Summer Flip-Flops: Foot Friend or Foot Foe?

The days are getting warmer in Austin, TX and those flip-flops are calling your name from the closet. With the ability to slip them on quickly, allow your feet to stay cool, and outfit your feet for just a few bucks, flip-flops definitely have their positive qualities. But are these good for your feet? Here’s what you need to know.

Cheap flip-flops don’t offer support for your feet.

One of the things people love about flip-flops is they’re cheap. You can easily invest in ten different pairs in different colors. However, flip-flops also don’t offer a lot of support for the shape of your foot. Most of the inexpensive versions are made out of a piece of foam rubber and a strap. The foam rubber doesn’t have any arch support, which can put a lot of stress on your feet, ankles, and legs when you walk.

Flip-flops leave your feet open to injury.

Flip-flops that are made from cheaper materials do not offer a lot of protection for your feet. Something as simple as a sharp rock could easily pierce the base of the sandal and cause a severe injury to your foot. Many visits to a podiatrist every year stem from injuries to the feet caused by wearing flip-flops. Even though flip-flops can be comfortable, they are not the best footwear when you are out and about.

Not all sandals are bad.

Even though the majority of flip-flops do not offer much in the way of support for your feet, there are some sandals that can be suitable for wear, so you don’t have to toss them all. Look for sandals that:

  • Offer some level of arch support for your feet
  • Have secure straps around your toes to prevent bending your toes to keep the shoe in place
  • Provide a dense enough sole to protect the bottom of your foot

Let Us Help You with Your Feet in Austin, TX

Protecting your feet is vital, even if it means letting go of ill-fitting and ill-protecting footwear. If you are having problems with your feet, reach out to us at the office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour, DPM, PA.

 

What Should You Look for in a Running Shoe?

Did you know you should retire your running shoes once you’ve run 300-500 miles in them? For runners that average 10 miles per week, that’s a new pair of shoes at least once a year.

Your feet are complicated structures of bone, muscle, and connective tissue that work together to carry you to the finish line. Choosing the right running shoes for your feet is more than just picking out your favorite brand. The wrong pair of shoes can cause blisters, discomfort, and even an injury that keeps you from your runs.

When you buy new running shoes, you should look for a pair that matches your running style and supports your feet properly. Trying on the shoes before you buy and testing them by walking or running briefly is a must.

The choices in running shoes seem endless, and it can be hard to know where to start. That’s where we can help. Our podiatrist, Dr. Jeffery LaMour, regularly helps runners learn more about their feet and find the best running shoes to keep them active. Choosing the right running shoes often involves studying your running habits and examining your biomechanics to find the perfect fit.

Consider your running habits

Do you run a few miles every week or do you regularly run marathons? Your running habits and where you run play a role in your shoe selection.

If you’re training for a marathon, you’ll probably log more miles on your shoes than if you run for exercise alone. Running more means that your shoes will wear out faster. Replacing them in a timely fashion is key because running in worn-out shoes makes you more prone to injury.

Where you run influences your shoe choice, too. Hard surfaces like sidewalks and streets can be higher impact than running on trails or grass or a treadmill.

Running shoes for the road typically have softer midsoles and extra cushioning to absorb shock from solid surfaces like concrete and asphalt. Shoes for running on trails often have thicker soles to protect your feet from sharp rocks as well as thicker treads to keep you from slipping on rocks or mud.

Get your feet and gait measured

Your gait refers to the way you naturally walk and run. We can assess your gait and make recommendations to keep your feet comfortable as you run. A professional evaluation of your feet can make a big difference when you’re looking for the right running shoes. Some gait abnormalities, like overpronation or underpronation, can be corrected by the right running shoes.

Whenever you buy new shoes, you should have your feet measured to make sure you’re getting the right size shoe. Your feet change over time, and shoe manufacturers update their designs regularly, so the exact style of shoe that you bought last year might not fit the same way this year.

When you come for a shoe fitting, bring your old running shoes. Wear patterns on your used shoes will show us how your feet move as you run and help us determine if you might benefit from shoe inserts.

