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Is Compression Gear Worth It?

Compression Gear is often Touted as The Secret to Recovery – True or False?

Since the 1980s, spandex in sports and exercise seems to have grown exponentially. And compression gear is not only prevalent in sports. Athletic compression gear is a spin-off of original Medical Leggings, which have been used for decades to treat blood clots and certain circulatory disorders, according to the Globe and Mail. Medical leggings use “graduated” compression, which squeezes more the farther they are from the heart. This prevents blood from pooling in the legs; that’s why you see people on planes, trains, and at work wearing them.

What’s The Deal With Compression Gear?

Compression stockings are specialized garments that put therapeutic pressure on your legs in order to increase circulation and prevent fluid retention (edema/swelling) during prolonged periods of sitting and standing or in those with venous diseases. Compared to traditional hosiery, compression stockings fit more snugly and use stronger elastic to apply a gentle squeeze to the legs and feet.

Motif_Compression_Socks_Site_Graphic

Generally, compression gear comes in all forms – socks, sleeves, long tights, and shirts. The idea behind compression gear is that it increases blood flow throughout the body. Improved blood flow helps bring oxygen to the muscles that need it, and is often used by athletes and amateurs alike for recovery after exercise. Conversely, increased blood flow helps remove unwanted byproducts of exercise including lactic acid away from the muscles.

However, the science on compression gear is mixed. The reasoning: there are conflicting results on optimal use. Generally, it’s believed that compression gear helps with recovery and that this recovery helps next-day or succeeding performance. However, it’s also believed that compression gear does not aid in the performance itself. For example, wearing compression socks during activity. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone as not all strive for athletic greatness.

For The General Population,

Compression apparel shines are around controlling swelling and enhancing circulation. If you experience swollen calves from sitting for prolonged periods at work, compression sleeves may help control circulation. Professions where prolonged standing or sitting include education, travel, retail, restaurants, medical, civil service, manufacturing, and construction.

Compression from apparel can help:

  • Reduce the incidence of blood clots
  • Reduce the incidence of varicose veins
  • Prevent complications resulting from Diabetes
  • Prevent complications resulting from veinous disorders

Others may enjoy compression gear purely for comfort.

What Does The Science Say?

One study in the National Library of Medicine concluded:

The largest benefits resulting from compression gear (CG) were for strength recovery from 2 to 8 hours and >24 hours. Considering exercise modality, compression most effectively enhanced recovery from resistance exercise, particularly at time points >24 h. The use of CG would also be recommended to enhance next-day cycling performance. The benefits of CG in relation to applied pressures and participant training status are unclear and limited by the paucity of reported data.

Another study, from Frontiers in Physiology in 2018, found the following effect of compression gear on DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness):

Active recovery, massage, compression garments, immersion, contrast water therapy, and cryotherapy induced a small to large decrease (−2.26 < g < −0.40) in the magnitude of DOMS, while there was no change for the other methods.

As you can see, there are benefits, it just depends on what you’re looking to get out of compression apparel.

Where Can I Buy Compression Gear?

We carry leading brands at Feet First Clinic including Sigvaris, high quality and innovative medical compression solutions that improve health and well being. Drop-in compression wear fitting is offered during clinic hours Monday-Saturday and is a complimentary service. No is appointment required.

Compression stockings must be the correct size in order to get optimal benefits. Feet First Clinic has certified fitters on staff who will determine your specific size based on measuring the circumference of your ankles, calves, thighs, and hips.

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Do I Need A Prescription For Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings and socks are covered under many supplemental insurance plans. If you’re unsure about your benefits and compression wear coverage, check with your employer’s HR department, your insurance policy provider, or Feet First Clinic can get a policy breakdown on your behalf. If you want to use your private foot care benefits to get compression stockings, all insurance providers require a prescription from a medical doctor.

Compression Question? We Can Help!

We’re confident in our ability to help inform you and solve your concern with the least amount of discomfort as possible. Call us even to ask about a quick question and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction!

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Book Your Assessment Today!

How Does My Gait Affect My Life?

How Gait Affects Your Life

The human gait is a fascinating component of the body. Factors including nervous, musculoskeletal, and cardiorespiratory systems all play a role. Specifically, age, personality, footwear, mood, and sociocultural factors all affect the way we move. For these reasons, everyone’s gait is unique in their own way.

According to one study, the prevalence of gait disorders increases to 60% in people over 80 years compared to 10% in people aged 60–69 years. Gait doesn’t just affect the older population. Due to the time spent on our feet, gait affects our every step. Think about how many steps you take a day. It may be 5,000. It may be 10,000. Or even 25,000. Whatever it is, multiply that by your entire lifespan and you have an inconceivable number. That’s the magnificence and resilience of the human body.

What Is Gait?

In scientific terms, human gait refers to locomotion achieved through the movement of human limbs. In simple terms, gait is a person’s manner of walking (or running). One can have a narrow gait or a wide gait. One may overpronate, or supinate. One may have high arches versus fallen arches. As simple as walking or running sound, gait is the result of many complex systems.

