4 Ways to Avoid Athlete’s Foot

Although it’s rarely serious, athlete’s foot is not something any of us want to deal with. The scaling, peeling, and cracking skin not only looks undesirable with your favorite sandals, but it’s uncomfortable with its trademark burning and itching. In some cases, it can damage your skin’s protective barrier, leaving you susceptible to bacterial infections and other problems.

Don’t let this fungus invade your feet! There are some effective ways you can avoid this annoying condition and keep your feet looking and feeling great.

Be Wary of Public Places

It’s very easy to catch the fungus that causes athlete’s foot in warm, damp areas. The fungus, known as tinea pedis, loves to breed in places such as public bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. Wear flip flops or shower shoes and never go barefoot in these communal areas.

Let Your Feet Breathe

Keeping your feet dry is key to avoiding athlete’s foot. If your socks or shoes get wet from water sports or sweating, your feet become a hot spot for fungus. Instead, change into dry footwear often, don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row, and wash and dry feet thoroughly after exercise.

Unless it’s very cold outside, wear lightweight, breathable shoes and socks, and skip the heavy fabrics that can make feet sweat more.

Be Mindful of Pets

If you let your dog go into a public shower or locker room and then into your house, Fido could be bringing fungus in with him. If your pet has been in a damp public area, wash and dry his paws outside before you let him in. Otherwise, he could track the fungus in your home, where it will wait for you to pick it up on your feet.

Don’t Share Germs in Your House

If you find out someone in your household has athlete’s foot, make sure you don’t share towels, shoes, or socks with them (you shouldn’t do this anyway). Consider using a disinfectant in the shower or tub after each use.

The affected family member should use an appropriate antifungal product as directed for at least two to four weeks. A podiatrist can recommend the best treatment and ensure the infection is properly cleared. Anyone with an active athlete’s foot infection should also avoid public swimming pools, showers, and other places until their infection is gone to avoid spreading it to others.

Do you have signs of athlete’s foot or another foot concern? Dr. Jeffery LaMour is an expert in foot health. Contact his office today to schedule your appointment!

Foods that Feet Love

What you put in your mouth has an effect on your entire body, including your feet. Did you know that your feet appreciate a healthy diet as much as the rest of your body? Here are some simple ways to keep your feet feeling great with food.

Strong Bones, Happy Feet

Bones need plenty of calcium and vitamin D to be at their best, and your feet are no exception. In fact, each foot has 26 bones in it that help you move and go about your daily activities, all while handling impact and supporting your body.

To keep your foot bones feeling great, try these foods that are rich in calcium:

  • Low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Oranges and calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Almonds

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. But it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone. Fortified dairy products, eggs, and some types of fish contain vitamin D, but this may not be enough to meet the recommended daily allowance of 600 – 800 IU for adults. For this reason, ask your doctor about whether a vitamin D supplement may be right for you.

Diabetes, Food, and Feet

If you have diabetes, you may already know that you need to take special care of your feet. By keeping your blood sugar levels under control, you can help minimize the risk of problems like neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy often affects the feet, causing numbness, tingling, pain, and sometimes irreversible nerve damage. In severe cases, it can lead to loss of a limb.

Work with your doctor on a healthy diet for your individual needs, and keep your feet feeling great for years to come.

Whole Foods for Whole Foot Health

All the muscles, nerves, and systems in your body benefit from a healthy diet. Your feet have an amazing system of tendons, muscles, and joints that will be at their best if you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Try to minimize processed food and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables with meals and snacks.

Drink Up for Healthy Feet

Hydration is important for your energy levels, focus and concentration, and yes – your feet! Drinking plenty of water can help you avoid foot swelling, sore muscles, and cramping. Most experts recommend drinking eight glasses of water per day, but if you exercise or sweat a lot, you’ll likely need more. Water is usually best, but sports drinks can be helpful for extremely active athletes who need to replenish electrolytes. Avoid sugary, caffeinated drinks whenever possible.

Your feet work hard to take you places every day. Give them the care they deserve with a healthy, balanced diet. If you have foot pain or questions about the health of your feet, contact the office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour to schedule your appointment!

Know the Signs of Infection After Foot Surgery

Today’s surgical techniques are extremely safe and work out favorably for the vast majority of patients. If you’ve had your surgery performed by a qualified podiatrist, your chance of complications is very low.

Nonetheless, you should know the warning signs of post-surgery problems. Complications don’t happen often, but it’s important to be armed with the right information. In particular, patients should know the early signs of an infection. This will ensure your foot surgery recovery goes as smoothly as possible and you can receive early treatment to combat the infection if needed.

Common Signs of Infection

Although infections are uncommon, and very serious infections are extremely rare, your podiatrist will talk with you about watching the incision for signs of a problem. You’ll want to identify the problem early so you can get proper treatment and minimize any problems with healing. Signs that warrant a call to your podiatrist include:

  • Severe pain
  • Pain that gets worse during the days after surgery instead of better
  • Redness around the surgical site
  • Unusual fluid or pus draining from the incision
  • Fever, sweating, or chills

Preventing an Infection

Some infections can be prevented with proper post-surgical care. Be sure to follow your podiatrist’s guidelines for changing any bandages, cleaning the area, and showering or bathing. In general, you’ll need to make sure your hands have been washed carefully with soap and water before touching the area. This can help prevent any bacteria from entering your body.

Not all infections can be prevented, but care of the incision after surgery and watching for warning signs of infection will help ensure a smooth and healthy recovery.

Treating Infections

Most infections are treated with antibiotics, and the type of antibiotic you get will depend on your individual case. If you do need an antibiotic, your surgeon will discuss this with you. Be sure to take the complete course of medication, even after you feel better.

