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Useful Tips That Will Help Athletes Recover from Injuries

If you’re dealing with a sports injury that will take longer than an afternoon to heal, you need to consider a long-term recovery plan. Here are some tips to speed up the healing process and reduce your risk of re-injury:

Don’t Go Back to Working Out without Permission!

Before you ease back into your routine, you need to consult a medical professional to see if they give you the go-ahead. You may feel like you’re ready to get back on the treadmill or jump back onto the basketball court, but that doesn’t mean you actually are. Getting back into your regular routine could sabotage the progress you’ve made.

Go for Low-Impact Activities!

Certain types of activities will be easier on your body than others. You should incorporate low impact exercises into your workout routine to stay in shape during your recovery period. 

Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise. The water supports your weight, so going through the motions won’t put a strain on your joints. If you’re not a strong swimmer, you can still put on your bathing suit for water aerobics — this is a workout routine that takes place in the shallow end of the pool. It’s famous for helping people with sports injuries, osteoarthritis and other physical complications. 

An activity like restorative yoga is also a good choice because it’s low-intensity, and it accommodates a variety of physical limitations. Let the instructor know about your injury ahead of time, so they can choose positions that work for you. 

Make Yourself Comfortable!

Get yourself the right equipment to ease the discomfort of your injury and make your day to day less of a hassle. For instance, someone dealing with ankle pain could visit Feet First Clinic for an assessment to see if they should get orthopedic shoes or custom orthotics. The additional cushioning from specialized footwear could reduce discomfort by taking some pressure off of the joint. The additional support could also protect the ankle from re-injury.

Here are some more products that can combat the aches and pains from sports injuries:

  • Braces/stabilizers/supports
  • Athletic tape
  • Pillows
  • Ice packs
  • Heating pads

What If You’re Not Sure That You’re Injured?

You’re not sure if your Achilles Tendon pain or aching knees are symptoms of sports injuries, or if they’re just signs that you need a break in your workout routine.

You should come to Feet First Clinic to see a chiropodist. They will ask about your symptoms and do a physical examination to determine if you have a concerning problem that needs addressing. They can also request that you do a video gait analysis to identify abnormal movement patterns that could point to musculoskeletal conditions.

In some cases, you may need to need to go to a medical imaging centre for an ultrasound or X-ray.

A sports injury can be very frustrating to deal with. All you will want is for the injury to hurry up and heal so that you can get back to normal. But the smartest thing you can do is take your time. Pushing forward and ignoring your physical limitations will not make things better. If anything, it will make your injury worse.

How to treat Blisters

What are blisters and what causes them?

Blisters are small, fluid-filled bubbles on the upper most layer of the skin. The blisters on your feet are most often caused by friction, although they can also occur as a result of extreme temperatures, chemical exposure, and certain medical conditions. Increased moisture or damp conditions increase the chance of a blister forming. The blister forms to actually protect and cushion the layers of skin underneath it, allowing the skin time to heal. The fluid within the blister can also vary from plasma-like fluid leaking from the cells as the top layer separates from the layer beneath it, to blood and even pus depending on the cause. If a small blood vessel at the surface of the skin ruptures, blood will leak in to the blister, giving it a dark bluish-purple appearance.

Treatment

More often than not, blisters will resolve on their own with time. Although it is tempting to pop and peel them, try to leave them alone. The roof of a blister helps to protect your skin from infection and removing it prematurely results in a wound. If you leave them alone, you will find that as new skin grows underneath it, the fluid inside the blister with reabsorb into the skin and the roof of the blister will dry and peel off naturally. While the blister is fresh, wear shoes that reduce pressure in the area of concern or avoid the shoes that caused them in the first place. In addition, covering it with a band-aid or gauze will provide added protection.

If you’re prone to blisters and you have diabetes, book an appointment with a Chiropodist today to have him or her assess your feet and treat them accordingly. Additional measures may need to be made to ensure blisters do not reoccur as they put you at risk for additional complications.

