Holiday Heels and Heel Pain

With the holiday season in full swing, there’s a lot to look forward to: special sugar cookies, brightly decorated trees, beautifully wrapped gifts, and cheer-filled events. The holidays are a great time to bust our your favorite sparkly dresses, and elegant coats. However, your cute, seasonal holiday high heels could put a damper on the festivities if they hurt your heels. Austin foot doctor, Jeffery LaMour, has made it his mission to help our patients enjoy the holidays without wrecking their feet. Our podiatry practice believes you don’t have to sacrifice your joyful holiday fashion for healthy, comfortable feet. In the following blog, we explain what to avoid in your seasonal shoes and our recommendations for better options.

The Science Behind Heel Pain

Every person’s feet are different, but there are a few key factors that could impact whether or not you suffer from heel pain after a night with your favorite stilettos. These include:

  • Sizing. You may be tempted to take advantage of year-end shoe sales, but if you end up purchasing heels that are too large or too small, you’re only making the problem worse. It’s better to sacrifice a shoe deal than have your feet wobble or be constricted all night. Remember that different brands can vary in their sizes, and it’s important to measure your feet every few years to get an update on your actual size.
  • Understanding your unique feet. Some have wider or narrower feet, while others suffer from calluses or bunions that could interfere with your heels. Style Caster’s Meghan Blalock writes: “a podiatrist would be the best way to know your foot type and what’s going on.” However, if you can’t come to our office right away, she recommends this technique: “Wet your foot and step onto a piece of construction paper. When you make an impression, it will show you how much your foot is flattening or how high of an arch you have. You can look at a person’s foot type and see why they are having pain.”
  • Stability. Sometimes, the most fashionable shoes are barely there at all. Thin little stilettos may be attractive, but they provide little to no support for your feet, virtually guaranteeing heel pain. The less shoe material there is, the more pressure it puts on your unprotected feet. Blalock advises: “the thicker the heel, the better…avoid thin soles, opting instead for a platform…[and] try a shoe with more coverage up top.”
  •  Your heel-wearing activities. What you do after you strap on your stilettos also has a bearing on your heel pain. In an article for Shape, Illinois podiatrist, Megan Leahy, notes: “If you have a choice between standing on a rug or standing on a wood floor, go for the softer surface. Standing on a rug is like having a cushion in your shoe.” If you plan to be standing or walking most of the night, you’d do well to go with a more sensible shoe. In addition, Blalock urges: “take breaks. Kick your shoes off throughout the day and stretch your ankles and toes.”

Paying attention to these elements can help you prevent your holiday heel pain.

Our Pro-Podiatric Picks

Some people say: “beauty is pain.” Dr. LaMour and our team couldn’t disagree more! It’s hard to have a good time when your heels are hurting, and healthy feet are gorgeous. Fortunately, there are many foot-friendly fashions available today. A few of our selections include:

  • Dr. Joan Oloff’s shoe brand. According to ABC News, Dr. Joan Oloff is “a California podiatrist and shoe designer who decided to rethink the structure of her shoes.” While regular heels concentrate your body weight and pressure on certain areas, Dr. Oloff explains: “In my heels, your weight is evenly distributed throughout the foot. So because your entire foot is sharing that load, you don’t fatigue, the muscles don’t fatigue.” Becky Worley at ABC describes Dr. Oloff’s pumps as “beautiful and comfy.”
  • Worley also recommend shoes “from another podiatrist, Marion Parke…designed with intricate buckles and rich suede…exceedingly comfortable for the level of couture they provided.”
  • For a less expensive option, Worley writes highly of “Corso Como 4-inch heels: more reasonably priced in the $100 range and very comfortable…[a] favorite among the corporate dress crowd.”
  • In her TODAY article “Hip, hip, hooray for high heels that don’t hurt,” Charla Krupp names “BEST STILETTO. Kate Spade ‘Karolina,’ $250…[a] four-inch stiletto” that is “so comfy that one of our testers didn’t want to take them off, let alone give them back!” This shoe is also a multipurpose dress shoe dazzler, in “black patent leather” with “rounded toes.”
  • Julie Lopez Shoes. Good News Network reports on this brand, designed for women with bunions, but “a comfortable, fashionable heel for all women!…Hand crafted in Italy…[these heels] are wider in the fore-foot but still look great.” They’re also complete with “tiny slits in the sides that offer a bit of expansion that [Lopez] called Flex Innovation Technology.”

Dr. LaMour can offer further recommendations at your next appointment.

In addition, we can custom-make orthotics to make your heels that much more optimal. These personalized podiatric inserts fill the gaps in your heels and support your feet to help prevent pain.

Your Foot Doctor is Here to Help

With our expert assistance, you don’t have to deal with a “heel hangover” after your holiday events. For more advice and podiatric care, contact our office today. We look forward to scheduling your next appointment.

4 Ways to Avoid Athlete’s Foot

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

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

Be Wary of Public Places

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

Let Your Feet Breathe

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

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

Be Mindful of Pets

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

Don’t Share Germs in Your House

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

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

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

Best Bets for Outdoor Summer Fun in Austin

Fun outdoor activities are not in short supply in beautiful, sunny Austin. No matter what your age or activity level, you’re bound to find something that suits your fancy. Here are some great excuses to get off that couch and enjoy the great outdoors in the exciting Austin area:

Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding

If you’ve lived in Austin for any length of time, you’ve probably already visited Austin’s popular Lady Bird Lake in the heart of downtown. Whether kayaking, canoeing, swimming, or just relaxing, it’s a great place to enjoy the water. But something you may not have tried yet is stand-up paddleboarding, a relatively new activity. Just as it sounds, you’ll be standing up on your own paddleboard while you relax and take in the scenery. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner: lessons and board rentals are available from a variety of vendors.

Check out our post on how to stay safe while paddleboarding!

Hop On the Bike Trails

If your feet aren’t up for a day of standing on a board, you have plenty of other options. You can still get some fresh air and great exercise if you take advantage of the hundreds of miles of bike trails around Austin. You’ll get to see beautiful natural scenery, stop for a swim, or enjoy socializing with friends while you go. There are so many trails to choose from, you could take a new route every day. For a different workout, consider hiking as well – if your feet are feeling up for it.

Get Social While Cycling

Want some physical activity with real crowd appeal? Social cycling is a way to meet new people while enjoying a bike ride. Whether you’re only an occasional biker or a hard core bike racer, you’ll find an event that fits your needs. Free social rides are offered each week, and some include stops at local swimming holes or bars. To see what rides might work for you, visit the Social Cycling FaceBook page.

Choose Your Swimming Hole

Swimming is an outstanding choice for an exercise that is easy on the joints. And in the Austin area, there’s no shortage of beautiful pools to enjoy. The famous Barton Springs pool is a popular destination for good reason – this giant spring-fed pool is a refreshing destination year-round. For a change of scenery, try one of the dozens of swimming holes within just a few miles of the city.

Hang Out in TOMS’ Backyard

Where can you get some great coffee, shop for shoes, take a class, and relax in a charming backyard? All at TOMS, a store/community space that is a great place to meet up with friends and family alike. TOMS’ Austin location is their second flagship store and portions of their sales go to great charitable causes, too.

Summer Fun with Healthy Feet

If you have a foot problem, don’t let it hold you back from enjoying the many fun activities in Austin. Contact our Shoal Creek office and get help for your feet, so you can enjoy all that our great city has to offer!