How to Prevent Getting a Toenail Infection at the Nail Salon

With sandal season approaching, you might be thinking it’s time for a pedicure. Pedicures are relaxing, therapeutic cosmetic treatments that make your feet and toes look their best. Most pedicures include a foot soaking, scrubbing, nail clipping, massage, and nail polish.

Pedicures are relaxing, and they can make you feel good, but did you know that they can put you at risk for a toenail infection, or worse? The skin on your feet can easily be cut, increasing your risk for infection. An unsanitary nail salon can expose you to bacteria and fungus that can be hard to get rid of.

Luckily, these tips can help you can make an informed decision when you choose a nail salon for your next pedicure. Jeffery LaMour, DPM and our team regularly treat toenail fungus and other infections to help patients have healthy feet. We’ve pulled together a few tips to help you stay safe during a pedicure.

Make sure the salon is sanitary

Nail salon technicians use a variety of tools on every guest in the salon. Nail clippers, cuticle trimmers, and more should be sterilized after every use, but up to 75% of salons in the United States don’t follow state protocol for disinfecting tools. The salon should use a medical-grade sanitizing machine called an autoclave to sterilize tools. Consider bringing your own tools, including a nail file, clippers, and polish, if you’re worried about the sanitary conditions of your favorite salon.

A warm foot bath can feel great on tired feet, but the bath can transfer fungus like athlete’s foot and toenail fungus if it isn’t properly cleaned. Nail technicians should disinfect foot baths between each use. If the bath isn’t sanitized properly, you might be at risk for getting a nail fungus. Consider finding a nail salon that uses plastic liners in foot baths to avoid infection.

Watch out for cuts on your feet

It’s possible that you can suffer a small cut or injury during the process of your pedicure. Nail technicians often cut cuticles with small scissors instead of pushing them back. Cutting cuticles can expose your nail bed and increase your risk of toenail infection. If your cuticles bleed or you’ve been injured, it’s a good idea to stop the pedicure.

Some nail technicians cut or shave off corns and calluses. Just like cutting your cuticles, removing corns and calluses in this way creates a wound in your skin. Bacteria can enter through the cut, and you may develop an infection as a result. Instead of cutting or shaving, ask your nail technician to use a pumice stone to work down these areas of dead skin.

Don’t get a pedicure if you have an injury or infection

If you have a known injury or infection, your immune system might already be weakened. A cut on your foot increases your risk of contracting an infection, and you could spread the infection if the salon doesn’t properly clean their instruments.

If you have diabetes, your feet are especially prone to injury. Most people with diabetes should avoid traditional nail salons to keep their feet healthy and injury free.

To fully enjoy your pedicure, make sure your feet are injury- and fungus-free before you go. Ensure the salon follows state regulations when it comes to sanitizing all the tools they use to perform pedicures.

And be sure to go to a licensed salon — one that has been evaluated by the state health department. The salon should display their license, and your nail technician should have a certificate from the board of cosmetology. At a clean salon, your chances of having a beautiful pedicure and healthy feet is much higher.

If you think you might have a toenail infection or other foot condition, we can help you heal. Call one of our offices in Austin and Pflugerville, Texas, or use our convenient online booking tool to make an appointment with Dr. LaMour today.

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.

What Causes Achilles Tendonitis And How Is It Treated?

The Achilles tendons, the largest tendons in your body, join the muscles of your lower legs to the heel bone of your feet. While tendons are certainly strong, they’re not particularly flexible, which means your Achilles tendons stretch only so far before they tear or get inflamed, which is called tendonitis.

Achilles tendonitis can range from slightly uncomfortable to severely painful, and it often develops in runners and other active people.

Let’s take a look at what causes tendonitis and how to treat it.

The most common causes of Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is commonly an overuse injury. It’s usually the result of repetitive actions that lead to gradual wear and tear of your tendon, but an Achilles tendon injury can also happen suddenly.

Achilles tendonitis most often comes about with overuse. When pushed beyond their limit, the tiny fibers that make up the tendon can tear, causing pain, swelling, and inflammation. This is one tendon that has a particularly poor blood supply, making it more susceptible to overuse or wear-and-tear injuries.

Insertional Achilles tendonitis can be associated with a heel bone spur. The spur rubs against the tendon, resulting in smaller tears. Think of a rope constantly rubbing against a sharp, pointy rock.