Prevention

There are a number of things you can do to help prevent blisters. First and foremost, ensure you are wearing shoes that properly fit your feet and that are comfortable. If you have a new pair of shoes, gradually break them in rather than wearing them for an eight-hour day the first time you decide to wear them. Also, reduce the moisture at your feet by always wearing socks when wearing closed toe shoes, opting for moisture-wicking socks especially during exercise, and applying foot powders either directly on the foot or even sprinkling some in your socks if your feet tend to perspire excessively. Finally, if you know you are prone to blisters at a certain area on your foot, be proactive and apply a piece of moleskin to reduce friction and shear forces.

Blisters may seem like a small problem, but they can be rather painful. Pain with every step throughout your day can really impact the quality of your life.

Remember, it’s the little things that can make a big difference!

For all your foot concerns and for all products mentioned above check out our Toronto Foot Clinic!

To schedule best foot care treatment with our licensed Chiropodists (foot specialists) check out our website for more inquiries or call 416-769-FEET(3338).

Feet First Clinic is open Monday-Friday 10am-7pm, Saturdays 10am-4pm. You do not need a referral to become a patient at our Foot clinic.

Last Minute Summer Foot Checklist

Summer in Toronto is spectacular. The sun is out, people have come out of hibernation, and are spending more time outdoors; walking instead of driving or taking public transit, participating in sport activities, attending local festivals, camping, hiking, and more!

 

However, with increased activity, we can’t forget about our feet. In fact, it’s all the more reason we should give our feet a little more love and care. To get you started, here is your go-to checklist for healthy feet this summer season.

  1. Shoes

This can’t be stressed enough: Wear the proper shoes for the activity and for your foot type. Footwear can make a drastic difference and dictate whether or not you come home with sore feet at the end of the day. This summer try opting for shoes that help your feet rather than work against them.  Limit the use of heels, flats, and flip flops; rather invest in a good running or walking shoe. Look for shoes with good support, cushioning, adequate torsional stability, and that accommodates the natural shape of your foot.

 

  1. Cream

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Keep your feet moisturized. Wearing sandals and open toe shoes can really dry out your skin and calluses may build up. Overly dry skin loses its elasticity and can tear, which can increase your chances of contracting an infection. You can prevent this by simply applying moisturizer every day to your feet, preferably one that contains the ingredient urea. Urea helps your skin to absorb moisture as well as exfoliates it from dead skin cells, leaving it soft and smooth.

 

  1. Bath salts

epsom-salt-detox-bath-remove-toxins-diy-naturally

If your feet feel sore or tired, try a foot bath with Epsom salt. Epsom salt helps to reduce inflammation and swelling, irrigates infections or wounds, and even controls unpleasant odors. Make the experience even more therapeutic by adding your favourite scented essential oil.

 

  1. Toe supplies (band-aids, corn pads) and general foot care

Finally, if you notice a blister or experience pain or tenderness from excessive friction, make use of the foot care supplies available at your local drug store such as band-aids, silicone toe separators, and corn pads. Maintaining proper foot hygiene such as keeping your toenails trimmed and feet clean will also reduce risks of any complications. Wash your feet daily and wear a clean and dry pair of socks with closed toe shoes every day.

 

Summers in Toronto are great, but they’re short! So, get out there and take full advantage of it while it lasts. Don’t let your feet get in the way of having your most memorable summer yet.

National I Love My Feet Day!

Did you know August 17th is National I love my feet day? That’s right! Submitted by Carolyn D. Jenkins in May of 2015, this day serves as a great reminder to appreciate how valuable our feet are as well as the importance of proper foot care.

 

Feet tend to be easily forgotten because they are the farthest away from the body. However, we shouldn’t be so quick to disregard our feet as they play a significant role in the quality of our lives. Feet are the foundation of the body; they affect your posture and stability. Feet are also the main method of our transportation; they take us to our desired destination. Finally, feet help us engage in all the activities we love such as running, soccer, basketball, swimming, hiking, and more. With time and with natural wear and tear, our feet have a good chance of encountering problems, this risk increasing the more you neglect them.

In general, following the simple steps below, will help you get on the right path for proper foot care.

