Why is the Ball of My Foot Swollen

The ball of your foot takes the brunt of your foot as you walk, run, dance, and more. This thicker portion of the foot lies between your toes and your heel, and it carries your weight as you move. The ball is already a bigger segment of your foot, but if you notice it getting larger, this could indicate a podiaic problem. Austin podiatrist, Dr. Jeffery LaMour, is available to answer all of your common foot questions so you can take better care of your feet. One query we often hear from our patients is: “why is the ball of my foot swollen?” There are many potential causes for inflammation in this area. In the following blog, we explain a few of the most common reasons for swelling and explain what you can do to address them.

Ball Basics

While we rely on the balls of our feet to carry us through life, many of us may not fully understand what podiatrists call the “metatarsal,” or the conditions that can affect it. Medical News Today explains: “Metatarsalgia, also known as stone bruise, is a type of pain and inflammation that occurs in the part of the foot known as the metatarsal (ball of foot). It often occurs in the metatarsal heads – where the three middle toes meet the ball of the foot. It is a common problem.” Your metatarsal is so vital to your foot function that swelling in the ball of your foot can significantly disrupt your daily life. In addition, the metatarsal is so versatile that there are many related conditions and activities that can affect it.

Medical News Today goes on: “A lot of physically active people suffer from [Metatarsalgia]…the severity of the pain can vary and may affect just one or two toes – sometimes the whole foot or even both feet might be affected.” Although “it is most common in middle aged females,” Medical News Today notes that “Metatarsalgia can affect males and females of all ages.” It makes sense for all of us to know more about the balls of our feet so we can prevent and treat Metatarsalgia.

The Arthritis Answer

Arthritis is a bone condition characterized by swelling and discomfort in the joints. It can affect every area of the body, including the ball of the foot, so inflammation could very well be due to arthritis. Medical News Today writes: “rheumatoid arthritis – swelled joints in the foot, or gout [arthritis caused by uric acid production] can cause Metatarsalgia.” If arthritis is the culprit, Dr. LaMour and our team offer comprehensive arthritic foot and ankle care to help you manage your condition and reduce swelling.

Nailing Your Feet with Hammertoes

Your feet are carefully calibrated systems designed to carry your weight. If one part is malformed, it can affect the rest quite easily. Therefore, a condition known as hammertoes can lead to Metatarsalgia. In this disorder, one of the middle toes is pulled downward, leading the foot as a whole to look like a hammer. Because they don’t distribute the body’s weight properly, hammertoes can stress the metatarsals and lead to swelling in the ball of the foot. In some cases, hammertoes are congenital, but they are often caused by constantly wearing unhealthy shoes that constrict the foot. If caught early enough, Dr. LaMour can help you treat hammertoes with flexible shoes, special exercises, and comforting devices such as cushions. In advanced cases, Dr. LaMour may recommend surgery.

Arch Issues

The curvature of your foot can also have a major impact on the ball of your foot. Foot Smart explains that one of the “common causes of metatarsal imbalances include[s] a high arch or flat feet, either of which places abnormal pressure across your metatarsals.” Genetic conditions, improper footwear, and a host of other factors can cause your arch to be too high or too low. To help re-balance your metatarsals, Dr. LaMour can fit you for custom orthotics, as well as prescribing other treatments as needed.

Metatarsal Management

Arthritis, hammertoes, and arch issues are some of the most likely reasons for metatarsalgia, but there are numerous potential causes for swelling in the ball of your foot. If you notice inflammation in this region, we suggest that you come in and see us for assistance. The sooner we can determine the underlying cause, the sooner we can treat it and restore your foot health.

Find Out Why the Ball of Your Foot is Swollen

Dr. LaMour and our team can help you diagnose your condition so you can find relief from inflammation. Contact us today to learn more and schedule your appointment!

Original Source: https://www.drjefflamour.com/foot-care/why-is-the-ball-of-my-foot-swollen/

Numb Toes: Why it Happens & What It Means

Have your toes ever gone numb? Numbness in any part of your body can be unsettling and uncomfortable. Loss of sensation in your toes can make it difficult to exercise, walk, or even stand, depending on the severity. In addition, you might think nothing of the numbness, but it could be a symptom of other conditions, so it’s important to pay attention to it, especially if it is more intense or frequent. Austin foot doctor, Jeffery LaMour, and our team are here to assist you with every aspect of your foot health, from heel to toe. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about your feet. In the following blog, we cover the phenomenon of numb toes. We explain why this happens and what it means.

