Tips For Going Barefoot in Summer

One of the oldest joys of summer is being able to go barefoot. Going barefoot in summer is not without risks, so your Austin, TX foot specialist wants you to have some tips to keep your bare feet safe.

Wear Sunscreen

Even if you choose not to wear shoes, you still need some sort of foot protection. The tops of your feet are prone to sunburn just like other areas of your skin. Slather a deep layer of waterproof sunscreen on the tops of your feet, toes and ankles, being sure to smooth it into the crevices between your toes. Reapply after going into the water.

Be Sure Your Tetanus Shots Are up to Date

Booster tetanus shots are recommended every ten years. If your foot is accidentally punctured or scraped by a rusty metal object, at least you might avoid serious tetanus illness.

Inspect Feet

After walking barefoot, take a rest and inspect your feet, including the bottoms and in between toes. Take your time with this inspection, because insect bites can appear as very hard to see, small red dots that can be easily overlooked. You might not always feel a recent injury right away, especially if you have an underlying disorder, such as diabetes. Also, small insects are attracted to the spaces in between your toes, so be on the lookout for any “stowaways.”

Avoid Going Barefoot in Tall Grass

Even in your own backyard, tall grass can hide dangers to bare feet. You never know what creature you might accidentally disturb, inciting a protective bite to your precious feet. The safest time to go barefoot in the backyard is after a fresh mow, when slithery creatures (yes, garden snakes) are more likely to hide away in their underground home.

If you run into any problems while enjoying barefoot time this summer, don’t hesitate to contact your Austin, TX podiatrist for care and treatment.

Do I Have to Only Wear Flat Shoes Forever?

If you have had trouble with your feet, your Austin, TX podiatrist may have indicated that at least part of the trouble may be with your footwear. Improper footwear can cause a host of problems with feet and other parts of the body. But don’t take that to mean that you can only wear flat shoes for the rest of your life. Both high heels and flats can cause feet trouble.

The Trouble With High Heels

High heels are fashionable, but they aren’t the best kind of footwear for your feet. They can cause and exacerbate several problems, like:

Forcing Feet into an Unnatural Position

Excessively high heels place undue pressure on the metatarsal and sesamoid bones as well as the bones in the toes. This leads to inflammation because of the stress and pressure. Frequent wear may even cause hairline fractures in these bones.

Heel Pain

The hard area at the back of standard high heels rubs against the ankle bone at the back of the foot. This painful pressure can cause bursitis, swelling, blisters and intense discomfort in the Achilles tendon.

The Trouble With Flats

Flat shoes aren’t necessarily the answer, either. They have their own issues:

Lack of Arch Support

Popular shoes such as ballet flats and flip flops offer zero support for the arch of the foot. This can cause problem called plantar fasciitis in Austin, TX, which is when the band of tissue on the bottom of the foot is overstretched, torn or inflamed. Lack of arch support in shoes is often the culprit behind “mysterious” back, knee and hip pain.

Moderate Heels Are Okay

The solution may be to opt for moderate heels that are no more than two inches in height. This type of shoe lends itself to the natural shape of the foot and supports the arch.

Never ignore foot pain, as it can indicate serious problems that could be helped with timely treatment. For any kind of foot pain or other issues, visit Dr. Jeffrey Lamour, your Austin, TX podiatrist.

What is a Foot Neuroma and How Can You Treat It?

A neuroma is a painful foot condition that develops between your toes. You may also hear your podiatrist in Austin, TX refer to a foot neuroma as a nerve tumor or simply a pinched nerve. Foot neuromas are a benign condition caused by an overgrowth of nerve tissues.

Symptoms and Causes of Foot Neuromas

The symptoms of neuromas sometimes mimic those of other food conditions, making it difficult to determine a diagnosis without visiting a podiatrist. The most common things to look for include:

  • Pain in the ball of the foot when you apply pressure to it
  • Pain towards the front of your foot and in between your toes
  • Numbness and tingling in the ball of your foot
  • Swelling between your toes

Foot neuromas are more common in women than men, mainly because women wear high heels and other types of shoes that can contribute to the problem. Be sure to wear shoes with low heels that provide your toes with adequate room to move to avoid developing neuromas. Look for shoes with laces or buckles that make it easy for you to adjust the fitting and avoid squeezing your feet too tightly. Other potential causes of foot neuromas include:

  • Having flat feet or feet with high arches
  • Repeated stress, such as a job that requires you to stand all day
  • Trauma to the nerves of the foot

Your shoes should also have thick and shock-absorbent soles along with insoles to take pressure off the foot. Wearing additional padding in your shoes near the toe area can also help prevent nerve damage to the toes that results in neuromas.

