Houston Podiatrist | Manage Foot Heel Pain, Neuroma, Ingrown Toenails & Bunions

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Epsom Salt Foot Baths for Improved Comfort and Health

May 4th, 2016 by admin

After-mini-tightropeThe most time-honored remedies can sometimes be the most effective. Epsom salt has been used for generations as a treatment for inflammation and pain. Also known as magnesium sulfate, it can be taken internally or combined with water to provide a soothing bath for affected areas. Patients with chronic or acute foot pain can sometimes achieve improved results by adding Epsom salt foot baths to the treatment regimens recommended by Houston podiatrists.

History of Epsom Salt

Epsom salt was first identified in the 17th century as a chemical compound in the salt springs of Epsom in Surrey. The reported healing powers of these natural saline springs made Epsom one of the most popular and renowned spa destinations in England and earned Epsom salt a place among the most respected natural pharmaceutical treatments of the era. Initially, guests would simply soak in the springs to relieve their aches and pains. Over time, however, local entrepreneurs began to dry and sell Epsom salt as a powder that could be transported and used anywhere when combined with water for foot baths and other applications.

Medicinal Properties

Epsom salt is a chemical compound that contains magnesium, hydrogen, sulfur and oxygen. Some of the most important health benefits provided by soaking in Epsom salt mixtures include the following:

  • Stress reduction and restoration of normal levels of magnesium throughout the body
  • Pain relief for minor and chronic injuries
  • Lessened severity for cramps of all types
  • Improved assimilation of calcium into the body
  • Easier removal of splinters
  • Effective treatment of fungal infections of the feet
  • Faster healing for injuries and increased prevention of infections
  • Improved sleep patterns for patients after an Epsom salt bath

When taken internally, Epsom salt can also provide significant benefits for some patients:

  • Lowered risk of blood clots and hardening of the arteries, potentially reducing the chance of heart attack and stroke
  • Reduced incidence of high blood pressure
  • Improved nervous system function
  • Relief from constipation and high levels of acid in the stomach
  • Support for the effectiveness of insulin treatments in controlling blood sugar levels

The balance of mineral elements in Epsom salts can be used as a treatment for magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is of critical importance in building healthy bones and in metabolizing calcium effectively. Boosting intake of this important mineral through dietary supplements and topical applications of Epsom salt can help patients stay stronger and healthier.

Especially for Feet

It is believed that magnesium can also be absorbed through the feet during Epsom salt soaks, allowing patients to enjoy the benefits of replenished magnesium while treating chronic pain and swelling in these sensitive areas. Additionally, Epsom salts and iodine compounds can be combined in a hot foot bath that has shown promise in treating bunions. By relaxing the tissues of the foot and providing a topical treatment of key minerals, this foot bath treatment can increase comfort for Houston bunion sufferers. Studies have shown that Epsom salt foot baths can even boost levels of serotonin, improving emotional balance and melting away stress for patients who engage in these treatments regularly.

While Epsom salt baths are generally considered safe for most patients, it is important to consult with your primary care provider or The Woodlands foot doctor before taking these chemical compounds internally. Qualified Houston podiatrists can provide you with expert guidance and support in your efforts to incorporate Epsom salt baths into your overall plan of treatment. These dedicated professionals can offer the most accurate recommendations to ensure that you derive the greatest benefit from this traditional treatment. By working with an experienced Houston foot doctor, you can enjoy the benefits of modern medicine while putting this time-tested and proven treatment method to work to soothe your tired and aching feet and to help you feel your best every day.

Common Myths about Bunion Surgery

April 28th, 2016 by admin

flip-flopsBunions can be painful and unsightly. Working with an established Houston bunion specialist can provide you with valuable information regarding the causes, treatments and prognoses for these foot problems. Myths about bunion surgery may cause some patients to put off these procedures or to avoid seeking treatment altogether. Here are five of the most common myths and misconceptions about bunions along with the real facts about this uncomfortable condition.