Once you find the right pair of running shoes, it’s a good idea to break them in slowly. Changing shoes can change your gait, and your new shoes might have more support than you’re used to. Take your new shoes out for a few short runs to let your feet get used to them before you go on a longer run.

Still, have questions about choosing a pair of running shoes? Come in to see Dr. LaMour for professional help. He’ll evaluate your feet to help you learn about the type of support you need in shoes, and make personalized recommendations just for you. Call one of our offices in Austin or Pflugerville, Texas, or request your first appointment online today to get started.

The Best Types of Shoes for Flat Feet

According to the Institute for Preventive Foot Health, “8 percent of U.S. adults ages 21 and older (about 18 million people)” suffer from flat feet. This problem may be prevalent, but that doesn’t make it healthy. Your arch is the baseline for your podiatric well-being and the foundation of your general health. However, you might not even realize you have this condition or have a clue how to handle it. At our Austin podiatry practice, Dr. Jeffery LaMour and his team often assist patients with flat feet. While severe cases may require more intensive treatment or even surgery, flat feet can typically be managed with lifestyle modifications. One of the most important factors to consider in handling flat feet is your footwear. Your shoes could make or break your arch health. In the following blog, we go over the basics of flat feet and provide our recommendations for the best shoes if you suffer from this condition.

Flat Feet Fundamentals

Many people suffer from flat feet without knowing it. The Institute for Preventive Foot Health offers this definition: “Flat feet (pes planus) is a fairly common condition in which the foot does not have a normal arch, and so the entire foot touches the floor when you’re standing.” WebMD explains further, “Tendons—tight bands that attach at the heel and foot bones—form the arch…when the tendons do not pull together properly, there is little to no arch. This is called flat foot or fallen arch.” Basically, the inner middle portion of your feet should be slightly raised to properly support your body weight and maintain a healthy foot structure. If it has collapsed, you suffer from flat feet.

There are a variety of factors that can lead to flat feet, including genetic conditions, tendon damage, foot fractures, aging, obesity, arthritis, and many others. If you suffer from flat feet, WebMD explains, your feet might

  • become tired easily
  • be “painful or achy, especially in the areas of the arches and heels”
  • swell at the heel
  • cause leg and back discomfort
  • strain or be unable to move in certain ways, such as “standing on your toes.”

If you have experienced any of the above, we recommend that you Dr. LaMour for a complete diagnosis and customized treatment plan.

Footwear Characteristics to Consider

If you have flat feet, what kinds of shoes should you be wearing? In her Livestrong article on this topic, Deborah Dunham highlights three features your footwear should have if you’re flat-footed:

1.    Support. She advises against “shoes without any support such as flip-flops, sandals, or high heels,” since “these do not give the arch any lift.” At a minimum, she recommends purchasing footwear with “added support” which simply means the shoes “are technically designed to do what a normal arch is supposed to do.”

2.    Stability. Dunham describes, “People with flat feet tend to pronate, or turn their ankle inward when they walk or run.” Stability shoes are specially designed to control the angle of the foot within the shoe and “correct this pronation.”

3.    Motion Control. Particularly for those with flatter feet, Dunham suggests, “motion control shoes…a step above stability shoes with additional support and control to keep the ankle straight when moving forward.” These shoes are jam-packed with extra material to support your feet and lift your arches up as you exercise.

Keeping these three points in mind should help you make better choices when you pick out your next pair of shoes.

Our Recommendations

If you have flat feet, it might feel like there simply aren’t any good shoes for you, but that isn’t true! Dr. LaMour and our team can assist you in finding great footwear that suits your needs and boosts your podiatric health. For example, FootSmart has a wide selection and allows you to sort by ailment, so you can look for shoes designed specifically for flat feet. Riley Jones’ Complex article suggests the “10 best sneakers for runners with flat feet.” For an elegant, pretty look, Barking Dog Shoes spotlights five different styles of gorgeous flats for women with flat feet, including a pair from Taryn Rose footwear, which was “founded by an orthopedic surgeon…designed with room for the toes to wiggle, substantial arch support, and a layer of PORON® Performance Cushioning which is breathable and won’t break down with wear.” If you know what to look for, your options are virtually limitless!

