Helpful Tips For Managing Your Bunions

When you’re working or going out for the evening, it’s understandable that you want to look your best. You put on nice clothes, do your hair, and don your totally uncomfortable but great-looking shoes. You hobble the day away, smiling through the pain, and wait for the moment you finally get to remove them and massage your aching feet.

Pointy-toed, too-tight shoes are more than a daily inconvenience. Over time, these shoes can actually change the shape of your feet and lead to a condition called bunions, or hallux valgus.

These painful, unsightly bumps develop on the big toe joint when pressure is repeatedly put on it, causing the big toe to lean toward the second toe. Over an extended period of time, the structure of the bone and joint changes, which results in the dreaded bunion bump.

Although anyone can get a bunion, we see it more commonly in women due to tight, pointy, high-heeled shoes. Because specific foot shapes are more prone to bunions, we also see an increase in bunion diagnoses in people with a family history of bunions.

If you frequently wear shoes that force your toes together, we strongly recommend scheduling a consultation with Jeffery W. LaMour, DPM, PA, to determine the overall condition of your feet. Once we’ve determined that you do, in fact, have a bunion, here are the next steps.

Change Your Footwear

Once you’ve developed a bunion, the first thing you should do is contact us immediately to schedule an appointment. Dr. LaMour will likely recommend that you switch your footwear right away to something with lower heels and roomier toes. Dr. LaMour may also prescribe custom orthotic inserts to help manage your bunions and minimize pain.

Splinting

If we are able to diagnose your bunions early enough, the joint still may be flexible enough to coax back into position without surgery. One of the best ways to do this is by using a splint, typically at night, to keep the toe straight and try to realign the joint.

Splinting may not be a permanent solution, especially if the bunion has been developing for a while.

Pain Management

It’s no secret that bunions are painful, especially if you are on your feet a lot. Dr. LaMour offers recommendations to help manage the pain, which typically include exercise, ice packs, warm foot soaks, and oral or injected pain medication. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may ease bunion pain.

Surgery

When we’re able to catch bunions early, we are usually able to save you from surgery. Unfortunately, we don’t always catch them early enough and cannot avoid surgery in every case, especially in severe or long-term cases where the joint has become arthritic. When surgery is called for, Dr. LaMour uses the latest, most advanced medical equipment and techniques to realign your joint and get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.

Bunions are no fun. They’re painful, unsightly, inconvenient, and, if untreated, can lead to arthritis. Don’t wait until it’s too late to manage your bunions without surgery. If you have a history of wearing too-tight shoes or think you may be developing a bunion, please schedule a consultation with Dr. LaMour to determine the condition of your joints. We’ll help you to manage and even reverse the bunion’s effects on your feet, body, and overall health. Get ready to once again put your best foot forward.

The Many Effects Diabetes Could be Having on Your Feet

If you have diabetes, you do your very best to keep it under control. You monitor your blood sugar, take your medications, time your meals and balance your carbs and protein. But sometimes, no matter how vigilant you are, your diabetes can affect your body in ways you may not expect.

Effects of diabetes on your feet

The effects of diabetes on your feet may seem minor — but can turn serious very quickly. When you have diabetes, common foot problems such as blisters or calluses can become infected easily. This is partially due to the compromised ability to heal, as well as diabetic neuropathy, which can prevent you from feeling the pain that alerts you to a problem.

Because less efficient healing and decreased sensation puts your feet at risk, focusing on self-care is a must. Regular visits to our office allows Dr. LaMour to examine your feet and keep ahead of any problems that may be developing.

To help you in your preventive foot care efforts, we’ve pulled together a list of other effects diabetes could be having on your feet and toes:

Athletes foot: For those who don’t have diabetes, athletes foot can usually be resolved using over-the-counter (OTC) meds. For a person with diabetes, athlete’s foot can lead to serious complications. The redness, cracking, and itching of athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus. Should the fungus enter the bloodstream, it can wreak havoc on your body’s systems and is quite difficult to control.