To move forward there are several stages of movement: walk, jog, skip, run, and sprint. Foot strike is one variable. These include:

  • Forefoot Strike – toe-heel: ball of foot lands first
  • Midfoot Strike – heel and ball land simultaneously
  • Heel Strike – heel-toe: heel of foot lands, then plantar flexes to ball

The foot strike on the surface is simple. However, again there are external forces including your footwear that may affect how your foot hits the ground. Compare yourself running barefoot versus with shoes. The differences are likely stark.

Another variable is sex. According to a 2013 study, females tend to walk with smaller step width and more pelvic movement.

Gait Analysis

Gait analysis is a tool used to identify biomechanical trends and abnormalities in your foot cycle. Here at Feet First Clinic, we employ 3D video in order to further analyze gait. Video analysis involves being recorded while walking on a treadmill. The video software allows us to slow and stop and zoom in on specific areas during your gait in order to educate you about your foot type and pattern.

Gait Concerns? We Can Help!

We’re confident in our ability to help inform you and solve your concern with the least amount of discomfort as possible. Call us even to ask about a quick question and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction!

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Book Your Assessment Today!

Featured Birkenstocks For Summer

It’s summer. Or as some people call it, Birkenstocks season.

Birkenstocks are a German shoe manufacturer known for its sandals. Notably, Birkenstocks consist of cork and rubber and conform to the shape of the foot. For this reason, each pair is unique to its owner.

These are fantastic summer shoes for a few reasons:

  1. Birkenstocks’ cork bottoms conform to your feet over time
  2. Birkenstocks are supportive, and include features like:
    • Arch support
    • A deep heel cup
    • Raised toe bar;
    • And ample of toe room
  3. They’re a great alternative to non-supportive flip flops
  4. Birkenstocks are affordable

The footbed – the most important component of the sandal – comprises four parts. The first layer is the shock-absorbing sole. The second is a layer of jute fibres, a firm corked footbed, another layer of jute fibres, and soft suede.

The German brand manufactures several different models. But, all include the same notable Birkenstock features. The differences lie in the material, strap design, and the number of straps.

Arizona

Birkenstocks

The Arizona is Birkenstock’s most iconic look.

The often imitated, never duplicated, category-defining, two-strap wonder from Birkenstock. A comfort legend and a fashion staple. With adjustable straps and a cork footbed that conforms to the shape of your foot, the Arizona is a no-brainer for your collection.

Arizona EVA

Birkenstocks

Like the Arizona, the Arizona EVA is the waterproof, lightweight version of the shoe. Exact same design, but with EVA, a type of very light, elastic material with very good cushioning. This type of cushioning is particularly useful on uneven surfaces, making it a versatile choice for by the water, or at the gym.

Compared to the Arizona, the Arizona EVA is a tad more casual and versatile. Plus, it comes at a lower price point than the Arizona. But, you don’t get the corked footbed. For this reason, having both would mean you’re set for all summer conditions.

Madrid

Birkenstock Madrid

Named after the ancient Spanish city, the Birkenstock Madrid is the brand’s oldest line.

The Madrid was originally launched as a “gymnastics sandal” half a century ago due to its simplistic design. The single strap model is great for casual wear, and for around the house when you’re slipping in and out of your sandals often.

Gizeh

Birkenstocks

The Gizeh is a minimalist approach to a sandal. With a single strap across and a single strap down the centre of the shoe to the toes, the Gizeh is an iconic classic. The Gizeh features classic Birkenstock support and is the original thong sandal, with support between the big toe and the second toe.

Mayari

Birkenstock Mayari

The Birkenstock Mayari is a thong sandal with a toe loop. The Mayari is fashionable and suitable for formal occasions. Plus the two loops both have customizable straps for small tweaks in fit to ensure the Birkenstock fits like a glove.

Boston

Birkenstocks

The Birkenstock Boston is true to its name – a year-round sandal for cold and hot conditions. The unique look includes the same corked footbed, but with a covered toe. The upper is suede and hugs the foot like a second skin providing support across the toe box.

Milano

Summer Birkenstocks

The most supportive Birkenstock – in the sense of straps and heel support – is the Milano.

This three strapped Birkenstock sandal includes two straps over the top of the foot, plus a third around the back of the Achilles heel. The extra strap adds security and improved fit. All around, these features make the shoe a great fit.

In fact, thanks to ample support, the Milano is great for an active lifestyle including longer walks.

Where To Buy Birkenstocks

We have a full selection of the latest Birkenstocks in the clinic. While you’re here, receive a free shoe fitting to find the perfect size footwear.

Don’t spend another day without a pair of Birkenstocks. Treat your feet and visit us in person at 2481 Bloor Street West.

How Your Job Affects Your Feet

The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. To put that into perspective, that’s more than 10 cumulative years in equivalent time.