How We Can Help

In addition to diagnosing your condition and helping you find appropriate footwear, Dr. LaMour can custom fit you for orthotics. These inserts can support your arches, enhancing your existing shoes or adding an extra layer of protection to already-supportive footwear.

Do You Have Flat Feet?

Dr. LaMour and our team can help you enjoy healthier, more comfortable feet. Contact our Austin podiatry practice today to learn more and schedule your appointment!

Original Source: https://www.drjefflamour.com/foot-diseases/the-best-types-of-shoes-for-flat-feet/

Best Shoes for Plantar Fascitis Relief

Do you suffer from a stabbing pain in your heels? In addition to being irritating, embarrassing, and unhealthy, this sensation can make it difficult to find comfortable shoes. While high heels are some of the most common culprits, certain sneakers or even flats can hurt your feet. If you’re struggling with sore feet and can’t find the right shoes, never fear! Austin podiatrist, Dr. Jeffery LaMour, is here to help. We can help diagnose your plantar fasciitis and recommend the right shoe styles for your condition. Read on to learn more about plantar fasciitis and find the right footwear for your aching heels.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Although it has a seemingly complex name, plantar fasciitis is actually a relatively basic and unfortunately widespread disorder. As The Walking Company explains: “plantar fasciitis, the most common cause of heel pain, is inflammation of the band of tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes, supporting the arch of the foot.” This band, called the fascia, bears the brunt of the force on your feet. Mayo Clinic describes: “Under normal circumstances, your plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in your foot. If tension and stress on that bowstring become too great, small tears can arise in the fascia.” A wide variety of situations can put undue pressure on your fascia: excessive exercise, sitting for too long, standing for hours without rest, weight gain, arch issues, and more.

Symptoms

Many people suffer from plantar fasciitis without knowing the name of this disease. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • A sharp, stabbing sensation in the bottom of the foot near the heel.
  • “Pain at the beginning of exercise that gets better or goes away as exercise continues but returns when exercise is completed,” reports WebMD.
  • Discomfort upon walking up stairs or “after you stand for long periods.”
  • According to WebMD, “stiffness and pain in the morning or after resting that gets better after a few steps but gets worse as the day progresses.”

If you suffer from any of the above, Dr. LaMour can help diagnose your condition and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Fasciitis-Friendly Footwear

Certain shoes can help ease the discomfort of your sore heels. Fasciitis-friendly footwear typically provides two key components: excellent arch support to hold your foot in the proper position, and solid shock absorption, with the strength and suppleness to take the place of your pummeled fascia.

Beat Plantar Fasciitis points out: “do realize that finding a pair of shoes that work with YOUR Plantar Fasciitis is going to be a bit of a trial and error,” since each person’s feet are different, and you’ll also need to factor in the types of activities you do and styles you prefer. Accordingly, the site breaks down fasciitis-friendly shoes into categories: running, walking, tennis, hiking, slippers, flip flops, and dress shoes. The Walking Company also offers dozens of styles of sandals, sneakers, and dressier options that are appropriate for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis. Shoe Finale also ranks the top ten shoes for women and men with plantar fasciitis, as well as categorizing them according to motion control, type, upper material, and number of color options.

How We Can Help

While the above resources are a great place to start, Dr. LaMour can also consult with you to help you find a good pair for your feet. We can also prescribe and custom-fit orthotic inserts for your shoes. While changing your footwear can work wonders, we may also recommend our minimally invasive Topaz Treatment to help your fascia heal and ease your heel pain.

Do You Suffer From Plantar Fasciitis?

Dr. LaMour and our team can help you enjoy healthier, more comfortable feet. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis or another podiatric condition, we’d be delighted to assist you. Contact our Austin podiatry practice today to find out more and schedule an appointment.