Nail Fungus: People with nail fungus in general can have a difficult time treating the cause. Identified by thick, yellowish-gray, nails, which may crumble, nail fungus is typically treated with a topical or oral medication. Given the compromised healing abilities that comes with diabetes, you may have a tough time getting rid of your nail fungus. If you think you have toenail fungus, come in to see us right away.

Ingrown toenails: Pressure on the feet and toes is of particular concern for diabetics. It’s one of the primary causes of ingrown toenails. An ingrown toenail is usually a very painful condition, however, if you’ve lost feeling in your toes, you may not know you have an ingrown toenail until it becomes infected.

Corns, calluses, and bunions: These common foot problems are usually easily treated, often by using OTC methods. When a person with diabetes develops these common afflictions though, it raises the potential for infection. Don’t attempt to resolve your corns, calluses, or bunions yourself. You can develop a sore, which can easily turn into an infection, which can be a deadly condition for you.

Dry skin: When your glucose levels run low, it robs you of moisture in your skin. This results in dry skin, a common problem for people with diabetes. Be sure to keep your feet moisturized with a doctor-approved lotion for diabetics. Follow a skin care regimen and use a moisturizing soap when you bathe. If the dry skin on your feet becomes red and itchy, come in to see us.

Foot ulcers: Pressure ulcers on your feet can be a regular occurrence for some patients with diabetes. Ill-fitting shoes, hammertoe, or distance walking and running can create the opportunity for your foot or toe to rub against your shoe and cause sores. Because of compromised nerve endings, you may not feel the developing blister, or sore, until it’s become ulcerated into a deep sore. If that happens, you need immediate medical care, so call us.

The most serious complications to your feet from diabetes

As you probably know, the most serious diabetes-related conditions impacting your feet are neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease.

Neuropathy, as discussed above, prevents you from feeling pain when you have any kind of injury to skin on your feet and toes, which can lead to serious infection. Bacteria can enter your bloodstream and cause all sorts of health complications, including sepsis, which has the potential to be life-threatening.

Peripheral vascular disease compromises blood flow (circulation) which can affect healing and limit the blood supply, resulting in gangrene. When you develop peripheral vascular disease, it puts you at serious risk of amputation due to gangrene.

If you have diabetes, contact us to schedule an appointment for a thorough assessment of your foot health. Just call one of our offices in Austin or Pflugerville or click the “request appointment” button to get started.

How Lasers Can Help Battle Toenail Fungus

We don’t often think too much about the health of our feet, but when toenail fungus strikes, it can be incredibly irritating! Did you know that infections are more common in toenails than in fingernails? Toenail fungus is one of the most common foot conditions around the world and is estimated to affect about 40 million Americans alone!

If you think that you might have toenail fungus, call us today at Family Foot & Ankle Clinic. Dr. Jeffery LaMour deals in all things related to the foot and can provide a proper diagnosis and treatment for your foot problem, whether it’s toenail fungus, ingrown nails, or bunions.

What’s toenail fungus and how do we get it?

The first thing to understand about toenail fungus is that it’s actually caused by tiny organisms called dermatophytes. These organisms love warm, dark, and moist conditions and they live in places like pool changing rooms, sports locker rooms, and public wet areas.

If you have tiny cuts or skin openings around your toenails, dermatophytes can get inside and get under the toenail itself. This is where they grow and multiply, causing problems. Anyone can get toenail fungus, but you might be more prone if you fall into one of the following groups of people:

  • Sports people and athletes who spend a lot of time in locker rooms and wear hot, sweaty sports shoes that encourage fungal growth
  • Diabetics who have poor circulation in their feet and who may have cuts and foot injuries they can’t feel
  • Elderly people and those with weak immune systems

What are the symptoms of toenail fungus?

Once toenail fungus takes root underneath the nail, it begins to spread. You may see small black, yellow, or white spots underneath your toenail. This eventually spreads to the whole nail, which turns yellow, black, green, or white.

