Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Keep Ball of Foot Pain Away With the Right Shoes

A great way to experience all that downtown Houston, TX has to offer is through a food tour! On May 17, 2014 join others in a culinary adventure that will have you walking the streets, seeing new restaurants and experiencing fantastic food. However, this type of evening will require a comfortable pair of shoes if you want to avoid ball of foot pain.

There could be several reasons for pain in the ball of your foot. You could have metatarsalgia from excess stress and pressure on the metatarsal bones in the ball of your foot. Pain could also result from a deformity such as bunions or hammertoes. Morton’s neuroma, a growth of fibrous tissue around a nerve in your foot, is another common reason for ball of foot pain. Finally, a stress fracture in your foot or toe bones could be causing your discomfort.

The shoes you wear can both prevent such a condition from occurring and help in the healing process. Your feet have a certain shape and structure that needs to be properly supported when you are on them all day or engaged in activities. Wearing a pair of shoes that squeezes, constricts, or causes certain parts of the foot to absorb more impact than it can handle will eventually lead to discomfort—or even injury over time. There aren’t any hard and fast rules, although it is generally a good idea to avoid high heels if you want to avoid ball of foot pain. The height puts your entire body weight onto the ball of the foot and the narrow toe boxes do no favors for you either. Stick with a low chunky heel with a wide toe box if necessary, and if you are into sports, it is imperative to wear shoes with adequate support, cushioning, and shock absorption that fit your feet well. Custom Orthotics are ideal for ball of foot pain, no to be confused with the ones from the drug stores.

If changing your shoes isn’t helping to solve your foot pain, it is time for us to step in. Contact Dr. Jeff Bowman at Houston Foot Specialists for treatment that will keep your feet feeling great. Call our office in Houston, TX at (713) 467-8886 for an appointment today.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Qualities of Good Baseball Cleats

The game of baseball, America’s favorite pastime, can be a brutal sport. Players push themselves to the limit and sometimes find themselves at the mercy of others. This was the case for Houston Astros outfield prospect Delino DeShields, Jr. as he suffered a broken cheekbone after being hit in the face by a 90-mph fastball during a game April 18, 2014. If you love to play this sport, there are some things that you can’t control. Your foot health and prevention of injury is mostly within your control, however, and it starts with the right baseball cleats.
The game surface and the types of movements required are the reasons cleats are used for baseball. The spikes or projections on the sole of the shoe provide grip and traction, and the style of shoe offers support and control for the foot as the player moves. Many leagues have regulations on the types of materials allowed, and metal spikes are often prohibited. First make sure you are buying the right kind of cleat. Second, the fit is the most important aspect. Look for cleats with a wide enough toe box so your toes have room to wiggle. You should not feel the upper of the shoe stretching at all to accommodate the widest part of your foot. The cleats should feel snug but not too tight. The heel cup should fit your heel snugly as well, although not so much that it rubs against the back of your heel.
Shoes that don’t fit properly or have poor cushioning and support could lead to plantar fasciitis, blisters, sprains, and Achilles tendon injuries. If you have been playing with pain, do not risk being sidelined for good—contact Dr. Jeff Bowman at Houston Foot Specialists for an evaluation to find the source of your discomfort. Call our Houston, TX office at (713) 467-8886 for an appointment today.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Stay Active with Simple Ways to Prevent Ankle Sprains