Symptoms

If your toes are numb, you may experience:

  • A complete loss of sensation, so that you can’t feel it when you touch your toes.
  • A cold feeling in your toes.
  •  The perception that ants are crawling on your toes, which is often associated with numbness or an area of the body “falling asleep.”
  • General tingling in and around your toes.
  • A lessened ability to move your toes.

Most likely, if your toes are numb, you’ll know it. If this occurs on a frequent basis or is severe enough to interfere with your daily activities, we recommend that you come in and see Dr. LaMour for assistance.

Numbness and Nerves

To answer questions about why toes lose sensation and what this means, it’s important to understand how nerves and numbness go together. Nerves are the fibers in your body that send messages so you can feel and sense things. If you’re experiencing numbness, this means that something is interfering with proper nerve function. As Medicine Net explains: “numbness of the toes generally is a result of conditions that affect the nerves and/or blood vessels that supply the foot.” While there are many specific circumstances that could be causing numbness, a disruption in nerve transmission (and blood flow, which affects the nerves) is the basic root of the problem.

Common Causes

What in the world is making your feet go numb? There are many potential factors, but some of the most prevalent include:

  • An injury. Trauma to your toes can make them go numb. Livestrong explains: “An injury that causes the tissue in the foot to swell, or causes direct damage to a nerve, can lead to foot numbness.”
  • Flat feet. If your foot doesn’t have a sufficient arch to support your weight and the pressure you exert through activity, the nerves in your feet could become compressed when you move, numbing your toes.
  • Spinal issues. Your spine is a major control center for nerves, so if your toes become numb, it could actually be due to a more general spinal condition. Heathline lists spinal stenosis and a herniated disc as potential causes of toe numbness, for example.
  • Ill-fitting footwear. Wearing shoes that pinch your toes could restrict blood flow and compress your nerves.
  • Colder conditions. If your toes become too cold, this could cause them to go numb.
  • Prolonged sitting or standing. Staying in one place can put undue pressure on your toes and impair the nerves. Wiki How notes: “Often numbness in the feet or toes occurs when you have sitting or standing in one place for a long time…numbness is often triggered by seating positions that pinch the nerves in your legs and/or feet.”
  • Morton’s neuroma. If your numbness is specifically between your third and fourth toes, you could be suffering from a condition known as Morton’s neuroma. This occurs when the tissue becomes denser around a particular nerve.

Dr. LaMour can help you determine exactly what your numb toes mean and why they’re happening when you come see us for an examination. We will conduct thorough assessments to make an accurate diagnosis and create a customized treatment program just for you!

Are Your Toes Numb?

Find out why and what you can do about it! Come see Dr. LaMour at our Austin podiatry practice. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

Original Source: https://www.drjefflamour.com/foot-diseases/numb-toes-why-it-happens-what-it-means/

What Does ‘Arch Support’ Really Mean?

You may have heard the term “arch support” bandied about. Perhaps it was advertised as an important quality in those fancy new running shoes you were considering buying, or maybe you’ve seen shoe inserts at the drug store to help hold up your arches. However, most people likely don’t know what “arch support” actually is. Austin podiatrist, Dr. Jeffery LaMour, and our team are committed to educating patients about their feet so they can take better care of their podiatric health. After all, your feet are in many ways the foundation for your well-being, since you walk, run, skip, dance, and skate through life on them. Having a healthy arch is, in fact, an important facet of your foot health. In the following blog, we explain what “arch support” really means and how you can achieve it.

What is the Foot’s Arch?

The arch is exactly what it sounds like—the curved portion. Just like the carefully designed bend in a bridge, your arch is key to the structure of your foot. Livestrong’s “5 Things You Need to Know About Arch Support” explains: “The arch usually starts just below the ball of the foot and the toes and extends to the heel. The width and length varies, but your arches should be about the same size and shape on both feet. Arches can shift and change as the body grows, so the size and curve of the arch may change from childhood to adulthood.”

This is the general definition of the foot’s arch, but if we’re going to get truly technical, Teach Me Anatomy points out that there are actually three arches in the foot: “two longitudinal [running from the toes to the heel]…and one anterior transverse arch,” which connects the two longitudinal near the ball of the foot. These three arches form a triangle. However, since they are all so interconnected and interdependent, many people simply think of this entire triangle of the foot as its arch.