For a lot of people, these signs can be easy to miss. After all, how many of us spend much time looking at and analyzing our feet and toenails? Once the nail has become infected by the fungus, it can turn brittle and may even curl up from the nail bed and break off easily.

Over time, the infection can become so bad that the area becomes painful to the touch. In some people, this can cause problems when walking. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to make an appointment with Dr. LaMour at Family Foot & Ankle Clinic. There’s no need to be embarrassed, we’re here to help!

Can a laser eliminate my toenail fungus?

Historically, the biggest challenge to treating toenail fungus has been getting to it successfully. Because it grows underneath the toenail, treating it with topical creams can be tough. The good news is that Dr. LaMour at Family Foot & Ankle Clinic can treat your fungal nail problem with the PinPointe™ laser.

When you visit our clinic, Dr. LaMour evaluates the condition of your feet and the extent of your toenail fungus. The PinPointe laser treatment uses highly accurate laser technology to get to the fungus in the nail bed and destroy it without harming any other part of your foot.

If you’re worried about this new treatment, the good news is that it’s quick and painless. Dr. LaMour performs the treatment at our clinic, and the most you’ll feel is some warmth and a pinging sensation in the toes being treated.

If you’re ashamed and embarrassed about the state of your feet, come and see us at Family Foot & Ankle Clinic. Call us or request an appointment through our easy online booking portal and let us help you today!

Why You Should Never Ignore Ingrown Toenails

According to the Institute for Preventive Foot Health® about 18% of adults in the United States have had an ingrown toenail. Unfortunately, some of those people experienced complications as a result of not seeking medical care quickly. Not only does Dr. LaMour treat ingrown toenails, he wants you to know how to avoid getting them in the first place.

Why some people have ingrown nails

Normally, your toenail grows inside your nail bed. When you get an ingrown toenail, the nail curves slightly at the edge and grows into the fold of skin next to your nail bed. It’s painful, and can be serious.

There are many reasons you might get an ingrown toenail. One is simply genetics. You may have inherited a tendency for your toenails to curve and become ingrown.

Another common cause is poorly fitting footwear. If you wear high heels or narrow shoes that don’t have enough space in the toe box, the pressure on your toes can cause your nails to become ingrown. The same is true of wearing tights or hose often.

Stubbing your toe may lead to an ingrown toenail, as can other types of trauma, like dropping something heavy on your toe. Some types of activity amount to trauma that can lead to ingrown toenails. For example, runners have more ingrown toenails than other people.

By far, though, the most common cause of ingrown toenails is improper trimming. Cutting your nails too short can lead to ingrown toenails, as can cutting them any way other than straight across.

The dangers of ingrown toenails

Although we use words like “tender” to talk about ingrown toenails, the truth is that they hurt, and the worse they get, the more they hurt. Aside from the pain, which can make it difficult to wear socks and shoes, or even to walk comfortably, ingrown toenails can lead to other problems.

An ingrown toenail can get infected, and the infection can easily spread to the bones of your foot and cause serious complications.

Trying to care for your ingrown toenail at home increases your risk of infection even more. If you’ve ever been told to put a piece of a cotton ball between your nail and your skin, you’ve received poor advice. The cotton ball is an excellent host for bacteria, so it increases your chances of developing an infection.

Cutting your nail shorter is another common, but inadvisable, approach to dealing with an ingrown toenail, because trimming it won’t change the way it grows. Cutting a notch in your nail won’t help either.

How we treat ingrown toenails

Most of the time, Dr. LaMour treats ingrown nails right here in the office. Every person is different and your treatment depends on the severity of your ingrown nail, whether or not it’s infected, and your medical history. Some people, such as those who have diabetes, need different care than others.

Ingrown toenail treatment may include:

  • Lifting the nail
  • Partial removal of the nail
  • Removing the entire nail
  • Treating the nail bed to prevent future growth

If you have an ingrown toenail, don’t take chances with home remedies that are likely to be ineffective and may even make things worse. Instead, come in to see Dr. LaMour for an expert opinion and treatment. Just call one of our offices in Austin or Pflugerville or book your appointment online.