In fact, you may spend more time at work or on the job than at any other aspect of your life (with the exception of sleeping).

With such great time spent working, your job can have a huge impact on your feet, and quality of life. It’s not only the type of work but also the shoes you wear. Whether it’s a formal environment, or whether you wear steel-toed boots in a blue-collar industry, your job affects your feet and can have a major bearing on your body (and vice versa).

Different Careers = Different Foot Needs

Take a moment and think about your situation. Do you stand all day at work? Teachers, cooks, chefs, barbers, hairdressers, cashiers, manufacturing employees, and construction works all spend hours on their feet at a time. Meanwhile, other places of work may have certain dress codes. You may be required to wear formal attire including high heels and dress shoes.

What you wear has a great impact on you.

For example, standing all day in your job can expose you to the following foot conditions:

  • Varicose veins
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Lower back pain
  • Soreness and fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Knee or hip arthritis
  • Bunions
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Neck and shoulder stiffness
  • Chronic heart and circulatory disorders
  • Poor posture (and its effects)
  • Various foot problems and pain
  • Knee problems
  • Swollen or painful feet or legs
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Joint damage
  • Poor circulation and swelling in feet & legs

Healthcare Professionals

Doctors and nurses are always on the go. With the hecticness of medicine, healthcare professionals are always on the go, often logging long and arduous hours. Much of which is on their feet. Because of long shifts, those hours can have effects on the feet including bunions, flat feet, toe deformities, and heel spurs.

For these reasons, it’s advised that healthcare professionals invest in the proper footwear that fit correctly to ensure the time spent on their feet is not damaging. Similarly, this advice can be applied to other industries with similar long hours including cooks, retail workers, and cashiers.

Additionally, investing in compression socks can help reduce swelling and inflammation of your legs.

Construction

Beyond the fact that construction workers need to wear boots all day, additional potential hazards exist. Traumatic impact like falling objects, accidents, and shock can all impact your feet. Ensure your workspace is safe and invest in proper boots that have adequate cushioning for the career you’re in. Shoes are not an area where you want to be overly frugal. Invest in your feet.

Teachers

Teachers spend most of their days on their feet. This stress can cause lower leg problems including arthritis, joint damage, lower back pain, and knee pain. Try to take regular sitting breaks every hour, even if it’s for a few minutes.

Invest in proper footwear that has the proper support and cushioning to protect your feet. Avoid using the same footwear as you do when exercising as footwear may be worn down in places. Wearing worn down shoes (from running for example) can cause joint soreness and misalignment since standing, walking, and running all have different impacts on shoes depending on your gait.

Outdoor Jobs

If you work outside all year-round, including in the winter, you’ll need winterproof footwear and socks to prevent frostbite. From the temperature to the climate, the elements can have a major impact on your feet. Wet feet mean added risk for blisters, athlete’s foot, and toe fungus. Conversely, cold feet are at an increased risk of frostbite, which causes irreversible damage to your feet.

Office Jobs

Then there are other jobs that don’t require you to stand all day. In fact, many jobs require the opposite – sitting all day. In these cases, you want to make sure you stay hydrated and get up regularly to avoid hip pain and tight muscles.

For example, if you work in marketing, sales, design, web development, data, as a lawyer, or in HR, you’re likely spending hours in front of a computer. Making sure you have a balanced work-life balance that involves adequate exercise is essential. And that may not be enough. Remember, you can’t simply reverse the effects of sitting for 7-8 hours a day with a few thousand steps.

Following a proper stretching routine, and incorporating strength training to avoid muscle imbalances is key for a healthy lifestyle. And to have healthy feet.

Plus, office jobs often have dress codes. If you wear formal footwear including high heels or dress shoes, think about the long-term impact they can have on your feet. Aim to either reduce the frequency of use or invest in comfortable and supportive dress shoes that are a hybrid between fashion and function.

Proper Footwear For The Job

Foot health starts with proper footwear.

Investing in the right shoes for the job is essential for the long-term health of your body. Here at the clinic, we have a select of great orthopaedic shoes available to help heal your foot problems and prevent pain.

Our clinic prioritizes a preventative approach to foot care in which the patient is empowered to be an active participant in his or her treatment. Our on-site shoe store provides patients with therapeutic tools and resources including orthopaedic footwear, insoles, medical devices, and over-the-counter solutions.

If you need assistance with shoe fitting or choosing the right shoe for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Your Solutions Live Here!

All under one roof. Our team is trained to handle any and all your foot health concerns.

From mild, to critical, we cover all sides of the foot needs spectrum. Call us to ask about actionable steps towards your solution today.

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Click to Book Your Assessment today.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome: Carpal Tunnel In Your Foot

Carpal tunnel, but in your foot.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a relatively common foot condition that affects the ankle. Specifically, tarsal tunnel syndrome is the result of a damaged posterior tibial nerve.

