Are Bunion-Correcting Sandals Worth Your Time and Money?

We see several patients suffering from bunions, and they often ask us what we think about various pain-management treatments. With spring close by, our patients have had open-toed shoes on their minds, so we weren’t terribly surprised when they began asking us about “bunion-correcting” sandals. There’s always some sort of new product out there that claims it can correct your podiatric problem quickly and painlessly, so we understand when our patients become curious about them. But are bunion-correcting sandals really all they’re made out to be?

What Causes Bunions?

Before we even think about discussing bunion-correcting sandals, we must first understand the ailment they “treat” – the bunion itself. Also known as hallux valgus, bunions form when the bone or tissue at the big toe’s joint moves out of place. They can be brought on by many factors, including genetics, foot injuries, arthritis, and joint diseases. Abnormal, repetitive motions can also force the joint to bend toward the other toes, resulting in a painful lump on the side of your big toe.

What are Bunion-Correcting Sandals?

Now onto the sandals! These shoes feature a special strap that wraps around the front of the foot and is anchored around the big toe. This strap supposedly helps relieve bunion pain while correcting and realigning the joint, keeping you comfortable and trendy all day. Sometimes, bunion-correcting sandals will also claim to help correct your posture and prevent hip and muscle imbalances as well.

Do Bunion-Correcting Sandals Really Work?

The short answer is no, they don’t. They may appear to work while you wear them; however, much like corrective lenses, whenever you take them off, any benefit you may experience from them will vanish. So while bunion-correcting shoes may relieve pain and pressure on your toe joint, they sadly won’t fix the issue at hand.

How Should I Manage My Bunion Pain?

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can find relief from your bunions! The best thing you can do is wearing high-quality shoes with a wide-fit toe box. This will help prevent squeezing or irritating your bunions by giving them the space they need. We recommend avoiding high-heeled shoes and pointed shoes when you’re able – if you must wear them, make sure to save them for special occasions. Using shoe inserts, warm socks, and ice packs can help bring relief as well!

Rely on the Experts at The Foot & Ankle Center If you’ve been suffering from bunion pain, please contact the friendly, knowledgeable podiatrists at The Foot & Ankle Center. We will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and the right course of action to help get you back on your feet. Call us at (314) 487-9300 to schedule your appointment with us!

Get Your Feet Moving in the Lou

When you think of St. Louis, you may think about the hustle and bustle of a big city. The Foot & Ankle Center, however, thinks of how often we can all get out and just walk around. Consider the many sights there are to see here like the Arch, Forest Park, and City Museum – just to name a few. In case you haven’t been out much with the summer heat, let us remind you where you can get your feet moving in the Lou.

Gateway Arch

Of course, we have to start with the Gateway Arch. Find a meter on Market Street or a parking lot off Broadway to get your steps in for the day. Then, check the sidewalks for arrows pointing you to your destination. Don’t forget to pass through Citygarden – as the walkway is breathtaking this time a year. Choose to either walk around the Old Courthouse or through it to find yourself at the brand new entrance of the Gateway Arch Museum. It’s only a few more steps to the top from there.

Forest Park

This attraction is sure to give those toes of yours a good workout. Start by finding a free parking spot along the winding roads of Forest Park and make your way to the famous fountains. You then have an option to go paddle boating or chill out in the nearby café. There’s also the Jewel Box, Art Museum, Muny, and St. Louis Zoo all within walking distance. Speaking of the zoo, is there a better way to exercise for free than hanging out with the animals? We doubt it.

City Museum

If you’re more into climbing like the goats at the zoo, then this is the place for you. Explore the City Museum like that of any other St. Louisan looking for a fun night out. The twisty caves and coils are sure to challenge your abilities and skills. The folks who grew up on this massive jungle gym may find that the next generation loves this place almost as much as they did.

Science Center

Maybe you just want to learn more about how the world works. The Science Center is sure to give you a direct pathway to knowledge. Start from the Forest Park entrance and experience the space exhibit. You will have to cross Interstate 64 to get to the main attractions, but you’ll be safe on their hard-to-miss Skybridge. If you’re brave enough to move on, you will be welcomed into the prehistoric era, have a chance to watch a movie on IMAX, and so much more.

Brewery Tours

Last but not least, the heart of St. Louis is its breweries. With multiple choices throughout the region, you can visit them all with a St. Louis beer map on hand. Ask for a tour when you enter and don’t be surprised if you find the large horses greeting you at our most famous location downtown. If you’re over the age of 21, you’ll even get to try some of their beer for free.

Feeling the Burn?

You don’t have to be a visitor to enjoy everything that downtown St. Louis has to offer. But you do have to be one to get checked out at The Foot & Ankle Center. If you are experiencing pain in your feet from walking, running, or anything else, reach out for help. Don’t hesitate, schedule an appointment with our experts today by calling (314) 487-9300.

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.