6 Essential Back-to-School Shoe Shopping Tips

Summer is nearing its end, and countless students are heading back to school in just a few short weeks. While you’re probably preparing yourself to buy new clothes, backpacks, and plenty of school supplies for your child, we don’t want you to forget about another important item on your list: shoes! Before you head out to brave the crowds, we have a few pointers to help you along the way. Here’s how you can help your child have a more successful school year with the right pair of shoes:

Make Sure the Shoes Fit

A child’s foot size changes pretty frequently, especially when they’re younger, so you’ll want to measure them before buying shoes. While you’ll need to account for growth, you’ll also want to avoid buying shoes that are too big as they can cause injury. Of course, on the other hand, too-tight shoes can bring about blisters, calluses, ingrown toenails, and more. When you’re shopping, you’ll want a pair that has about a finger’s width of room from the end of the shoe to the tip of the big toe.

Bring Your Child with You

As tempting as it might be to go solo and snag shoes in the “right” size for your child, it’s best to go shopping together. You’ll make
sure that the shoe fits him or her correctly first-hand, which will save you time, money, and a headache. Besides, your child can find a shoe that looks and feels great, which will make them more likely to wear them.

Good Support Matters

It’s not just enough for a shoe to look cool and fit – they need to provide your child with the proper support as well. As you shop for the right pair, check to see that the toe box flexes easily and that the middle of the sole is sturdy. We suggest choosing a smart athletic shoe – these types of shoes often provide critical support for a growing child’s feet.

Grab an Extra Pair

Consider purchasing an extra pair of shoes before you leave the store! Think about it: shoes really go through a lot of wear and tear during the school year. They’re usually worn for 40 hours a week and endure a variety of activities. Having a second pair on hand can keep you from needing to go the store as often.

Shop in the Afternoon

When it comes to shoe shopping, the time of day is actually really important! Shoot for an excursion in the afternoon – that’s when feet tend to be at their largest. Buy shoes that will accommodate your child’s feet near the end of the day to help prevent future foot, ankle, and heel pain!

Buy New, Not Used

There’s no doubt that reusing clothing and items is smart and sustainable, but there are a few items that you should never buy used. Shoes fall under this category. Used shoes not only have lost most of their padding and cushioning, but they also may contain bacteria and fungi. Buy new pairs of shoes for your child and the rest of your family, always!

It’s also a good idea to bring your child in to see a podiatrist before the school year starts. After all, foot and ankle pain,
ingrown toenails, and bunions can make the new school year more difficult than it needs to be. Schedule an appointment with the experts at The Foot & Ankle Center today by calling (314) 487-9300!

Everything You Need to Know About Breaking in New Shoes

The day has finally come. Your trusty sneakers have finally kicked the bucket and need to be replaced. As you begin your quest for the perfect replacement, you see it – a smart, stylish pair of shoes that checks off all of your wants and needs. You try them on (and love them), purchase them, and take them home, eager to continue your adventures in your new kicks. There’s just one thing you need to do before you start: you’ve got to break those shoes in.

Think of breaking in a new pair of shoes like dating. You both have to take the time to familiarize yourselves with one another. During this time, you may experience a short period of pain until you and your “sole mate” click. Read on to learn everything you need to know about breaking in your new shoes:

What is the “Break-In” Period?

Ask nearly anyone about breaking in new shoes and you’ll probably receive negative responses coupled with pinched, painful expressions. While a break-in period is normal for new shoes, it’s never much fun. You can expect your new shoes to rub against your tender toes, hurt your heels, or cause blisters and abrasions. Even Queen Elizabeth II has someone to break in her new shoes because, well, royals don’t have time for pain. But don’t worry – the process is worth it as your shoes begin conforming to your feet!

It Takes Time

Just like most good things in life, having your new shoes fit like a glove can’t be rushed. We know, you really can’t wait to strut around in your latest pair, but your feet will be less than happy when you wear those new shoes for hours on end. Take it slow! Try wearing your shoes for a short amount of time around the house or while running some errands. Protect sensitive spots like your Achilles or your toes with bandages or thicker socks, which will help reduce friction. Before you know it, your new shoes will be as comfortable as walking on clouds!

