6 Ways to Keep Feet Fresh on a Hot Day

Summertime means fun in the sun, and all that sun tends to make people sweat. If your feet are trapped in a pair of shoes all day, they’re bound to feel – and smell – less than pleasant by the end of the day.

When attending an important personal or professional event, you don’t want to worry about your feet. Take these tips into consideration before your next outing.

Let Your Feet Breathe

Wearing plastic, non-breathable, or too-tight shoes and socks won’t allow your feet to cool, resulting in more sweat and odor. Whenever possible, choose moisture-wicking socks and canvas or leather shoes. Many outdoors and sports stores sell footwear made of wicking, and natural materials. These are better than cotton for keeping your feet dry.

Switch Up Your Shoes

Even if you have a favorite pair of shoes, you should alternate the days you wear them. Shoes may need up to 24 hours to completely dry out, and putting your feet into damp shoes invites more sweating and odor. Plan ahead for important events by setting your favorite pair aside a few days before the big day so they’ll be clean and fresh.

Dressing Up and Dry Feet

Women may wish to try no-show socks for dress shoes to help absorb wetness and odor. Many of these can be worn with dress shoes comfortably without anyone knowing. Going to a wedding? Consider wearing a dressy pair for the ceremony, and bringing a more comfortable (and dry!) pair to change into at the reception.

Keep Shoes Clean

If foot sweat is a problem or you want to freshen up your shoes, plain rubbing alcohol is safe for the insides of most footwear. This will kill bacteria and may decrease your risk of foot odor and fungal infections.

A Secret Weapon for Foot Odor and Sweat

Underarm antiperspirant and deodorant can be used on your feet too! It can help reduce sweating and keep them smelling great. Just lightly apply to the soles of your feet and a little on top if needed. Don’t get heavy-handed or you could end up with white streaks.

Ask Your Podiatrist About Solutions

If these tips aren’t working for you or you’re concerned about excessive foot sweating, your podiatrist can help! Excessive foot sweating may be a medical condition called hyperhidrosis. Your podiatrist can talk with you about your symptoms and recommend a variety of treatments that may help.

Do you have a question about your summer foot health? Dr. Jeffery LaMour wants to help. Contact his caring, professional team today to schedule your appointment!

Do I overpronate? How to tell

If you run, you’ve probably experienced some minor aches and pains. But, if you overpronate, you may be more likely to have these problems from the way your feet, ankles, and legs turn when you run – particularly if you run frequently.

What is overpronation?

Overpronation is the inward rolling of the foot when you land during running or walking. When you step, the outside of your heel makes contact with the ground first. This is typically followed by a slight inward roll of the foot as the middle and ball of the foot comes down. In a normal or neutral pronation, the foot rolls inward only about 15 percent. This allows the foot to land properly on the ground, absorbing shock and keeping the ankles and legs properly aligned. Then, the foot pushes off evenly to prepare for the next step.

With overpronation, the foot rolls inward much more. This may be more likely in those who have flat feet, and/or low arches. The lower your arch, the more likely the foot will roll or collapse inward. This can put too much pressure on the big toe and second toe, leading to a variety of foot and ankle problems.

How do I know if I’m overpronating?

One of the best ways to check your pronation is to look at the bottom of your running shoes. Overpronators will see excessive wear on the inner side of the foot and/ or the big toe area. A neutral pronator should see even wear on the bottom of the shoes.

Overpronators may also experience plantar fasciitis and heel pain, which is caused by excessive stretching of the band of tissue that supports the arch of the foot.

When the foot overpronates this can twist the ankle and shin, and cause pain in these areas for some people.

How is overpronation treated?

Overpronation is not a disease, but simply a variation of the way a person walks and runs. But, proper care of the feet is necessary to help avoid injuries and pain, especially for active runners and walkers.

Care for overpronation includes the following:

  • Proper stretching before or after running, as overpronation can cause excessive muscle tightness

  • Choosing footwear that will support your arch and help minimize motion of the foot

  • Talking to your podiatrist about an orthotic if needed

  • Replacing shoes at the first signs of wear

  • Checking your feet regularly for signs of calluses or bunions (a bump on the outside of the big toe)

Many people who overpronate are able to run and lead active lives by taking care of their feet and seeing a podiatrist if problems arise.