  1. Wash, dry, and monitor daily

Wash your feet with a gentle antibacterial cleanser daily to remove dirt and oil. Make sure to wash and dry well in between the toes to prevent fungal infections. Check your feet daily for any signs of infections as well as changes in the nails and skin.

 

  1. Routine upkeep

Keep your toenails trimmed by cutting straight across and filing the corners smooth. Use a pumice stone or file to exfoliate the dead skin off areas of increased pressure. Finish off with a good moisturizer to keep the skin elastic and smooth.

 

  1. Wear proper footwear

Your footwear choices play a huge role in the health of your feet. Wear shoes that will support, stabilize, or increase shock absorption to your feet. Try to limit the use of flip flops, ballet flats, and heels; rather invest in a good pair of runners/walking shoes. If you have foot pain, do not ignore it because if you do, the problem will only get worse.

Talk to your Chiropodist about custom foot orthotics as a means to help stabilize the foot and prevent any abnormal movements that may be contributing to your pain.

 

This National I love my feet day, don’t take your feet for granted and make active choices to keep them healthy.

If you’re experiencing pain or notice any changes to the skin or toenails, book an appointment with a Registered Chiropodist at Feet First Clinic for a thorough assessment today.

Smelly feet? Don’t fret!

Smelly feet are annoying and downright embarrassing! It makes you self-conscious and anxious about having to take off your shoes in front of other people, sometimes even your loved ones. Continue reading if you want to find out more about what causes stinky feet and what you can do to treat and prevent it for good.

 

Malodorous feet are most often caused by excessive sweating, which can be due to standing on your feet for an extensive period of time, stress, and sometimes a common disorder called hyperhidrosis. When you sweat, the bacteria on your feet break down the sweat and in doing so, release an unpleasant odor. If you’re wearing closed toe shoes and your feet are sweating all day, the shoes will become damp; this dark, moist environment creates a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to thrive.

 

So, then how can we treat and prevent smelly feet? The answer is in controlling moisture and bacteria overgrowth. Follow these steps to do just that!

 

  1. Make sure you are washing your feet daily (sometimes even twice a day if need be) with an antibacterial soap. Maintain good foot hygiene by drying well between the toes after washing and keeping the toenails relatively short and free of debris. Once in a while, exfoliating the dead skin off your feet will also help reduce bacterial load.

 

  1. Allow your shoes to fully dry between wears. It is sometimes necessary to alternate between two shoes to allow sufficient dry time.

 

  1. Wear a clean and dry pair of socks each day. Consider even carrying an extra pair of socks with you if you know your feet will sweat more that day. Simply wearing socks with your closed-toe shoes can also reduce sweating. Choose materials such as cotton or wool or specifically socks with a moisture-wicking property.

 

  1. Use deodorants or antiperspirants on the foot. At Feet First Clinic, Gehwol products are available for purchase, such as the Foot and Deodorant Spray. This along with several others help to control moisture and odors on the foot and in the shoe.

foot and shoe deodorizing spray

  1. Insoles with a deodorizing, antifungal, antibacterial, and absorbent effect are also available at Feet First Clinic and may be beneficial to help control growth of unwanted micro-organisms as well as control odor.

 

Sometimes, malodorous feet can also be caused by a fungal infection in the foot. If the malodor is accompanied with pain, itchiness, bleeding, or pus, see a Registered Chiropodist at Feet First Clinic for the necessary treatment. You may require a prescription for an oral or topical antifungal or antibiotic.

 

Stay informed and gain your confidence back by saying good-bye to smelly feet today!

Effective Exercises for People with Fallen Arches

Most people with fallen arches (flat feet) won’t experience any signs or symptoms. They might not even realize that they have flat feet! But there are some people with fallen arches that aren’t so lucky. They will suffer from symptoms like chronic foot pain and swelling. They will be more susceptible to conditions like ingrown toenails, calluses and Achilles tendonitis.

Flat feet can’t be cured, but their uncomfortable symptoms can be reduced through strengthening exercises and modified footwear.

How do you get fallen arches?