3 Surprising Facts about Orthotics

Whether it’s foot or ankle pain or foot ulcers related to diabetes, when you have difficulty with your feet, it can stop you from doing the things you love. At Family Foot & Ankle Clinic, we understand mobility issues and are here to discuss a nonsurgical and noninvasive solution to your foot and ankle problems: Orthotics.

Sometimes referred to as orthosis, orthotics are devices prescribed by podiatrists and other medical doctors that either correct or accommodate your walking pattern, helping to improve your gait and posture. Orthotics can increase how comfortable your feet are and how efficiently you move. What’s more, these podiatric appliances can alter the angle that your foot strikes the ground, absorbing shock, improving balance, and taking pressure off of sores and irritated areas of your foot.

While many people take walking without discomfort for granted, those who struggle with foot and ankle pain, diabetes, or other foot issues understand how frustrating and debilitating it can be. It’s estimated that 12-15% of the American population can benefit from orthotics, including those who want to reduce pain or protect their joints. And with a growing industry that’s expected to reach $3.5 billion by 2020, it’s no wonder more and more people are considering orthotics to assist with their mobility issues.

That’s why at Dr. LaMour’s office, we talk to men and women about orthotics and the benefit they can bring. Here are three facts about these mobility devices that many people are surprised to learn.

Orthotics are Custom Made

Unlike store-bought insoles, prescription orthotics are custom made to fit your foot and tailored to address your specific needs and foot issues. When you visit us at Family Foot & Ankle Clinic for an orthotic, we take a casted mold of your foot, guaranteeing that you get the most benefit.

No matter your foot concern, we can address your needs and find a solution to reduce your discomfort. Since no two people have exactly the same foot problem and structure, each case is handled on a one-on-one basis, and we make each orthotic independently.

Orthotics are Multifunctional

Too many people compare prescription orthotics to over-the-counter shoe insoles and arch supports. While custom-made orthotics can also help with arch support, they do so much more than over-the-counter inserts.

Orthotics are multifunctional. They can offload weight from certain parts of your foot that are impacted by bursitis, calluses, or foot ulcers. They can improve your foot’s function, especially when it comes to hypermobility associated with tendonitis and fasciitis. Orthotics can also support and align your foot, as well as the rest of your lower extremities, which reduces the frequency and severity of foot, ankle, leg, and lower back pain.

Orthotics are not Just For Athletes

When it comes to orthotics, most people associate them with athletes and distance runners. And, sure, orthotics can improve issues these people suffer from, but that’s not all they do. As a matter of fact, orthotics address a wide range of common foot and mobility issues from bunions and hammertoes to plantar fasciitis and flat feet.

They can also assist those who suffer from frequent sprains, people whose toes aren’t straight, and those whose feet come in or out when they walk. Depending on your issue, we may recommend orthotics if you have a chronic heel, knee, or lower back pain, or if you wear one side of your shoe’s sole more quickly than the other.

To learn more about the many benefits of orthotics and how they can help you, call us at Family Foot & Ankle Clinic or book an appointment online.

What To Do About Plantar Warts

Most people have plantar warts at some point. The clinical name is verrucae warts, and they are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV thrives in warm, damp areas, such as locker room floors and puddles around swimming pools.

There are many varieties of HPV, but types 1, 2, 4, 60, and 63 specifically cause plantar warts. The virus enters your body through cracks in your skin, and even a tiny crack that you can’t see or didn’t know was there is an open door for HPV.

What to look for

Sometimes, plantar warts grow up into your skin, so that you don’t see them. They may be covered by a callus or thick layer of skin. Plantar warts can be painful, but they are likely to resolve on their own, eventually. If they hurt, you should book an appointment with Dr. Jeffery LaMour for treatment.