Arch Analysis

Not all arches are created equal. Arches are much like fingerprints—no two are exactly alike. However, there is a normal range at which your feet can adequately hold your weight and handle the pressure put on them. There are three basic categories of arch: too high, too low, and healthy. Foot Smart explains that you can do a “simple test on yourself” to determine what kind of arch you have (and if yours could be a problem). All you have to do is:

  1. “Get your feet wet.
  2. Stand normally on a flat surface where you can see the imprint of your feet, such as a sidewalk or a newspaper.
  3. Step away from your imprints and look at the wet marks.”

Once you’ve made your footprints, you can tell that “you have a low arch if your imprint shows the entire bottom of your feet….if you have a normal arch, you will see an imprint with the inside curve of your foot missing…[and] you have a high arch if you cannot see anything but your heel and the top of your foot near your toes.”

Of course, for a truly comprehensive understanding of your arches and how they behave, you would need an examination by a podiatrist like Dr. LaMour. We can assess your arches and determine if any treatment or care is necessary.

If You Don’t Support Your Arch

What if you leave your arch unsupported? There are a few symptoms that could result. First off, you’re likely to experience discomfort in your feet. In her Livestrong article, “The Importance of Arch Support,” Lauren Hutchens describes how arches “bear 200,000 to 300,000 lbs. of stress each mile we walk. Arches absorb the brunt of the pressure our bodies thrust upon our feet with each stride.” This is no small job, and repeatedly forcing your foot to bear your weight at an improper angle could definitely take a toll.

If you never develop arches, you suffer from flat feet, which can lead to more severe swelling. Having your arches too high or too low could also cause a condition known as plantar fasciitis, which can be quite painful. Improper arch support could also raise your risk for injury and other foot conditions.

Support Solutions

Dr. LaMour and our team could help you enjoy healthy arches with proper treatment. First of all, it is important to find the right footwear. Hutchens explains that you should wear shoes that support your particular arch type: “support low or high arches with well-fitting, appropriate footwear, particularly for athletic activities. People with low arches should look for shoes classified as ‘motion control,’” while “people with high arches should consider ‘cushioning’ shoes.” Both motion control and cushioning designs gently nudge your foot into proper position. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of great shoe brands and styles for all arch types.

In addition, we can custom make orthotic inserts to help you modify your existing shoes for better arch support. If you’re suffering from flat feet, plantar fasciitis, injury, or any other podiatric condition, our team can help diagnose your condition and provide a customized treatment plan.

Find Out More About What Podiatry Really Means

Dr. LaMour and our team are here to answer your foot health related questions. Contact our Austin podiatry practice today to find out more and schedule your appointment!

Original Source: https://www.drjefflamour.com/foot-care/what-does-arch-support-really-mean/

Why Are My Toenails Yellow?

Have you ever noticed your toenails taking on a yellow hue? You might have assumed that this is normal, but it isn’t. This discoloration could be relatively harmless, but it could also originate under the surface of your toenails and might become more serious if you fail to treat it. Fortunately, Dr. Jeffery LaMour and the rest of our Austin podiatry practice are here to help you better understand and care for your feet. You spend a good portion of every day on them, and they can have an impact on your overall well-being, so you ought to keep them healthy! In the following blog, Dr. LaMour and our team will answer a question patients often ask us: “why are my toenails yellow?”

Symptoms

Most probably, if you have yellow toenails, you’ll know it just by looking down at them. However, there are certain symptoms that often accompany this toenail transformation. Yellowing often occurs alongside:

  • Harder, denser nail texture. Nails might begin to feel heavier, become more difficult to cut, and become visibly thicker.
  • A reduction of shine in nails. Yellow nails also tend to be dull.
  • Changes in nail shape. Your toenails may begin to deviate from their usual form.
  • Small cracks or breaks in the nails. Your nails may appear as if they’re falling apart.
  • Jagged or deteriorating edges.
  • Other health concerns. This may seem odd, but Livestrong reports: “The color and overall health of your nails can be a reflection of your overall health.” The reverse is also true; more general body conditions can cause symptoms related to your toenails.

If you experience any of the above, contact our office for an appointment with Dr. LaMour.