Many large cities in the US are rich in culture and history, and Houston, TX, is one of them. Sign up for the Rice Village Chocolate Safari held every Saturday until May 24, 2014! Learn about the history of chocolate as you walk along Rice Boulevard and visit unique chocolate shops and restaurants. Before you go and while you are out, observe simple ways to prevent ankle sprains so a day on your feet doesn’t lead to a day of foot pain.
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The most important factor in preventing ankle sprains is what you wear on your feet. This goes for athletic activities, mall-walking, or playing tourist in your own city. The shoes you wear should fit your feet well. Floppy shoes that slip around on your feet do not provide the stability you need and could cause you to trip. High heels are also a bad choice. Towering on a thin, high heel is a recipe for disaster. Stepping in even a small crack on the sidewalk can cause your foot to topple over and stretch your ankle beyond its limits.
Second, wear shoes that are made for the activity you are doing. Whether you play a pick-up game of basketball or spend time on the soccer field, wearing the right shoes for the sport you are doing will keep your feet and ankles safe. If you’ve experienced an ankle injury before, you may want to tape or brace your ankle. An old injury can cause instability, especially if it did not heal well, making prevention efforts that much more important. Our office can also provide stability training and balance exercises to strengthen your ankles if you are concerned about another injury.
A little goes a long way, and these simple decisions can make a big difference in allowing you to stay active and pain free. An ankle injury without the right treatment can lead to chronic problems. Contact Dr. Jeff Bowman for more information or to treat a foot or ankle injury. Call our Houston, TX office today at (713) 467-8886 or request an appointment online.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Avoid Ingrown Toenails by Knowing How They Begin

Have you heard that it is often the little things in life that matter? Well, when the little thing is an ingrown toenail on one of your toes, the pain can be a big deal and prevent you enjoying other little things in life. The 30th Annual Wine & Roses Festival in Bryan, TX is coming up April 26, 2014. Ingrown toenails could leave you sitting out of the popular grape stomp or keep you from being able to dance to the great live music that will be featured.
If you have never had an ingrown toenail, you may wonder why we spend much time thinking about it. After treating many patients with painful toenails, swelling, and infection, we know that such pain can limit your activity. We want you to know how to prevent and avoid this common foot problem.
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There are times when genetics play a role, such as when a toenail is larger than the toe and is more susceptible to becoming ingrown. Trauma to the toe can also be a factor. For the most part, however, footwear and improper trimming lead the way in causing ingrown nails. The problem develops when the corner of the nail starts to curve down and presses into the tissue surrounding the nail. Wearing shoes with tight toe boxes that squeeze the toes can encourage this to happen. When nails are cut too short, or the edges are tapered and rounded, the risk for this problem increases. Nails should be cut straight across no shorter than the edge of your toe.
If you notice any redness, swelling or pain, alleviate the pressure on your toe with roomy shoes and try soaking your foot in warm water a few times a day. Ignoring the problem could lead to serious infection and significant discomfort. If you have any concerns or require treatment for an ingrown nail do not hesitate to contact Houston Foot Specialists. Make an appointment with Dr. Jeff Bowman by calling our office in Houston, TX at (713) 467-8886 or visit us online.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Finding a Podiatrist Who Is Right for You

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Where do you turn when you need a plumber, electrician, or reliable car mechanic? There is a host of online groups such as Angie’sList that provide reviews from others of reliable tradesman in your area that you can trust. Finding a podiatrist is just as important, because they are the only experts in the medical field trained to handle every kind of foot and ankle problem. Finding the right foot doctor isn’t as easy as just stopping by a random building with a podiatrist’s name on it. When you put your foot health in someone else’s hands, you want to be confident that they have the skills and qualifications to provide the kind of care your feet deserve.
The American Podiatric Medical Association has a section on their website where you can search for a podiatrist in your area. This is helpful, as you can count on the APMA to provide podiatrists you can trust, and you can see right away where they have been trained and what their experience is.
Once you choose a podiatrist, you’ll want to schedule a welcome visit to determine your comfort level with that office. Each doctor will come with his or her own personality and communication practices, and you will need to find out if he or she is the right fit for you. Inquire whether the office can meet any language needs you have. Ask friends and family you trust for referrals as well, to help you make the best decision. Your feet are your foundation, and the right podiatrist will make sure that you stay active, pain free, and able to enjoy life to its fullest.
For those who live in Houston, TX, Dr. Jeff Bowman at Houston Foot Specialists is a highly respected podiatrist whom you can trust to care for any foot concerns you may have. Call our office today at (713) 467-8886 or request an appointment online.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Out with the Old & In with the New: Spring Clean Your Shoes

Many of us have celebrated the arrival of spring by opening our windows a bit, getting out our spring clothing collections, and maybe even doing some deep cleaning to get rid of the dust, musty odors, and dirt that winter brought in. The dirt and salt from winter streets may have left your shoes looking like they are ready for the trash, but cleaning shoes isn't hard. A few easy steps and you could have your shoes looking brand new and ready for spring.

