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Ankle Popping And Cracking—Causes And Remedies

Does your ankle crack or pop when you rotate it? You’re not alone. Ankle cracking and ankle popping are quite common, and there’s no immediate need to worry.

In fact, joint popping has a medical term. Crepitus is abnormal popping or crackling of a joint, which may be sometimes uncomfortable or painful. There are two variations to crepitus:

  • Bone crepitus: When two fragments of a fracture are moved against each other.
  • Joint crepitus: When the affected joint is passively moved with one hand, while the other hand is placed on the joint to feel the crepitus.

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Why Does My Ankle Crack Every Time I Rotate It?

Ankle cracking or ankle popping can occur for two primary reasons

  • Tendons rubbing over a bone
  • Gas being released from the joint

A snapping sound in the ankle is most commonly caused by the tendon slipping over the bone. As you rotate your ankle, this triggers the snapping or clicking sound. Alternatively, an ankle may crack when rotated because as a force is exerted on the joint, bubbles of nitrogen in the synovial fluid burst. This can happen after long periods of sedentary, or if your muscles are tight.

Peroneal Subluxation / Dislocation

Ankle cracking and ankle popping may be due to the peroneal tendon rubbing over the joint. The peroneal tendons help support and stabilize the foot and ankle, and protects your lower leg from sprains. One peroneal tendon attaches to the outer part of the midfoot, while the other tendon runs under the foot and attaches near the inside of the arch. If either tendon is damaged, or slips out of place due to injury, it can rub on the bone cause cracking and popping. This cause is relatively uncommon, and seen mostly in athletes who severely sprain their ankles.

As you may know, cracking and popping is not exclusive to your ankles. In fact, many parts of your body can be ‘cracked’ in the traditional sense. Have you ever heard of the expression, “cracking your knuckles?” Understandably, knuckles, your hallux (toes), and neck joints can be easily cracked with minimal effort.

Is It Bad That My Ankles Crack?

A common claim to cracking your joints is that it causes arthritis. However, this argument is not backed by evidence. One study on joint cracking concludes that, “the evidence for the association of knuckle cracking and osteoarthritis comes mainly from observational studies that have failed to show an association.”

The truth of the matter is that ankle popping or cracking is not necessarily a bad thing. However, if when your ankle cracks, pain and swelling occur, then you should seek advice from a medical professional. As Healthline recommends, strengthening your ankles with Ankle Exercises can help prevent injuries, like ankle sprains. Ankle exercise can also help strengthen the muscles and tendons that help stabilize your lower leg.

crackedheels

How Do You Get Rid of Cracks In Your Ankles?

Cracks in your ankle are typically not a cause for concern. If you’re annoyed by the cracks, clicks, or pops, then there are some DIY treatment methods aimed at strengthening your ankles.

Ankle Exercises

Perform these ankle exercises to heklp prevent ankle popping or cracking:

  • Ankle circles
  • Calf raises
  • Single-legged balance
  • Draw the alphabet

Doing these in the morning will help loosen up your ankle and prevent stiffness, especially shortly after waking up. Incorporate these ankle exercises with the other Morning Foot Exercises you perform to start off your day.

Custom Foot Orthotics

If you have chronic ankle pain, Custom Foot Orthotics may be just what’s needed. Orthotics are custom-built corrective shoe inserts that provide personalized support for your lower legs. These devices work to correct faulty foot mechanics and redistribute pressures along the bottom aspects of the foot.

As always, if you have any questions about or concerns with your feet, please don’t hesitate to reach out to speak with one of our Licensed Chiropodists.

Is it OK to Crack Your Toes?

One of the most common joints in your body to crack is your hallux, the medical term for a person’s big toe.

According to WebMD, “as a rule, painless cracking of joints is not harmful.” But, if it’s painful or if there is signs of discomfort, then there may be a greater underlying problem.

Your Leg Solutions Live Here!

Does your ankle bother you? Our team is trained to handle any and all your foot health concerns. From mild, to critical, we cover all aspects of the foot. Call us to ask about actionable steps towards your solution today.

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

What Ageing Does To Our Feet

Ageing Feet: Common Conditions

Ageing is inevitable. Foot problems aren’t. Understandably, as we age, our bodies are no longer what they once were. This includes ageing feet. After all, we put our bodies under immense wear and tear over the years. Ageing feet are prone to a number of conditions. In fact, many older adults are prone to certain foot conditions they’ve never experienced before. As we age, prevention is key. Treatment and recovery can be more difficult as the body ages. Learn about the various foot conditions that may affect the older population.