Overview

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is the most common nerve entrapment of the ankle. It compares to carpal tunnel syndrome, the condition’s equivalent in the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve compresses. Symptoms include numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand and arm.

OK, back to the tarsal tunnel.

The tarsal tunnel is a narrow space on the inside of the ankle next to the ankle bones. The tunnel is covered with a thick ligament that helps contain its inner workings – veins, arteries, tendons, and nerves. Notably, the tibial nerve runs through the tarsal tunnel.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tarsal tunnel is compressed. Imagine your squeezing a casing of wires. The more pressure against the case, the more stress put onto fillings inside. In this case, those would be the nerves, arteries, and tendons inside.

Symptoms include sharp, shooting pain, pins and needles, or a burning sensation on the inside of your foot, close to where your foot meets your ankle. Some say that pain can be severe enough to cause a person to limp, and individuals may describe a radiating pain that cannot be localized to one spot.

Causes

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can result in pain because of direct damage to the tibial nerve.

The following can contribute to tarsal tunnel syndrome:

  • Flat feet: fallen arches and flat feet can stretch the tibial nerve;
  • Growths in the tarsal tunnel (bone spurs and cysts);
  • Varicose veins: can cause compression on the nerve;
  • Inflammation;
  • Osteoarthritis;
  • Overpronation: overpronating and inward rotation of the foot can strain the ankle and lead to pain in and around the tarsal tunnel. Overpronation can also stretch out the tibial nerve;
  • Improper shoes: small shoes can cause undue stress around the heel (and elsewhere) compressing the tarsal tunnel;
  • Ankle injuries: sprains, stress fractures, and other lower leg and ankle injuries can cause inflammation and swelling.

A medical professional can diagnose TTS (tarsal tunnel syndrome) through an exam, x-rays, or electrical testing. Typically, an MRI and Nerve Conduction Velocity test is done to diagnose TTS.

Often, there are numerous causes. Or, the cause is unclear. Runner’s World reports that about 50% of the time, a cause for Tarsal tunnel syndrome cannot be identified. In these cases, if a cause is not immediately clear, consult a doctor for more information.

Treatment

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be managed effectively, especially if treated early.

  • Swap out your shoes: small shoes can put undue pressure on the inner ankle;
  • Custom-made orthotics: custom-made orthotics (which we do in-store) can help reduce the effects of overpronation;
  • Anti-inflammatories: swelling in the foot can lead to compression of the tarsal tunnel;
  • Compression socks: akin to anti-inflammatories, the goal here is to reduce swelling of the ankle and lower leg;
  • As a last resort, surgery is an option.
    • One such surgery is a tarsal tunnel release. In this case, the doctor “creates an opening behind the ankle that extends down to the arch of the foot. The surgeon carefully divides the ligament so it is not pressing against the tibial nerve.”

If symptoms persist or worsen, consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis.

Prevention

  • Improve flexibility of the lower leg and foot;
  • Schedule a shoe fitting: finding the right shoes (and the right fit) is essential for the health of your feet. Small shoes can lead to tarsal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, ill-fitting shoes can cause a whole slew of other foot conditions;
  • Physical therapy and strengthening.
    • Heel raises
    • Calf stretches
    • Balancing exercises

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is the less-talked-about version of carpal tunnel syndrome.

If you feel a burning sensation or pain on the inside of your ankle or experience chronic ankle swelling, you may have tarsal tunnel syndrome.

For more information, and to schedule a shoe-fitting session or to learn more about custom foot orthotics, fill out the form below, or stop by the store. We’re located at 2481 Bloor St. West in Toronto.

Are Foot Calluses a Problem?

Ask anyone and they’ve likely had Foot Calluses.

A callus is a common foot condition involving thickening of the skin. Prolonged rubbing causes calluses, in a similar manner as to how a Blister Forms. This is your body’s defence mechanism to prevent any additional damage to the area.

Runners, soccer players, and those who are barefoot may have calluses on the foot. Tennis players, gymnasts, weight lifters, and manual labourers may have calluses on their hands.

Calluses differ from corns since they’re less defined, and are often found in weight-bearing areas of the body including on your feet. Plus, calluses are often larger than corns, and evenly distributed whereas corns have a well-defined core.

Calluses can be yellow, white, or grey and can be accompanied by dry scaling skin and even fissures.

The question remains: are calluses good or bad?

The Good

Calluses are our body’s natural response to repetitive use to an area of the body.

For runners, calluses can be seen as a badge of honour. Like black toenails, they’re a sign that you’ve been training hard, and are a sort of right of passage.

Often, calluses reduce pain in an area. Think of calluses as a piece of cushion on your feet. For this reason, they’re often called nature’s shoes.

Someone with calluses on their feet can walk across rougher land and be without pain. Tennis players with calluses on their hands may not feel the same type of pain as a first-time user. In these cases, the cushion calluses allow people to go past their normal pain threshold since calluses act as a shield.