Bunions Always Grow Back

In fact, most bunions respond to surgical treatment and never return. Performing bunion surgery as early as possible in the progress of this condition can reduce the risks of recurrence, which has been estimated to occur in less than 10 percent of all patients. If bunions do recur, corrective surgeries can remedy these issues quickly and with minimal interruption to your normal activities. By correcting bunions promptly, you can lower the chance of complications and improve your health and mobility over the long run.

Bunion Surgery Is Extremely Painful

For most patients, the pain associated with bunion surgery can be managed with medication and cold packs for the first two weeks after the procedure. By working with experienced Houston podiatrists, you can ensure the best management of your pain and the most comfortable recovery process after your surgical procedure. This can allow you to return to your regular activities more quickly and to enjoy the greatest possible comfort during your everyday routine.

Recovering from Bunion Surgery Requires Months of Time Off Work

While larger bunions may require a recovery period of six weeks or more, some patients can begin walking with protective footgear as soon as two weeks after their procedures. Unless your job requires strenuous labor, you may be able to perform your duties effectively within just a few days of your surgery. In fact, depending on the surgical method chosen and the severity of your bunions, you may be back on your feet far sooner than was previously possible. This can reduce the impact of bunion surgery on your regular routine and can help you get back into the swing of things more quickly.

Bunions Leave Horrible Scars

While some scarring is inevitable after a major surgical procedure, the scars produced by bunion surgeries are usually minor. Modern surgical techniques can allow smaller incisions, which can reduce the area affected by scarring and can speed recovery times for most patients. Discussing these issues with a The Woodlands foot doctor can help you decide on the most effective treatment method for your bunions and can help you reduce the likelihood of serious scars after your procedure.

Bunions Do Not Need Treatment Unless They Are Painful

Even non-painful bunions can cause deformations of bones and can reduce mobility and comfort for affected individuals. Because most cases of bunions worsen over time, it is usually in your best interest to schedule an appointment with a Houston podiatrist at the first sign of trouble. This can allow your physician to develop a treatment regimen that may include specialized footwear, supportive insoles and surgical correction for your bunions. These therapies can allow you to enjoy greater mobility and may eliminate pain and discomfort caused by bunions and other issues. By addressing bunion problems quickly and effectively, you can reduce the need for surgery later and can ensure the best possible outcomes for your feet.

The experts at Diagnostic Foot Specialists can provide you with the most accurate evaluation of the health of your feet. We have more than 20 years of experience in Houston, The Woodlands, Bryan/College Station and offer a wide range of surgical and non-surgical treatment options for your foot care needs. As a leading podiatry center, Diagnostic Food Specialists can provide real help for a wide range of issues that could affect your mobility and your overall state of health. Give us a call today at 713-862-3338 to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.

Bunion Pain is NOT Necessary

February 8th, 2016 by admin

FOOT PAINLiving in the Woodlands, one huge part of your health you don’t want to neglect is seeing a Podiatrist (or foot doctor), especially if you’re suffering from bunions or other forms of foot discomfort. Feet, generally speaking, may not be the first thing that people think of when they think of their physical wellbeing and upkeep. Their automatic assumption might be that seeing a family physician, eye doctor, and dentist just about covers the spectrum of their health responsibilities. Your feet are something that usually only receive attention when they are in pain or severely injured. While it would be ideal to check in with a podiatrist once every few months to guarantee your feet are in prime condition, it’s safe to say that life happens and gets in the way. Even something like going to the dentist can get put on the back burner, with as many as 15% avoiding their annual checkups. But avoiding seeing your podiatrist, especially when you find yourself in an immense or consistent amount of pain is one thing you should actively try to avoid. Many foot issues, like bunions, can be treated quickly and effectively.

Dealing bunions can be extremely uncomfortable and get in the way of your day-to-day life. By definition, a bunion is “a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe.” This sort of condition is formed due to excessive pressure on the big toe against the toe next to it. This causes your big toe joint to increasingly get larger in size, as well as beginning to stick out in a way it should not. You may be wondering, what could cause such an experience to occur? Bunions can occur due to genetics, such as an inherited foot type, or even a deformity you are presented with at birth. If you experience some sort of foot injury, you may also be subject to potentially developing bunions in the future. And while the development of bunions is sometimes out of your control, it is also possible that seemingly innocent acts could actually end up causing you pain and discomfort. If you are guilty of wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow, you may be a candidate for potential bunions on your feet. Symptoms such as a large, bulging bump on your big toe, swelling, soreness, thickening of the skin, or consistent pain may indicate that it is time to call your local Woodlands podiatrist o get treated.