Do you see signs of overpronation, or are you experiencing foot, ankle, or knee pain? Don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Contact the experienced podiatry team at the office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour today!

Tips for a Safe Pedicure

When sandal season arrives, many people treat themselves to a pedicure to get beautiful feet they can show off. And though a pedicure can be relaxing and enjoyable, proper precautions must be taken in order to keep your feet healthy. Many nail salons can be hot spots for dangerous infections and illnesses if proper cleaning precautions are not taken.

The best thing you can do is inquire about sanitation and cleaning processes before you make your appointment. If you plan to get a pedicure, these are the basics about health and safety that you should know before you step into the salon.

Be Cautious With Medical Conditions

If you have diabetes or a foot condition, consult with your podiatrist before getting a pedicure. Often, you can still get a pedicure, but may need a modified or gentler version in order to be safe.

Foot Bath Safety

Shared pedicure equipment can lead to serious infections and cross contamination if it’s not properly sanitized. Foot baths, especially, can be germ magnets if they’re not properly maintained. You can end up with warts, athlete’s foot, or other infections. Ask the salon staff if they clean and filter the foot bath after every customer. The jets in whirlpool foot baths harbor bacteria and can’t easily be cleaned, so look for pipeless foot baths and/or the use of disposable liners used for each client.

Proper Sterilization of Tools

Any metal tools should be completely sterilized between each client. Many salons use a blue liquid disinfectant that is very effective. Autoclaves are also a great way to sanitize metal tools. If you’re extra cautious, consider bringing your own tools with you each time.

The Rule for Non-Metal Tools

Emery boards, wood and rubber manicure sticks, and any non-metal tools cannot be sterilized, so they should never be shared. Ensure they throw them away after each client. Never allow the use of a “used” non-metal tool of any kind.

The Right Way to Trim

Toenails should always be cut straight across to avoid painful ingrown nails.

Say No to Razors

Never allow a salon to use a foot razor on your feet, which can invite bacteria and fungus into your body and can damage the skin. Instead, a pumice stone can be used to gently smooth rough patches. In addition, don’t shave your legs right before your appointment, because tiny nicks and cuts could allow bacteria into your skin.

Be Gentle

There’s no need to use sharp instruments to clean under the nails or remove cuticles. Instead, a wooden or rubber manicure stick can be used to remove debris under the nails, and cuticles can be gently pushed back with an orange stick – never cut. Your cuticles are there to protect your nails from infection, so treat them kindly!

You can have beautiful and healthy feet if you take these precautions before your next pedicure. These small steps are well worth the time to ensure you don’t pick up any unpleasant or potentially dangerous infections.

The skilled team at Family Foot and Ankle Clinic can help you keep your feet feeling great throughout your life. If you have a foot problem, contact our office today to schedule your appointment!

Stinky Feet Culprits and Solutions

Although foot odor is a common problem, it’s also one most of us would like to avoid. It can be embarrassing and downright unpleasant – for you and those around you. Fortunately, there are some common causes of stinky feet and some quick, simple ways you can help keep it at bay.

Hormones and Foot Sweat

It seems obvious: the more feet sweat, the more they tend to smell. But why do some people’s feet seem to always be sweaty? Hormones may be to blame.

Hormonal changes that occur during the teen years can lead to excessive foot sweating – and subsequent odor, especially in shoes worn frequently. So it’s not just your imagination – your teenage son’s feet really do stink worse than everyone else’s.

Similarly, a pregnant woman’s heightened sense of smell may make her more aware of her own foot odor. Pregnancy hormonal changes often cause feet to sweat more.

Stress can also play a role. The hormones your body releases when you’re anxious or stressed can make feet (and hands) sweat more than usual.

Medical Conditions Related to Foot Odor

Although sweaty feet aren’t always a cause for concern, it’s important to note that some medical conditions could be related to excessive sweating. A condition called secondary hyperhidrosis can result from certain conditions such as heart failure, Parkinson’s, diabetes, thyroid problems, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.

