Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Finding a Podiatrist Who Is Right for You

Photo credit: sscreations via
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. 
 Photo Credit: rakratchada torsap via

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When Heel Pain Hurts Your Stride

Photo credit: Sura Nualpradid via
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.

Photo Credit: moomsabuy via
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.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Spring Footwear Trends

Photo Credit: SweetCrisis via
The Azalea Trail is an annual tradition in Houston, TX and a sure sign that spring has arrived! The azalea is a showy flower that blooms in shades of pink, red, white, purple and yellow. This year there are seven stops along the Azalea Trail Home and Garden Tour, happening March 07, 2014 - March 09, 2014, and these flowers are truly a magnificent sight to see. Another colorful sight is the new spring footwear lining the shelves and being gorgeously displayed in store windows.

Designers try hard to outshine one another, and this year the trends are colorful and playful. The backless heel mule will be very popular. They come in all sorts of heights with beautiful beading and embellishments. An icy-toned blue color is one of the hot picks for spring shoes and is sure to give outfits the pop of color they need. The blazing yellow color called freesia is also taking center stage in the shoe department with all sorts of styles of shoes baring this daring color. Another interesting trend is how designers are making dressy shoes and high heels a bit more “sporty” with the use of perforated leather, woven nylon, neoprene, rubber soles, and athletic laces.  Funky embellishments such as butterfly wings, leopard print, and feathers are making spring shoes stand out. There are also a lot of flashy colors and unique qualities showing up in spring running shoes as well.

Don’t let spring footwear tempt you to make the wrong choices, though. The bottom line is to find shoes that fit you and support your feet. An expensive pair of high-heeled designer shoes aren’t worth it if your feet end up in pain at the end of the day with blisters, corns, and aggravated bunions or hammertoes. If you have any sort of foot pain, contact Dr. Jeff Bowman at Houston Foot Specialists for help. Call our office in Houston, TX at (713) 467-8886 or request an appointment online.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dry Skin and Red-Carpet-Worthy Feet

Photo Credit: Salvatore Vuono via
Of the many award shows happening this year, the anticipated Academy Awards are coming up March 2, 2014. The entertainment, shoo-ins, upsets, and who rubs shoulders with whom are all a part of the elaborate evening. What celebrities wear, though, usually takes center stage, and shoes are often the focus of attention. Unfortunately, close up pictures can show dry skin and foot problems, revealing feet that aren’t red carpet worthy.

You may not be walking down an awards show red carpet but rather getting dressed up for a night out. It can be frustrating when dry, cracked skin on your feet doesn’t allow your new, beautiful shoes to stand out like they should. The condition is simply caused by a lack of moisture—from being dehydrated, going barefoot, using a soap that dries out your skin, certain styles of shoes, diabetes, aging, and weather. This can be prevented, though! Repairing damage at the start is important because dry skin can grow into a painful callus at risk for cracking. Once tiny cracks develop, your feet are at risk for infection, and it can be painful to walk.

Use a daily foot cream with glycolic acid or lactic acid to add in lost moisture. Lanolin is effective on rough or cracked areas of skin. A foot file or pumice stone after bathing is useful to slough away rough patches of skin and keep calluses from forming. If it is difficult for you to do this on your own, ask a family member or visit a reputable, safe salon for a healthy pedicure.

If you still have problems, we are here to help! Dry skin is a minor problem that could turn serious without the right treatment. Contact Dr. Jeff Bowman if you need help getting your feet back in shape. Call Houston Foot Specialists in Houston, TX at (713) 467-8886 to make an appointment today.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Preventing Sports Injuries

Photo Credit: franky242 via
Staying at the top of your game, as the U.S. Olympic athletes try to do, can take a toll, and sports injuries can happen in an instant. Snowboarder Shaun White has battled a sprained ankle and jammed wrist, and ultimately he is withdrawing from the slopestyle event to hopefully avoid a more serious injury. Freestyle skier Hannah Kearney has conquered a torn knee ligament, a concussion, and broken ribs to work her way back to the top, but unfortunately skier Lindsey Vonn’s knee injury is keeping her out of the Olympics entirely.

Being an athlete is risky, as the high demands of most sports put a lot of stress on the body. While some sports injuries are unavoidable, there are several things you can do to help prevent the unthinkable from happening, particularly with regard to your feet. While an Olympic athlete has been training for years in preparation, you need to ease into training slowly if you are starting a new sport or wanting to go the next level. Your muscles need time to be conditioned, and doing too much too soon is a recipe for getting injured.

Build muscle strength by increasing training gradually, and cross train in different activities to maximize your potential. Warm up before and stretch after any activity. Stretches for your calves, arches and Achilles tendon are beneficial. Keep your feet in shape with various foot exercises as well. Pick up marbles with your toes while watching TV, or walk on your heels and then toes for a minute at a time each. Depending on your foot structure, orthotics can be inserted in your athletic footwear (including ski boots) to prevent pain.

At Houston Foot Specialists, we have a strong relationship with our active patients. We can help you manage any foot pain you may be having so you can stay in top shape. Contact Dr. Jeff Bowman for treatment or if you have any concerns about your foot health. Call our office in Houston, TX at (713) 467-8886 today.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cosmetic Foot Surgery: Extreme Makeover Gone Bad

Photo Credit: yingyo via

The term, “Put your best foot forward,” is often used when giving advice to someone going for an interview or starting his or her first day on a job. Many people go to great lengths to make this happen, such as participants in the show, Extreme Makeover. The makeovers usually don’t focus on feet, but there is a growing trend involving cosmetic foot surgery among those who truly want to look their best head to toe.

If you are wondering what types of foot plastic surgery could really be done, you may be surprised at the procedures some people are asking for. “Toe-besity” is a term that has been heard and refers to the notion that toes are too large. Women are having re-shaping procedures to make their toes more slender. Other trends in foot beautification involve laser treatments for permanent hair removal, filler injections to make wearing high heels less painful, and getting toes shortened and/or removed so they fit better in tight pointy shoes.

You only have one pair of feet to last you a lifetime and there are serious risks involved with cosmetic foot surgery. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society warns against it entirely due to complications like “permanent nerve damage, infection, bleeding, scarring, and chronic pain when walking.” There are many things you can do to take care of your feet and make them look healthier and more beautiful that don’t involve going under the knife.

If you have foot pain or an unsightly problem that bothers you, contact Dr. Jeff Bowman at Houston Foot Specialists. We can evaluate your concerns and provide you with safe and effective treatment options. Call our Houston, TX office at (713) 467-8886 to make an appointment today.