Foot Callus

Calluses can also reduce sensitivity. If you’re a trail runner, a callus on your foot may be able to withstand a bit more load and pain than without a callus. And since calluses form in areas of friction, a callus in that spot is even more important, since you’re prone there.

In this sense, calluses can be good.

The Bad

Too much of one thing can be bad.

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, painful corns and calluses affect about 5% of people in the United States every year, and many people never seek professional help.

When calluses build up significantly, they can become painful. Especially when calluses are big, they can end up rubbing with your shoe and sock, and even detach from the live skin underneath. Then, painful blisters can form on the open patch. That right there is when the pain starts.

If you find your calluses are highly centralized to one location, that may be an indication of biomechanical deficiency. Generally, calluses cover a larger area and are not localized to one area of the foot.

Seeing a podiatrist can also help determine another factor which may cause calluses: your gait pattern. Custom orthotics may help, and reduce pressure to specific parts of your feet. Plus, a proper shoe-fitting helps you choose the right pair of footwear for your needs.

A pumice stone’s sandpaper-like texture can reduce a callus, but it may not provide enough grit to treat painful calluses. Don’t use anything sharp, like a knife to try to cut the callus away. Consult a medical professional in this case and avoid DIY.

Foot Calluses

According to Harvard Health Publishing, follow these procedures to safely scrub away a callus:

  • Soak your feet in warm water first, to soften the callus
  • Dry your feet, then rub the pumice stone gently over the corn or callus
  • Afterwards, moisturize the area with skin lotion.

In fact, removing a portion of the callus can be done safely. Scrubbing away a portion of the callus can be aesthetically satisfying while maintaining the integrity of the callus. Plus, scrubbing down a callus regularly prevents it from getting too large. A callus that cracks, as a result of being enlarged, is prone to infection.

In this case, calluses may be bad.

Continue reading: How to Manage Foot Calluses.

We Can Help!

Whether you’re on the mild or severe side of the callus spectrum, you can rest easy knowing we’re able and happy to solve all your foot care needs.

Call us at 416-769-3338 to Book Your Assessment Today!

4 Foot Problems For Runners

Running is one of the most rewarding activities both for our mind and body.

That said, running comes with several risk factors in the form of injuries and foot issues. Some are rare, and some are experienced by almost every runner you come across. And, if you haven’t yet, now’s the time to do some reading to prevent yourself from the same fate by avoiding several runner’s foot problems

Consider these foot issues a part of the unofficial runner’s bucket list when it comes to experiences.

Shin Splints

Shin Splints are the common term for medial tibial stress syndrome.

This condition is characterized by pain along the inner part of the shin. Most commonly, shin splints are a result of too-much t00-soon. Your lower legs are not able to acclimatize to the load running puts on your body. For example, many new runners suffer shin splints when running for too long, too soon.

Typically, our aerobic capacity builds faster than our muscles and joints. So, it’s important to increase your weekly running by no more than 10%.

Another possible cause of shin splints is overpronation, which occurs when your ankle rolls too far inwards. The excessive inward rolling means your shins are bearing more of the impact than normal. If this is the case, consider purchasing motion control shoes that feature a thick medial post.

In terms of treatment, follow the RICE protocol – rest, ice, compression, and elevation. You’ll also want to reduce your mileage and the intensity of your workouts. When you’re ready to return, ramp up slowly, and avoid running on harder surfaces and opt for grass, and trail running.

Black Toenails

Running-induced black toenails are called Runner’s Toe. Repetitive trauma – the type associated with long-distance running – cause a blood blister to form under the toenail resulting in the blackened nail. Black toenails are among the most runner’s foot problems.

The medical term is known as a subungual hematoma, which means bleeding and bruising under the toenail. Sometimes, the blood blister can start out small, and remain small. In that case, the darkened part of the nail will begin to grow out and be removed with the routine nail clipping. The drying of the blood can cause your nail to separate, and loosen. So, your toenail may fall off altogether. Hence, the common runner experience of ‘losing a toenail.’

Fortunately, the whole experience isn’t particularly painful, and no intermittent treatment is necessary. If the toenail does, in fact, fall off, wash the area and wrap in a bandage. If you experience persistent pain, you should visit a healthcare professional.

In terms of prevention, find a shoe that fits right. Consider a Shoe Fitting to determine the exact size and type of shoe that’s best for you. If your toes are crowded and up against the edge of your shoe, there will be more friction and impact causing you toe to blister. Additionally, if you run on undulating terrains, like downhills, you may be more prone to black toenails.

Blisters

Getting blisters is a shoo-in for runners.

A Blister is a small fluid-filled bubble on the skin. Most blisters on your feet are friction blisters, which result from socks or shoes excessively rubbing against the skin of your feet. This excessive rubbing can be from ill-fitting shoes, wet shoes, or just overuse, like running a marathon.

The ‘bubble’ itself is a natural cushion that your body produces in order to create a protective barrier between the irritated area of skin and friction-causing object.

