12 Smart Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy all Summer Long!

Summer is finally here, which means it’s time to free your feet and enjoy all that the season has to offer! Unfortunately, summer can be hard on your feet, thanks to the sun, poolside activities, various types of footwear, and much more. By taking these easy precautions, however, your feet will remain healthy and happy throughout the hot summer months and beyond:

Wear the Right Footwear

We know you’ll want to be wearing flip-flops, but you’re better off choosing well-fitting shoes that properly support you. You’ll help prevent injuries and decrease your odds of developing bacterial infections on your feet and toes. If you really must wear flip-flops, choose styles with good arch and heel support, and don’t walk in them for long distances.

Apply Sunscreen to Your Feet

You remembered to put sunscreen on your shoulders, face, and even the tips of your ears, but what about your feet? Even your ankles and the tops of your feet need protection from the sun’s harmful rays! Choose a sunscreen with 30 SPF or more to help prevent sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging in the skin. Remember to reapply it every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating, even if you’re just dangling your feet into a pool.

Drink Plenty of Water

When your body becomes dehydrated, your feet are usually the first to suffer the consequences. Remember to stay hydrated, especially during the hottest parts of the day, to help minimize foot swelling and flush out toxins. Sick of plain water? Enjoy plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, cottage cheese, and other water-rich foods to remain hydrated!

Try an Epsom Salts Soak

After a long day of outdoor adventuring, your sore feet deserve some pampering. Prepare a tub of warm water and sprinkle a small amount of Epsom salts to treat your feet! Soaking for 15-20 minutes twice a week can help relax the tissues, release toxins, and help calm you as well.

Prevent Blisters

Let’s face it – no one likes blisters. Do your best to avoid them by breaking in your new pairs of shoes before you head outside. Should you wind up with a blister, wash the area with soap and water and cover the blister with moleskin or a liquid bandage product to help reduce friction.

Moisturize Your Feet

That’s right, even feet need to be moisturized, especially during the summer when they are exposed to the elements. Doing so will help prevent cracked heels and keep your feet feeling smooth. Take a few moments to moisturize them each night before bed to lock in much-needed moisture.

Inspect Them Frequently

Keep tabs on your toes at all times this summer! You’ll want to inspect your feet, heels, and ankles for any cuts and scrapes, especially if you have diabetes. Don’t forget to check your toenails for signs of ingrown nails, fungal infections, or athlete’s foot as well.

Wear Shoes Poolside

We know, it’s tempting to kick off your shoes when you’re heading to and from the pool, but resist the urge and keep wearing them! Donning your feet with flip-flops or shower shoes around the pool or in the locker room (and even in your hotel room) can help prevent injuries and pesky fungal infections.

Let Them Air Out

Of course, your feet can’t be trapped inside shoes 24/7. Give them some breathing room by wearing supportive open-toed shoes or sandals. We also suggest taking your shoes off every once in a while throughout the day to keep your feet happy and dry.

Clean Them After Any Water Activity

Did you just finish wading around in a lake or river? Before you put your socks and shoes back on, take a moment to rinse your feet with clean water and pat them completely dry. Stagnant water is the ideal place for bacteria, which could make themselves at home on your unsuspecting feet.

Pamper Yourself with a Pedicure

Treat your feet to some at-home TLC! Giving yourself a pedicure helps remove dead, flaky skin cells, cleanses your feet, and makes them look better than ever. Grab a pumice stone, emery board, sterilized nail clippers, and a towel to help your toes look and feel amazing!

Be Prepared for Emergencies

No matter how hard you try, accidents will still happen. Be prepared with a handy emergency kit for your feet! Fill a small kit with sterile bandages, antibiotic cream, blister pads, anti-inflammatory medications, clippers, sunscreen, aloe vera, and emollient-enriched cream to keep your feet protected, no matter where you are. Don’t let tired feet or bacterial infections spoil your summertime fun. Contact the friendly, knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center to help get your feet back in shape! Schedule your appointment with us by calling (314) 487-9300.

Choosing the Best Running Shoes

Whether you’re waking up for an early morning run or decide to go on an afternoon jog, a good pair of running shoes is a necessity. There’s a pair of shoes for everything when you think about it – ballerinas have slippers, hikers have boots, and runners wear running shoes. Everyone’s feet are different, so continue reading to learn how to choose the best shoes for you.

Running Shoe Basics

First, let’s take a look at the makeup of running shoes. They can be broken down into their essential parts to prevent injury:

  • Ankle collars – secure the foot in a shoe by fitting snuggly around the ankle.
  • Heel counters – reinforce the heel while providing support.
  • Midsoles – absorb shock from each heel strike while running.
  • Outer soles – provide traction for the bottom of the shoe.

