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Lest We Forget: Remembering our Veterans’ Hard Work

Remembrance Day is a memorial day to remember the end of World War I and to commemorate all those who served during the war.

During WWI soldiers were subjected to horrible conditions in trenches and on the battlefield. On average, each soldier would spend 8 days in the front line and 4 days in the reserve. However, when a soldier was injured, another had to take their place and they could possibly spend around 30 days in the front line trenches.

Trenches were dug around 10ft deep and 6ft wide and in the spring and fall they would fill up with rain up to a soldier’s waist.  During the harsh winter months, trenches did not provide a lot of shelter or warmth. Blankets and clothing were said to freeze, food became frozen and inedible and the frozen mud walls became hard as stone. Soldiers suffered from frostbite and exposure leading to amputations. Once the snow and mud started to thaw, it only escalated the muddy and wet conditions in the trenches similar to those in the warmer months. Along with thick mud and flooding, trenches were also infested with rodents and insects.

Prolonged exposure to moisture and unsanitary conditions lead to “trench foot”, which causes open sores, blisters, fungal nail and skin infection and eventually amputation due to gangrene.

In the early stages of war, the standard footwear of the British Army were known as “Ammunition boots” which were unlined ankle boots made out of tanned cowhide with an iron plate half sole that was fixed to the heel. They were designed to be durable but not comfortable nor waterproof.

Over the course of the war, due to the increasing number of British casualties caused by trench foot, trenches were constructed with better drainage and more importantly soldiers received improved waterproof footwear called the “Perishing boot”.

These boots were designed as an American combat boot and were made out of heavier leather, they had a thicker sole and several more hobnails and treatments to improve waterproofing.

The Perishing boot was also dubbed “Little Tanks” as the soldiers found the construction heavy and bulky but incidents of trench foot dramatically decreased.

Fashion Forward Shoes That Are Also Good For Your Feet

There is a common misconception that healthy shoes are ugly shoes.

This is not the case! There are actually a number of different companies that design and make shoes with the foot’s anatomy, activity and overall health in mind all while keeping up with latest fashion trends. Most of them are also made with a removable foot bed for easy accommodation of a custom foot orthotic.

Custom foot orthotics are custom-made insoles prescribed and dispensed by a health care practitioner, made from raw materials and can be moved from one shoe to another. It is a functional device that works to support, stabilize, correct foot and gait anomalies. If a Licensed Chiropodist has recommended orthotics for you, it is important to wear the devices on a daily basis to reduce stress on your feet and the lower extremities.

Brands that are Orthopaedic Footwears:

Clarks

Clarks has a great selection of footwear for both men and women. Probably the most fashion forward of the list, the sleek, simple designs are what attracts most of their customers. Most shoes are also made with a removable foot bed, come in half sizes, and varying widths.

Naot

Naot is most well known for their signature footbeds made from cork, latex and suede. The latex layer adds softness and padding while the cork provides flexibility, durability, and shock absorption. These two materials are then wrapped in suede, which provides additional comfort and absorbs excess moisture. Finally, the footbed is designed with arch support, a deep heel cup, an elevated centre, and hallux support to help support and better align your foot.

Mephisto

Mephisto offers a wide selection of sandals, casual walking shoes, dress shoes, and winter boots. Their footwear includes their innovative soft-air technology in the soles for excellent shock absorption, cushioning, and better air circulation for healthier foot climates. With their removeable footbeds, these shoes are perfect for orthotics while guaranteeing tireless and easy walking for hours on end.

Ara

Ara is a German shoe company that claims to offer the comfort of a running shoe in a ballerina slipper and women’s pumps. This family owned business makes shoes with a High Soft feature that combines a super soft upper material and a flexible, soft padded outsole for ultimate comfort.

All the shoes mentioned above, and more are available at Feet First Clinic. We are open six days a week!

Trick or Treat: How to Prepare for Halloween

Are you prepared for Trick or Treating this year? Halloween is fast approaching and with the unpredictable October weather you want to be ready for anything.