This problem typically gets worse without treatment. Dr. Jeffrey Lamour will determine if you could benefit from custom orthotics in Austin, TX or any other remedies during your initial appointment.

Recognizing and Treating a Ganglion Cyst on Your Foot

Ganglion cysts contain jelly-like fluid and form a hard lump at the point of a joint or tendon. The word ganglion refers to the knot-like lump or mass that forms beneath the surface of your skin.

Causes and Symptoms of Ganglion Cysts of the Foot

Despite being the most common type of benign soft-tissue mass, doctors still do not know the precise cause of ganglion cysts. The most logical explanation is that they develop in response to repeated micro-traumas or a single trauma. Your ganglion cyst may change size and even appear to go away for a time only to return. Typical symptoms include:

  • Appearance of a hard lump
  • Pain and irritation when wearing shoes due to the friction caused between the lump and shoe
  • Burning or tingling sensations if the cyst has developed near a nerve
  • Dull ache or pain if the cyst presses against a tendon or joint

If you suspect you could have a ganglion cyst on your foot, schedule an appointment for podiatry services in Austin, TX right away.

What Are Your Treatment Options for a Ganglion Cyst?

If the cyst does not cause you pain or affect your walking, Dr. Lamour may decide to monitor it to see if it will go away on its own. Wearing different shoes or a temporary slipper shoe can also help. Draining the fluid from the cyst and injecting it with steroid medication in a process called aspiration and injection can also help. You may need to complete the process more than once, and the cyst may grow back even larger in some cases.

Surgical removal of the cyst is another possibility and it has a much lower recurrence rate than aspiration and injection. As an experienced podiatrist in Austin, TX, Dr. Lamour will discuss all treatment options and allow you to choose the one that seems right for you.

How Diabetic Neuropathy Affects Your Feet

Approximately two-thirds of people with diabetes develop some type of nerve damage. Neuropathy, which mainly affects the limbs, is the most common. You are at highest risk of developing neuropathy if you have uncontrolled blood sugar levels for a long time. Your age and the number of years you have had diabetes also play a role in whether you develop diabetic neuropathy and the severity of the nerve damage.

How Peripheral Neuropathy Affects the Feet and Legs

As the most common type of neuropathy in diabetics, peripheral neuropathy typically affects the feet and legs first followed by the arms and hands. Common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in the feet include:

  • Burning, stabbing, or shooting pain
  • Tingling sensation best described as the feeling of pins and needles against your feet
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Sores and ulcers that heal slowly and can lead to other complications
  • Numbness
  • Intolerance to hot and cold temperatures
  • Problems with balance and coordination

People with diabetes are also more prone to developing toenail fungus, cuts, blisters, and calluses on the feet. Due to diminished sensations in your feet from the peripheral neuropathy, you may not notice these problems until you have developed an infection. Left untreated, each of these diabetic foot problems can cause an ulcer that could lead to amputation of a foot or lower leg.

Prevent Serious Diabetic Foot Problems by Working with an Experienced Podiatrist

Routine foot check-ups are vital when you have diabetes. Dr. Jeffrey Lamour will assess your feet at each visit and recommend appropriate treatment for any problems he detects. He can also recommend custom orthotic footwear and provide you with tips to properly care for your feet at home. With something as important as your mobility at stake, you cannot afford to overlook the importance of quality care from your local podiatrist in Austin, TX.

How to Know if You Have a Heel Spur

Heel spurs contain a bony outgrowth made up of calcium deposits. They develop under the skin and can be difficult to see, but you can usually feel them. One of the most common reasons that people develop heel spurs is that they have plantar fasciitis. The cause of plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is the tissue that stretches across the bottom of the foot and connects the heels and toes together.

