6 Tips to Prevent Athlete’s Foot

Most mornings are the same for everyone. People tend to wake up, get dressed, and put on their socks and shoes. When it’s warmer outside, some decide to ditch the socks even though they were designed for protection. Protection from problems like athlete’s foot – a chronic infection caused by various types of fungus. Curious how your feet can be at risk? Read more for 6 tips to prevent athlete’s foot.

Avoid Going Barefoot in Public

When at a public pool or after showering in the gym locker room, it’s easier to walk around barefoot. This is especially true if you forgot your sandals and don’t want to deal with wet socks. Although, the more time you spend barefoot, the more time fungus has to collect on your feet. According to Harvard Medical School, “Athlete’s foot breeds in locker rooms, swimming pool changing areas, or any place that combines dampness and a lot of foot traffic.” Instead, wear sandals in these areas to avoid infection.

Let Your Feet Breathe at Home

While you’ll certainly want to avoid going barefoot in public, take some time at home to let your feet breathe. After a long day of being inside socks and shoes, feet will perspire and create moisture. If your socks and shoes are wet, let them dry before putting them back on. Put your feet up, relax, and let them air out for your benefit and comfort.

Wash and Dry Your Feet Daily

Whether you’re using a community shower or a personal one, it’s incredibly important to wash and dry your feet daily. Use the same amount of care that you do with the rest of your body and use with soap. Rinse and repeat if necessary. Then use a towel to dry off while in the shower and when you step out. Keep that towel for yourself – because foot fungus can spread easily. Your roommate or partner could get it from you by using the same towel. 

Change Socks and Shoes Consistently

It’s always important to make sure your feet are dry before putting them into your socks. Fungus grows when an environment provides it with moisture, warmth, and darkness. With you providing the wet feet, socks and shoes can be the perfect home for fungus. Now if you deal with sweaty feet, don’t worry too much just yet. Consistently change your socks and shoes to prevent the fungus from growing.

Practice Basic Foot Hygiene

It almost goes without saying, but make sure to practice basic foot hygiene and maintain your nails and skin. Longer toenails can leave more room for fungus to grow. Filing the skin on your feet is also important as removing dead skin cells and also prevents anything from growing.

Break Out the Spray

Antiperspirants are typically used on feet in spray form to prevent sweating. Using them between washing your feet and putting on footwear is the most effective method. Spray-on deodorant can also be an effective way to keep your feet dry and fresh. With these in mind, you will effectively decrease your chances of heavy perspiration and odor that may lead to athlete’s foot. There are many other life-changing products to help, too.

WebMD says that athlete’s foot is highly common among funguses and up to 25% of people will experience the infection in their lives. If you’re dealing with it, make an appointment with the friendly doctors at Foot & Ankle Center by calling (314) 487-9300.

5 Surprising Facts About Bunions

Bunions – painful, bony bumps found at the base of the big toe – can negatively impact every moment of your day. Caused by joint misalignment, these bumps can hinder walking and exercising, make shoe shopping difficult, and can lower your quality of life. Although bunions are a fairly common foot deformity, many people needlessly suffer for years before seeking treatment.

Part of tackling bunions before they become a problem is to take proper care of your feet – and to know thy enemy. Read up on some interesting bunion facts below – your feet will thank you:

Blame Your Parents

That’s right – bunions tend to be a hereditary issue. Foot type, including their shape and structure, is hereditary, and some types are more prone to bunions, including those with low arches, flat feet, and loose joints and tendons. If someone in your immediate family suffers from bunions, you have a higher chance of developing them at some point.

They’re More Prevalent in Women

Several studies have shown that women are much more likely to develop bunions than men. In fact, 1 in every 3 women will experience bunions at some point in her life. Why? A few factors may contribute to this problem, including shoe choices and arthritic conditions, which can exacerbate bunions.

If the Shoe (Doesn’t) Fit

Speaking of shoe choices, tight-fitting shoes with narrow toe boxes or high heels are thought to increase your risk for bunions. According to a study by the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, 88% of women are wearing shoes that are too small, which can increase your odds of developing bunions. Your foot size should change as you age, so make sure you check your shoe size before buying any new kicks.

A Little Care Goes a Long Way

Bunions develop slowly, so take some crucial steps now to keep your feet happy and healthy. Choose low- or flat-heeled shoes with a roomy toe box and good arch support. Avoid high heels and pointed shoes, which cramp and pinch the toes. Stretch out your feet every day to reduce tension as well.

See Your Podiatrist Sooner Rather Than Later

We recommend seeing your foot doctor at the first sign of a bunion. Unfortunately, bunions will get worse without treatment, but early treatment can help reduce your risk of experiencing more pain or extensive interventions in the future.

Suffering from bunion pain? Don’t wait! Make an appointment with the friendly doctors at Foot & Ankle Center by calling (314) 487-9300.

Spring Forward Without Heel Pain

When the snow starts to melt, birds begin to chirp, and flowers finally grow again, that can only mean one thing – goodbye, winter and hello, spring! Now’s the time to get out and be more active, but don’t run out the door just yet. Spring is the time of the year when plantar fasciitis, or heel pain, is most common. Want to protect your feet? Check out 4 ways to help avoid heel pain in the spring.

Walk Before You Run

It’s understandable to want to get out and be active as soon as the weather warms up in the Midwest. However, this can cause strain in your feet. According to Foot Health Facts, “sudden increased activity following several months of low or no activity can result in heel pain.” Start out slow when you get back to exercising by running shorter distances in less time. Build your way back up into a routine and continue from there without pain in your heels.