For those of us that live in a part of the country that experiences a lot of snow, let’s start with leather or suede shoes and boots that may have those nasty white lines on them from the salt on the road and sidewalks. You are going to need a small bowl and a clean cotton rag or a nylon-bristle brush. In the bowl, make a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. On leather, use the cotton rag, dip it in the vinegar and gently rub away the salt stains. Rub the rag over the entire shoe and then give it time to dry. With suede, it works best to dip the ends of the nylon-bristle brush into the vinegar and then gently scrub the salt stains.

If your athletic shoes or sneakers have taken a beating this past winter, we have some easy tips to clean those, too. First, take the laces out and just throw them in the wash with the rest of your laundry. Second, remove the insoles and allow them to air out. Sprinkle some baking soda inside to remove any smells and then rinse with cool water to get rid of dust and dirt. Many sneakers will fare just fine in a cool or warm water wash with a load of towels. If you are nervous about this, simply hand wash with some mild detergent and a soft brush. Scrub inside and out and use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to get rid of scuffmarks. Stuff your shoes with white cotton towels and let them air dry.

If a new season is also bringing foot pain into your life, please contact Houston Foot Specialists for help. Call Dr. Jeff Bowman at (713) 467-8886 for an appointment at our office in Houston, TX.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Diabetic Friendly Diet

Mark your calendars for YLC’s 2nd Annual Top Gold “FORE” the Cure Golf Tournament on May 8, 2014 in Houston, TX. The Houston Youth Leadership Committee is hosting this event, which benefits JDRF—the world leader in research for type 1 diabetes. Come on out—whether you have diabetes, know someone who does, or simply want to support a great cause. There are so many facets to this common disease, and an important piece for daily living is a diabetic friendly diet.
With diabetes there are certain things which a person must control, and glucose levels top the priority list. To keep blood sugar levels under control, it is important to have an understanding of what a good diet is all about. It is often misunderstood that a diabetic diet means being deprived of everything that tastes good, but this is simply not true. We’ve collected some tips to help you make your own diabetic friendly diet that is easy, healthy and tasty.
Enjoy sweets in moderation
One important thing to remember is that you don’t need to make huge, drastic changes. Small lifestyle   Indulge in sweets occasionally, but monitor your sugar intake and find healthier ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. Be aware of sugar in beverages as well. Stock up on healthy fruits and vegetables and make sure to include healthy amounts of protein. Don’t get overwhelmed—there are many resources online to help!
changes will make a big difference in the long run. If you are overweight, even a 5-10 percent weight loss will make a big dent in managing sugar levels. What you eat has the biggest impact on weight loss and your health, but a diabetic diet is not complicated. In fact, it is simply a healthy plan that is moderate in calories, low in fat, and high in nutrients. Your consumption of carbohydrates needs diligent monitoring. Choose foods high in fiber and unsaturated fats.
Diabetes also requires diligent foot care. Contact Dr. Jeff Bowman at Houston Foot Specialists in Houston, TX if you have any questions or to monitor your foot health. Call our office today at (713) 467-8886. 
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When Heel Pain Hurts Your Stride