Diagnosis of bunions is usually done through your initial examination. Your Woodlands doctor may ask you to move your foot so they can see how your foot moves, being able to identify if a bunion is present. They may also be able to recognize the issue through some of the listed physical symptoms, such as swelling of the toes or redness on the skin. If your doctor believes you do in fact have a bunion, they may elect to perform an X-ray examination to gain further insight as to the causes of your predicament. Once your bunion has been thoroughly examined and identified, you and your doctor will work out the proper care for the situation. For some, this may simple require applying ice to the affected area, or take prescription medications. For more serious cases, surgery may be required.

Living in pain is no way to live. Especially in the Woodlands. Between walking through the Woodlands and strolling down lake-lined trails, you’re likely to spend a lot of time on your feet living in this area. If you suspect you may be dealing with a bunion, or any other sort foot pain, feel free to contact us and schedule a consultation.

The Answer to Morton’s Neuroma Foot Pain

December 2nd, 2015 by admin

If you have foot pain, especially in the ball of your foot between the third and fourth toe, you may be suffering from Morton’s neuroma. If you wear high heels or tight shoes, you might be at risk for developing this condition. Likewise, participation in high impact activities, such as running, may also cause Morton’s neuroma–by subjecting your feet to repeated trauma. Finally, if you have hammertoes, bunions, or flatfeet, you are at a higher risk of suffering a neuroma.

Fortunately, if you live in or near Houston, neuroma treatment is readily available to you. A Houston foot doctor can give you a thorough foot exam and offer you the best options for treatment. During the exam, your doctor will press on your foot to feel for a mass or tender spot. He may also find a clicking sound in the bone of your foot. If a neuroma condition appears to exist, your doctor will likely order x-rays to make sure your foot is not fractured. Thereafter, he might also perform an ultrasound to check for soft tissue injuries associated with a neuroma. If answers are not found by these diagnostic methods, he might also order an MRI.

Once you are diagnosed, your Houston neuroma physician will guide you through the appropriate treatment plan. At Diagnostic Foot Specialists, we can take care of all your podiatry needs and offer the treatment regiment or surgery that is right for your feet!

Osteoarthritis of the Feet and Ankles: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

October 6th, 2015 by admin

foot examMaintaining mobility is of critical importance for older people. Unfortunately, osteoarthritis of the feet and ankles can often limit the ability to move around easily and can even make walking painful for some patients. Understanding this serious medical condition can provide added help in managing the discomfort associated with osteoarthritis symptoms. For patients in the north Houston area, a The Woodlands foot doctor can often provide the guidance and treatments needed to reduce pain and ensure the greatest degree of mobility for those living with osteoarthritis symptoms.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

According to the medical experts at the Mayo Clinic, osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of cartilage in joints and is the most common type of arthritis. Also referred to as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis generally gets worse over time and can cause mobility problems when it affects the feet, ankles or knees. Experts estimate that more than 630 million people worldwide suffer from osteoarthritis. Risk factors for the condition include the following:

• Genetic predispositions
• Previous injuries or repetitive stress disorders
• Increasing age
• Excess weight and obesity

Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than their male counterparts. Additionally, certain diseases can increase the likelihood of osteoarthritis in susceptible patients.

Early Warning Signs of Osteoarthritis

The most common symptom of osteoarthritis of the feet and ankles is pain, especially after strenuous physical exertion. Patients with this condition may also experience stiffness, loss of mobility in ankle and foot joints and tenderness when pressure is applied to these areas. Some patients may also develop bone spurs or may experience a sense that bones are grinding together when they attempt to move their feet and ankles in certain ways.