Secondary hyperhidrosis causes sweating all over the body – not just your feet. If you sweat excessively all over and don’t know the cause, a visit to your doctor is advised to rule out any possible medical problems.

How to Combat Foot Odor

If you’ve got foot odor due to hormones or you’re simply on your feet a lot, there are some measures you can take at home to combat this.

 
  • Let your shoes dry out. Alternate shoes each day and leave the damp ones out in open air for at least 24 hours or until they’ve dried completely.

  • Wash your feet thoroughly each day in the shower, preferably with an antibacterial soap. But, avoid harsh soaps if you have eczema or another skin condition. Just clean your feet thoroughly twice a day with a gentle skin cleanser.

  • That trusty antiperspirant you use under your arms can also be used on your feet! Apply a light layer to your freshly washed feet before you put on your socks or shoes.

  • Consider the materials in your footwear. Plastic or non-breathable shoes are bound to trap moisture and bacteria, leading to odor. And polyester or nylon socks don’t breathe as well as natural cotton or wool. You may wish to change into a clean, dry pair of  socks half way through your day if possible.

See your podiatrist if your foot odor doesn’t improve with these steps. He or she may need to determine whether a bacterial or fungal infection is causing the issue, or may prescribe a stronger treatment to help combat the sweating.

Are you troubled by excessively sweaty feet or foot odor? Contact the podiatry office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour to get control of this condition and feel great about your feet again!

Foot Care Tips for Summer

When summer comes, you’re probably thinking about vacations, barbecues, beaches, and more. But when you’re having your fun in the sun, don’t neglect your feet – or you may pay for it with pain, injuries, and other foot problems. Keep these simple and easy tips in mind as you enjoy the summer months.

Save Bare Feet for Swimming

Many people love to walk around barefoot once the mercury rises, but you could be inviting problems by skipping your shoes. Bacteria, fungi, parasites, and other germs are everywhere, and if you have even a tiny cut on your foot, you could be inviting an unwanted visitor into your body. You could also burn your feet if you’re walking near a grill or campfire, or on a hot rubber surface or synthetic decking material, which can easily reach over 100 degrees on a sunny day.
Invest in a comfortable and supportive pair of summer shoes, and use them whenever you’re outside.

Use Flip Flops Safely

Flip flops are extremely popular summer footwear. Although they shouldn’t be your everyday go-to footwear, you don’t have to avoid them completely. Here’s how to wear them and be kind to your feet:

  • Use them only for short jaunts or poolside days
  • Find a pair with proper arch support and quality materials
  • Don’t wear them if the soles are worn out, they cause sores or blisters, or they make your feet hurt
  • Skip them if you have diabetes, bunions, hammertoes, or other foot conditions

Protect Your Feet from the Sun

If any of the skin on your feet is exposed to the sun, it needs sunscreen – just like the rest of your body. In fact, the tops of the feet are a very common area where people get sunburned. Apply an SPF of at least 30 anytime you go outside, and reapply at least every two hours – or more often if you’re swimming or sweating.

Stay Hydrated for Healthy Feet

Your body needs plenty of water each day, and this is especially true if you’ve been out in the sun and sweating. Make sure you drink plenty of non-caffeinated beverages, especially water, throughout the day. This will keep your feet from swelling and your muscles well hydrated for fewer cramps.

Let Your Shoes Dry

If you put on a pair of wet shoes, you’re inviting bacteria and fungus to grow. This can lead to foot odor, toenail fungus, and other problems. If you plan on getting your shoes wet, have a dry pair on hand to wear while the others dry out.

Healthy Foot Care is Always in Season

Your feet will take you to all your fun summer outings – so be kind to them. Give them the support and protection they need so you can enjoy the summer without foot pain, fungus, or other problems.

Foot pain, infections, and other issues can be addressed by a qualified podiatrist. Contact the office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour to get your feet in their best possible condition!