Successful Foot Surgery

Foot surgery is highly successful when performed by an experienced podiatrist. But, be sure your podiatrist has explored non-surgical options with you and has covered possible risks before you move forward with any surgical procedure. Podiatrists are trained in treating many foot problems with non-invasive methods, so surgery should be a last resort.

If you do require surgery to correct your issue, be sure you choose a podiatrist who is board certified in foot surgery by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. This will ensure that your surgeon is properly trained and experienced, giving you the safest experience possible.

And if you have any questions after your surgery, don’t hesitate to call your podiatrist and ask. We’re here to help!

Do you have a foot problem that needs attention? Contact Dr. Jeffery LaMour to schedule your appointment today!

My heel hurts – what should I do?

Your heels take a pounding every day. They absorb much of the impact when you walk, run, and stand for long periods. They have muscles and ligaments that work hard and get strained by activity. Your heel bone is also the largest bone in your foot.

So it’s no surprise that heel pain is one of the most common complaints podiatrists see every day. The problem is, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for heel pain. Your treatment will depend on what’s causing your pain and your individual health history.

Pain on the Bottom of the Heel

Does it hurt directly under your heel? This could be a result of:

  • Stepping on something hard, such as a rock. This is called a “stone bruise,” which injures the pad under your heel. Although you may not see signs of a typical bruise with discoloration, a stone bruise can be painful. It usually heals well on its own within a few weeks.

  • Plantar fasciitis. This common condition is caused by straining the plantar fascia, which is the band of tissue that covers the bottom of your foot. When the plantar fascia gets overstretched from excessive running or improper footwear, the pain will become noticeable in the heel. Often the pain is worse in the morning, and gets better after you move around. Without treatment, plantar fasciitis often gets worse with time and can lead to bone spurs.

Both of these conditions often heal with rest, ice, and using pain relievers as directed. But, if your heel pain doesn’t improve with these measures, it’s best to have a podiatrist evaluate your problem. Often a custom orthotic, therapy, stretching or other non-invasive treatment can address the issue and achieve relief.

Pain Behind the Heel

Pain behind the heel is typically not caused by stepping on something or plantar fasciitis. Usually, this signals a problem with your Achilles tendon, which may include:

  • Bursitis of the heel. This is also called retrocalcaneal bursitis, and is swelling of a fluid-filled sac at the back of your heel. This bursa is located where the Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Inflammation is often caused by doing too much exercise too quickly, and the pain is typically worse during activity.

  • Achilles tendinitis. This is inflammation in the Achilles tendon itself, which connects your calf muscles to the back of your heel. Similar to bursitis of the heel, it is often caused by overuse or too vigorous of an exercise program, as well as tight calf muscles. This condition causes pain during walking or running, and you may be able to see swelling along the back of your heel area.

For these conditions, your podiatrist may recommend rest, ice, avoiding activities that cause pain, and special shoe inserts that help reduce strain on the Achilles tendon. Surgery is only recommended if the pain is severe and other measures haven’t been successful.

Don’t ignore heel pain, or it may get worse over time! Talk to an expert about your foot problems. Contact the office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour to get back on your feet again!

Why does my foot cramp?

Muscle cramps can be a real pain — and they often strike at the most inconvenient times. The middle of the night is a prime time for painful foot cramps and charley horses, waking you from your much-needed sleep. They may also occur during exercise and activity.

Fortunately, foot cramps are usually nothing serious, and there are plenty of ways you can help prevent them from happening.

What is a Cramp?

A cramp is simply a contraction of a muscle that usually causes pain. The pain is usually sharp enough to stop you in your tracks. You may know you’re having a cramp, but determining the cause isn’t always so simple.

Check your Hydration

The muscles in your feet work hard every day. They flex and move with every step, and they’re also helping to support your entire body. If you haven’t had enough to drink, your muscles lose the necessary fluids they need to function well. Dehydrated muscles tend to cramp up more.

Aim for eight glasses of water a day, or more if you’re sweating or exercising.

Lack of Stretching

Stretching is essential for healthy muscles, and proper stretching can keep your feet feeling great too. If your muscles are stiff from lack of stretching, they may tend to cramp more frequently. Flexible muscles are healthy muscles!

Try a simple stretching routine, and don’t overdo it. Stretch slowly and gently, and stop if you feel pain. Your podiatrist can recommend specific exercises that will benefit your foot health needs.

Excessive Exercise

Exercise is great for the body, but pushing yourself to the limit can leave you in pain afterward. If you exercise much harder or longer than usual, your muscles will feel the strain. Not only can this leave you fatigued, but you experience soreness and muscle cramps.

The best way to increase your fitness level is to build up gradually, without overdoing it. Always talk with your doctor if you have any health concerns or conditions before you start a rigorous exercise program.

Electrolyte Imbalance

The electrolytes essential for healthy muscles are calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Excessive exercise without replenishing electrolytes, or taking supplements that disrupt electrolyte balance, could cause more muscle cramping. If your diet is lacking in nutrients, this could create problems for your muscles as well.

Eat a balanced diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Talk with your doctor about any special dietary needs, and be sure to discuss any vitamins or supplements you take.

The Wrong Shoes

Shoes play a big role in how your feet feel every day, Wearing shoes without proper support, such as flip flops, can definitely cause cramping. If you’re going to be on your feet for long periods, make sure your shoes are in good condition, have adequate room for your feet, and include good arch and ankle support. Shoes with the APMA Seal of Acceptance are always safe choices.

Your Podiatrist Can Help You Stop Foot Cramps

Foot cramps are uncomfortable, but rarely serious. If you notice cramping regularly and cannot determine the cause,see your podiatrist. Correcting any foot problems early gives you the best chance for effective relief.

Do you have a foot health question or concern? Contact Dr. Jeffery LaMour to learn how you can keep your feet as healthy as possible for a lifetime.