Original Source: https://www.drjefflamour.com/foot-care/best-shoes-for-plantar-fascitis-relief/

My Feet Are Too Wide For Shoes

Shoes are a part of daily life; from sneakers on the court to stilettos at a dinner party, we wear them for hours every day. If yours are constantly too tight, this can have a major impact on your overall happiness and well being. Those with larger, flatter, wider feet often have trouble finding well-fitting shoes. Forced to wear an ill-sized pair, those with wider feet might have their toes pinched, their ankles squeezed, and their heels crushed. Austin podiatrist, Dr. Jeffery LaMour, is here to help each and every patient find the right shoes for his or her feet. He can also help treat the conditions that might worsen this issue. If you’re suffering from these symptoms, read on to learn what you can do about it and how we can assist you.

Do You Have Wide Feet?

It turns out that wide feet aren’t at all uncommon. In her recent Wall Street Journal article “Feet Are Getting Bigger and Many People Wear Shoes That Don’t Fit,” Elizabeth Holmes notes: “in a U.K. survey, more than a third of men and nearly half of women admitted buying shoes that didn’t fit right.” In many cases, people purchase shoes that are simply too tight and small to accommodate their feet. Charlotte Kemp’s 2014 Daily Mail piece on shoe sizing suggests that the general population’s feet are getting slightly wider every decade, due to a variety of issues. Kemp writes: “Jane Winkworth [shoe company founder] has confessed that its ballet pumps are broader than they were when she started the business more than 20 years ago.”

Additionally, many people who have wider feet don’t realize that this is the case. In her humorous piece for The Debrief, Madeleine Knight poses the question: “you might not even think you have wide feet—but when was the last time you actually measured them?” She follows this up with a confession: “I forgot about [having wide feet] for 14 years and have been squishing my hugely wide feet into little skinny shoes ever since my mother stopped taking me [shoe shopping].” Even if you don’t think of yourself as someone with wide feet or have forgotten that your childhood shoe boxes had a “W” on the side, you might benefit from looser fitting shoes rather than cramming your toes into the trendiest, slimmest styles.

Finding That “Cinderella” Shoe

Do you remember those metal measurement devices with the foot outlines you used to figure out your ever-changing foot size as a kid? It may be time to bring them back out. Knight advises: “always measure your foot in the evening,” when they’re more likely to be at their widest. If you don’t have a foot-measuring device handy, you can use Knight’s guide or About.com’s instructions. These should allow you to determine a more exact shoe sizes (half sizes can be crucial!) and determine if you need a Narrow, Regular, or Wide fit. Every shoe company sizes slightly differently, so you’ll still want to try on several different pairs of each shoe at the store until you find that perfect fit. If you’re struggling to find shoes that really support your foot and feel comfortable, prescription orthotics may be the right choice for you. Dr. LaMour frequently custom-fits these inserts for our patients.

What’s Causing Widening?

Why do some people have wider feet than others? A few reasons include:

  • Nature: Of course, some people are simply born with wider feet, and there’s nothing wrong with that! You’ll just need to make sure you choose good footwear for your feet.
  • Ill-fitting shoes: That’s right—the tight shoes you curse could actually be making your feet even wider. Wearing constricting shoes can cause your big toe joint and bone to move out of place, creating a bunion. This widens the front part of your foot, potentially making your tight shoes more uncomfortable.  This is one more reason it is important to find the appropriate size shoe for you.
  • Fallen foot arches: While common and even normal in children, flat-footedness can lead your feet to feel wider and make many shoes uncomfortable. Foot Smart explains that this condition “usually develops as an adult because of excessive foot stress” (such as being on your feet all day or gaining weight) or, in some cases, “failing to treat a foot injury (such as an ankle sprain) without proper healing time.”
  • Swelling: Wide feet are often the result of edema, or swelling, according to Foot Smart. Edema has a long list of causes, from diet to “neuromuscular disorders,” injury, and hormonal conditions. If your ankles and lower legs are irregularly large, this is likely the cause.