Usually, plantar warts are located on your heels or on the balls of your feet. If you see black dots that look like pin points, you probably have plantar warts that have grown inward. The points are clotted blood vessels.

At-home treatments

If your plantar warts don’t hurt, you may want to try some home remedies. A few studies have investigated whether or not placing a piece of duct tape on the plantar wart for a few days, but the results have been mixed.

There are some over-the-counter medications available. And, there’s a chance the plantar warts will resolve themselves and go away.

When to book an appointment

There are some instances when plantar warts need medical care. Make an appointment with Dr. LaMour if any of the following applies to you:

  • The warts are painful or bleeding
  • Home remedies and over-the-counter medicines don’t work
  • The warts stop you from doing your normal daily activities
  • You have diabetes
  • Your immune system is suppressed due to illness or medications
  • You’re not sure what you have are plantar warts

Possible treatments

There are several different methods for treating plantar warts, and the one that will work best for you depends on several factors. Usually, plantar warts are treated first with medications similar to, but stronger than, those available over-the-counter.

Salicylic acid is the active ingredient in most of the medications for treating plantar warts. It works by peeling away layers of the wart with each application. You’ll need to apply the medication regularly, and likely come in for office visits so Dr. LaMour can monitor your progress.

Cryotherapy, or freezing, may be an option, especially if the salicylic acid doesn’t work or you can’t use it for some reason. Cryotherapy involves Dr. LaMour applying a small amount of liquid nitrogen to the wart which creates a blister around the wart. You may need multiple treatments for cryotherapy to be effective.

If neither salicylic acid or cryotherapy works, other treatments could be necessary. For example, other types of acids may be applied, medications to stimulate your immune system could help, and either laser treatments or minor surgery may be necessary. The HPV vaccine has been successfully used to resolve plantar warts, although it is designed to prevent different strains of the virus than those that cause plantar warts.

Dr. LaMour is happy to answer your questions about plantar warts, so if you have painful bumps on your feet, book an appointment with the Family Foot & Ankle Clinic in Austin, Texas, online or by phone today!

How Diabetes Affects Your Feet

Long-term high blood sugar can cause dangerous complications in people with diabetes, and your feet are particularly at risk. Diabetes complications, like foot ulcers, are responsible for nearly 70% of limb amputations in the United States. If you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar within the target range your doctor sets for you plays a crucial role in avoiding foot problems. Find out how diabetes affects your feet and what you can do to protect them and live well with diabetes.

Diabetes can damage nerves

Your body relies on glucose to function properly, but damage occurs when it remains in the blood at high levels instead of being transported into the cells. Your nerves are especially vulnerable to damage caused by high blood sugar.

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that results from uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes. It most often damages nerves in your legs and feet. When you have diabetic neuropathy, your body has trouble interpreting signals sent from your nerves to your brain. You may experience numbness, tingling, or pain, and you may lose some sensation in your feet.

How nerve damage affects your feet

It’s important to work closely with a podiatrist to take special care of your feet if you have diabetic neuropathy. The nerve damage sustained with this condition can make it difficult for you to know if you get a cut or sore on your foot. Without realizing it, a small cut can become infected, and you may not feel anything to alert you to a problem. You may even develop a very serious infection that requires amputation of your toe, foot, or lower leg.

Diabetes can reduce circulation

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition where blood vessels become narrow, decreasing circulation to parts of the body, especially the legs and feet. PAD commonly occurs in people with Type 2 diabetes who have high cholesterol. The combination of high blood sugar and elevated cholesterol contributes to PAD development.

Some signs that you have PAD include numbness and tingling in your legs and feet, as well as pain in your calves when you’re walking or exercising that goes away when you rest. The symptoms of PAD aren’t always obvious, making it easy to miss subtle signs. Here at Family Foot & Ankle Center, Dr. LaMour often diagnoses and manages PAD in patients with diabetes.

How reduced circulation harms your feet

Not having enough blood circulating to your feet can make it hard for cuts or infections to heal. It can also make it difficult for diabetic foot ulcers to heal. Foot ulcers are a serious complication of diabetes. These open sores often occur on the ball of the foot or the bottom of the toe.