Running & Foot/Ankle Pain

Running is excellent exercise, whether you run for pleasure, competition, or both. But a foot injury can take even the best runner down quickly if it’s not properly treated. If you are a runner, be aware of these common foot injuries and what you should do about them:

Stress Fractures

Runners often experience tiny cracks in the bones of the foot known as stress fractures. They can occur from repeated impact of your foot on pavement and also happen when you suddenly increase your activity or train especially hard. If you have pain with activity but not during rest, you may have a stress fracture. See your podiatrist for a proper diagnosis, as these often require an x-ray and adequate rest for healing.

Ankle Sprains

Ranging from mild to severe, you might sprain your ankle by “rolling” it or falling. You’ll typically notice some swelling and bruising. An ankle sprain should be rested and iced, and you may need to take anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen while it heals. Your podiatrist should evaluate the severity of the sprain. Repeated injury to the ankle can occur if the sprain isn’t properly treated and strengthened

Plantar Fasciitis

This is a result of inflammation and irritation of the tendon on the bottom of the foot. It often occurs when your calf muscles are too tight or your shoes don’t provide adequate support. Heel pain is the most common symptom, and it may hurt more in the morning and then subside after a few minutes. Heel pain that lasts more than a few days should be evaluated by your podiatrist

Achilles Tendinitis

The Achilles tendon runs from the heel to the calf. Although it’s strong, repeated strain from running (especially stopping and starting) and intense training can irritate and inflame the tendon. This results in heel pain with activity, as well as swelling and a feeling of warmth in the area. If you notice pain in the heel for more than a week, call your podiatrist to get it checked out.

Avoiding Running Injuries

Although some injuries can’t be avoided, there are some steps you can take to minimize your risk of getting hurt while running:

  • Invest in good running shoes. Go to a running or fitness store where the staff can help you choose the right pair. Replace them every 400-500 miles, or sooner if they hurt or show signs of wear.
  • Properly stretch before and after your runs. Be sure to stretch your feet, hamstrings, and calves.
  • Get strong. Strength training can help your muscles withstand the stress of running.
  • Don’t do too much, too soon. Gradually ramp up workouts and distances.

If you have foot pain, don’t try to “tough it out.” Contact the Family Foot & Ankle Clinic so you can get your feet healthy – and get back to running – as quickly as possible.

8 Foot Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

Feet have a pretty tough job to do. But just because feet are tough, doesn’t mean they’re invincible. Yet, many people will ignore persistent foot pain or changes in the foot’s appearance and function for too long. Ignoring early warning signs of foot problems can leave you at risk for more serious foot conditions. Here are several foot symptoms that could spell the start of a more serious problem.

Toenail discoloration

Discoloration of your toenails could be a sign of a fungal nail infection, which often begins as a yellow or dark spot under the nail. If left untreated, the infection can spread to surrounding toes. If you have diabetes, an unchecked fungal nail infection could become extreme enough to lead to foot amputation.

Skin discoloration

Many conditions can cause discoloration of the feet. One, known as Raynaud’s disease, is characterized by a sequence of color changes in the skin as a response to cold or stress. 

Heel Pain

Heel pain caused by stepping on a hard object like a rock will usually go away on its own with a bit of rest. But when heel pain doesn’t subside, it could be a sign of a more serious foot condition like plantar fasciitis or heel spurs. Left untreated, heel pain can lead to difficulty in walking that may ultimately require complicated, lengthy, or costly therapy. Read our guide on what to do at the first sign of heel pain. 

Cold feet

Chronically cold feet and toes could be a sign of poor blood circulation. Smoking and smoking-related conditions like COPD can often affect the circulation of blood throughout the body. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and many forms of heart disease can restrict arteries and reduce blood flow as well. Bodily extremities like the feet are particularly susceptible to poor circulation, which may make feet feel cold or numb. 

Itchy feet

The most common culprit of itchy feet is a fungal infection like athlete’s foot. In some cases, itchy feet may result from an allergic reaction to skin creams or from an immune condition like psoriasis. 

Big toe pain

Pain focused around the tip and corner of your toenail, could be a sign of an ingrown toenail. Sudden, severe pain in the big toe joint (especially at night) could be caused by a form of arthritis called gout. Rheumatoid arthritis could be another explanation for toe pain, as early symptoms tend to affect toe and finger joints. 

