common — which means that bunionectomy, or the surgical correction of a bunion, are commonly performed. There’s little reason to worry and many reasons to ask Dr. Scott McKinney at your next appointment what options are available for you. Send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.

 

3 Methods for Bunion Relief

Among some of the most common ailments found in podiatry patients are dreaded bunions. Many people don’t realize they have a bunion, especially if it’s been there a long time or hasn’t become noticeably painful. However, if it has become uncomfortable, there’s no doubt that you may have tried at home or store-bought remedies to ease the discomfort. These methods can work for some and keep it at bay from developing further, but nothing can outmatch the support and treatment of our trained podiatrists.

Sometimes the “do-it-yourself” method is a necessary trial-and-error process before realizing an appointment is needed. You may wonder what DIY treatments for bunions you can perform at home. Here are the top 3 do-it-yourself methods for managing bunion discomfort at home:

  1. The sling: Whether it’s a literal sling or a splint, the main goal here is to keep your big toe straight. This takes some pressure off of the bony growth and can provide relief from discomfort, as well as possibly slowing down the process of it developing further. People commonly wear these to bed!
  2. The cushion: Wearing shoes becomes a hassle when you’ve got bunions because of how its material rubs up against the tender bony growth. A bunion cushion provides relief by creating a soft barrier to lessen the impact and friction between your bunion and shoe.
  3. The insert: If you haven’t already used them, shoe inserts are a fantastic way to take your foot health to the next level. You’ve heard of inserts for heel or arch pain, but did you know there are inserts made for aligning the foot to relieve bunion discomfort? Combined with other methods, this can be a great way to slow down the progression of a bunion.

There are many ways to manage the discomfort that accompanies a bunion, but not every relief method will work for everyone. When relief methods aren’t working for you, it’s definitely time to see the foot doctor! Ask Dr. Scott McKinney at your next appointment what options are available for you. Send us a message or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to get penciled in at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.

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 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.

Bunions

Hallux Abducto Valgus or HAV, is the Latin medical term for a bump on the base of the big toe, commonly known in English as a bunion. Although very common, bunions should not be taken lightly as they are a progressive disorder. A bunion begins with the formation of a bump on the outside base of the big toe, but on the inside, it is actually changing the entire bony framework of the hallux. An x-ray of a bunion shows the deviation of the big toe towards the second toe, throwing the bones out of alignment. If ignored, the foot may become severely deformed. A bunion can also form along the base of the little toe and is known as a ‘bunionette’.

Causes

It was commonly believed that bunions were formed when tight narrow shoes were worn over a long period of time. However, podiatrists are of the opinion that bunions develop due to:

  • faulty foot development
  • an inherited structural defect
  • a medical condition causing stress on the foot
  • arthritis
  • foot injuries
  • wearing high-heeled, pointed shoes which exacerbate the problem
  • standing for long periods of time

Symptoms

  • the development of a bump on the base of the big toe
  • irritated skin on the bump
  • corns caused by overlap of toes
  • pain or soreness when walking
  • inflammation and redness in the joint
  • a burning sensation around the site of the bunion
  • possible numbness
  • difficulty while wearing shoes
  • if left untreated, the foot can hurt in different places

Treatment for Mild to Severe Bunions

Home Remedy Tips:

  • application of a non-medicated pad around the bony prominence
  • application of ice packs to reduce swelling if inflamed and painful
  • wearing shoes with a wide toe box
  • avoiding high-heeled shoes over two inches high

When pain persists, podiatrists recommend:

  • ultrasound therapy, a popular technique to provide relief from the pain
  • acute pain be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone injections
  • padding the bunion and taping the foot to help reduce stress and pain
  • shoe inserts which help reduce symptoms and prevent worsening of the deformity
  • a surgical procedure called a simple bunionectomy, in which the bony prominence is removed
  • the cutting of the bone and realignment of the joint

Dr. Scott McKinney, Dr. Jorge Cuza, Dr. Mark Moss, Dr. Francisco Cuza, Dr. Edna Reyes- Guerrero and Dr. Hina Hissan will take into consideration the extent of the deformity by studying the x-ray results, the lifestyle, health and age of the patient. To help you with your painful bunions make an appointment with our board certified podiatrists at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. We have 8 convenient locations with 3 in Houston, 2 in Pasadena, Baytown, Pearland and Alvin Texas. Contact us today and don’t let bunions slow you down.