Arch Height

One component that factors into your need for particular versions of these parts is the height of your arches. Flat arches, for example, require rigid heel counters for better support through shock absorbency. It is highly recommended for people with flat feet to also use custom-molded orthotic inserts for best results.

If The Shoe Fits

As you’ve learned from growing up, your feet increase in size over time. This means that your running shoes from last year may no longer fit. Check out these three easy steps in which to determine your shoe size. The proper fitting of shoes for your feet is approximately half an inch longer than your big toe with a comfortable width.

Different Pairs for New Surfaces

Do you prefer to run on the road, in the dirt, or at the gym? Each place has a different surface to consider. Pavements and tracks are nice and flat while hills are steep and rocky. Your feet will require more or less support depending on the circumstance. Try purchasing multiple pairs to avoid wearing them out too quickly.

Select Support Over Style

A lot of people tend to shop for style over support – ultimately leading to discomfort, pain, and injury. It’s easy to understand wanting to have the coolest shoes in the neighborhood, but at what risk? Find a happy medium between the two and buy what works best for your feet.

Get a Recommendation from a Podiatrist

Our knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center can examine your feet and recommend a pair of running shoes just for you. They can also determine any other issues your feet may currently be experiencing. There’s a possibility that your current running shoes work well but your feet or ankles are not functioning at 100%.

Call 314-487-9300 or visit www.facstl.com to schedule an appointment today.

The Future of Stem Cell Therapy in Podiatry

In our recent blogs, we’ve taken you through the ins and outs of stem cell therapy and how regenerative medicine can help heal your podiatric ailments. Now we’re winding down our three-part series by dipping our toes in what the future looks like for stem cell therapy and how that benefits you. Read about it below!

Stem Cell Therapy Today

As we continue unraveling and understanding the science behind stem cells and how they work, regenerative medicine is becoming more prevalent in the medical field and more readily available. Yes, many notable professional athletes have chosen stem cell therapy to help them get their A-game back, but the treatment is now becoming more widely available to nearly every patient. This treatment is also incredibly safe since stem cells naturally occur within the human body, and it can benefit just about any patient.

What’s the Big Deal About Stem Cells?

Because of stem cells’ nature to divide and change into whatever type of cell is needed within the injured part of the body, stem cell therapy is highly effective and may provide faster healing and recovery times than traditional methods! If you had an ankle injury and opted for stem cell therapy, the cells introduced to your ankle would become cartilage cells, ligament cells, or bone cells to expedite healing.

Regenerative medicine is also versatile and treats an array of podiatric conditions, especially those that have been particularly difficult to treat. Whether you have plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, arthritis, chronic ankle sprains, or soft tissue damage, stem cell therapy can offer you painless, effective healing.

Paving the Way for the Future

Right now, scientists continue to study stem cells in the hopes of developing more effective treatments. A great deal of research is being conducted on adult stem cells, especially since there are ethical and legal roadblocks related to embryonic stem cells. Scientists are looking in particular at mesenchymal stem cells (a.k.a. multipotent stromal progenitor cells). These cells are found in the bone marrow and have the ability to change into many types of cells to promote healing within the body. Right now, researchers are trying to determine if there are more effective ways of introducing these cells into the body at different stages of healing!

With stem cells and their unique ability to transform and heal damaged tissue and wounds, the possibilities are endless. With more research and a greater understanding from practitioners and patients, regenerative medicine will become even more available in podiatry. We at The Foot & Ankle Center are proud to provide regenerative stem cell therapy. Call the knowledgeable doctors at (314) 487-9300 to learn more or schedule your appointment today!

What Are Hammertoes and How Can You Prevent Them?

We get it – you enjoy wearing high-heeled shoes whenever you can. In fact, your closet may be filled with nothing but cute, fashionable shoes with tight toe boxes. But who cares as long as you look good – pain is beauty, right? Before you try to stuff your feet into a few-sizes-too-small shoe with virtually zero support, be aware that this habit can begin changing your feet, and not for the better. Exhibit A: hammertoes.

What Are Hammertoes?

This common podiatric deformity is a contracture of the middle joint in the toe (often the 2nd through 5th digits), which forces the toe to bend downward as opposed to lying flat. When viewed at the side, the toe appears as an upside-down “v.” It’s a sneaky deformity since it appears gradually – you may not even notice it until it’s too late. Hammertoes are also more commonly found in females than males.

Wait, There Are Two Types of Hammertoes?

Yes! There are both flexible hammertoes and rigid hammertoes. Initially, hammertoes are flexible, but if they’re left untreated, they can become rigid and difficult to treat. If you aren’t able to straighten your affected toe, then you more than likely have a rigid hammertoe. The key is catching hammertoes when they’re still flexible, if at all possible, since they can be treated with simple measures in the earlier stage.