Footwear & Socks

You will be spending a few hours walking around outside so the most important preparation is good footwear. Ideal footwear for Trick or Treating should be waterproof or water resistant. Avoid putting your kids in mesh running shoes as they can get too wet while running through grass or leaves. Your kids should also be wearing warm socks made out of Merino wool or Bamboo for extra moisture wicking properties. While your kids are busy running from one house to the next, you will be mostly standing. To prevent tired and achy legs, consider wearing compression stockings. Sigvaris Merino Wool Compression stockings are a great outdoor compression stocking that keeps you thermoregulated.

Be seen

The most important Halloween safety rule to follow is to be properly seen. Most Halloween costumes are too dark for the night time Trick or Treating. Consider putting your kids in brightly colored or white costumes or adding a splash of colour to their costume with reflective padding/stickers. Another great idea is for kids and adults to wear glow sticks, bracelets or headbands.

Foot Spray

After a long night of walking and running around in the wet or damp weather, it is recommended to sanitize all footwear. Bacteria and fungus thrive in warm moist environments created by excessive moisture with sweaty feet in wet or damp shoes. Gehwol Foot and Shoe deodorant helps to kill odour causing bacteria and eliminate fungal spores in shoes. It is recommended to remove the insole or orthotic inside the shoe, spray the Gehwol Foot and Shoe deodorant inside and let it dry overnight.

Sore Feet? 

You have been at work all day and now you have to take your kids out Trick or Treating so get your feet ready with some extra support. If you have tired and sore feet at the end of the day, consider wearing orthotics to help align your feet in the most efficient position.

Custom foot orthotics are recommended for people who experience sore feet, heel pain, ankle pain or have too much movement/drifting in their joints (like a bunion or hammer toes) Superfeet are the best non-prescription and non-custom insole you can buy. Superfeet have a harder plastic shell which offer general arch support and are the most widely used insole for athletes.

superfeet insoles

Another great device to help your feet feel better is the Bunion Aligner.

The Bunion Aligner helps to correctly position your big toe while strengthening your muscles and ligaments around the joint.

BUNION ALIGNER POSTS
Bunion Aligner

Many individuals who wear the bunion aligner have found less pain around the bunion area, a wider gap between the first and second toe and less pain in the balls of their feet.

Call Feet First Clinic to book an appointment for a biomechanical assessment and gait analysis to find out if orthotics or bunion aligners are right for your feet.

How to Manage Foot Calluses

Calluses are thickened and hardened layers of skin that develop as a result of pressure or friction. It is the skin’s way of protecting itself from these external forces. Calluses may appear yellow, white, or grey in hue and can be accompanied by dry scaling skin and even fissures.

Because our feet take on a lot of stress (i.e. supporting our body weight and taking us wherever we need to go) calluses are commonly seen on the feet, particularly at the heels and balls of feet. Ill-fitting footwear can also cause calluses to form on the sides or the tops of toes. While calluses are generally harmless, when left untreated for a prolonged period of time, they can become very uncomfortable to walk on. Not only that, but calluses also reduce the skin’s elasticity and moisture, making it more likely to crack under shear forces.

Whats the difference between a callus and a corn?

The major difference between a callus and a corn is that a callus will cover a diffuse area on the skin and usually have a relatively equal thickness, whereas a corn occurs in a localized area and contains a deep centre of hardened tissue. This deep centre is called a nucleus and it goes so deep that it presses into the underlying layers of tissue causing pain.

Corns usually form at the site of a bony protrusion and thus are commonly seen on the tops of, at the tips of, or in between the lesser digits of the foot.