Other Causes of Heel Spurs

Heel spurs can also develop in response to other underlying conditions, including arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Here are some additional reasons you may develop a heel spur:

  • Wearing non-supportive or improperly fitted footwear such as flip-flops.
  • Overuse injuries that develop from jumping and running on hard floors and other surfaces. These actions can cause heel spurs by wearing down the arch and heel of your foot.
  • Being overweight or obese puts extra pressure on your feet and can eventually lead to heel spurs.

Typical Symptoms Associated with Heel Spurs

Although heel spurs are not always visible without an X-ray, some people notice a small protrusion on the area of their heel where they feel pain. Other common symptoms include:

  • Hot and burning sensations
  • Inflammation and swelling
  • Tenderness in the heel makes it difficult to walk barefoot or with non-supportive shoes

We encourage you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Lamour, your local podiatrist in Austin, TX, if you notice any of these symptoms. He will examine your foot and take an X-ray to help him make a formal diagnosis.

Heel Spur Treatment

Resting your foot and placing ice on the heel is the first-line treatment for heel spurs. Dr. Lamour will also give you stretching exercises and advise you to take anti-inflammatory medication if needed. Physical therapy, special orthotic shoes, and cortisone injections are additional options to consider.

Keeping Feet Safe at the Gym 

Your podiatrist in Austin,Texas wants you to know that keeping feet safe at the gym is of the utmost importance. While it’s healthy to exercise and even get the socialization that public gyms offer, gyms can also be a threat to the health of your feet. There’s no reason to be overly alarmed as long as you take the following safety precautions.

Begin Slowly

If you’re still recovering from pandemic-mode, you may not have visited the gym in a while. Don’t assume you can just pick up where you left off. The tendons and joints in your feet and ankles may not be ready to handle your toughest workout. Ease back into your routine slowly until you can increase your stamina and strengthen your feet and ankles to where you’re used to.

Wear Proper Foot Gear

Make sure you’re wearing shoes that support your achilles heel and ankle, especially if you do bicycle workouts, cardio or weightlifting. These workouts really put the ankles through their paces, and you’ll want footwear that offers proper support. Ideally, you’ll have a designated pair of sneakers that you wear only to the gym.

Use Correct Technique

Don’t be shy about asking a gym professional to demonstrate correct technique on any gym equipment that you haven’t yet tried. There are all kinds of ways to injure your feet and ankles while working out, but using proper technique will greatly minimize your risk.

Wear Shower Sandals

Make the extra effort to always wear shower sandals or water shoes while inside the locker room. Foot bacteria lurks in warm and damp environments like showers, toilet stalls and locker areas. Avoid going barefoot too, because in any public place like the gym, there is always the chance that someone has dropped a sharp object, pin or something else that could damage your feet.

Visit Your Podiatrist After an Injury

If you do injure your feet or ankles at the gym, book an appointment with your Austin, TX podiatrist right away. Don’t assume it’s nothing. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Maintaining your mobility is paramount to overall good health, and your feet and ankles are the most important factor. Take good care of them at the gym using the tips mentioned above.

Common Causes of Cold Feet 

Everyone has cold feet when outdoor temperatures begin to drop. But if you’re troubled by cold feet year-round, something more serious could be at play. Chronic cold feet is most commonly associated with poor circulation to your extremities or damage to the nerves in your feet. Your podiatrist in Austin, TX, may have a solution. Call today to schedule a consultation.

Why Do Feet Feel Cold?

Sometimes cold feet are just cold feet. They feel cold in response to surrounding temperatures. However, if your feet are frequently uncomfortably cold, even in warm weather, this could mean the arteries that carry blood to your hands and feet have narrowed. Because not enough blood gets through, these areas constantly feel cold. It may also be that your body is lacking in red blood cells– a frequent symptom of anemia. A simple visit to your podiatrist will help you determine the root of the issue and may educate you on other reasons why you struggle with constantly cold feet, including:

Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease causes poor circulation to hands and feet, which means they feel cold much of the time. Smoking or using tobacco may be linked to peripheral artery disease, so may diabetes and hypertension.

Neuropathy

Neuropathy is often a side effect of diabetes. But it may also be associated with alcoholism, vitamin deficiency, and an underactive thyroid. Even some medications may contribute. Neoropathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels in your feet.

Elevated Cholesterol Levels

High cholesterol is another culprit that could be causing your cold feet. If your cholesterol is too high, it can cause build-up and inflammation in your veins, constricting the flow of blood to your extremities.