If your feet simply seem too wide for shoes, Dr. LaMour and our team can help locate the source of your condition. Then, we can create a treatment plan to help you remedy this with our wide array of podiatric services.

Contact Your Austin Podiatrist Today

Do your feet feel too wide? Would you like assistance selecting the proper shoe for your feet? Contact us today to learn more about our practice and schedule an appointment with Dr. LaMour.

Running Shoes Vs. Training Shoes: What’s the Difference?

You’re faced with an overwhelming aisle of athletic shoes. A score of styles, a myriad of makes, a cornucopia of colors—how are you supposed to choose? These special soles will cushion and protect your feet while you exercise, so it’s important to pick the right pair. One way to try and select the correct shoes is to look at the label, but these can be difficult to decipher. A common question that we come across is “what type of shoes should I purchase?” Austin foot doctor, Jeffery LaMour, is here to help our patients settle on the right foot-gear. In the following blog, we’ll explain the difference between running shoes and training shoes so you can decide which you want.

All Shoes Are Not Created Equal

To you, all sneakers might seem the same. However, they are as varied, as any other style of shoe. In her WebMD article, “5 Biggest Mistakes When Choosing Workout Shoes,” Gina Shaw cites “Tracie Rogers, PhD, a consultant for the American Council on Exercise,” who argues: “The biggest mistake people make when they start running, jogging, or some other exercise program is just reaching into the closet and pulling out an old pair of sneakers.” Of course, worn shoes aren’t the best choice in part because they might be broken down, but they’re also not an optimal option because “you need to choose the right type of shoe for the kind of workout you’ll be doing.”  Different makes of shoes suit different types of activities. Just like you wouldn’t wear a ballroom dress to an aerobics class, you shouldn’t try to wear one type of shoes for another kind of sport.

The Basic Difference

On the surface, training and running don’t seem all that dissimilar, so what’s the big deal about these shoes? Professor’s House piece on this subject reads: “If you have ever tried on a running shoe and a cross trainer you would have noticed some definite differences. For starters, runners are very flexible and they seem as if they are tight around your toes.” This design provides necessary coverage and keeps the shoe on but doesn’t overburden your foot as it repeatedly hits the ground. In contrast, “cross trainers are more firm which makes them more supportive with a wider base…[and they are] not as flexible as running shoes.” Cross trainers are bigger shoes with a chunkier base, created to pad your foot and protect it from all angles as you perform a variety of movements.

What Kind Should You Buy?

Now that you understand the disparities between cross trainers and running shoes, which type should you pluck from that immense athletic shoe aisle? Honestly, you should probably have a pair of each. Despite their name, running shoes are useful for more than just zipping around. Real Simple advises that they’re great “if you mostly jog or walk, since they’re engineered for heel-to-toe motion…cater to a wider range of foot types, and are built to last longer.”

Alternatively, “if your routine includes an activity like aerobics, weight training, or kickboxing (basically any exercise on a hard surface that involves side-to-side movement)” we’d make the case for cross trainers. Of course, there are exceptions to this. If you have particularly narrow feet, for example, cross trainers might just be too wide and bulky. Patients who frequently play a specific, foot intensive sport like soccer, tennis, or basketball should probably purchase shoes tailored to their specific activity.

No matter which type(s) you end up going home with, you should always try on a wide assortment of options to see what feels best, and mimic some of the motions you plan to make when you try them on. Shaw even recommends getting professional help: “go to an athletic shoe specialty store to get an expert insight on the right shoe and the best fit.”

If you need additional support, Dr. LaMour can fit you for orthotics. These comfortable, custom inserts can make exercising easier and more comfortable, plus they help treat a variety of podiatric conditions. We can also help you handle other issues related to exercise, such as calluses and sports injuries.

Your Austin Foot Doctor Is Here

If you have any other questions about your foot and ankle health as it relates to exercise or any other topic, Dr. LaMour and our team would be delighted to hear from you. Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.

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!