How to take care of your calluses and corns

You can help manage these thickened and hardened areas of skin by:

  • Moisturizing daily with a urea based emollient (e.g. Dermal Therapy)
  • Using a foot file or pumice stone to exfoliate the dead skin away
  • Wearing proper footwear with a wide and deep toe box is highly recommended

When to seek medical attention for calluses and corns

Book an appointment to see a Licensed Chiropodist for your calluses and/or corns if you notice any of the following:

  • Pain
  • Discomfort
  • Brown or red pigmentation within the callus
  • Leakage of fluid/pus
  • Swelling and redness in the surrounding skin

Calluses and corns can build up so much that it cuts off the blood supply to the skin underneath it, causing the skin to break down.

This may result in an ulcer or wound which can become infected.

A Licensed Chiropodist will be able to remove all calluses and corns on the foot by sharp debridement. If necessary, he or she may also offload pressures from these pressure points via means of various foot supplies such as foot pads, toe wedges, or toe props, and even custom foot orthotics.

Book an appointment with a Chiropodist at Feet First Clinic today!

When You Need to Get a New Pair of Shoes

Everything has an expiration date, including your shoes. Keeping your old and worn-down footwear in your closet can take a toll on your feet later on. It’s time to take a look at your shoes to see if they’re worthy of staying or if they should be thrown out.

Wear and Tear

You know that it’s time for a new pair of shoes when your favourite pair is looking worse for wear. Small problems like chewed-up laces and slipping insoles can be easily replaced. But, you should consider throwing out the pair when you spot one or more of these red flags:

  • The tread has been smoothed over from friction and repetitive impact.
  • There are creases in the mid-sole and heel.
  • The heel cup is fraying or completely split so that it rubs against your skin.
  • There are rips in the toe box and on the sides.

Essentially, if your shoes look and feel nothing like they did when you first bought them, you need to get some upgrades as soon as possible.

High Mileage

You need to track how much distance you’ve covered in your athletic shoes so that you can tell when they need to be put away for good. The logic behind this is simple: the further you go with your shoes, the faster they wear out. If you’re only using a pair to go on short walks around the neighbourhood every weekend, you won’t need to get an upgrade for a long time.

Ideally, you should get a new pair of running shoes after running or walking 500 kilometres in them. Avid runners and joggers can meet this goal in a matter of months, especially when they’re training for 5Ks, half-marathons, marathons and other ambitious races.

Pain and Discomfort

An old pair of athletic shoes can be the catalyst behind a long list of problems. When they aren’t offering proper arch support and shock absorption, they’re going to punish your feet, your knees, your legs and other connecting muscles and joints. For instance, if you suffer from Iliotibial band syndrome or a stubborn case of plantar fasciitis, you need to take a look at the shoes you’re exercising in.

You can visit some of the best chiropodists in Toronto to diagnose your painful condition and get treatment fast.

What Should You Do About It?

If you’ve noticed these warning signs, you need to get appropriate replacements for your bad shoes. One out of the three warning signs is too many.

You should check out our on-site shoe store for upgrades that are guaranteed to offer superior arch support and shock absorption during high-impact activities and long-distance runs. Our experts will make sure to measure your feet and recommend shoe styles so that you find the perfect match.

Book an appointment with a chiropodist to deal with problems like plantar fasciitis, runner’s knee and hammer toe. They will provide effective treatment options, including custom orthotic inserts and foot care recommendations. So, if your shoes took a toll on your body, you can find upgrades and start your physical recovery at Feet First Clinic.

You wouldn’t keep a shirt that has frayed seams and holes in the fabric. You wouldn’t keep a pair of pants that were painfully tight and left angry red marks on your skin. Don’t treat your running shoes any different. Get rid of them when they wear out.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is fast approaching on October 20th, 2019. You have been training hard for the marathon so here are a few tips to get you feeling your best:

Have the right footwear

Photo of a man tying his shoe lace - A closeup of a man tying his shoe lace resting his foot on a steal fence, after a run work out. He is wearing a red sweater, black shorts and sports shoes. In the distance the sun is setting giving a nice warm light.