Foot swelling

Often, foot swelling comes from standing for an extended period of time, wearing restrictive footwear or a minor injury like a sprained ankle. However, foot swelling that lasts for more than a couple of days could be caused by fluid buildup due to heart failure or kidney disease. Swelling may also result from inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. 

Burning sensation

Tired, overworked feet can cause short-term burning or tingling. More severe burning or tingling in the feet could be a sign of diabetic nerve damage or a circulatory condition known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

If you ignore what your feet are trying to tell you, you could up facing some pretty serious consequences. In addition to paying close attention to your feet, you should schedule regular visits to your podiatrist for a thorough foot health evaluation. If you’re in the Austin area, contact us for an appointment at our North Austin location today!

9 Strange and Interesting Foot Facts

It’s surprising how little we actually think about our feet. Especially since our feet are a pair of the most useful body parts that we have, and, as it turns out, they’re pretty amazing to boot! Don’t believe it? Check out these strange, interesting, and little-known facts about your feet that might surprise you:

1.       1/4 of all of the bones in the human body are in the feet. Each foot is made up of approximately 26 bones. The human foot also has 33 joints, and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments.

2.       The average pair of feet walk around 115,000 miles in a lifetime. That’s more than four times the distance it takes to circle the earth! To stay healthy, it’s recommended that a person takes 10,000 steps a day – which equates to almost 5 miles. Most people who live a sedentary lifestyle take fewer than 3,000 steps per day.

3.       The world’s largest feet are a US size 26. The average men’s size shoe is 10 1/2. The Guinness World Record for the world’s largest feet is currently held by Orlando Rodriguez Hernandez of Venezuela. His feet measure 1 foot, 3.79 inches on the right foot) and 1 foot, 3.59 inches on the left foot. It’s rare for both feet to be exactly the same size. One foot is usually larger than the other.

4.       Toenails grow faster during hot weather, pregnancy and teenage years.

5.       Almost half of all toenail problems are due to fungal infectionsFungal toenail infection tends to become more likely with age. Nearly 50% of people over the age of 60 will experience a fungal toenail infection. Another common cause of toenail problems is ingrown toenails. Ingrown toenails are often caused by bad toenail trimming techniques or too-tight footwear.

6.       75% of Americans will experience foot problems at one time or another in their lives.

7.       Some medical conditions can show up first in the feet. For example, food-related symptoms of diabetes can include a foot infection or reduced circulation or numbness in the feet.

8.       A podiatrist, or foot doctor, specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of foot and ankle problems. In the US, podiatrists must study for a minimum of 4 years, complete a residency, and must be state licensed before they can legally practice and offer advice on all aspects of foot health.

9.       Despite this, the feet are often the most neglected part of the body.  Public surveys frequently reveal that they feet are the body part that people like the least.

To help keep your feet looking and feeling as amazing as they are, be sure to schedule regular visits to your podiatrist for check-ups. You should visit your foot doctor at least once a year, or more often if you have diabetes or an existing foot problem. If you haven’t had your feet checked in a while, contact us today to schedule your next appointment!

Diabetes and Your Feet: How to Avoid An Amputation

Having diabetes makes you more likely to develop certain physical complications. Your feet are particularly vulnerable when you have diabetes since people with the condition are at increased risk of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and neuropathy – two conditions that cause nerve damage and circulation problems in your extremities. People with diabetes also have a higher risk of developing infections and a decreased ability to get rid of infections. The combined factors of poor circulation, loss of feeling, and a relatively high risk of infection makes diabetics more prone to frequent – and sometimes severe – foot problems. When diabetic foot problems are at their most severe, the only solution may be amputation of one or more toes, or, the entire foot.

How Diabetic Foot Problems Occur

There are a number of diabetes complications that can affect the toes and feet and eventually lead to the need for an amputation. These include:

Loss of feeling – Nerve damage from PAD causes a loss of sensation in the feet, reducing the ability to sense when the foot has been injured or irritated. Unattended foot wounds can quickly develop into a larger problem.