Common Culprits of Color Changes

There are a variety of reasons your nails may become yellow. These include:

  • Fungus. This is by far the most common cause of yellow nails. Livestrong explains: “Yellow toenails are characteristic of a common fungal nail infection called onychomycosis, which affects some 12 percent of the U.S. population, according to the AAD.” In moist conditions—such as within a sweat-filled sock, or walking across a wet, dirty locker room floor—fungi can thrive and infect the tissue beneath your nail. If you don’t treat foot fungus early on, it can eventually take over your toenail, even cracking it.
  • Yellow Nail Syndrome. Yellow nails are the characteristic symptom of a rare systemic disease believed to be genetic. Rare Diseases describes: “Yellow nail syndrome is an extremely rare disorder characterized by malformations affecting the fingernails and toenails, abnormalities affecting the lungs and the airways…and swelling or puffiness.” This is just one of many reasons to contact a podiatrist quickly if you begin to notice yellowing. Enki Village points out: “people with conditions like bronchiectasis, sinusitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer are more likely to develop yellow nail syndrome.”
  • Polish. The most benign beginnings of yellowing nails lie in small, shiny beauty bottles. Red, blue, black, and purple nail polish may be a bold fashion statement, but it can leave behind a considerably less attractive mustard hue.

These are but a few of the most prevalent possible sources of yellowing nails. For a more customized, complete diagnosis, you should come see Dr. LaMour for an examination.

Treatment Options

The treatment Dr. LaMour recommends will depend on the specific source of your discoloration. We often utilize our advanced Pinpointe™ FootLaser™ to treat patients with toenail fungus. Unfortunately, if you suffer from Yellow Nail Syndrome, the color of your nails may be irreversible, but we can recommend options to better care for them and refer you to an appropriate doctor to help you with your other symptoms. If nail polish is the root of your yellowing, Enki Village describes how you can return them to their original color by “buffing your nails lightly,” scrubbing your feet with a little hydrogen peroxide, putting baking soda on your toenails, or even “[applying] toothpaste” with a “nailbrush to scrub your nails gently.” To prevent this yellow after-effect from recurring, you should use one or two base coats of clear polish, which creates a buffer between the dark color and your natural nail. After Dr. LaMour assesses your feet, he will determine which treatment (or combination of treatments) is appropriate for you.

Are Your Toenails Yellow?

Don’t hesitate to call our podiatry practice! A trip to your Austin foot doctor could help you improve your toenail color and protect your overall health. Contact us today! We look forward to hearing from you.

Original Source: https://www.drjefflamour.com/foot-care/why-are-my-toenails-yellow/

How Do Flat Feet Affect Your Body?

As a podiatry practice, we know that your feet are the foundation of your overall well being. Lacking a healthy arch can have an impact on many areas of your body, literally from head to toe. Flat footedness is exactly what it sounds like. Mayo Clinic defines this chronic condition: “You have flat feet when the arches on the inside of your feet are flattened, allowing the entire soles of your feet to touch the floor when you stand up.” Being flat-footed may not cause you immediate issues—in fact, you may not even notice the change in your arches—but this disorder can seriously disrupt your body’s alignment. Austin foot doctor, Jeffery LaMour, strives to educate our patients about their podiatric health so they can take better care of their feet. Read on to learn how flat feet affect your body.

How to Tell if You Have Flat Feet

It may be difficult to tell for yourself if your arch has flattened, so it’s best to come and see Dr. LaMour if you suspect you suffer from this condition. However, Foot Smart offers a few tips to determine the state of your pads. If you “feel discomfort/pain in your feet and ankles…[or] feel uncomfortable walking or standing for long periods of time,” these could be symptoms of flat-footedness. In addition, if your “foot turn[s] outward at your ankle” or your “posture [is] strained, especially in your hips and lower back,” these could be outward indicators.

You can also “do this simple test on yourself: Get your feet wet. Stand normally on a flat surface where you can see the imprint of your feet, such as a sidewalk. Step away from your imprints and look at the wet marks.” The “inside curve of your foot” should be “missing,” since, if your feet are appropriately aligned, it would be elevated off of the ground. If you don’t notice a dry portion in your imprint, you should most definitely contact us for an appointment with Dr. LaMour.