Testing Methods

A The Woodlands podiatrist can perform tests designed to determine the nature of foot and ankle problems and to pinpoint cases of osteoarthritis in aging individuals. Simple X-rays can sometimes provide evidence of cartilage loss and damage to joints. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are more useful, however, as they can provide a clearer picture of the condition of soft tissues and bones. This added information can allow Houston podiatrists to pinpoint areas where treatment methods can provide the most help for their patients. Joint fluid extraction and analysis can also offer added insights for medical professionals in treating osteoarthritis cases.

Treatment Methods

In most cases, a Houston foot doctor can prescribe medications for pain and inflammation. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen are the most commonly recommended over-the-counter medications for osteoarthritis. Physical and occupational therapies and specialized shoe inserts may also provide welcome relief from pressure and pain associated with osteoarthritis of the ankles and feet. Corticosteroid shots and injections of lubricating acids can offer temporary relief from pain and swelling.

Surgical Procedures

Depending on the severity of the symptoms and the overall health of the patient, podiatrists in The Woodlands may recommend surgery to rebuild cartilage in affected joints or to realign legs, feet and ankles to put less stress on delicate bones:

• Osteotomy involves cutting and realigning the bones of the leg to relieve some of the pressure on ankle and feet joints.
• Arthroplasty procedures consist of the removal of damaged joints and cartilage and their replacement with artificial parts. This is generally reserved only for the most severe cases.

In all cases, a Houston and The Woodlands podiatrist will generally recommend weight loss, healthy exercise and over-the-counter pain relievers as solid first steps toward treating osteoarthritis symptoms. Surgical procedures are generally considered only as a last resort when other methods of treatment have not been successful.

By consulting with a professional foot doctor, patients can often slow the progress of their osteoarthritis symptoms to a considerable degree. This can ensure greater mobility and increase independence for older adults well into their golden years.

Causes of Burning Feet

October 9th, 2014 by Melanie Ledbetter-Remy

Foot-Pic-BlogIf a burning sensation is radiating from your feet and they have not been recently burned in the literal sense of the word, it is likely that you are suffering from burning feet syndrome and should see a Sugar Land foot doctor for treatment. This medical condition is normally felt in the soles, but it can extend from there to other areas of the feet or up to and past the ankles.

Neuropathy

This syndrome is usually caused by nerve damage or neuropathy in the feet, and it negatively affects the sensations felt there. The result is that these damaged nerve fibers do not perform as they should and instead send incorrect pain signals to the brain. For example, these fibers may tell the brain that the foot is burning when that is clearly not the case. Although the pain felt is usually not debilitating, sometimes it does become painful enough to interfere with sleep or work.

The burning sensation is often accompanied by tingling or numbing sensations, while the feet can be much more sensitive to touch at this time as well.

Diabetes

The most common medical condition that causes burning feet is diabetes. The high blood sugar levels that result from diabetes injures nerves throughout the body. However, the ones that are usually impacted first are those in the extremities such as the feet. At more advanced stages, diabetes can cause the feet to completely lose their ability to sense pain.

The best way to treat burning feet caused by diabetes is by keeping your blood sugar levels within the recommended range. Insulin injections or taking medications also help in many cases.

Alcohol Abuse

Another common cause for burning feet is alcohol abuse. This is because peripheral nerves, the nerves that help the rest of the body communicate with the spinal cord and the brain, can be damaged by a lack of nutrients such as vitamins B12 and B6. The ability of the body to use those vitamins is usually affected negatively by alcoholism.

Of course, vitamin deficiency that is experienced for reasons other than alcoholism can cause burning feet as well.

Fortunately, reducing the alcohol that is consumed or, in the case of those who seldom drink but are also deficient of these important vitamins, simply increasing how much B12 and B6 is consumed can stop the damage to the nerves that had been taking place.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is another common cause of burning feet. This skin infection is caused by a fungus that has usually been contracted from another person when both individuals walked on the same floor in bare feet.

A Sugar Land podiatrist will oftentimes treat athlete’s foot with antifungal drugs that will cure the infection and provide relief for the itching and burning sensations.

Standing for Long Periods of Time

Of course, simply standing for long periods of time can cause burning feet as well. Workers such as servers, teachers and those in construction are usually impacted by this more than others. Shoes that do not fit properly can also cause or exacerbate this condition.