Fat Pad Atrophy

Fat Pad Atrophy is the thinning of the pad that protects the underlying structures of your feet, such as neurovascular tissues, ligaments and tendons. This is the “cushioning” of your feet. The fat pad protects your feet in everyday activity. Over time, this 1-2 cm pad begins to wear down as you age. According to the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association, by the age of 50, people lose half of the fat pad. Treatment includes custom foot orthotics, and orthopaedic footwear, both of which are sold in-store at Feet First Clinic.

Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s Neuroma is foot condition in the ball of your foot. It occurs most commonly in the area between your third and fourth toes. Morton’s neuroma can feel like you’re walking on a pebble and worsens with tight footwear and high heels. Neuroma is more common in females and inactive individuals, usually aged 15-50.

Cracked Heels

When the skin on the bottom of your heels becomes overly dry, it can split and crack. This condition is known as Cracked Heels. These fissures can be painful and bleed. If they persist, your heels can become infected.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the tissue (plantar fascia) along the bottom of your foot between your heel bone and toes. This condition of the arch is most commonly associated with overuse. Pain is gradual, but can be sharp upon first steps after prolonged rest—like when waking up.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a common condition for adults over 70. This  degenerative joint disease is the most common form of arthritis. Breakdown of cartilage and formation of osteophyte (bony outgrowth) are common symptoms.

Risk factors include:

  • Gender: women are more likely than men to suffer from OA, especially in the hands and knees.
  • Joint injury: prior trauma can alter joint alignment and cause more overuse in certain areas.
  • Obesity: increased weight will increase load on the joints, causing earlier onset of osteoarthritis.
  • Biomechanics: deviations in foot and knee joints can cause excess wear on certain joint areas.

Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are bone outgrowths caused by osteoarthritis. Often, bone spurs develop at joints, and where bones meet. The most common place for bone spurs is in the foot. Conditions include hallux rigidus and heel spurs.

Hallux Rigidus

Ageing Feet
Osteophyte on top of the left metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) due to hallux rigidus.

Hallux rigidus is the medical term for stiff big toe. Hallux rigidus is a stiff first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) characterized by a bone spur on the big toe. This condition develops over time due to osteoarthritis and progressively worsens. Since it’s a wear-and-tear condition, ageing feet are particularly prone. Custom foot orthotics and stiff shoes with a rocker midsole can help prevent and limit the onset of hallux rigidus. Otherwise, surgery may be your best option.

Heel Spurs are a bony growth from the underside of the heel bone that forms due to repetitive muscular and ligament strain. Common activities include: walking, running, and jumping. Heel spurs are managed by rest, exercise, custom foot orthotics, supportive footwear, a night splint, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, and cortisone injections.

Bunions

Hallux valgus, bunion in woman foot on white background
Hallux valgus, bunion in foot on white background

One in three people older than 18 have bunions making it one of the most common foot conditions. Bunions are bony protrusions along the edge of the big toe. At the site of the MTPJ, which bears up to 60% of our body weight, bones are particularly susceptible to shifting. Herein lies the start of a bunion. The bones of the big toe and foot can deviate from proper alignment and create the angular protrusion that juts out from the base of the big toe. Studies show that bunion deformity occurs more frequently in women and older individuals.

Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail occurs when the side of the toenail curls down and pierces the flesh of the toe as the nail grows. Older adults are prone to ingrown toenails because of curved or thick nails. Thick and curved nails make ingrown toenails more prevalent.

Causes include:

  • Cutting your toenail too short or rounding the edge of the nail
  • Wearing shoes or socks that don’t fit well can also cause an ingrown toenail
  • Tight shoes

Have an ingrown toenail? Visit Feet First Clinic for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Flat Feet

Flat feet occur when your arch collapses, and can be a sign of ageing feet. Adults may get flat feet because of an injury, obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure. Over time, the tendons supporting your arch weaken, and your feet flatten. Orthotics, physical therapy, braces, and surgery help.

Gout

Middle-aged men’s ageing feet are most susceptible to gout, a common and complex form of arthritis. Gout is due to a condition known as hyperuricemia, which occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body. Red meat, shellfish, alcohol, and sugary foods all contribute to the build of uric acid. As you age, avoid the aforementioned to limit your chance of gout.

Bursitis

According to Harvard Medical School, bursitis is most common in people who are overweight, elderly or diabetic. Bursitis is an inflammation of a bursa, and often occurs in the foot. Bursae, which are small sacs of fluid that protect your tendons, bones, and joints, can swell and become painful due to repetitive impact. Fortunately, ice, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can help.

Hammertoe

 

hammertoe 2

Hammertoes look like curled toes. (Read: I Have Curled Toes — Is There Something Wrong?) Hammertoe is a toe deformity in which the middle toe joint is abnormally contracted a bent causing the toe to curl downward. This can typically affect one or more toes and can either be fixed or mobile, and the second toe is most often affected.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are a small crack in a bone. Repetitive use, or trauma can cause the bone to break. According to one study, “the incidence of stress injuries in older athletes is noticeably increasing, associated with a more active, older population.” Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do with a stress fracture other than to rest, or stay off your feet. However, non-impact exercise like swimming is a way to stay active, but be careful of aggravating the bone.