Reduced blood flowing to your feet increases the risk that a foot ulcer will become infected. If the infection doesn’t heal, it can lead to a type of tissue death called gangrene, which requires immediate care to lower the risk of amputation.

Caring for your feet

Good control of your blood sugar can prevent many diabetes complications, including those that affect your feet. In addition to controlling your blood sugar levels, taking the following steps will help keep your feet healthy:

  • Inspect them daily. Check your feet for cuts, bruises, nail problems, swelling, or any sign that something is amiss.
  • Wear the right shoes. Choose loose-fitting shoes that don’t rub against your feet.
  • Wear clean socks. Make sure your socks are dry and change them daily.
  • Avoid walking barefoot. Even at home, you should wear comfortable slippers.
  • Moisturize. Use a moisturizer to avoid dry skin that may crack.
  • Keep your feet dry. Too much moisture can encourage fungus.

Dr. LaMour is dedicated to changing lives through excellent foot care. To keep your feet healthy and avoid diabetes-related foot problems, call our office or book online today to schedule a consultation.

Do I Have to Get My Bunions Removed?

If you’re having foot pain from a bunion that’s beginning to appear, there are a variety of solutions to try before even thinking of surgery. Many times bunions are hereditary, although some can result from the shoes you wear. Even if your bunions are in your genes, there are remedies to slow their progression and avoid severe discomfort.

It’s important to get treatment early. Left untreated, bunions can lead to foot deformities and additional problems that interfere with walking and daily life. Following are the most effective bunion treatments, ranging from simple home remedies to surgery, which is a last resort.

Home Remedies: Icing and Pain Relievers

Apply an ice pack at the end of a long day to ease discomfort or swelling. Take over-the-counter pain medication for temporary relief; long-term use can damage internal organs and lead to other complications.

Proper Shoes

Examine your shoe collection. If you have a lot of high heels with pointed toes and wear them every day to work, you may need to give your feet a break. Try saving the stilettos for an occasional night out and give your feet a rest the remainder of the week. Choose shoes with ample width in the toe area. Many stylish shoes now have elastic slits on the sides to allow breathing room for your foot. Open-toed shoes or sandals that have elastic or cloth on the upper part are an option for warm months. You may be able to stop your bunion’s progression by choosing better foot support.

Orthotics

Dr. LaMour examines your walking gait and determines if the way you move is contributing to the bunion. If your gait is a culprit, the shoe inserts you find in stores may cushion your walk, but they won’t correct what’s causing the bunion.

Dr. LaMour may suggest orthotics, which are prescription shoe inserts. In Dr. LaMour’s office, a machine records an impression of your foot. He sends that impression to a lab that makes the orthotics. The orthotic may have extra support for your toe joint; it’s made to help correct your gait and better support your foot.

Exercises

Dr. LaMour may prescribe daily exercises to keep your joint supple and maintain your flexibility. These are easy to do at home and can even be fun; one example is picking up marbles with your toes.

Night splints

Dr. LaMour may provide you with a night splint to keep the toe straight at night. At first it may feel odd, but just as with a retainer for your mouth, after a while it feels normal.

Injections

Depending on the case, Dr. LaMour may inject cortisone into the joint. Cortisone may provide medium to long-term pain relief. However, without remedying what is causing the bunion, the pain is very likely to recur, and the bunion may progress to a more severe stage.

Surgery is a last resort

If nothing else has helped you, surgery might be required. If your toe is severely deformed and if you’re having pain when you walk, Dr. LaMour performs a bunionectomy.

Many people who need bunion surgery are retirement age or older, having put decades of wear and tear on their feet. Bunions, if untreated, can cause hammertoe and arthritis, exacerbating your foot problems. Surgery corrects the malformation of your big toe, removing the bump. It involves correcting the position of bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves.

Call or book an appointment online with Jeffery W. LaMour, DPM, PA for relief from your foot pain today.