Buerger’s Disease

Bueger’s disease is caused by tobacco use. Over time, the blood vessels in the feet and hands swell and make it difficult for blood to circulate to these areas. This condition may also cause dangerous blood clots to form. However, it’s rare and is unlikely to be the reason why your feet are always cold.

Uncomfortably cold feet in Austin, TX, could be a symptom of something more serious, and Dr. Jeffrey Lamour is ready to help. Contact us today for excellence of podiatric care in the Lone Star State.

7 Signs It’s Time to See Your Podiatrist

If you’re experiencing foot pain, schedule an appointment with your podiatrist in Austin, TX. Early diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as plantar fasciitis and diabetic neuropathy begins with a comprehensive foot exam. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, make that call today.

1. Pain in the Heel

Plantar Fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain in adults. This condition happens when there are small tears along the band of tissue that connects the heel with the toes. Often a result of athletic injury or overuse, plantar fasciitis may be immensely painful.

2. Painful Toenail

Ingrown toenails make it difficult to wear shoes without significant pain, and this can be a problem for those who spend a lot of time on their feet. If left untreated, pain can worsen, and your toe may become infected. S

3. Redness and/or Swelling in the Foot

Redness and swelling could be an indication of gout. Gout flareups are terribly painful and often attack the big toe. This condition is caused by a form of arthritis, and early diagnosis and treatment will save you unnecessary pain and discomfort.

4. Bruising

Bruising on or around your feet is usually a sign of injury. Making an appointment with your podiatrist may help prevent trauma from worsening.

5. Tingling or Burning Sensations in the Feet

Burning and tingling sensations in the hands and feet are sometimes linked to diabetic neuropathy. If you think you may have nerve damage from diabetes, it’s vital to seek medical attention right away.

6. Severely Dry, Cracked, or Bleeding Skin

Severely dry or bleeding skin is painful, especially skin located on your heel. Seek medical attention if you notice issues with dry skin in this area. It could be a sign of a more serious medical condition.

7. Open Sores

Open sores on your feet could be another indication of diabetes. You must take special care to address sores, so they don’t worsen or become infected. Your podiatrist in Austin, TX, can help.

Care for your feet just as you do the rest of your body, and address foot problems in Austin, TX, promptly. Call Dr, Jeffery LaMour, DPM today for early diagnosis and treatment.

5 Symptoms of Diabetes on Feet and Ankles

When you visit your podiatrist in Austin, Texas, did you know that you are getting much more than a feet and ankle exam? Your podiatrist is the first line of defense against diabetes when symptoms first appear in this area. Millions of people have diabetes, and too many of those people end up losing the use of their feet because of this common disease. The earlier that diabetes can be diagnosed, the better the outcome. Having regular appointments with your Austin podiatrist will help to ensure that any diabetic symptoms affecting the feet and ankles can be treated as necessary. Here are five symptoms to look out for.

1. Ankle Swelling

Swelling in the ankles indicates poor circulation, which is a common side effect of having diabetes. One sign of this is visible swelling, of course. But another sign is if your ankle socks leave visible rings around your ankles when you remove them.

2. Irregular Skin Color

Diabetes frequently causes discoloration of the feet, ankles or even lower legs. Discoloration may appear dark red purple or blue, which indicates poor circulation in the lower vascular system.

3. Numbness in the toes

Another symptom of diabetes on feet is numbness of the toes. When you have your podiatrist appointment, your doctor may test your level of sensation on your feet and toes. If any abnormalities are noticed, this could indicate diabetes.

4. Loss of Hair on Feet or Legs

Men with diabetes may experience loss of hair on the tops of their toes, while women with diabetes may experience loss of hair on their legs. Your podiatrist may suspect diabetes as an underlying cause if hair loss is detected.

5. Sores That Won’t Heal

If you have a sore on the feet or ankles that isn’t healing, this may indicate diabetes. Unfortunately, since diabetes also sometimes causes numbness, you may not even be aware of having a sore on your foot. However, your podiatrist will notice it and ask about it during your podiatrist appointment, including how long the sore has been there.

As you can see, regular podiatrist appointments can actually help you to get diabetes diagnosed quicker so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. Book an appointment with your Austin, TX podiatrist today!