Usually, the best way to treat these causes is to ensure that properly fitted shoes are used and decrease the amount of time spent standing while increasing how much time is spent sitting or lying down.

Regardless of the cause of burning feet, the use of pain killers like Advil and Tylenol is often recommended by Sugar Land foot doctors to help manage the pain. If the pain is severe enough, prescription pain relievers may be prescribed. Resting the feet and placing them in cool water can help as well.

Note that there are several other things that can cause this type of foot pain for Sugar Land residents, so it is important to contact a Sugar Land foot doctor to receive an accurate diagnosis. Examples include low thyroid levels, Lyme disease, chronic kidney disease, heavy metal poisoning, hypertension and as a side effect to drugs that have been taken.

Cinderella Surgery, The Latest Beauty Trend To Relieve Foot Pain

July 28th, 2014 by Melanie Ledbetter-Remy

Womans FootWhen most people think of plastic surgery procedures that have become popular in recent years, images of areas that are located above the waist likely come to mind. However, women in Sugar Land and Houston have been increasingly relying on the expertise of a qualified foot doctor to get Cinderella surgery. It is a popular procedure to beautify the feet and to better fit into a wider variety of shoes, including designer footwear.

This procedure received its name from Ali Sadrieh, a podiatrist from Beverly Hills, Calif., who started receiving requests to do this type of surgery in 2001. He believes that Cinderella surgery captures the spirit of the operation and is more memorable than “a hallux valgus correction with osteotomy and screw fixation.” The doctor also created names for the various types of Cinderella surgeries. A Perfect 10! shortens the lengths of the toes, a Model T lengthens them, and a Foot Tuck consists or injecting fat into the bottom of the feet to give women more cushion while wearing heels. The latter procedure is one that will likely need to be done about twice a year to keep the benefits current due to the natural atrophy of the fatty tissue that had been moved there.

The Cinderella surgery can also involve the fixing of a bunion or hammertoe or the removal of a corn. In fact, these procedures by themselves can provide a significant relief to patients.

However, many who elect to receive this type of surgery are primarily focused on getting an osteotomy, which involves the shortening, lengthening or straightening of a patient’s toes by a fraction of an inch. This is a highly invasive surgery in which the bones are sawed and then screwed back together, and it may take up to two months to recover from. Nevertheless, the ability to more easily fit into a much wider variety of designer shoes, especially high-heeled and open-toed, makes this surgery worthwhile for many women. Also, some patients have reported that they were comfortably wearing high heels just four weeks after they had the surgery. Following this recovery period, a number of women have feet that are one size smaller than had previously been the case, and any scars that they may have received are usually not noticeable.

The Cinderella surgery helps women in Sugar Land and Houston who are experiencing chronic foot pain due to wearing shoes such as stilettos which can cause bunions, corns and hammertoes. Because of the way they were walking due to foot pain, some patients are also enjoying relief from back pain after Cinderella surgery.

Toe liposuction is an additional aspect of this surgery that a small number of women take advantage of which involves the removal of fat from one or more toes to allow their feet to better fit into an increased variety of shoes and to improve their physical appearance.

Botox is also used by some doctors to help prevent fungal growth or to decrease how much the feet sweat.

The Cinderella procedure has gained popularity in the United States over the past 13 years and has since spread around the world to countries such as the United Kingdom. Neal Blitz, a podiatrist from New York, summed up what attracts many to this surgery. In an interview he had with the New York Times, he said, “There’s nothing like opening a shoe closet that’s been closed to somebody for years.”

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

April 24th, 2014 by Melanie Ledbetter-Remy

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a serious neurological condition that affects the feet. It is characterized by the abnormal compression of the posterior tibial nerve, and the primary symptom is foot pain. The condition is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs in the hands, except that it is not as common and is more difficult to diagnose. However, once diagnosed, several treatments are available from your local Sugar Land foot doctor.

Overview of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

The tibial nerve is a major nerve that begins just behind the bony protrusion on the inside of the ankle and travels through the foot inside a fibrous tube of tissue known as the tarsal tunnel, which is a passage for several arteries, veins and tendons in addition to the tibial nerve.