If the Shoe Still Doesn’t Fit…

Then it’s time to take a long and honest look at your shoe size. Your feet can grow in length and width as you age. When was the last time you had your feet measured? If you only recall hazy memories of placing your feet in those cold metal things (*ahem* the Brannock Device) at the shoe store, then it’s time to reevaluate your foot size. If you find that your feet are still hurting well past the break-in point or even whenever you wear older, more comfortable shoes, it might time to see an expert. Let the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center help heal your pain! Call us at (314) 487-9300 to schedule an appointment with us.

Corns and Calluses: What They Are and How You Can Prevent Them

Here’s the scene: you’re exercising outside once again. You’ve been walking the same three miles for weeks, but you’re committed to squeezing in a regular fitness time. When you get home, however, you notice that you’re starting to develop hard, thickened areas on your feet, and they don’t feel very pleasant. We’re glad that you’re being proactive in your health, so we hate to say this, but – you’ve probably got a callus or corn on your hands (well, feet).

When it comes to these podiatric issues, many patients interchange the terms “callus” and “corn.” They’re kind of the same thing and start with the same letter, so it must be true, right? Not so fast! While similar, corns and calluses are quite different and may appear for different reasons. Read on to learn about these issues and what you can do to treat them and keep them away!

What are Corns?

Corns are small, defined areas of thickened skin. They typically develop on smooth, bony areas of the foot like the joints and can cause pain when pressed. Corns have a distinct, hard center and are often mistaken for warts at first glance. Additionally, they can be either soft or hard, and they often develop due to bone pressure against the skin, arthritis, or tight, ill-fitting shoes.

What are Calluses?

Calluses, on the other hand, are larger, less-defined patches of thickened skin. They vary in size and form wherever there is repeated friction or pressure on the body such as the soles of your feet. Calluses are rarely painful to the touch since the skin is thicker. Situations that may cause calluses include walking barefoot and wearing high heels.

What Causes Corns and Calluses?

Several risk factors have been linked to a higher occurrence of these issues. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Wearing ill-fitting socks and too tight, high-heeled shoes
  • Wearing no socks
  • Walking barefoot regularly
  • Engaging in anything that causes friction or pressure on the skin
  • Repetitious actions such as walking or jogging

How Can I Treat Corns and Calluses?

Fortunately, most corns and calluses don’t require medical treatment. There are a few ways you can treat them easily at home! Here are some helpful tips:

  • Soak the corn or callus in warm water for about 10 minutes. Then, gently file it with a pumice stone using circular or sideways motions to slough off dead skin. Remember to avoid taking off too much – you don’t want to cause your skin to bleed or become infected! Dry thoroughly once you’re finished.
  • Use moisturizing cream or lotion on your feet every day. You’ll want products that include salicylic acid, urea, or ammonium lactate; these ingredients will help soften hard calluses and corns.
  • Pad the corn or callus. Adhesive patches and toe sleeves can be found at most pharmacies.
  • Wear proper shoes, avoid repetitive motions, and keep your toenails trimmed to remove pressure from your feet.

When Should I See a Podiatrist?

While most corns and calluses will go away on their own in time, there are times when it’s wise to see your podiatrist. Call if the problem persists, if you aren’t sure what the cause is, if skin is very painful or bleeding, or if you have diabetes. Ignoring these symptoms can create an even larger problem.

How Can I Prevent Corns and Calluses?

Aside from wearing well-fitting shoes and socks, a healthy lifestyle may help prevent these podiatric issues. We recommend maintaining proper hygiene, including washing your feet daily with soap and water, wearing clean socks every day, and keeping your toenails trimmed. A regular checkup with your podiatrist can also help prevent corns and calluses, as well as other podiatric ailments.

If you’re dealing with persistent corns or calluses, take action today! Schedule an appointment with the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center by calling (314) 487-9300.

Relieve Chronic Heel Pain with Shockwave Therapy

If you suffer from chronic heel pain because of plantar fasciitis, you know how difficult getting around in your daily life can be. What if we told you that there’s a non-surgical procedure that can treat your chronic pain safely and effectively? Learn more about the extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) that we provide here at The Foot & Ankle Center!

What is Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy?