The most popular cause of fallen arches is age. The older you get, the more your ligaments stretch out and lose their height. Your arches start to relax and eventually lower to the ground. If you sustain a lot of foot injuries over the course of your life, the arches will lower faster due to wear and tear.

Other common things that put people at high risk of getting fallen arches:

  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Foot injury
  • Ankle injury
  • Hypermobile/Hyper-flexible feet

What are some common strengthening exercises for flat feet?

One of the best exercises for fallen arches is the towel curl. A towel curl is when you lie a towel flat on the ground, place your feet on top of it, and then scrunch the fabric with your toes. It’s much easier to do when you’re sitting on a chair. Remember to keep your feet parallel to each other, point the toes forward and root your heels into the ground. Eventually, you can make the exercise more challenging by putting a small weight onto the towel.

You should also try calf raises. Start your calf raises on a flat surface by lifting your heels and standing on the balls of your feet. Do it slowly and deliberately, so you don’t roll an ankle.

The exercise targets the calf, the bottoms of the feet, and the ankles, encouraging better stability and support. This benefit is especially important for people who have balance issues and uneven gait because of overpronation. The term overpronation means your foot rolls more inward or downward than it should.

Other exercises that can stretch and strengthen your feet to combat the symptoms of fallen arches:

  • Toe extensions
  • Arch lifts
  • Heel stretches
  • Ankle inversions
  • Ankle eversions
  • Dorsiflexion
  • Plantarflexion

What footwear modifications will help?

If you have fallen arches, we’ve got your feet covered with orthopedic shoes for any season or special occasion. Do you need sandals for the beach? We have those. Do you need running shoes for the gym? We have them. Are you planning ahead for the winter? We have boots that can get you through piles of snow.

If orthopedic shoes aren’t enough, there are orthotics for flat feet that can give you extra arch support and cushion. You can have the corrective shoe inserts customized to match your feet.

You will need a doctor’s prescription for a custom orthotic order. Once you have that, you can make an appointment at Feet First Clinic. We will need to cast your feet to get the accurate size and shape. Then we will ship the plaster mold to an orthotics fabrication lab, so you can get unique inserts for any shoe you like.

If you feel like your flat feet are bothering you, you can always make an appointment with a chiropodist to talk about it. They can help you come up with an effective treatment plan to combat the discomfort and make everyday activities like walking, running and standing for long stretches of time much easier.

3 Types Of Footwear

Your shoes are one of your greatest assets. You wear them for hours on end, for days, weeks, and months. Knowing the shoe for you is important, but narrowing them down based on your specific foot type can be challenging. To help educate you on the differences, we break down the three most common types of footwear.

Before we get into that, it’s important to learn the structure of your feet, specifically your arch, as it provides some hints as to what the best shoe might be for you.

A simple test, called the wet test, exists to help determine your arch type. Essentially, the wet test involves dipping the soles of your feet into water and to next stand on a piece of paper. When you step off, you should see an imprint of your foot which will make evident your arch type.

Seeing half of your arch (the middle portion of your foot) indicates a normal arch while seeing the majority of your arch on the paper indicates you have flat feet (or a low arch). Conversely, seeing minimal arch indicates a high arch. See below for a visual.

Arch Types

You can learn more about the wet test and the specifics of your arch height at this link.

Typically, those with flat feet can benefit from motion control footwear while those with normal and high arches are better suited for stability and neutral footwear, with stability being just a bit more ‘shoe’ in terms of support, depending on your preference. But above all, and studies support this, choose shoes that are most comfortable and that work for you.

Motion Control

Motion control footwear is the most supportive, and corrective, forms of shoes. To help with overpronation (when your foot rolls too far inward), motion control footwear have medial support built into the midsole to help limit the damage and wear to the inner portion of your shoe. By having medial support, the shoe is designed to essentially stop the inward rolling of your gait, and in theory, can help lessen the chance at injury if the fit is right. Motion control shoes can also feature a stiff heel, firmer cushioning, and overall less flexibility through the midsole.