Common Causes

There are many possible sources of flat-footedness. Of course, it is “normal in infants and toddlers, because the foot’s arch hasn’t yet developed,” explains Mayo Clinic. Certain abnormalities can lead the arches never to develop fully. In addition, Foot Smart notes that “weakened muscles in the foot, ankles, and lower leg from aging or weight gain” can flatten the foot, as can “standing or walking for long periods of time” in uncomfortable shoes “without proper arch support.” NHS also warns that you may have flat feet if you notice your” shoes…wear out quickly,” since “the feet rolling inwards to much (overpronation)” is associated with flat-footedness.

Also, failing to properly treat podiatric issues such as ankle sprains or fractures can cause long-term damage and result in flat-footedness. This is why it is particularly important to seek medical attention if you injure your feet or notice irregularities.

A rare but relevant form, called “tibialis posterior tendonitis,” is an adult-acquired flatfoot” that progresses due to swelling or tears in the arch, and typically causes greater discomfort than normal flat-footedness.

The Wide-Ranging Repercussions

Foot Smart describes the holistic effect of flat feet: “Because your feet help support your entire body, having strong arches is important to your body’s health. When those tendons and ligaments weaken, your arch collapses…with a fallen arch, your tendons and ligaments weaken and cause intense pain throughout your feet, ankles, and lower leg muscles,” as well as creating “a weakened posture and discomfort through your hips and lower back.” Improper posture can also cause head and neck problems over time.

In fact, in her Daily Mail article on the subject, Jenny Hudson reports: “many thousands…suffer headaches and other problems as a result of the effect that flat feet have on your posture…poor posture is linked to approximately one in four severe headaches” Furthermore, flat-footedness and its associated symptoms can worsen every time you walk, run, dance, or put any pressure on your fallen arches. Due to its ripple effect throughout your body, flat feet could affect any area.

Treatment Options

If you’re dealing with flat feet, Dr. LaMour will examine your arches, consider your general condition, and devise a customized treatment plan to help you. This could include simpler remedies such as wearing supportive tape or braces, putting orthotics in your shoes, doing physical therapy, or taking anti-inflammatory drugs. In severe cases, caused by bone or tendon damage, surgery may become necessary.

Do You Have Flat Feet?

The sooner you seek treatment for flat-footedness, the better, as it will be easier to address, and help you avoid the far-reaching effects of this condition. Dr. LaMour is here to help you take charge of your foot health and maintain a healthy arch. Contact our podiatric practice today to schedule an appointment and find out more about your feet.

 

What are Corns?

When you think of the word “corn,” you might imagine long green stalks, bright yellow kernels, or even a white, fluffy snack at the movie theater. While “corn” is most certainly a favorite food, this term also refers to an irritating and sometimes painful condition that commonly affects the feet. Most people don’t know about this or the many other issues that relate to their podiatric health. Austin foot doctor, Jeffery LaMour, and our team have made it our mission to educate our patients about disorders like these so they can prevent, identify, and treat them. You probably spend a good portion of your day on your feet, so it’s a good idea to learn how to protect your foot health. In this week’s blog, we explain the basics of corns.

Clarifying Corns

Now that we’ve got your attention with this mysterious podiatric predicament, you’re probably wondering what exactly corns are. Basically, these are tiny sections of tightly packed dead skin that create bumps on the side and upper portions of your feet. Mayo Clinic explains that these “thick, hardened layers of skin…develop when your skin tries to protect itself against friction and pressure.” Despite your body’s best efforts to safeguard your skin, corns can actually cause swelling and discomfort. They can also be unsightly and embarrassing depending on their size and visibility.

Corns Versus Calluses

If you think corns sound a lot like calluses, you’re absolutely correct! These two conditions share a lot in common. Many classify corns as a specific type of callus. As Web MD notes, “corns and calluses are often confused with one another,” but they have a few key dissimilarities. Generally, corns are different from calluses in that they:

  • Are smaller. They typically take up much less surface area than calluses.
  • Typically appear only on the feet (although they can, in some cases, develop elsewhere). Of course, you can also get calluses on your feet, but calluses “usually develop on the soles of your feet,” where you put the most weight, according to Mayo Clinic. In contrast, corns “tend to develop on parts of your feet that don’t bear weight.”
  • Hurt. Calluses might reduce the sensitivity of your skin, but they usually don’t cause any discomfort. If you press on a corn or move such that your weight is on that part of your foot, it might feel sore or sharp.
  • Have a different texture. Mayo Clinic explains: “corns…have a hard center surrounded by inflamed skin.” This kernel-like shape most likely gave “corns” their plant-like name.