Poor circulation – Diabetes also damages blood vessels, decreasing the blood flow to the feet. Poor circulation from damaged blood vessels weakens bones and joints in the foot and ankle. As a result, people with diabetes are at a high risk for breaking bones in the feet.

Development of foot abnormalities – Nerve damage can also create motor problems with the foot which can warp and deform its natural shape. Conditions like Charcot foot – a severe foot deformity – contribute to the development of infection and ultimately lead to disability.

Foot injury and infections – With diabetes, the smallest foot blister, cut, or scrape can quickly turn into a severe infection that can be limb-threatening or life-threatening.

How to Prevent Amputation Due To Diabetes

Manage your health

Control the aspects of your health that can cause poor blood flow. Don’t smoke. Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. And of course, be sure to monitor and control your blood sugar by following your medication plan, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise.

Protect your feet from injury and infection

Wear properly fitted, comfy and protective shoes – avoid shoes that expose your feet or toes, and never walk barefoot. Wash and dry your feet thoroughly each day to keep infection-causing bacteria at bay. These tips for avoiding foot infections can also help.

Practice good foot care habits

Inspect your feet closely each day, keeping an eye out for red pressure spots, cracks in the skin, and early corns, calluses, or blisters. Have professional pedicures by a specialist in diabetic foot care, and follow our tips for a safe pedicure. Have your podiatrist show you how to safely groom your feet at home. Be sure you see your podiatrist regularly, especially if you have any existing foot problems or deformities.

Dr. Lamour and his staff have been providing diabetic foot care to Austin-area patients since 1997. Schedule your next foot checkup today to stay on track with your diabetic foot care routine.

Tips to Improve Your Basketball Footwork

March Madness is finally here! If you’re a college basketball fan, the month-long display of basketball skill and school pride that is the NCAA tournament is probably one of your favorite times of year. Aside from shooting ability, footwork is one of the core skills of top basketball players that fans marvel at and amateur players envy.

Every move that basketball players make on the court involves proper footwork. Those players that master the fundamentals of basketball footwork can often outmaneuver a player with natural talent. Even if basketball isn’t your sport, footwork exercises can help keep you at the top of your preferred game.

The following exercises for better foot coordination and foot health tips will help improve your moves whether you’re a basketball player or cross-training for another sport.

Basketball Footwork Tip #1: Improve balance, jumping ability and agility

By incorporating the right exercises into your training regimen, you’ll gain additional coordination and strength in your lower body. Balance exercises not only engage the core muscles of the abs and back, they are ideal for helping basketball players safely and effectively perform on-court maneuvers like quick turns or lunges.

USA Basketball – the official governing body for both women’s and men’s basketball in the US – recommends a 3-part system to improve vertical jumping ability. It combines a flexibility component, a strength component, and a power component to get your lower body in shape for making jump shots and dunks without injuring your feet and ankles.

Agility – the ability to quickly change speed and direction – is a useful skill for basketballers to work into their training routines. These 6 exercises to improve agility from the American Council on Exercise, recommend the use of equipment like medicine balls and cones, but you could quickly adapt most of the exercises to make use of more common household items. 

Basketball Footwork Tip #2: Get the Right Shoes

To help protect players from the dreaded ankle injuries that are common in basketball, shoes should be basketball-specific, with lots of ankle support and shock absorption. Well-constructed high-topped shoes offer more ankle support and are recommended for basketball players. Basketball shoes should fit well (see our shoe buying guide for tips) and be replaced before the soles become smooth or before the uppers begin to tear apart. A typical basketball shoe should be replaced every two to three months if used for regular play (4 or more days per week).

Basketball Footwork Tip #3: Have regular foot and ankle check-ups

Athletes of any sport put a lot of wear and tear on their feet, and basketball players are no exception. Be sure to have regular foot checkups with your podiatrist to monitor the health of your foot and catch any problems that might lead to injury or improper foot function.

Don’t wait until you have a sports-related foot injury before making your next podiatrist visit. Contact us today for a complete and thorough assessment of your feet and ankles. We’ll give you personalized recommendations to keep your feet in their best shape for game day.