If the tibial nerve is squeezed or compressed anywhere along the tarsal tunnel, it may produce a range of symptoms throughout the ankle and foot, the most notable of which is foot pain.

Causes of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome may be caused by a number of factors or conditions, and the only element they have in common is that they compress the tibial nerve. In some cases where tarsal tunnel syndrome is positively diagnosed, the podiatrist may never uncover the specific cause, but some of the most common causes are as follows:

  • Flat feet cause the heels to tilt to the outside, which can pinch the tarsal tunnel and compress the tibial nerve.
  • Injuries, such as sprains and strains, may inflame tissues in the foot and compress the nerve.
  • Other medical conditions that produce abnormal enlargement of components of the foot may put pressure on the tibial nerve. Examples include cysts, varicose veins, bone spurs, arthritis and diabetes.
  • Obesity may put extra pressure on the feet that could lead to tarsal tunnel syndrome.

Symptoms of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome may cause a number of symptoms, and patients may experience one or more simultaneously or at various intervals. Typically, the symptoms are experienced on the inside of the ankle or along the bottom of the foot, but they may extend to the heel, toes and calf. Following are the most common symptoms:

  • Shooting pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Burning sensations

Diagnosis of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is usually only diagnosed after symptoms have already been experienced. The diagnosis begins with an analysis of the patient’s medical history and a physical examination. The podiatrist will then look for the presence of Tinel’s sign, which is an intense tingling sensation that courses through the foot when the area near the tibial nerve is agitated. Other tests may also be ordered, including an MRI and an electromyography and nerve conduction velocity (EMG/NCV) test.

Treatment of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Several options are available for the treatment of tarsal tunnel syndrome. In most cases, nonsurgical treatments are employed immediately after diagnosis, and more invasive procedures are used only if the previous treatments have proved ineffective or minimally effective. Beginning from the least invasive to the most, the treatments for tarsal tunnel syndrome are as follows:

  • Rest – When symptoms are mild, the doctor will initially order the patient to stay off his or her feet and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.
  • Immobilization – Restricting movement of the foot may allow it time to heal.
  • Oral drugs – Analgesics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed for pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy – Exercise, massage and ultrasound may reduce the severity of symptoms.
  • Injectable drugs – Anesthetics and corticosteroids may be injected in the foot when symptoms are severe.
  • Orthotics – Supportive shoes, shoe inserts, or braces may help maintain the integrity of the tarsal tunnel.
  • Surgery – When all other treatments fail, one of several surgical procedures may be recommended.

The Proper Way To Cut Your Toenails

April 16th, 2014 by Melanie Ledbetter-Remy

Laser Treatment for Fungal Toenails | Diagnostic FootWhile cutting your toenails may seem like something you do when they become uncomfortable or to keep your feet looking neat, the reality is that how you cut your toenails and how frequently is important. If you are not grooming your feet properly, you could end up with foot pain and in need of a podiatrist, better known as a foot doctor. When your toenails are not cut correctly, they may grow at odd angles, which can easily lead to ingrown toenails and even infection.

Cutting Your Toenails The Right Way

One of the best ways to help ensure that your toenails are cut correctly is to ensure that you are using the right tools. It may seem easy and convenient to grab a pair of scissors or clippers for fingernails, but these items are not designed for this type of job. Using scissors can lead to torn or shredded toenails, which is just asking for problems, and fingernail clippers are the right shape, but they are usually not large enough and do not have the power required to cut through thicker toenails.

Your best bet is to invest in a decent pair of toenail clippers, and they can be found at drug stores and big box stores for just a few dollars. By getting a pair of sturdy toenail clippers, you will be able to make fewer cuts that are straighter across and without struggle. Toenails that are cut irregularly may not seem like a big deal other than from an aesthetic standpoint, but the way they are cut can influence the way that they grow. When nails are not cut straight across, they can end up veering into your toe, which is both painful and can lead to infection and swelling.