Some of the most common causes of Achilles tendonitis include:

  • Overpronated, or very flat, feet
  • Sudden changes to your training surface, like from grass to tar
  • Doing too much training
  • Frequent hill running
  • Exercising without warming up
  • Not wearing the right supportive footwear
  • Tight calf muscles and hamstrings
  • A high foot arch
  • A traumatic injury to your Achilles tendon
  • Constantly wearing high heels or walking on your toes

As many as 10 in 100,000 people suffer from Achilles tendonitis. While recovery can be slow, it is a treatable condition.

How we treat Achilles tendonitis

Doctors can choose from a variety of treatments for Achilles tendonitis. These range from anti-inflammatory medications to platelet-rich plasma injections, and even surgery depending on the severity of your condition. Most of the time, Achilles tendonitis doesn’t require medical intervention. In cases of chronic Achilles tendonitis, it becomes necessary to seek medical attention to end your pain and suffering.

Common suggestions include:

  • Taking a break from physical activity or at least reducing how much you do
  • Gentle stretches
  • Trying a less strenuous activity

The RICE method proves particularly helpful when it comes to treating Achilles tendonitis, provided you follow the method right after you’re injured. Here’s how it works:

  • Rest: Keep the pressure off your tendon for a couple of days.
  • Ice: Hold a bag of ice against your skin for 20 minutes at a time. This can help ease swelling and inflammation.
  • Compression: Wrap athletic tape or a bandage around your tendon to compress the injury and keep swelling down.
  • Elevation: Keep your foot raised above chest level to keep the swelling down.

Another option is called extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). During treatment, Dr. LaMour uses high-energy shock waves to stimulate healing. ESWT is often used when other conservative treatment options have failed, and if it’s successful, it could save you from needing surgery.

Noticing the symptoms

Achilles tendonitis feels like a burning pain as you begin an activity. The pain lessens during your activity and then gets worse again afterward. Your tendon might feel stiff when you wake up in the morning, too.

Common Achilles tendonitis symptoms include:

  • Pain that gets worse when you use your tendon
  • Loss of strength, stiffness, and pain in the affected area
  • More stiffness and pain during the night or first thing in the morning
  • A crunching sound when you use the tendon
  • The area may feel warm and tender and appear red and swollen

If you’re suffering from Achilles tendonitis that is not getting better with home remedies, it’s time to book an appointment with Dr. LaMour, who has two offices conveniently located in Austin and Pflugerville, Texas.

A Few Things You May Not Know About Plantar Warts

Warts of any kind can be difficult to get rid of. Plantar warts are especially hard to deal with, because they are deep within the sole, or sides, of the foot. Topical and over-the-counter treatments might remove the visible, exposed portion of the wart, but the roots of the wart are left intact. The opportunity for new warts to develop remains.

Plantar warts get their name from the surface of the foot where they are most common. Because plantar warts are often located on the pressure points of the foot, they tend to grow inward, under the skin. The constant pressure of being on your feet for the better part of your day is what causes these warts to remain underneath the skin. That’s why it’s possible to have plantar warts for years and remain unaware until the warts become bothersome.

Little known facts about plantar warts

Plantar warts are common because they spread fairly easily. If you work out regularly and use the showers at your gym, you have probably been exposed to the virus that causes plantar warts.

If you’ve develop plantar warts, you usually see a depressed, circular area on the sole of your foot. This spot may be yellowish and possibly have a black spot in the middle. Beneath the flat, round area is a root with finger-like growths attached.

In addition to these basic facts, you may find that these common viral growths still hold a few surprises for you. Here are some of the lesser-known facts about plantar warts.

HPV is the cause

Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a different strain of the virus that causes cervical cancer. The HPV enters through a break in your skin, and if your antibodies don’t manage to kill the virus in time, it develops cells at a rapid rate.

The virus can be dormant

The virus can remain dormant for as long as 20 months, making it difficult to determine just where you caught the virus that led to your plantar warts. Gyms can play host to the plantar warts virus, as well as many other germs. It’s a good idea to wear shower shoes or flip-flops in public showers at your gym and in dorms. HPV likes the damp environment found in locker rooms, pool showers, and the like.

Plantar warts stick to feet

Although plantar warts like to grow and spread, they will remain on your feet. They only grow on the type of skin found on the bottom of your feet.

