Podiatrist - Houston
1140 Business Center Drive Suite 510
Houston, TX 77043
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By Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman
July 23, 2014
Category: Nail Problems

Have the perfect toes for poolside funSunglasses, sunscreen, bathing suit, beach towel, IPod, water bottle and snacks – check off the list if you are getting ready for a fun summer vacation! If you have a hot spot destination in your future and the pool will be calling your name, make sure your nails and your toes are ready to be shown off. It’s not rocket science to take good care of your feet, but the following easy tips will keep them looking great, feeling healthy, and ready for vacation.

It is a great practice to regularly check your feet in order to avoid common foot woes such as ingrown toenails and fungal infections. These kinds of problems start out small and sneaky, but can take root quickly and become problems that are difficult to get rid of.

First, tend to your toenails properly. Before applying that spunky new, bright-colored toenail polish, make sure you trim your toenails straight across. Keep them just below the end of your toe—too short or curved and you could wind up with the start of an ingrown toenail, which is a painful problem you don’t want hindering your summer fun.

Second, it is best to leave your cuticles alone. Don’t cut them or push them back as they actually have the purpose of protecting against fungus and bacteria. Keep them moisturized and they will look healthy.

If you are taking off an old layer or two of polish, avoid using removers with an acetone base as it can strip the nail and cause it to become brittle. Use a smooth, fine nail file and file slowly in one direction. If you prefer to go to a salon, watch that the pedicurist is following these tips and is using completely sterilized instruments and footbath.

If you have any concerns before you go, or you notice a foot or toenail problem while you are looking at your feet on the pool lounge chair, don’t hesitate to contact Houston Foot Specialists. Dr. Bowman will get any problem solved quickly. Call our Houston, TX office at (713) 467-8886 or request an appointment online

Photo Credit: CapeJT via Pixabay.com

By Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman
July 21, 2014
Category: Heel Pain

Learn what causes your heel painOne of the biggest fears in medicine is NOT getting the right diagnosis.  To be honest, I’m not sure if your physician is more afraid than you as the patient.  In the world of feet, one of the most common complaints that presents in our clinics is heel pain; most commonly diagnosed as plantar fasciitis.  Now I’m not saying that your local Podiatrist has misdiagnosed you.  Please understand that is not the purpose of this blog.  Your physician is always running through a list of diagnoses for each complaint they see.  This is something we are taught from the very beginning.  We refer to it as differential diagnosis.  Each diagnosis is ruled in OR out based off of symptoms and tests.  Having said all this, what are the differential diagnoses for plantar heel pain?

1. Fracture – namely a stress fracture of the calcaneus (heel bone).  A true stress fracture is not visible on x-ray and may actually take several x-rays over the course of a week or two before you see the fracture.  You can fracture the heel spur that you often hear about.

2. Bone tumor – a tumor within the calcaneus can cause heel pain.  Often times though you may not know you have a bone tumor and may be an incidental finding.

3. Fat pad atrophy – like most things, our fat atrophies and thins as we age.  When young, you have a healthy, or should have, layer of fat beneath the calcaneus.  This provides some shock absorption as you walk.  Thinning of this layer reduces the absorptive capacity and so now more force is placed directly on the calcaneus.

4. Nerve entrapment – the most common nerves entrapped causing heel pain are within the tarsal tunnel.  We have discussed tarsal tunnel syndrome in a prior blog, so if you have any questions please refer back.  Another nerve that may become entrapped within this region is known as Baxter’s nerve.  Believe it or not, an entrapped nerve in the low back can also cause heel pain.

5. Bone bruise – yes you can actually bruise bone like your bruise the skin.  The one difference is that it takes a little longer for bone to recover.

6. Muscle/Fascial tear – it’s not common, but you can actually tear the muscles OR plantar fascia away from the calcaneus.

So, now you have a small taste of what your physician might be contemplating when your present in the clinic with heel pain.  There is a saying in medical school; don’t go chasing zebras over horses.  What this means is that you need to be looking at more common problems over the rare problem. 

If you are in need of foot or ankle care, please contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or visit www.houstonfootspecialists.com.

By Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman
July 17, 2014
Category: Nail Problems
Tags: Trauma   toe  

How many times have I said that it’s the smallest things that tend to cause the most pain?  Well if you haven’t heard it before or read previous blogs, I’ll give you another example of such a thing.  Your toenails.  Yes, you read it correctly, your toenails.  It’s hard to imagine that dead skin, for that is all they are, can cause pain.  When you rip or tear one off I assure you that pain will be felt, unless you have some pathological process that has disrupted your pain sensation.

How many times have you stubbed your toe or pulled off your sock, looked down only to notice that some portion if not your entire toenail has been torn off?  When this happens are you sure you know what you should do to treat it?  If not, then I encourage you to keep reading.

What to do?

1.       Decide to either scream out in pain with the occasional obscenity OR bite your lip/finger and cry silently.  Neither one is right or wrong.  I encourage you to be creative.