10 Shoe Shopping Tips for Happy Feet

Your feet serve you well, carrying you where you need to go, all while bearing the entire weight of your body. It’s a tall order and these relatively small body parts are usually up to the task. If you hinder their function in any way, however, you run the risk of creating painful foot and ankle problems.

The better option is to provide critical support for your beleaguered feet in the form of good footwear that’s an asset rather than a liability. At Family Foot & Ankle, we aim to help our patients in Pflugerville and Austin, Texas, take the best care of their feet and that means choosing the right shoes.

Here are 10 shoe shopping tips that will keep your feet happily skipping along.

1. Take it down a notch

If you’re a woman, you probably guessed that we need to address the elephant, or the heel, in the room. High heels are bad for your feet and ankles, and there’s no getting around that. Since we know that fashion wins out more often than it should, we advise you to choose your heels wisely. Opt for heels that have a wedge shape to them and a raised platform at the toe. Wedges are far more sturdy than stilettos, and the platform at the toe gives you the height you want without the added pressure on the balls of your feet.

2. Size matters

It may seem obvious, but when you go shoe shopping, make sure the shoe is the proper size for your feet. While you may have been a 6 a few years ago, you could now be a 7 (not to mention different manufacturers may size shoes differently). Better yet, go to a shoe store that still measures your feet to be sure. And be sure to measure both feet, since one may be slightly larger than the other.

3. A little breathing room

While those pointy shoes may add just the look you want, they’re incredibly bad for your feet. These shoes can lead to metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of your foot), hammertoes, and neuroma, a painful nerve inflammation between your toes. Opt instead for a shoe with a wider toe box, allowing your toes to spread out and do their job. In fact, the rule of thumb is that you should have at least a ¼-inch space between the end of your toes and the shoe.

4. Leave flip flops for the beach

Flip flops are easy to throw on and run around in, but these shoes provide little in the way of arch support, and they’re highly unstable. We see many ankle injuries in people who wear flip flops at inappropriate times.

5. The right tool for the job

It’s important that you chose the right footwear for the activity you’re engaged in. Hiking out on a trail in treadless street shoes can be a recipe for disaster. Make sure that your shoes match your activities in terms of tread, support, purpose, and coverage.

6. Try it out

When you go shopping, walk around in the shoe as much as you can. Designer warehouses provide ample room with carpeted floors, but you’ll have more difficulty in a smaller shop. Still, the more you wear the shoe, the more you can determine how well it fits. You’d be surprised to find how many shoes start to pinch or hurt when you take them for a real spin.

7. Timing and preparation matter

If it’s the middle of the summer, and you’re shopping for hiking boots while wearing sandals, plan ahead and bring along the socks you would use for the shoe you’re shopping for. As well, avoid shoe shopping first thing in the morning. As you go about your day, your feet expand, so try and do your shopping in the afternoon.

8. Attention to detail

While the shoe you want may look great on the outside, it’s the inside that matters when it comes to your feet. Check and make sure that there aren’t any seams or hardware that might irritate your feet.

9. Be sensible

It used to be that sensible shoes were ugly shoes. That’s no longer the case, as shoe manufacturers are answering the call for fashionable and comfortable shoes. So, even though it’s a brand your mother wore, take another look — you might be pleasantly surprised.

10. Get help

To maximize just about any shoe, custom orthotics can make good shoes even better by providing support where you need it most, from your arches to your ankle. At Family Foot & Ankle, we offer thin custom orthotics that are crafted to fit your feet in most any shoe you want to wear. With custom orthotics, your shoe options may even get broader.

To learn more about finding the right shoes for your feet, feel free to call us at Family Foot & Ankle, or book an appointment online.

Foot Fungus Facts: Types, Causes, & Treatments

You may have heard of foot fungus, but assumed that this disease couldn’t possibly affect you. After all, you’ve probably never seen anything growing on your toes or sprouting from your soles. However, foot fungus is actually much more common than you might suppose. According to a recent study, up to 18 percent of all people suffer from toenail fungus, and this condition is just one of many potential fungal infections that could affect your feet.