The warts can be painful

Plantar warts can be very uncomfortable. As they spread and grow, the warts can press against the nerves in your foot, causing sharp pain and burning as you walk.

They are contagious

Plantar warts are contagious, but for some reason, are much more common in youth 12-16 years old. The virus also targets those individuals with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms of plantar warts

Typically, your first symptom of plantar warts will be pain and tenderness when you apply pressure to your foot. This can feel something like a deep bruise. When you examine your foot you’ll see the telltale round spot with the black dot, as described above.

You may notice a rough, grainy lesion on the sole of your foot. The lesion will be fleshy in appearance and usually be at the front (ball) of your underfoot, on the underside of your toes, or along your heel. When you apply pressure, it will hurt.

Get rid of your plantar warts for good

Jeffery W. LaMour, DPM, PA, takes plantar warts, and all foot problems, very seriously. If your feet are causing you pain, it can affect every aspect of your daily life. Don’t endure painful, bothersome plantar warts. We can help.

Dr. LaMour specializes in a full range of services to help put an end to your foot pain, including plantar warts. Let us address your plantar warts and get rid of them once and for all. Dr. LaMour determines the best approach to remove your painful, unsightly, plantar warts. Contact one of Dr. LaMour’s two offices — in Austin and Pflugerville, Texas — today and say “so long” to your plantar warts.

Managing Pain With Orthotics

One in four adults has a foot-related problem, according to the Arthritis Foundation. And an irregularity in how you stand or walk can affect more than just your feet. A foot problem can lead to ankle, knee, hip, or even back pain if left unaddressed.

If you’ve experienced pain in your lower back, hips, knees, or ankles, you know that it can harm your quality of life. Pain can interfere with your ability to enjoy daily activities, but you don’t have to live with it.

Custom orthotics — shoe inserts created just for your feet — provide pain relief for many people and help them remain active throughout their lives. While each patient is different, Jeffery W. LaMour, DPM, PA, can help find the best treatment for you.

Kinds of pain orthotics can relieve

Custom orthotics can help you manage pain caused by a number of conditions, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Bunions and hammertoes
  • Bursitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Flat feet or high arches

Foot pain can make you dread activities you used to enjoy, and many of the above conditions can affect your balance or gait and cause pain in your legs and back as well. Custom orthotics can correct underlying problems with your feet, ankles, or gait, alleviating the pain that resulted from those problems.

Types of orthotics

Dr. Lamour can prescribe rigid or soft orthotics depending on your needs. Rigid orthotics are often slim, and you can wear them inside your regular shoes. Typically made of plastic, they help keep your foot properly aligned. Rigid orthotics are common for conditions like painful high arches.

Soft orthotics cushion your foot and take pressure off painful spots that can be caused by diabetes, plantar fasciitis, or other conditions. Soft orthotics can be bulkier than rigid orthotics, so you might need to wear a different type of shoe with them.

The benefits of orthotics

Orthotics adjust weight distribution on your feet and relieve pressure on sensitive points. They help your feet work correctly, reducing stress and pain caused by biomechanical issues. Orthotics are a drug-free option to help you manage chronic pain, and they’re safe to use for as long as you need them.

Store-bought shoe inserts may provide some relief for certain problems, but they aren’t customized for your feet and typically don’t last long. These over-the-counter inserts provide arch support or extra cushioning for your feet, but they don’t work to correct the problems that are causing your pain.

How custom orthotics are made to address pain

The orthotics Dr. LaMour prescribes help manage a variety of pain conditions at the source. To fit you with orthotics, Dr. LaMour first performs a thorough assessment to understand why you have pain — whether in your feet, ankles, knees, hips, or back. He watches you walk and may take images of your feet.

If he prescribes orthotics, he takes a mold of your feet that the lab uses to create high-quality customized inserts. Your orthotics are designed to correct any biomechanical abnormalities in how you walk, run, or stand.

By providing your feet the correction they need to work naturally, orthotics help relieve pressure and pain. You can expect a small adjustment period after you begin wearing orthotics, but many patients report much-needed pain relief soon after they start using them.

Orthotics are a proven option to help manage your recurring foot and lower body pain. If you want to find out how orthotics might help you, call our office or request a consultation online.

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.