These distinctive characteristics should help you differentiate corns from calluses so you can tell exactly what’s bothering your feet and receive accurate assistance.

Types of Corns

Corns come in several shapes and sizes. Web MD writes: “a hard corn [has] a central core,” giving it a denser, more bulbous appearance, while a “soft corn has a much thinner surface and usually occurs between the 4th and 5th toes,” looking more like a mini callus. Perhaps the most problematic of all types are “seed corns,” which are “tiny, discrete [calluses]” that “tend to occur on the bottom of the feet.” Their placement makes them much more likely to get pressed and become painful.

How Your Austin Foot Doctor Can Help

In most cases, corns won’t require any treatment. They should go away on their own. In the meantime, wearing soft socks and comfortable shoes can help cushion your corns. You should see Dr. LaMour if pain from corns interrupts your daily life, becomes persistent, or is accompanied by excessive swelling in the area that doesn’t go down quickly. If you have poor circulation or suffer from diabetes, it is especially important to seek professional help. With an advanced suite of services, we can help you find the right treatment.

Do You Suffer From Corns?

Dr. LaMour and our team can help you with this condition and many others. Contact us today to learn more about our practice and schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!

Why is My Foot Tingling?

Have you ever felt your foot tingling? This seemingly strange symptom is actually quite common. In his article on this topic for Foot Vitals, Dr. Gregg Congdon explains: “an estimated 20 million Americans…suffer from tingling feet.” While not necessarily a painful sensation, tingling can be quite uncomfortable or disturbing, particularly if it becomes prolonged. Austin foot doctor, Dr. Jeffery LaMour, and the rest of our podiatry practice are here to help you with anything concerning your feet. We are available to answer your questions. In the following blog, we answer one of our patients’ most prevalent quandaries: “why is my foot tingling?”

Symptoms of Tingling

Clearly, the primary symptom in foot tingling is a prickling (and perhaps even stinging) sensation. However, as Dr. Congdon notes, “besides the pins-and-needles effect, there are other symptoms that can sometimes accompany tingling feet.” These include:

  • Numbness
  • Discomfort
  • Redness
  • Skin abnormalities in the feet
  • Trouble walking
  • Twitching in the muscles
  • Changes in eyesight
  • Fatigue
  • Itchiness in the feet
  • Disorientation
  • Bowel or bladder issues

Especially if accompanied by any of the above, contact our office if you experience foot tingling.

Common Causes

There are many potential sources of foot tingling, from mild to more severe. This trembling typically falls under the heading of “peripheral neuropathy,” or some degree of nerve damage in the outer regions of the body, such as the hands and feet.

  • Pressure on the nerves. Your foot could “fall asleep” and begin tingling simply because you sit on it the wrong way.
  • Toxic exposure. Tingling can be a side effect of certain drugs. It can also result from “industrial and environmental chemicals.”
  • Trauma. Accidents and injuries can cause nerve damage and therefore, tingling.
  • DiabetesWeb MD’s article on the topic reads: “diabetes is one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy, accounting for about 30 percent of cases.” Diabetes often leads to “nerve damage,” and, in fact, tingling may be “the first signs of diabetes.”
  • Poor circulation. Hereditary predispositions, artery function, nutritional issues, and other conditions can prevent blood from traveling properly throughout the body, which can cause tingling.
  • Insufficient vitamin intakeWeb MD reports: “vitamins E, B1, B6, B12, and niacin are essential for healthy nerve function,” and can lead to circumstances such as “anemia,” which can create tingling.
  • Congenital conditions. Certain hereditary issues can lead to peripheral neuropathy.
  • Unidentified. According to Web MD, “in…30 percent of peripheral neuropathy cases, the cause is unknown or ‘idiopathic.’”

Treatment Options

The remedy for foot tingling depends on the source of the sensation. For example, if your foot tingles because it’s simply “fallen asleep,” all you may need to do is move it around and the feeling should dissipate. However, if diabetes is the cause of your foot tingling, you may need to seek the advice of a specialist and get a more complex treatment plan. If you determine that a particular vitamin deficiency or nutritional issue is the cause of your symptoms, you may be able to change your diet to alleviate the discomfort. Dr. LaMour and our team can help you identify the source of your foot tingling and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. We provide a wide variety of foot and ankle services to assist you in any way we can.