Most marathon runners have their favourite trusted brands that they spend months training in. Months before the marathon, you should check the wear pattern on your soles to make sure they will be in good shape for the big day. If you find you are tilting too much on the inside/outside of your heel or there is excessive wear under the balls of your feet then they are too worn out for a marathon. New shoes can take a few weeks to break in so make sure you run a few weeks/months in new shoes to get used to them.

Wear the right socks

sports-more-cut-off-2048×1024

Socks are just as important as good shoes during the day of the marathon. The right socks can help reduce blisters, calluses and corns and they can help keep your feet dry. Seamless socks can reduce friction and aid in redistributing pressure points. Sock material is another important consideration. Consider buying Bamboo socks or socks with moisture wicking technology as opposed to 100% cotton which can hold in too much moisture. If your feet or legs get swollen during a run, try Sigvaris Running Compression Socks. Compression stockings can help reduce swelling and aid in keeping blood flow to your muscles to keep them energized for longer.

Moisturize your heels

If you have cracks in your heels or feet, you should take care of them before the marathon to avoid problems with your performance. Two weeks before the marathon start moisturizing your heels and feet every evening. Products with excellent ingredients to help heel cracks and dry skin are Gehwol Soft Feet Cream, Gehwol Salve for Cracked skin, Dermal Therapy and Camillen 60 Intense Fissure Cream. Avoid walking around barefoot, especially around hard surfaces, to prevent further complications with dry cracked heels.

 

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Wear your orthotics

Orthotics are excellent devices for helping with shock absorption and increasing stability. You need to make sure you have run with your orthotics weeks and even months before the marathon. It is very important to not wear new orthotics the day of your marathon as they can cause blistering, rubbing, instability and soreness if they are not broken in.

Don’t change anything the day of the marathon

You have spent weeks or months preparing for this marathon, perfecting your technique, wearing the right shoes and socks so don’t change anything the day of the marathon. It’s important to remember, there are no last minute changes that can drastically improve your technique. It is the weeks of preparation that will help you succeed.

Get a medical pedicure 

Runners feet are prone to developing bruised and damaged nails, calluses, corns and blisters more so than the average person. At least two weeks before your marathon, get your feet ready by getting a medical pedicure at Feet First Clinic. Our highly trained Chiropodists will safely trim your nails, help fix cracked or bruised nails, and take care of any calluses and corns.

Relax after the race
After spending all day running, you need to take care to relax your muscles and feet. You can relax at home with Gehwol foot bath and afterwards for added relief moisturize your feet with Gehwol Warming Balm.

Heel Spur: Causes and Prevention

A heel spur is a bony protrusion or growth from the underside of the heel bone. It forms over time due to repetitive muscular and ligament strain from activity such as walking, running, and jumping. It is a condition often associated with plantar fasciitis, which is the inflammation of the fibrous tissue that runs from the heel bone to the ball of the foot, causing heel pain. Contrary to popular belief, a heel spur itself does not cause pain at the heel; rather it is the soft tissue injury associated with it.

The heel spur is simply the reaction to the problem at hand, not the cause. These associated soft tissue injuries usually cause a sharp pain at the heel with the first steps in the morning or with the initial steps after rest. Some report the pain turns into a dull ache and comes back with increased activity throughout the day.

You can definitely increase your risk of developing a heel spur and associated heel or plantar arch pain by:

  • Wearing unsupported footwear
  • Not addressing fault foot mechanics and abnormal gait patterns
  • Increasing weight bearing activity, especially in sports that require you to run and jump
  • Being overweight

Heel Pain

Although a heel spur can only be removed by surgical means, the associated pain from various soft tissue injuries can be managed through conservative means such as rest, ice, proper footwear, custom foot orthotics, and daily stretching.

Look for shoes that have a cushioned sole with arch support rather than a shoe that is completely flat. A good shoe will also have good torsional stability, a firm heel counter, and a roomy toe box. In addition, for home shoes, opt for sandals or slippers with a cork foot bed and again, arch support is a priority.