2.       Clean your toe

          a.       Nails are considered to be inherently dirty.  This is not saying you yourself are dirty so please don’t take offense.

          b.      Wash the toe with warm, soapy water

3.       Inspect your toe

          a.       If the nail has been fully avulsed (torn off), inspect the nail bed for any sign of laceration.

          b.      The same goes for if the part of the nail has been avulsed.

          c.       If the nail is intact but loose, trim the loose portion off and inspect the nail.

                            i.      A loose portion of nail can snag and cause further injury and pain

                            ii.      When trimming be careful to ONLY trim that which is loose from the underlying nail bed.  Use clean instrumentation.

If you are not comfortable doing this then I would suggest wrapping your toe in a bandage and making an appointment with your local Podiatrist to let them tend to it.

4.       Wash your toe again.  The solution to pollution is dilution. 

5.       Apply a tiny amount of topical triple antibiotic.  Too much will make the tissue too moist. 

6.       Apply some form of non-adherent dressing.  Avoid tight fitting shoe

7.       Schedule an appointment with your local Podiatrist and let them examine your toe.

8.       Treat yourself to Ice Cream!

If you have any need of a foot/ankle specialist, please contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or visit www.houstonfootspecialists.com

By Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman
July 16, 2014
Category: General
Tags: Swelling   Feet   heat   ice  

Baseball is in full swing at neighborhood diamonds, little league games, and the major and minor leagues. America’s favorite past time comes with some risks though, and injuries can happen. Houston Astros Minor League baseball player Carlos Correa has recently dealt with a foot and ankle injury. Players at this level have medical teams to keep them healthy, but do you know what to do at home if you injure your foot or ankle? Whether you should be heating or icing is commonly misunderstood, but both are an important part of the healing process.

The reason it is important to understand when you should use heat over ice or vice versa is that each plays a different role in the healing of the injury. When you suffer an injury such as a sprain or even a minor fracture, the first thing you want to do is ice. When muscles, tendons, and ligaments have been stretched or torn during an acute injury, the application of ice targets the localized swelling. The swelling you often see after an injury is due to blood leaking from ruptured capillaries. Ice helps to constrict your blood vessels, which in turn slows down the swelling. It also helps reduce pain in general. Use crushed ice in a plastic bag covered with a damp towel. Apply for 20 minutes and then take it off for 20-40 minutes. Depending on the injury, you can do this several times a day.

It is several days into the healing process that heat can come in. Once the swelling has stopped, heat can relax the surrounding muscles and keep the area flexible and ready to withstand movement. Heat stimulates blood flow and soothes sore muscles. The boost in blood supply makes heat therapy a good help for areas with chronic pain.

Any foot pain that does not subside or worsens should be addressed. If you have suffered a recent injury or are concerned about the healing of a sprain or fracture, please contact Houston Foot Specialists for help. Call Dr. Jeff Bowman at our Houston, TX office by dialing (713) 467-8886.

Photo credit: kwschenk/stock.xchng

By Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman
July 14, 2014
Category: Footwear
Tags: Orthotics  

The world of shoe inserts is vast and confusing.  Like new and expecting parents entering Babies R’ Us for the first time, you are not quite sure where to start and which one is right for you.  They all look comfortable and appealing, especially the ones with gel.  Television commercials lure you in with catchy phrases like “Are you Gellin”.  These however are no closer to solving your problem than your countless google searches.  The cherry on top of all of this is that there are custom inserts.  Thankfully, these are not sold on the shelves at your local Walgreens.  It is these custom orthoses that we will discuss.

The biggest question concerning custom orthoses is When Should I Get?

After you have exhausted all efforts at over the counter (OTC) inserts.  What do I mean?

o   You have tried many attempts at OTC devices with little to no relief of any symptom you may be enduring

o   You find yourself buying OTC inserts so frequent that you could have easily afforded a pair OR two of custom made ones

The deformity OR symptoms you are trying to correct is/are too severe to be properly accounted for with OTC’s

o   You need more control and support than what and OTC may offer

What is the difference between an OTC and a Custom?

OTC’s are generic and are made for any foot/individual

Custom is specifically tailored for your foots needs

o   Your local Podiatrist will examine your feet, taking multiple measurements of the different joints that are involved in your foot function

o   A mold of your foot is then made with plaster or fiberglass

o   These molds are sent to a Pedorthist (trained professional who specializes in making orthotics) who builds your insert off of the specs from the Podiatrist’s measurement.

NOTE: Custom inserts have an extremely long life and will offer relief as long as your foot structure/function do not change.   Mine are 11 years old!

Custom Orthotics will help many different foot deformities and can prevent problems down the road like bunions, hammertoes, heel pain, ball of foot pain and many others.  If you run or walk for exercise you should be wearing orthotics

If your children have flat feet or you do, you need orthotics.  I started my daughter in custom orthotics at age 2 ½.

If you have been using OTC inserts and tired of buying them so often OR need better relief, please contact Dr. Bowman.  If you have any other foot/ankle related issues you can also contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or visit www.houstonfootspecialists.com

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1140 Business Center Drive
Houston, TX 77043

Podiatrist - Houston, Houston Foot Specialists, 1140 Business Center Drive, Houston TX, 77043 713-467-8886