The most common question related to blisters is: should I pop the blister or let it be? It depends.

If the blister is small enough and poses no risk of opening and possibly causing an infection, leave it be. Cover it with a Band-aid, or even basic medical tape, which has proven to be one of the most effective tools in preventing blisters. Additionally, the medical tape is only mildly adhesive meaning it won’t tear the blister. Plus, it’s extremely inexpensive.

However, if it’s large, and has a greater risk of opening because of added friction, consider popping the blister. Use a pin or needle (sterile) and puncture the outer skin. Drain the fluid from the blister. Thoroughly rinse the area.

Chafing

Chafing is similar to blisters in that it’s caused by excessive rubbing.

For runners, chafing can occur anywhere where skin rubs against skin or clothing. One common hotspot is the groin area, both because of shorts, and because your thighs may rub together when running. In fact, the latter even has its own name: Chub Rub.

Chafing is more of a nuisance than a foot condition but still important to address. You’ll want to do a number of things in order to prevent chafing:

  • Use vaseline to provide a barrier on your skin.
  • Stay dry: moisture can increase irritation and lead to chafing.
  • Dress right: wear moisture-wicking clothes and do not re-use the same part of bottoms without washing.

If the area is very painful, swollen, bleeding, or crusted, your health care provider may recommend a Medicated Ointment.

If you’re a runner and are interested in avoiding potential concern, Call us at 416-769-3338 or book a visit today!

What is a Bunionette?

Bunions are among the most common sources of foot pain. Bunions are particularly prominent among women, especially those older than 60.

A Bunionette, on the other hand, is less common. When you think about it, a bunionette sounds like a bunion’s younger sibling. And it kind of is.

What Is A Bunionette?

While a bunion is a pronounced bump on the outer edge of the big toe, a bunionette is exactly the opposite. A bunionette is a bump on the outer edge of the little toe.

A bunionette is commonly known as a “tailor’s bunion.” Why? Because tailors used to sit cross-legged. All day. (Apparently, this was done to Tighten Back Muscles so they didn’t wear out as quickly.)

As a result, their feets’ outer edge always made contact with the ground. Over time, the rubbing created a bump on the outside of tailors’ little toes, and further aggravated the foot condition.

And that’s a brief history lesson on a bunionette’s backstory.

The bump may also be a bone spur – a bony outgrowth – caused by osteoarthritis in the fifth metatarsophalangeal joint. The metatarsophalangeal joint is the area between your metatarsal bone (the base of your toe) and your proximal bones (smaller bones close to the head of toe).

Pain associated with a bunionette occurs on the outside of the foot, and tight shoes may exacerbate the condition. Shoes with narrow toe boxes are particularly problematic for those with a bunionette. Narrow toe boxes increase friction against the bony protrusion.

People who have mild to medium cases of bunionettes may experience little to no pain. In these cases, one should take the proper precautions to keep the case mild, and not progress any worse. A mild case of a bunionette may be a small bump on the outer edge of the little toe. A severe case may be that your little toe is overlapping your fourth toe.

Since bunionettes are a progressive condition, they will only get worse over time. This means you cannot reverse what’s already been done.

But, don’t worry, there’s still plenty you can do. In fact, the worsening can be slowed significantly, and it’s absolutely possible to maintain a high quality of life without pain. However, because it’s a progressive condition, the only corrective measure to remove the bunion is surgery.

Causes

According to Harvard Medical, bunions and bunionettes can be heredity, due to arthritis, or misalignment of the foot.

The causes of a bunionette are classified as either intrinsic or extrinsic.

Extrinsic causes include:

  • External pressure on the forefoot
  • Tight shoes

Intrinsic causes include:

  • Genetics
  • Foot anatomy
  • Faulty mechanics

Foot function and foot mechanics can also contribute to the formation of Bunions and bunionettes. For instance, overpronation, which is the turning in of your foot towards your arches as you are walking, can lead to bunions and bunionettes.

Bunion vs. Bunionette: What’s The Difference?

Whereas a bunion is a result of a deformity and shift to the first metatarsal, a shift in the fifth metatarsal bone causes a bunionette.

The bump that you see is the metatarsal shifting in alignment as the toe begins to point inwards. As this happens, the base of the metatarsal bone shifts outwards causing the bump that is so often related to foot pain. Because the little toe is smaller than the big toe, a bunionette is considerably smaller than a bunion.

Treatment And Prevention

Bunion and bunionette treatment is similar. As such, properly-fitting shoes are an essential step. The team here at First Feet Clinic specializes in Shoe Fitting. No appointment is necessary to find a pair of shoes that fit the profile of your feet.

Additionally, stretching your shoe can provide benefits as it artificially provides additional toe room. This allows your bunionette more space in the shoe.

If foot anatomy and pronation appears to be the cause, investing in Custom Foot Orthotics can be beneficial in the long run. If you’re unsure of the root cause, see a foot specialist for a course of action. Additionally, foot specialists can perform a biomechanical assessment to determine whether orthotics are the right approach.