Common examples of motion control footwear include Saucony Stabil CS3 and Asics Gel Foundation.

It’s important to note that the amount of cushioning is not necessarily an indicator of the type of shoe, but rather it’s a combination of medial features, stiff plastic, and other factors. Cushioning can also be stiff or soft depending on the denseness and type of foam.

Stability

Mild pronators, or heavier-set runners, should consider stability footwear as the shoe doesn’t have as much support as a motion control shoe, but more than neutral footwear. Stability footwear often features extra support (called a medial post) on the inner side of the shoe side to prevent arch collapse, but not as rigid as motion control footwear.

Stability and motion control shoes serve the same purpose: to prevent excessive lateral movement for your foot. The main difference is that stability shoes are a dumbed-down version of motion control shoes and are a nice medium between having support under your arch and being too supportive (and heavy). Stability aims to correct mild overpronation while motion control shoes are designed to lessen the impact of extreme overpronation.

Common lines of stability footwear include the Saucony Guide and the Asics Gel Kayano.

Neutral

As the name implies, neutral cushioned shoes do not have medical support or features within the midsole. With neutral shoes, there is simply cushioning, and no wedges or stiff plastic support along the arch to prevent any sort of under or overcompensation when walking or running. Overall, the structure of the shoe is relatively symmetrical.

Regular pronators and supinators (when your foot fails to roll inwards and applies pressure to your outer foot) should consider using neutral shoes because any stability features would be moot. Common examples of neutral shoes are the Saucony Kinvara, Asics Cumulus, and Saucony Ride.

Ultimately, and as the Mayo Clinic notes, “there is no one best shoe or a particular foot type, and comfort and proper fit should be the main criteria you use when selecting new athletic shoes.”

For more in-person assistance, to have your gait analyzed, feet properly measured or to see if custom orthotics are right for you, check out Toronto’s Feet First Clinic on Bloor Street West. You can contact us at 416-769-3338(FEET).

 

What to Expect in a Foot Treatment: A Sneak Peek of Your First Visit at a Foot Clinic

You’re having some problems with your feet, maybe it’s a painful ingrown toenail or heel pain or even a stubborn wart that won’t go away and you’ve made an appointment with a Registered Chiropodist at your local foot clinic. The appointment is approaching and you’re feeling a little anxious because of the unknown, unfamiliar territory you will be encountering. What will happen? What do I have to bring? Will it be uncomfortable? Here is a quick read on what to expect at your first appointment at a foot clinic to help you calm those nerves.

Firstly, bring with you a list of your medications and any allergies you may have, and keep in mind any pertinent medical history to your chief complaint or reason for visit. Providing as much detail as possible to your health care provider will help build a complete picture to conclude an informed diagnosis and the best treatment plan. In addition, bring your insurance information with you as chiropody visits are covered under most insurance plans with extended health benefits.

Once you arrive to your initial appointment, you will likely be greeted by the receptionist and asked to fill out an intake form. You will then be escorted to a treatment room where a chiropodist will ask you to remove your shoes and socks and voice your concerns with your feet.

DSC_1129

After this, the chiropodist will take a look at your feet and carry out the necessary assessments to determine differential diagnoses. Depending on the reason for your visit, the chiropodist will check for the following:

  • Circulation or blood flow to your feet
  • Neurological status
  • Changes to or concerns with the skin and toenails
  • Biomechanical abnormalities (ie limited or excessive range of motion in joints, areas of pain, overpronation, flat feet, etc)

After the assessment, the chiropodist will explain his or her findings and propose a treatment plan. Treatment will only commence with your consent. In general, treatment is usually painless. In fact, more often than not, if you enter the appointment with pain or discomfort, you will leave relieved of that pain.

Finally, although it may seem unusual to you to have someone look at or touch your feet, know that it is second nature to the Chiropodist. Your chiropodist would have seen numerous amounts of feet, all of different shapes, colours, and sizes, and encountered a variety of foot concerns. So don’t be embarrassed, and don’t be afraid to receive the care you need.