Stretch Ahead of Time

If you’ve been feeling a tightness in your calves already, a bit of heel pain may come next. That’s because muscles like the ones in your calves are working hard each time you walk, run, or exercise. James Dunne of Kinetic Revolution shows three stretches to fix your heel pain. Try to stretch your feet and legs twice a day to ensure flexibility.

Avoid Trading Support for Comfort

With the warmer months ahead, you can ditch the winter boots and thick socks to let your feet breathe a little. In order to avoid heel pain here, don’t ditch support for comfort too often. During this time of year, people are more likely to wear flip-flops or even go barefoot. By making sure there is support underneath your sole, there will be less risk for pain.

Running Shoes Over Tennis Shoes

The main difference between running shoes and tennis shoes is that running shoes are designed for forward movement and have padding to protect the ankles. Tennis shoes don’t protect your ankles, as they were designed for side-to-side movement. Make an investment in the type of shoe that was designed for the activity you’re planning to participate in. This will have a positive effect on your feet’s health overall.

Feet are coming out whether you like it or not – like daisies! But if you’re having difficulty enjoying the spring because of heel pain, don’t wait for it to get worse. Stop by the Foot & Ankle Center today and speak with one of our friendly doctors.

Meet Rev. John Bush, a Happy and Healed Patient!

When you experience heel pain, it can easily put your whole life on hold. Exercising or engaging in fun activities can come to a standstill, and workdays can become unbearable. That’s why we take great pride in helping our patients overcome their pain!

We recently had the pleasure of helping one of our customers, Reverend John Bush, with his heel pain, which was caused by plantar fasciitis. As the Executive Director of Seminary Support at Concordia Seminary, John is on his feet all the time, especially since he works at a standing desk.

John began noticing heel pain when he was walking on a concrete track at the YMCA in South County. At the time, he had no idea that it was the beginnings of plantar fasciitis. When the pain persisted for a few more days, his wife, who was a happy patient of ours, urged him to make an appointment with us. As soon as we saw John, we pinpointed the problem. We took x-rays of his foot and recommended orthotics, a temporary boot, cortisone shots, and exercises to help stretch the tendon.

“I didn’t wait long because I was in pain, and didn’t want to fool around with pain,” John said. “Their diagnosis and treatment plan were spot-on. They told me what to do to get better; I followed their instructions, and I got better in about a month.”

While John experiences mild pain every now and then, he self-treats it by using the exercises to stretch the tendon out, whether at work or at home. “I do know that if I get severe pain again, I would call and go back. They would fix me right up,” he added.

When it comes to heel pain, John said that it’s something you should tackle quickly and without hesitation. “I guess when you’re younger, you think you can tough it out, but it’s nothing to fool around with,” he said. “I would not hesitate to make an appointment with Foot and Ankle Center. They always treated me as a person and with respect, and I would recommend them to anyone.”

If you’re experiencing heel pain, take John’s advice (and ours) – don’t wait. Call us today at (314) 487-9300 or request an appointment with us online!

Over-the-Counter Orthotics vs. Digital Orthotics

Orthotics refer to padding placed within a shoe to improve an improper walking pattern. These assist people when it comes to standing, walking, and running with minimal to no discomfort in their feet. Foot & Ankle Center orthotics can remedy a wide range of symptoms that other versions cannot. Here’s why you should choose digital orthotics instead of over-the-counter orthotics.

A Google Diagnosis

It’s easy to be an educated consumer in the world today with search engines like Google giving us every opportunity to find the answers to our questions. At the same time, there also is a paradox of choice with so many varying opinions out there. If our feet are hurting, we can type in “feet pain” and self-diagnose ourselves. The issue is that you put yourself at risk for causing further harm by not seeing a podiatrist to recommend digital or over-the-counter orthotics.

Digital Orthotics

Digital orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts. These are produced by scanning all aspects of a foot, which helps create a computerized 3D model. This model is then sent for design. Podiatrists have the ability to work with individuals and make sure that no two feet are treated the same for their digital orthotics.

Over-the-Counter Orthotics

Over-the-counter orthotics are pre-made shoe inserts that can be found almost any place that shoes are sold. These are produced by taking common foot patterns and estimating which people will need which version. This type of orthotics is a cheap and short-term solution when it comes to foot pain.

Three Categories of Digital Orthotics

The Foot and Ankle Center offers three different categories of digital orthotics that will help you determine what’s right for you:

  • Rigid Orthotics control function utilizing a plastic or carbon fiber body. These improve or eliminate strains, aches, and pains in the legs, thighs, and lower back.
  • Soft Orthotics absorb shock and increase balance while removing pressure from your feet. Made up of cushioned materials, these are powerful for diabetic and arthritic feet.
  • Semi-Rigid Orthotics provide balance from layers of soft and rigid materials. These help athletes and children with foot pain.

Quality Over Quantity

According to OrthoInfo (from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons), “Although custom orthoses are considerably more expensive than off-the-shelf devices, they last much longer and provide more support or correction.” While it is true that the cost of digital orthotics is higher than most over-the-counter products, you will always get what you pay for. Ask yourself if it’s worth it to continuously go to the store and purchase a product you’re not entirely sure will even work.

Stop by the Foot & Ankle Center today and speak with one of our friendly doctors to find out if digital orthotics are right for you!