Anti-inflammatories can also help reduce swelling and pain. Furthermore, you can purchase bunionette Splints for relief and to reduce swelling.

As a final resort, and if physical therapy doesn’t work, surgery is an option. Like for a bunion, surgery corrects the joint and bone deformity. This restores the toe to its regular position. Recovery time can be between 6-12 weeks and it’s recommended you explore all other non-invasive options before considering surgery. Note that because the small toe generally absorbs less body weight than your big toe, bunionette surgery recovery time may be less than for a bunion.

Book an appointment with a chiropodist at Feet First Clinic for professional diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

Are Flat Feet A Problem?

About 30% of the population live with flat feet.

So there’s a high likelihood that either you or someone in your family have flat feet.

What Are Flat Feet?

Flat feet are as they sound: a collapsed arch with much of your sole in contact with the ground. This is relative to a regular arch, which is when about half of your arch is in contact with the ground.

Good news! Flat feet are usually a painless condition. Often, flat feet occur during childhood development, but they can also occur as you age. Flat foot often starts with a dysfunction of the ankle tendon known as posterior tibial tendon. This tendon is responsible for holding up your arch. Weakness or underdevelopment in the tendon means your arch can drop.

Injury to the ankle can also cause flat feet, partly because damage to the tendons won’t be able to support your arch.

How Can I Tell If I Have Flat Feet?

Flat Feet

The easiest way to determine your foot type is with a wet test.

The wet test is a cheap and easy way to determine your foot type. The test only requires a piece of paper and wetting the bottom of your foot.

To perform the wet test:

  1. Pour a thin layer of water into a shallow pan
  2. Wet the sole of your foot
  3. Step onto a blank piece of paper (or onto a wooded surface like your deck)
  4. Step off and look down

Based on the shape of your foot on the paper, you can determine your foot type. If your arch is partially filled out,  then you have a normal arch. An arch that’s fully filled out means you likely have flat feet and fallen arches. If your arch is barely visible, you likely have a high arch.

Is It A Problem?

In short: it depends. In most instances, it isn’t.

There are generally a few tendencies associated with flat feet.

People with fallen arches generally have more inward rotation than those with a regular arch.

Generally, this gait deficiency will overwork other muscles and tendons in the leg. Overcompensating in your lower leg can cause problems in your knees, ankles, and hips. Fallen arches can also cause pain in your arches and can lead to swelling. Overcompensation can also lead to underlying issues in the foot like bone spurs, osteoarthritis, and bony prominences.

Someone with flat feet may also experience posterior tibial tendonitis. This condition causes pain and swelling in the posterior tibial tendon. As the tendon supports the arch of the foot, and provides stability, leaving this condition untreated may lead to an increased risk of flat feet. Why? Since the resulting tendons become inflamed and damaged, they lose the ability to maintain your arch height.

In many cases, the body adapts to having flat feet and you may never experience pain at all.

One form of fallen arches is known as flexible flat feet. In these cases, you never develop symptoms and the fallen arch is related to the looseness of ligaments and is inherited. In this case, flat feet are not preventable.

How To Live Pain-Free With Fallen Arches

If you’re pain-free, no treatment is necessary.

However, just because you don’t have pain now doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t in the future. Given your body may compensate for fallen arches, the deficiencies in your stride may take years to develop. (On the other hand, the deficiencies may never develop into pain.)

If you do start to experience pain, there a number of measures you can take including:

  • Orthotics: custom foot orthotics are specifically designed for your feet. These devices work to correct faulty foot mechanics and redistribute pressures across the bottom of the foot.
  • Motion Control Footwear: to help with overpronation (when your foot rolls too far inward), motion control footwear has medial support built into the midsole to help limit the damage and wear to the inner portion of your shoe.
  • Lifestyle Changes: an exercise program and a plan to manage your weight can help reduce the pressure on your feet.
  • Stretching Exercisesstretching and lengthening the range of motion of your Achilles tendon can help.

In short, flat feet can pose some problems in certain cases. In many cases, they aren’t a problem, especially if you follow certain precautions like strengthening and orthotics.

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10 Common Foot Conditions And Injuries

Your legs are involved in every aspect of movement. They’re the foundation of your body, and act as shock absorbers. Our reliance on our legs cannot be overstated. It’s crucial we take proper leg and foot pain management to avoid common foot conditions.

Overwhelmingly, there are some common foot conditions that are more prevalent than others. These are either injuries or conditions that a large portion of the population experiences once, or repeatedly. To put you on the right track, we’ve rounded up 10 common foot conditions. Note that these are listed in no particular order.

1.  Bunions

A bunion is perhaps the widest known foot condition. A bunion is an enlargement on the outside of the big toe. The enlargement can be a bony outgrowth, or a shift in your big toe. Often the base of the metatarsal shifts outwards (meaning your toe points inwards), and a bunion results because of the deformity.

