Flip-Flops: Dangerous for Your Feet?

Now that the weather is starting to improve, you might be thinking about sporting a pair of flip-flops the next time you head outside. While flip-flops are convenient and comfortable, they can actually damage your feet if you wear them too often. Everyday flip-flop use can contribute to the development of conditions like plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, and shin splints. Flip-flops that are too small for your feet might give you blisters or leave you susceptible to other infections. On the other hand, flip-flops that are too big can cause you to slip and fall while you walk.

Problems Caused by Flip-Flops

We know that most flip-flops are comfortable, stylish, and easy to slip on and off — they really are the perfect shoe for any summer beach goer. Unfortunately, though, they are also known to cause problems. Long-term flip-flop use can affect your feet by causing the following:

  • Ankle & hip problems
  • Lower back problems
  • Pain in the balls of the feet
  • Problems with foot arches
  • Changes in the way you walk

Flip-Flop Related Injuries

Because flip-flops are relatively weak and do not provide the same amount of support as sneakers, people who wear flip-flops are more vulnerable to injuries caused by dropped objects or being stepped on. The nature and style of the shoe also leave your feet more prone to other issues, like cuts or fungal infections.

Common injuries and ailments related to overuse of flip-flops include:

  • Sprained ankles
  • Blisters
  • Infections
  • Cuts and Scrapes

The best way to avoid these injuries is to wear flip-flops that support and protect your feet. In general, foot care experts believe that properly-fitting sneakers are the best option for your feet.

If you do suffer any flip-flop related injuries or conditions this Spring/Summer, set up a consultation with Dr. Mark Wolpa at Bay Area Foot & Laser Podiatry Group. He and his experienced team will help diagnose and treat your flip-flop related injury. You can click here to request an appointment online. You can also call (510) 849-3800 to reach our Berkeley, CA office or (925) 937-2222 for our Walnut Creek, CA office.

5 Ways to Avoid Nail Fungus Infections

Toenail fungus can cause a smelly and yellowish infection under your toenails that will eventually lead to the complete removal of the nail if treatment isn’t started before the infection gets out of control. Fungi thrive in warm, wet environments, which is why they love your warm, sweaty feet. Interestingly, the same fungi that cause athlete’s foot are ones that can spread under the nail, resulting in a thick, brittle, moonlike appearance and that telltale sulfur smell.

Some of the best tips for avoiding nail fungus infections include:

  • Proper nail care: Always cut your nails straight across rather than close to the skin. As an added benefit, this greatly reduces the incidence of ingrown toenails.
  • Cleanliness: Washing your feet regularly will help to avoid spreading the fungi. Always be careful to dry your feet completely before putting on socks and shoes.
  • Breathable footwear: Lighter socks and breathable footwear made with fabrics like GORE-TEX and linen will help keep your feet cooler and therefore much drier.
  • Medicated powders and lotions: Antifungal powder can be used on your feet and inside your footwear. Antifungal creams and lotions will also help heal dry skin problems such as calluses.
  • Foot protection: When using public areas and facilities such as locker rooms, gyms, jujitsu parlors, and swimming areas, remember to wear sandals or shower shoes to avoid coming into contact with fungi and other microorganisms that can cause infections.

If you still develop a toenail fungus infection, Bay Area Foot & Laser Group offers cutting-edge laser nail therapy that can be used to clear up your nails and kill the fungus in a fast, effective procedure that shows great results in just a few sessions with zero time required for recovery.

Dr. Mark Wolpa and his team at Bay Area Foot & Laser Group in Berkeley and Walnut Creek, CA have the experience and technology necessary to treat your toenail fungus. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please contact one of our offices located in Berkeley, CA and Walnut Creek, CA.

Heel Pain: Types and Treatment

Heel pain is one of the most common problems that we treat here at Bay Area Foot & Laser Podiatry Group.  When you first come to our Berkeley or Walnut Creek, CA offices, our team will work with you to identify the underlying cause of your heel pain so we to put together the most effective treatment plan. That treatment can range from simple foot exercises that you can complete at home, to laser therapy to reduce pain and inflammation depending on the condition being treated.

Causes of Heel Pain

In most cases, the main cause of heel pain for most patients is a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This condition occurs when the connective tissue on the underside of your foot that connects the rear-foot to the forefoot — also known as the plantar fascia — becomes inflamed. People with this condition often experience a sharp pain on the bottom of the heel, especially after long periods of rest (like when taking the first steps after waking up).

However, plantar fasciitis is not the only cause of heel pain we treat at Bay Area Foot & Laser Group. If you are experiencing tenderness behind the heel, it could be inflammation caused by Achilles tendonitis or peroneal tendonitis. The Achilles tendon is the strongest and longest tendon in your body, and it gets a lot of use on a daily basis. That means it’s very susceptible to overuse and overexertion, which often manifests itself as inflammation and ultimately pain in the heel area.

Treatment for Heel Pain

The treatment for your heel pain will depend on the diagnosis. For mild-to-moderate cases of plantar fasciitis or tendonitis, Dr. Mark Wolpa may recommend a simple stretching regimen that you can incorporate into your daily routine. Because heel pain is often related to tightness in the connective tissues, patients can benefit from various stretches that Dr. Wolpa can explain in detail. If those therapies aren’t reducing pain, Dr. Wolpa may also recommend bracing or even steroid injections.

For more serious cases of plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, advanced therapies like MLS Laser therapy may be recommended. This safe, minimally invasive procedure uses a laser light to target pain and reduce inflammation. The laser uses energy to penetrate the skin and target the problem areas to repair soft tissue. Dr. Wolpa performs this procedure in office and has seen great results from patients hoping to reduce heel pain.

If you have heel pain and would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wolpa at Bay Area Foot & Laser Group in Berkeley, CA call (510) 849-3800. You can also click here to schedule an appointment online.