Has Your Foot Been Tingling?

If you’ve been struggling with foot tingling, our podiatry office may be able to help. Given that there are so many causes of this condition, and that some of them are quite serious, it’s better to be safe than sorry.Contact Austin foot doctor, Dr. LaMour, today to learn more about our practice or to schedule a consultation.

Which Is Your Dominant Foot?

Most people figure out fairly early on in their lives whether or not they’re right or left handed. They simply begin picking up their crayons with one little hand or another, and that’s that. In fact, there are many eccentricities about one’s dominant hand. According to the Mirror, “humans have been arguing about left and right for centuries.” While lefties seemed to have been more popular during the Stone Age, the vast majority of people prefer their right-hand today. However, those with dominant left hands are commonly thought to be more creative, inventive, and artistic.

You may have notions of what your dominant hand says about you, but which foot do you favor? This question can be a little more difficult to answer. At Austin foot doctor Dr. Jeffery LaMour’s podiatry practice, we can answer just about any question you have about your feet. In the following blog, we explain the science behind laterality and how you can determine which foot you favor.

The Science of Dominance

Why might someone use one side over the other? Scientific American provides a rather widely held hypothesis: “each person’s brain is divided into two sides – the left and right hemispheres. In some cases, one hemisphere may be more active than the other during a certain activity.” Due to the way our brains divvy up tasks, one side typically takes over. So, Scientific American explains: “when someone is processing language, one hemisphere is usually working harder than the other. There is also some correlation between the side(s) we use in our brain and the side we use on our body.” This is what creates “sidedness, laterality, or left/right dominance.”

In her Discover Magazine article “Picking Sides: How Genes Help Us Decide Between Left and Right,” Sharon Moalem expands on this concept: “each side of our brain has evolved for functional specialization,” which “allows us to perform multiple complex tasks.” She writes: “for our species, one of the most important tasks is communication, which is generally processed on the left side of the brain,” thus the popularity of right handedness.

Moalem also cites “Amar Klar, a senior investigator of the Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory at the National Cancer Institute,” who asserts that there is “a direct genetic cause for handedness, perhaps even a single gene—a discovery we’ve thus far managed to miss as we’ve combed the human genome.” Genetically determined or not, it seems that our brains have a lot to do with side dominance.

Cultural norms can also play into this. Some believe that so many people are right handed simply because we assume that right is “right.” Of course, it’s also important to note that your dominant hand may not correspond to your dominant foot. Moalem notes: “you might think that footedness and handedness are always aligned, but as it turns out that’s not always the case…Lots of people aren’t congruent.”

Which Foot Do You Favor?

Ascertaining which foot is dominant is not an exact science. There are differing perspectives on how it might be done.

  • Moalem advocates for the “staircase” method: “imagine yourself at the bottom of a staircase that you’re about to ascend. Which foot moves first?” The one that takes the first step is most likely your favored one, she argues.
  • Scientific American provides a different tactic: “Place a coin on the floor directly in front of [you, and] step onto the coin.” Whichever foot you used is your preferred pad.
  • Science Kids offers another two tests: “1. Run forward and jump off one leg, which did you jump off? 2. Drop a ball on the ground and kick it, which foot did you use?”

After using one or more of these at-home experiments, you should be able to determine whether you’re right or left footed.

Take Care of Your Feet

No matter which foot is dominant, it’s important to make sure both are in good shape. You depend on them to walk, run, skip, dance, and generally get around. Austin foot doctor Dr. LaMour and our team offer a variety of services to help you care for every component of your feet, from your toenails to your tendons. If you have any other questions about your feet or want assistance with your podiatric health, contact us today.

Barefoot Running: Healthy or Risky?

On the surface, it seems like a great idea: run barefoot instead of with shoes to produce a more “natural” stride. After all, humans were designed to run and walk on bare feet.

While some runners go all out and don’t wear shoes at all, others use what are known as minimalist shoes that are designed to duplicate a barefoot experience while still offering some protection. This “barefoot running” trend has become popular in recent years, but is it really good for you?