You may develop bunions through any of the following reasons:

  • Your foot is shaped in a way that makes you more likely to have bunions
  • Your foot rolls overly inwards when you walk
  • Flat feet
  • Tight footwear

Fortunately, a physical therapy regimen, over-the-counter products, and proper footwear enables you to live with bunions without surgery.

2. Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal skin infection that affects the skin on soles of feet and between toes. The fungi that causes athlete’s foot is commonly found in moist places, like shared showers and locker rooms.

Athlete’s foot typically presents as a translucent white moist skin between the toes on one or both feet. To treat the condition, you can use over-the-counter products including medicated creams, ointments, sprays, and powders.

3. Ingrown Toenails

An Ingrown Toenail occurs when the nail begins to grow into the skin. In many cases, you can treat ingrown toenails yourself. In severe cases, you should consult a doctor.

Typically, wearing tight shoes, cutting your nails too short, or not across, and injuring your toenail can cause an ingrown toenail. Home remedies include soaking your feet in warm water, wearing proper footwear, taking anti-inflammatories, and placing dental floss under the edge of the toenail.

If the ingrown toenail is serious, surgery is performed.

The surgery consists of numbing the toe with a local anaesthetic, then removing the portion of the toenail that is growing into the skin, and finally, applying a chemical to the nail root to prevent regrowth.

4. Black Toenails

Black toenails may be rare to the majority of the population, but are common among runners. The repeated nature of running puts your toenails at risk due to impact and friction. Typically, black toenails result from a blister underneath the toenail. The most common cause is tight footwear, and from undulating terrain as downhill running adds pressure on your toes.

You might also get a black toenail because of trauma to the toe. Occasionally, a black toenail will fall off.

Here’s everything you need to know about black toenails including treatment and prevention.

5. Plantar Fasciitis

Common Foot ConditionsPlantar fasciitis can be a real pain…in the heel.

This foot condition involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects your heel with your toes – the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis can cause sharp pain in the heel, especially in the morning.

Runners are especially prone to plantar fasciitis because of the repeated stress to the plantar fascia. Common treatment and preventative measures include self-massage with a golf ball, anti-inflammatories, and if necessary, custom orthotics.

6. Nail Fungus

The toes are particularly susceptible to nail fungus because fungi thrive in dark, moist places. Since many of us wear shoes for hours every day, one can understand how nail fungus comes about.

Common symptoms of nail fungus include yellowing and thickening of the toenail, brittleness, and sometimes an unpleasant odour. For early or mild cases of nail fungus, you can use a topical antifungal cream.

To prevent nail fungus, wash and dry your feet regularly, don’t share nail clippers, avoid being barefoot in public facilities, and keep your toenails short, but not too short.

7. Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are bony outgrowths, typically in areas prone to osteoarthritis. The most common forms of bone spurs in the foot include heel spurs, and a bone spur on top of the first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTJ). The latter is a common spot. Stiffness and arthritis in the big toe leads to a condition known as hallux rigidus.

Bone spurs inherently reduce flexibility and can be quite painful. With treatment including proper footwear, people can live normally with bone spurs without needing surgery. You should note that bone spurs are progressive meaning there’s no reversal of impact and damage done.

8. Corns

Corns are like calluses, except that corns can be painful. A corn is an area of hardened skin that develops on areas of the feet that sustain too much compression.

A corn has a few hot spots: between your toes, the outer edge of your little toe, and on top of the toes.

Corns are removable. One of our Toronto foot clinic specialists or chiropodists can safely remove the build-up of tissue and assess whether Orthopedic Shoes or Custom Orthotics may be indicated to prevent their recurrence.

9. Blisters

Blisters are more of an annoyance than anything. This minor foot condition occurs when the skin is aggravated. Because of this friction, a small fluid-filled bubble on the skin forms.

Fortunately, most blisters heal on their own. To ensure there are no complications, you can cover the blister with an adhesive bandage or blister pad, both of which are available at our Toronto foot clinic. Common tricks to avoid blisters include using baby powder for sweaty feet, proper moisture-wicking socks, and wearing shoes that fit.

10. Gout

Gout affects roughly 3 million Canadians each year.

This condition is a form of arthritis that can develop rapidly. The painful condition involves swelling and tenderness of joints. Gout is most common at the base of the big toe.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “gout occurs when urate crystals accumulate in your joint, causing the inflammation and intense pain of a gout attack. Urate crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood.” Foods that can lead to high levels of urate are red meats, seafood, refined or processed carbohydrates, sugary drinks and alcohol such as beer and hard liquor.

And there you have it: 10 common foot conditions.

This list is by no means an exhaustive list. There are tens, if not hundreds, of different common foot conditions you might develop over the course of your life. To address your foot issues early, see a foot specialist.

If you’re in Toronto, Book An Appointment with a specialist today, or visit the store for everyday items like compression socks, footwear, and for a custom shoe fitting.