Talk to your local Chiropodist for advice on custom foot orthotics. A custom insole will support your foot in all the right places and correct any harmful compensations or abnormal gait patterns. Furthermore, a heel pad may be added to provide additional cushioning or a horseshoe pad which will offload the heel spur/area of pain.

Finally stretching the muscles and tendons of the foot will reduce tension in these soft tissues as well as strengthen them.

Calf stretched against the wall and on a step are particularly helpful. Remember to hold your stretch for 15-30 seconds, repeating the exercise 10 times on each leg.

exercises
Calf Exercises

For more information on heel spurs and effective treatment options, book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists at Feet First Clinic.

We are open six days a week!

Solve Your Ankle Pain with Supportive Shoes

The most popular shoe style used for ankle support is the high-top — this shoe style extends above the ankle. Lots of basketball players sport high-tops because they want to reduce their risk of ankle injuries from jumping, landing, falling and getting hit by other players.

Sadly, there’s no scientific proof that high-top sneakers prevent more injuries than low-top sneakers on the basketball court. The height of the heel cover might not matter when it comes to support. So, what will make a shoe better for your ankles?

A Good Fit

Shoes that don’t fit properly are more likely to lead to foot conditions and injuries. You should come to Feet First Clinic to have your feet measured and get the best fit.

A Strong Tread

Look for rubber soles with strong tread. These give your shoe grip and support on different terrain, preventing your feet from sliding or slipping when they hit the ground.

Orthotic Inserts

Orthotic inserts will keep your feet steady while you’re moving and increase shock absorption in your shoes. When you get them custom-made, orthotics can alleviate discomfort from arch problems, musculoskeletal conditions and recovering injuries.

Causes of Ankle Pain

Long-term foot conditions can cause ankle pain and discomfort just as severe as a sudden sports injury. Here is a brief list of examples:

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone. When the muscles can’t absorb the shock from impact, the bones take the damage. Unlike a break, stress fractures deal with small shocks from repetitive activities. They’re overuse injuries found in athletes like runners and basketball players.

Chronic Ankle Instability

The medical condition called chronic ankle instability might be easier to recognize as the common term “weak ankles,” where someone frequently rolls or turns their ankles. This condition often happens to people who had a previous ankle sprain that didn’t heal properly.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendinitis is a condition caused by the chronic strain and inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The swelling and pain affect the heel and surrounding areas, including the ankles. People notice the symptoms of Achilles tendinitis the most when they’re exercising.

High Arches

Up to 20% of the population have feet with high arches. The problem with high arches is that they don’t distribute shock evenly throughout the foot, only letting it hit the ball and heel. The uneven distribution leads to symptoms like heel pain, ball of foot pain and ankle pain. Click here to read more about high arches and what other foot conditions they are closely connected to.

If you’re not sure what’s the cause behind your ankle troubles, you should visit a chiropodist. They will diagnose the issue and present you with effective treatment options. Book an appointment at the foot and ankle clinic right after you notice any suspicious symptoms.

Whenever you’re dealing with foot pain, you need to investigate your shoes. The wrong types of footwear could be contributing to that pain, meaning the right types of replacements can offer relief. Anyone who is living with ankle problems should get themselves a new pair of supportive shoes.

Toronto Pumpkin Fest

If you’re looking for something exciting to do for the Thanksgiving weekend, plan a trip with your family down to a massive pumpkin patch at Downey’s Farm in Caledon, Ontario, just a 30-minute drive from Toronto.

Since Toronto Pumpkinfest is an outdoor event, there are several things you will want to prepare for beforehand.

The most important item to think about is footwear.

Fall weather can be unpredictable so be sure to check the weather the day of to prepare accordingly. Most outdoor events tend to be pretty muddy so wearing waterproof hiking shoes or boots is a safe choice. Be sure to check your shoes for any cracks or wear before the start of the season.