For the actual cutting, sit in a chair in an area with good lighting and grasp your foot firmly. Make cuts that are straight across leaving nails with a square shape; curves tend to lead to ingrown toenails. Be sure not to cut your nails too short or to the quick because it can lead to irritated and inflamed skin since your nails will not be there to protect these areas. Once you have cut your nails, you can file them down with a standard nail file to even out any jagged edges or uneven spots. You can soak your feet before trimming your nails, but it is not necessary and your nails will be tough no matter what.

Be sure to scrub your tools and disinfect them after every use to prevent infections from developing because of using dirty tools. You should cut your toenails at least once a month because long toenails can increase your chances of them becoming ingrown. If you have a history of problems, you may want to do so more often or keep an eye on your feet and toenails to keep nails from getting too long and to catch problems early on.

What To Do If You Notice A Problem

Ingrown toenails and infections can become painful rather quickly, especially since you are on your feet and wearing shoes for so much of the day. If you believe that you are experiencing any problems related to your toenails, it is important that you do not attempt to handle the issue yourself. Doing so can aggravate the problem, increasing the chance of spreading any infection and increasing your recovery time. At the first sign of trouble, seek the advice of a foot doctor who can diagnose and resolve whatever discomfort or pain you may be experiencing.

Dangers of Wearing Flip-Flops

April 11th, 2014 by Melanie Ledbetter-Remy

People in Houston and Sugar Land tend to sacrifice aesthetics for functionality when it comes to their summer clothing. After all, who wants to dress to impress when the sun is beating down on you? For the purposes of avoiding this heat, people tend to look for clothes and shoes that let their skin breathe. Flip-flops have long been a preferred summer shoe because it fits the bill perfectly. Unfortunately, flip-flops can cause significant health problems.

Studying the Flip-Flop

Dr. Jackie Sutera and Dr. Cary Zinklin, podiatrists from New York City and Florida respectively, decided to study the way flip-flops affected those who wore them on a regular basis. As Dr. Sutera told the Huffington Post, the feet are vitally important when it comes to giving the skeleton a good base. People neglect their feet to their own detriment. When bad things happen to the feet, higher portions of the skeleton must compensate for the injury.

In their study, Sutera and Zinklin discovered a number of ways in which wearing flip-flops can prove hazardous to your health. It may come as no shock to most that the lack of protection they offer was chief among these hazards. After all, what is a flip-flop going to do if you drop a heavy book on your foot? What protection will it offer if you accidentally kick a curb? Shoes provide a certain level of protection from the many hidden dangers of the world, and flip-flops simply leave your feet out there to bear the brunt of any trauma.

Bacteria

Of course, Sutera and Zinklin are not the first to study the harms of wearing flip-flops. In 2009, the New York Daily News had scientists examine a pair of flip-flops their reporters wore for a few days throughout the city. The results were unsettling. In just four days, the flip-flops had accumulated more than 18,000 bacteria. Bacteria are common in the world, but some of these bacteria tested positive for Staphylococcus aureus, a germ that can easily lead to infection and death. Without the protection of a shoe, your feet could be susceptible to harmful accumulated bacteria.

Odds and Ends

The dangers of wearing flip-flops do not stop at dropped objects and bacteria. Lack of material between your feet and the rubber straps and soles can lead to an increased probability of getting a bunion or blisters. Constant gripping of the thin strap that hold the flip-flop on your feet can, in some cases, lead to tendonitis and chronic foot pain. Without the support that comes with better shoes, flip-flop enthusiasts may experience damage to their arches. If those arches fall, it could cause the feet to flatten. This can lead to back and leg pain, easily-fatigued feet, and decreased mobility.

Picking a Better Flip-Flop

Though the health dangers associated with wearing flip-flops are many, do not feel as though you have to give up this convenient footwear altogether. Even podiatrists highly critical of flip-flops say they are appropriate for short-term wear at the beach or by the pool. If you want to get more use out of your flip-flops, consider looking for a better pair. By finding ones that fit right and have a thicker arch, you will give your foot more support. Higher quality flip-flops will last longer and reduce the number of blisters you experience. Replace your flip-flops annually to keep them from wearing out too substantially.

If you decide to stick with your flip-flops in spite of the warnings, talk to your podiatrist about any foot problems you may be experiencing. If you can catch foot problems early, you may stand a better chance of finding a remedy before it’s too late.