Risk of Injury

Any physical activity can carry a risk of injury, but some say barefoot running is a particular problem for those who don’t know how to properly adapt to running without adequate shoe support. Although proponents say barefoot running can strengthen muscles and reduce injury, this has not been proven.

Recent studies suggest that barefoot running is not all it’s been touted to be, and isn’t for everyone. People with past foot injuries and diabetes, for instance, should steer clear. Obviously, running without shoes raises the risk of wounds to the feet, which can become serious if left untreated. For those who are used to running with shoes, suddenly ditching footwear can be a painful experience. Running experts say you must change your stride to land more evenly on the entire foot, rather than hitting the ground heel first.

What Podiatrists Say

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) says due to lack of evidence about the safety and risks of barefoot running, people should consult with a podiatrist who has a background in sports medicine. He or she can examine your feet, discuss health history, and recommend a safe way to get your miles in. For some, barefoot running may be a possibility. But the health of your feet should always be a priority, no matter what style of running or exercise you enjoy.

Trying Barefoot Running

Despite possible risks, many people are interested in trying barefoot running. If you decide to move forward, take these steps to avoid injury:

  • Always see your podiatrist before starting any new running program.
  • Try indoor barefoot running on an indoor track or your home treadmill before running outside.
  • Wear minimalist shoes when running outside to protect feet from bacteria, fungi, and injuries.
  • Allow minimalist shoes to dry out completely between runs to avoid odor and fungus.
  • Run on soft surfaces such as grass instead of pavement.

Going barefoot doesn’t have to be forbidden all the time. Certain activities such as stretching, yoga, and strength training workouts can – and should – be done in bare feet. Be aware, however, that bare feet in public places like showers and bathrooms can set you up for athlete’s foot and other infections. Wear flip flops or other slip on shoes in public showering areas to help avoid this.

A podiatrist is your partner in keeping your feet healthy for life. Contact the office of Jeffery LaMour, DPM today!

Why are my feet always cold?

Icy cold feet can be uncomfortable and annoying. Most of the time, chronic cold feet are nothing to worry about in young, healthy people. But, if you do have cold feet and aren’t sure of the cause, it’s a good idea to see your podiatrist to talk about possible causes and solutions.

Vasoconstriction

Your blood vessels are designed to carry blood throughout your body. When you get cold, these blood vessels constrict to conserve heat for your vital organs. But for some people, this process is overactive, leading to lots of constriction even if it’s only a little cold. If you tend to be more sensitive to cold than others around you, this may be one of the reasons why.

Although minor vasoconstriction is nothing to worry about, it can be bothersome. Warm yourself up on chilly days by sipping hot liquids and wearing warm — but not too tight — shoes and socks when the temperature drops.

Raynaud’s Disease

In some cases, blood vessels constrict to the point of being painful. Instead of gradually narrowing with cold, they abruptly close with even a slight amount of cold. People with Raynaud’s may have numbness, tingling, burning, and bluish color to their hands and feet when exposed to cold.

If you think you have Raynaud’s, talk with your doctor. Usually, it can be managed with home care such as wearing extra layers, warm gloves and socks when needed, and avoiding smoking and caffeine.

Peripheral Artery Disease

Older adults, particularly those over age 70, are most commonly affected by peripheral artery disease (PAD). This is characterized by a buildup of plaque inside the arteries, which restricts blood flow to the arms and legs. Symptoms of PAD include:

  • Cold legs and feet
  • Painful muscle cramps in the legs
  • Foot or toe wounds that won’t heal

Untreated PAD can be dangerous, so be sure to see your doctor if you have any symptoms. Any wound on the foot that doesn’t heal properly warrants a call to your podiatrist.

Underactive Thyroid

Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, occurs when thyroid hormone levels are too low. This can slow down many of the body’s processes, resulting in:

  • Feeling cold
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation

Hypothyroidism is difficult to diagnose with symptoms alone. Usually, a blood test is needed, and treatment is available to return hormone levels to normal.

Warm Up Your Feet

If you frequently have cold feet but can’t identify the cause, ask your podiatrist for advice. Sometimes, treating an underlying health condition will solve the issue. Regardless of the reason, constantly cold feet can interfere with enjoyment of the fall and winter seasons. Keep them comfortable by wearing warm but breathable socks, and using foot warmers inside your shoes on very cold days if needed.

Do you have concerns about the health of your feet? Contact Dr. Jeffery LaMour to schedule your appointment!