If you are looking for new footwear, brands such as Clarks, Portofino, Ara, Mephisto and Naot have a great selection of stylish and supportive footwear.

comfortable footwear
(From left to right) Clarks, Mephisto and Ara

Stay warm with proper fitting thermal socks or Merino wool socks which have moisture wicking properties to keep your feet dry. If you have tired or heavy legs that are prone to getting cold, consider ordering a pair of Sigvaris Merino Wool compression stockings.

merino wool compression

Compression stockings are graduated, which means they are tighter at the ankles and looser at the calves, which helps promote continuous circulation. If you are living with Raynauds or are prone to chilblains, Pyro Socks for Cold Feet by Infracare allow your feet to stay warm with their bio-material.

After spending all day outside, you can relax your feet at home, soak them with Gehwol foot bath and moisturize it with Gehwol Warming Balm.

Click the here for more details about Toronto Pumpkin Fest.

The Anatomy of Toe Deformities

The lesser digits in the foot are prone to deformity when there is an imbalance to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments surrounding the toe joints. These imbalances can occur due to faulty biomechanics, having excessively long toes, neuromuscular disease, systemic conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes), ill-fitting footwear choices, and genetics. Depending on where the bend in the toe occurs, the descriptive name for each deformity is given. Lesser toe deformities are commonly seen in a high arched foot or a foot with bunions. Continue reading to find out more about the different types of lesser digital deformities and how they can be prevented and treated.

Types of Toe Deformities:

Illustration of mallet toe, hammer toe, claw toe, and retracted toe

Mallet toe

A mallet toe has an abnormal bend in the joint of the toe that is closest to the toenail.

Hammer toe

A hammer toe has an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the toe. This term is commonly used as a general term to describe all lesser toe deformities.

Claw toe

A claw toe has an abnormal bend in both the middle joint and the last joint closest to the toenail of a toe.

Retracted toe

A retracted toe is very similar to a claw toe. In fact, it is a claw toe that is also pulled back or retracted so that the digit abnormally bent but also lifted from the ground.

Treatment and Prevention

All lesser toe deformities can either be flexible or rigid. The aim of treatment is to keep the joints in the toe flexible and prevent progression to a rigid deformity.

The following recommendations will help to do just that:

Wear properly fitting and supportive footwear

Wearing shoes that are the correct size is the simplest thing you can do to help your feet. If you do not know your foot size, use a standard foot measuring device to measure your foot before you purchase shoes. Always trying on shoes and walking around the store in them before purchasing will also help to determine if they fit properly. As a general rule, there should be about 1 cm distance between the longest digit and the end of the shoe. If you have digital deformities, look for shoes that are wide and deep enough at the toe box. Bring your shoes to Feet First Clinic if you want them stretched to accommodate bunions and hammer toes. Finally, avoid wearing unsupported shoes such as flip flops that encourage your toes to grip the shoe as you walk. Instead, opt for shoes that have arch support in the foot bed, a cushioned sole, and a minimal to low heel.

Address biomechanical issues

Faulty foot mechanics such as overpronation, which is the movement exhibited when your foot rolls towards your arches as you walk, can be a major culprit of hammer toes. In a pronated foot, the smaller muscles in the foot lose their function and the larger muscles gain mechanical advantage causing the toes to curl. The good news is that overpronation can be corrected and managed by custom foot orthotics -functional devices that are made to support, stabilize, and align the foot in its most anatomically efficient position.

Address painful corns and calluses

Lesser toe deformities can result in areas of increased pressures on the digits and consequently painful corns and/or calluses in these places. See your local chiropodist for debridement of these painful lesions and ask him or her about any over the counter toe supplies such as, hammer toe crests and silicone toe sleeves that may help.

Strengthen the muscles in the foot with these daily foot exercises.

As mentioned previously, toes bend abnormally due to muscular imbalance. This muscular imbalance can be caused by weak muscles in the foot and lower limb. Stretching and strengthening exercises will help to maintain flexibility in the digits and prevent less toe deformities.

Book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodist at Feet First Clinic for your hammer toe concerns.

We are located at 2481 Bloor Street West and are open six days a week!