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A small sliver in your finger or a toothache that leaves you with a constant level of discomfort can be annoying as well as painful. Running with heel pain can be frustrating as well. The Muddy Trails Bash on April 5, 2014 will take runners through the beautiful George Mitchell Nature Preserve in Houston, TX. The trails and fun, family atmosphere make this a great spring event. If you are a runner dealing with heel pain, take care of it before signing up for this upcoming race.
Whether you are a weekend warrior or an avid runner, it is important to listen to your body. Any type of foot pain is a signal or red flag to get your attention. Don’t “chalk it up” as something that is just part of the game. This is simply not true, and foot problems often get worse without treatment. Heel pain in particular is common among runners. In fact, Running Research News states, “a million runners develop heel pain every year.” While it is comforting to know you are not alone, true comfort will only come with the right treatment.
If you run on a regular basis, it is likely your heel pain is stemming from plantar fasciitis, an injury to the plantar fascia ligament on the bottom of your foot. It runs the length of your sole and attaches at the heel. Overuse, increasing mileage or speed too quickly, and bad footwear can cause tearing and inflammation within the plantar fascia—the result is heel and arch pain. Rest, ice, stretching, and shoe modifications are usually the first line of defense when treating this type of foot pain. “No pain, no gain” is a motivational phrase you need to throw out the window. Address your symptoms as soon as they start to protect your foot health and your running career.
For further help, don’t hesitate to contact Houston Foot Specialists. We can assess the severity of your injury and provide anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, night splints, physical therapy, custom orthotic inserts, and surgery if necessary. Call Dr. Jeff Bowman at (713) 467-8886 to make an appointment at our office in Houston, TX.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shoes for Bunions among Spring Shoe Trends

Fashion Week in Paris, France, wrapped up at the beginning of the month and the lines that came down the runways were colorful, creative, and stunning. What is trending in shoes is always a hot topic, and the styles for 2014 do not disappoint. If you have a bunion problem, you may think that you are limited to shoes that your grandmother would wear, but there are shoes for bunions that don’t sacrifice fashion for comfort.

When you have a bump on the side of your foot, the characteristic symptom of a bunion, a style you want to avoid is one that is high heeled, tight, and pointy. These just do not give your feet enough wiggle room to stay comfortable all-day and healthy long-term. This year, a great spring shoe option is an open-toed, strappy wedge. At a medium height, the wedge is comfortable to walk in and the straps give your feet room to breathe.

For a night out, opt for a lower heel with an open toe style. The lower heel reduces the pressure on the ball of your foot and the open toe offers a wider toe box to accommodate for the bunion. If you prefer a flat shoe, a gladiator style with non-constricting straps is stylish without adding pressure on your feet. Try to find a style that has a bit of cushioning in the sole for added comfort during the day.  If you will be on your feet all day at work or shopping around, opt for a spring shoe such as the Dansko Professional that offers a high toe box, contoured foot-bed, and a slightly raised heel, and comes in a myriad of colors.

Bunions do not have to take over your life. At Houston Foot Specialists, we have many effective treatment options to keep you active and pain free. Contact Dr. Jeff Bowman at (713) 467-8886 or request an appointment with our Houston, TX office online.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Green Toenail is Not Great for St. Patrick’s Day

A fungal toenail can be unsightly and embarrassing as your toenail turns different shades of colors. Green is a color particularly associated with St. Patrick’s Day, but it is definitely not a color that you want to see on your toenails, that’s for sure.

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St. Patrick’s Day, originally a Roman Catholic holiday that celebrates Ireland’s patron saint, only took off in the United States in the 1700’s. The 55th Annual Houston St. Patrick’s Day parade is on March 15, 2014 and with over 100 entries, it is one of the largest in the country. It is happening, rain or shine, and you will definitely see a lot of green!

Seeing green on your toenails is a totally different story than the origins of St. Patrick’s Day. A fungal nail problem is a common foot condition that we treat at Houston Foot Specialists, and it can really change the condition of your nails. They can become brittle, crumbling, thickened and discolored. The changes are due to an infection from fungi, which can be picked up warm, humid environments such as gym locker rooms, showers, and pool areas. Specifically, pseudomonas is one type of bacteria that—once picked up—can infect the nail bed of your toenails and cause the nails to turn a greenish color. Unfortunately, a fungal toenail problem can be quite resistant to treatment. For this reason, it is important to seek treatment as soon as you notice symptoms or changes to your toenails.

We have a variety of effective treatment options to get your nails back to health; contact Dr. Jeff Bowman for diagnosis and remedies. Call our office in Houston, TX  at (713) 467-8886 to make an appointment today.