 

Walking the Right Path Crookedly? The Benefits of a Biomechanical Analysis

Most often than not, we tend to notice a problem once we start to experience pain. The same goes for our feet. Foot pain is usually the tell-tale sign that something isn’t right. Unfortunately, when you start to feel pain, it’s usually too late. The problem has started its course and sometimes its irreversible.

Try to tackle the problem before you start to develop symptoms. How? Start by observing your feet. Look down at your feet occasionally and check to see if you notice anything usual. Look for things like calluses, corns, bunions, hammertoes. Check your arch profile when you are standing -maybe your feet are unusually flat or perhaps your feet are very rigid and high arched. Do your toes point inward (also known as in-toeing or pigeon-toed) or point outward resembling the stance of a penguin? Maybe your feet roll inward towards your arches as you walk.

If you aren’t sure if you have any issues with your feet just by looking at them, check your shoes. Your footwear, including how quick they wear down may contain good clues on the general position of your feet as well as where your feet are taking on the greatest amount of stress.
Finally, pay attention at the feet of your family members (i.e. parents, grandparents, great grandparents), if they have horrible bunions then there is a good chance you may develop them yourself.

Once you are convinced something is not right with your feet but you’re just not sure exactly what it is, it may be worth your while to book an appointment with a licensed chiropodist to take closer look.

A Chiropodist is a health care professional who specializes in the assessment, management, and prevention of dysfunctions, disorders, and diseases of the foot. At your appointment, he or she will perform a biomechanical assessment that concludes your gait analysis to examine any foot and lower limb abnormalities that need to be addressed.

Biomechanical assessment will consist of examining the range of motion of all the major joints in the foot, ankle, hip and knee, looking for abnormal angulation of the bones/joints, and checking for symmetry between the left and right sides of the body. Abnormalities usually lead to compensations and compensations lead to problems. Overall, a chiropodist will be able to determine and pinpoint where you may be exhibiting faulty mechanics that can eventually lead to foot pain and foot deformities.

Have a professional look at your feet through the lens of years of education and experience. Book an appointment today with one of our chiropodists at Feet First Clinic to help prevent any complications or issues in the future.

Don’t just manage the pain, prevent it.

Do You have a Corn or a Plantar wart?

You have an odd lesion on your foot: its circular, painful at times, hard, and yellowish in colour. Is it a corn or a wart? Continue reading to find out more on both and how to differentiate the two skin lesions that are commonly confused with one another.

A corn is a build up of hardened tissue with a central and deep core at a localized area of pressure. It is generally found on the toes or on weight bearing areas on the bottom of the foot. People usually complain of a sensation similar to walking on a pebble when they have a corn. The reason why it is so painful is because they tend to run deep and press on nerves.

Corn between fingers on the foot. Rubbing on the second toe. Corns on the foot.

A plantar wart on the other hand is a noncancerous skin growth caused by the Human Papilloma Virus which has made its home on the top layer of the skin. Warts can occur at the toes and the bottom of the foot, but not always at pressure points per se. Warts are sometimes asymptomatic and may resolve on their own with time; however, are also contagious and can spread to other parts of the foot when left untreated.

The three tell tale signs of a wart are:

  • disturbed skin lines
  • small black dots
  • pain with pinching as opposed to direct pressure.

PLANTAR WART

For either case, it is best to see a Licensed Chiropodist for effective treatment.

Treatment for both are as different as their origins. Through a painless procedure, a corn will be reduced, and the core removed to provide pain relief. Offloading pads may be recommended as well as an assessment for custom foot orthotics. Don’t leave a corn for too long; when exposed to prolonged and extensive pressure, the skin underneath the corn may break, which can lead to a wound and possible infection.

corn protector

There are several different treatment options for warts, including but not limited to cryotherapy, blistering agents, salicylic acid, and excisions.

 

To help avoid getting a wart, always wear shoes when using public showers, gyms, and swimming pools, try to prevent injury or breaks in the skin on the foot, and make sure your immune system is in check (eat a well balanced diet and go for annual check ups!).

Make an appointment with a Chiropodist, who will assess the wart OR corn and determine the right treatment path for you.