What Causes Hammertoes?

Maybe you’re born with it – maybe it’s how you treat your feet. Either way, there are several factors that can cause hammertoes, including the following:

  • Genetics – Being born with a particular foot type predisposes you to developing joint deformities in time. If you have flat feet, high arches, or particularly flexible feet, you may wind up with hammertoes later on in life.
  • Your shoe choice – If you often wear ill-fitting shoes with narrow toe boxes and little to no arch support, you may eventually experience hammertoes.
  • Certain underlying medical conditions – Arthritis, neuromuscular diseases, tendon imbalances, bunions, and even trauma to the toes can also cause hammertoes.

So I Have a Hammertoe – How Can I Treat It?

While there is no cure for hammertoes, there are plenty of ways you can treat them at home to help ease any pain or discomfort you may be feeling:

  • Apply a commercial, non-medicated hammertoe pad around the affected area. This will help decrease pressure around the area.
  • Choose supportive, roomy shoes with a deep toe box to give your toes more wiggle room.
  • If your hammertoe becomes inflamed, ice packs can help reduce the swelling. Remember to wrap the ice pack in cloth before applying it to your toe!
  • Custom orthotics from your podiatrist may also help reduce symptoms and prevent your hammertoe from worsening.

If these measures don’t relieve your pain, surgery may be needed to help correct the problem.

How Can I Prevent Hammertoes from Happening in the First Place?

Wearing the right shoes and taking good care of your feet are often enough to help you prevent or delay the formation of hammertoes. Here are a few things that you can do now to keep your toes healthy and functional:

  • Choose supportive shoes that fit you well. We suggest shoe shopping at the end of the day since the feet often swell a bit. This will help you find the best fit for your foot.
  • Avoid wearing shoes with a narrow or pointy toe box or a high heel.
  • Wear orthotics as prescribed by your podiatrist.
  • Try foot exercises! Every once in a while, tune into your feet and try curling and extending your toes. This will help keep your muscles strong and your toes supple.
  • Pay special attention to your feet. If you notice pain or anything out of the norm, call your podiatrist for an appointment.

If you’re experiencing hammertoes, don’t wait. Give your hardworking feet the love and respect they deserve by making an appointment with the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center! Call us today at (314) 487-9300 to schedule an appointment, or request one at your convenience online!

Have a Foot or Ankle Ailment? Try Stem Cell Therapy

Foot and ankle injuries and chronic ailments are no joke. They derail us from our lives, throw wrenches in our workout plans, and hinder our outdoor adventures. But let us tell you this: if you’ve felt like you need to continuously endure your ailments or that surgery is your only answer, you would be mistaken. Fortunately, stem cell therapy, which is a noninvasive, virtually painless experience, can help heal your body and make you feel whole again!

Remind Me – What’s Stem Cell Therapy Again?

We recently discussed quite a bit of information in one of our previous blogs about all the ins and outs of stem cell therapy. In a nutshell, though, stem cell therapy (also known as regenerative medicine) is a type of treatment that can heal a variety of podiatric conditions safely and effectively. Stem cells are unique in that they have the ability to change into specialized cells and divide to produce even more stem cells. They also nudge the cells already present in your body to lend a helping hand in fixing your ailment, which ultimately accelerates the healing process!

Great, So Which Foot and Ankle Conditions Can Stem Cell Therapy Treat?

Regenerative medicine is quite incredible. This cutting-edge therapy can treat a wide variety of podiatric ailments and conditions, including:

  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Ankle tendon tears
  • Bunions
  • Ligament sprains of the ankle
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Sports injuries

Typically, depending on the severity and location of the treatment site, you should need only one stem cell injection for recovery.

How Exactly Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?

Before treatment ever begins, you will come in for a consultation with our knowledgeable doctors, who will then discuss and assess your podiatric ailment. From there, our doctors will determine which course of treatment is right for you. If stem cell therapy is the answer, this is what will happen during your next visit:

During treatment, we will inject the harvested stem cells directly into the area of the body in which they are needed. This is typically around a torn or damaged tendon, scar tissue, or on your bunion. From there, the incredibly adaptable stem cells start duplicating rapidly and turn daughter cells into the exact cells your body requires. Then, the new cells will start working hard to repair your injury or ailment. This treatment requires no incisions or any downtime, and healing is quick, easy, and virtually pain-free.

Call Us to Learn More Don’t let your podiatric condition dictate your life. Call The Foot & Ankle Center today at (314) 487-9300 to learn more about how stem cell therapy may help relieve your symptoms and get you back on your feet again!