At Dr. Jeffery LaMour’s Austin podiatry practice, we regularly help patients with foot fungus. These infections can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and unhealthy. The good news is that, in large part, foot fungus is easily avoidable if you simply know what it is and what to look out for. That’s why we’ve dedicated this week’s blog to going over foot fungus facts. Read on to learn more about the two most common types, their causes, and our treatment options.

Fungal Fundamentals

Before we dive into foot fungus, you should first understand what exactly a fungus is, and how it can affect your body. When you think of fungi, you might imagine mushrooms and spores. You’re not wrong! Medline Plus points out: “A fungus is a primitive organism. Mushrooms, mold, and mildew are examples. Fungi live in air, in soil, on plants, and in water.” While many are external to and separate from us, “some [fungi] live in the human body” but “only about half of all types of fungi are harmful.” So, how can you become host to fungi? Medline Plus explains: “some fungi reproduce through tiny spores in the air. You can inhale the spores or they can land on you. As a result, fungal infections often start in the lungs or on the skin. You are more likely to get a fungal infection if you have a weakened immune system or take antibiotics,” since your body would be weaker and less able to fight off the spores in these situations.

For certain kinds of fungi, your feet are the ideal environment. Spores take up residence on your moist, warm skin, growing on top of and into your skin. You can help ward off foot fungus by keeping your feet as clean and dry as possible, avoiding going barefoot in public areas that could be contaminated with fungus, and using a preventive anti-fungal topical treatment on your feet.

Toenail Fungus

One of the most typical forms of foot fungus is onychomycosis, or toenail fungus. In this case, fungal spores invade the area beneath and around your toenail, where they cause it to take on a green, yellow, or black color, cause it to crumble, and, in some cases, split the nail with their growth. Toenail fungus can be quite uncomfortable, as the fungus puts undue pressure on your toenails, making it difficult to clean your feet, wear shoes, or even walk.

Fortunately, at Dr. LaMour’s office, we have a simple, state-of-the-art solution for toenail fungus: our Pinpointe™ FootLaser™. Using an intense beam of light, we kill the fungi that have infected your toenail without damaging the nail or surrounding tissue. In as short a time as two months, you can begin growing healthy nails again.

Athlete’s Foot

If you think only jocks suffer from this condition, think again: athlete’s foot is one of the most widespread fungal infections. As WebMD explains, this infection, “also called tinea pedis…causes peeling, redness, itching, burning, and sometimes blisters and sores.” These uncomfortable symptoms can interfere with your daily life and, unfortunately, leave your feet more vulnerable to other infections (fungal, bacterial, and viral). There are several spores that cause athlete’s foot, but they tend to “[live] on dead tissue of the hair, toenails, and outer skin layers.” In addition, this form of fungus “grows best in a warm, moist environment such as shoes, socks, swimming pools, locker rooms, and the floors of public showers,” which is where “athlete’s foot” gets its name. To avoid the athlete’s foot, you should take caution not to walk barefoot in these circumstances.

If you do find yourself with symptoms of athlete’s foot, Dr. LaMour can diagnose and treat this condition. Typically, we prescribe appropriate anti-fungal medications, suggest soothing topical ointments to help with itching and swelling, recommend soaking your feet for sweating caused by the fungus, and advise more rigorous foot hygiene.

Are You Suffering from Foot Fungus?

While toenail fungus and athlete’s foot are two of the most prevalent conditions, there are dozens of fungi that can infect your feet. If you notice any changes to your foot color, texture, smell, or any other aspect, we recommend you come and see Dr. LaMour as soon as possible. The earlier we catch the fungal infection, the easier it will be to treat. Contact our Austin podiatry practice today to schedule your appointment!

Original Source: https://www.drjefflamour.com/foot-diseases/foot-fungus-facts-types-causes-treatments/