ESWT uses powerful sonic waves to heal plantar fasciitis. Using a device similar to what’s currently used to treat kidney stones, harmless sonic waves are directed at the pain area to promote healing in your foot. Quick, safe, and effective, an ESWT treatment takes about 30 minutes and is performed in the office. This procedure requires no stitches, sutures, bandages, anesthesia, or downtime!

Why Should I Choose ESWT for Chronic Heel Pain?

This treatment is clinically proven to improve your chronic heel pain. In addition, ESWT gives patients more benefits, including:

  • Healing through a safe, non-invasive procedure
  • No risk of infection
  • No scars, stitches, bandages, or sutures
  • Quick healing with little downtime

Am I a Good Candidate for ESWT?

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is generally recommended for those who have tried conservative methods to heal plantar fasciitis with little to no change. If you’ve been suffering from chronic or reoccurring heel pain, this treatment may be right for you.

While ESWT is safe for countless patients, we do not recommend it for the following people:

  • Pregnant women
  • Those with neurological foot disease
  • Those with vascular foot disease
  • Patients with pacemakers
  • Patients who take medications that interfere with blood clotting

Plantar fasciitis doesn’t have to be forever. Find relief from your chronic heel pain by calling The Foot & Ankle Center at (314) 487-9300 to see how ESWT can change your life!

6 Benefits of Visiting Your Podiatrist

Our feet are pretty incredible, to say the least. Made of a complex system of bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons, this foundation helps us stand, walk, and run, all while supporting the rest of our body’s weight. Oddly enough, when we experience pain in our feet, toes, and ankles, we often delay seeking proper treatment. Unfortunately, doing so can cause further damage to our body’s foundation. Making an appointment with your podiatrist – even for a minor issue – is incredibly beneficial to your feet’s health. Here’s why:

They Really Know Their Stuff

Your general practitioner is certainly knowledgeable about your overall health. However, a podiatrist is a foot specialist and an expert in the field. They possess a more in-depth understanding on the mechanics of the foot and have undergone a comprehensive certification process to become a podiatrist. You can trust them to help alleviate and eliminate the pain you’ve been feeling in your feet and ankles.

They Treat a Wide Variety of Foot Conditions

Podiatrists are skilled in curing numerous foot and ankle ailments. Make an appointment with your podiatrist if you experience minor or major issues including:

  • Heel pain
  • Bunions
  • Cracked or bleeding heels
  • Nail infection
  • Gout
  • Arthritis
  • Flat feet
  • Ingrown toenails

Remember: even if you’re experiencing a seemingly minor foot complaint, schedule an appointment. Putting off a minor issue can quickly turn into a bigger problem that will require more time and attention to correct.

Podiatrists Know What You Need to Heal

When you come in with a podiatric complaint, you can trust these doctors to determine the proper course of action to help you heal. After a preliminary diagnosis, your podiatrist can order tests such as MRIs or CT scans to pinpoint the problem. They can also administer medication for pain, perform surgery if necessary, or direct you to a physical therapist to help you strengthen your feet and ankles.

They Help Athletes Get Back on Their Feet

Sports injuries can be nothing short of frustrating and debilitating. Make sure to see your podiatrist. They are well-versed in this area and can treat your symptoms so you can get back in the game as soon as possible. They can also give you great insight on the best shoes to wear for your particular sport and how you can avoid injury in the future.

They Can Recommend Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes, a few little changes can make a really big difference. The same rings true for the health of your feet and ankles. Podiatrists can help those with brittle, thickened, or discolored nails improve nail health with nutritional advice, along with prescribing topical treatment. Athletes and those wanting to improve their health can receive advice on breathable footwear and proper hygienic practices. Elderly patients can also learn how to maintain healthy feet and ankles as swelling and arthritis become more prevalent.

They Can Help Prevent Future Injury

Prevention is key when it comes to your health. Regular visits to the podiatrist – even when you have no injuries or problems – can keep your feet and ankles healthy and strong. Your podiatrist can examine your feet and identify problems before they begin. Those with diabetes will especially benefit from frequent appointments as their podiatrist can help catch diabetic-related issues early.

No matter what condition your feet are in, it’s wise to visit your podiatrist at least once a year. They can help correct any issues that arise and also educate you on podiatric matters. Not sure where to start? Call the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center at (314) 487-9300 to schedule your appointment today!