Ageing Feet? We’re Here To Help!

As we age, regular foot health check-ups are essential. Be proactive, not reactive. Book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists for a thorough assessment to determine an appropriate preventative plan, or for treatment.

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

Top 5 Foot Conditions to Self Assess At Home

For most people, feet are unknown territory. Being that they are the farthest body part from our eyes, they don’t get as much attention as they should. Feet should be cleaned thoroughly once a day and assessed for changes to the skin and or structure. Pain is another sign that you should not ignore. If you happen to notice changes to your feet, to help you decipher what it may be, we have come up with the following list. Continue reading to discover common foot problems and the signs to look out for if you have them.

Plantar Warts

Plantar-Wart-4-1800×1200

A plantar wart is a small growth that appears in weight-bearing areas of the foot. They are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus and are relatively harmless. At times, warts do resolve spontaneously on their own; however, some do require treatment from a medical professional.

What to look for:

  • Small, fleshy, round, rough growth usually with overlying callus
  • Tiny black dots in the lesion
  • A lesion that disturbs the normal skin lines
  • Pain with standing or pinching of the lesion 

Athlete’s Foot 

 

Athletes-Foot2-1800×1013

Athlete’s Foot is known as tinea pedis in the medical world. It an infection of the skin, the culprit being a fungus. As the name suggests, Athlete’s Foot is common in athletes or people who have sweaty feet.

What to look for:

  • Peeling, scaly skin in between the toes or bottoms of feet
  • Red rash
  • If chronic, can present as very dry, flaky skin
  • Associated itch/burn/sting 

Bunions

Hallux valgus, bunion in woman foot on white background

 What to look for:

  • A bony bump at the side of the base of the big toe
  • Redness, swelling, pain at the 1st MTP joint
  • Big toe may start to turn towards the smaller toes beside it

Plantar Fasciitis

iStock-902595216-1800×1200

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a fibrous band that runs from the heel bone to the ball of the foot. It works to support the arch of your foot and absorb the shock when you walk. When it becomes strained, it can develop small tears, usually near the heel, which cause inflammation and pain.

What to look for:

  • Sharp heel pain, usually at the inner heel
  • Pain is worse with your first steps in the morning out of bed  
  • Pain tends to subside as you go about your day
  • Pain may return with initial steps after sitting or resting

Flat Feet

flatfeet

Flat feet can only be diagnosed with you standing in a weight-bearing position. It is described as a low or nonexistent arch profile. You can check your arch by wetting your feet and standing on a piece of paper or concrete ground. If the imprint of your foot is relatively the same width along the length of your foot, you likely have a flat foot. If you have flat feet, you are also likely to roll your feet towards your arches when you walk (ie you overpronate).

What to look for:

  • Low or nonexistent arch in the foot
  • Widening of the foot when you stand
  • Possible pain at the arch of the foot, ankle, knee, or low back

If you think you have any of the above foot problems, it is of your best interest to see a Licensed Chiropodist for further assessment. A chiropodist is a foot specialist who is trained to assess and treat various diseases and conditions of the foot.

Have No Fear!

We have all your solution under one roof. Call or Book Today and we’ll have you in asap! Open 6 days a week, we’ll be happy to help inform you and solve all your concerns any day at your convenience! 

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

8 Common Running Injuries

8 Common Running Injuries

Running is a great form of exercise that helps burn calories, strengthen muscles and bones, and improve cardiovascular fitness. Being that you only need a pair of running shoes and an open path, makes it very accessible, which is an added bonus. On the other hand, running also generates a lot of biomechanical stresses on the lower limb and that can potentially combine to result in injuries. Here are 8 common injuries that may occur with running. 

IT Band Syndrome

Also known as Runner’s Knee or Cyclist’s Knee, IT Band Syndrome is the most common cause of lateral (outer) knee pain in runners. It is caused by excessive friction between the iliotibial band and the end of the femoral bone where the knee is located, resulting in tightness, irritation, and inflammation when the knee is bent. Pain usually occurs a few kilometers into the run and is typically worse with downhill running. 

You are more likely to develop IT band syndrome if you have bowed legs, your foot overpronates, you have a tight IT band, or you have changed the intensity or frequency of your training.

Shin Splints

Shin splints, medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is described as pain at the inner portion of the shin bone. It is caused by repetitive microtrauma to the bone and/or surrounding soft tissues.

Athletes who do not build up their mileage gradually or abruptly change their workout regime by increasing intensity or changing from a flat road to hills are more likely to experience shin splints. It is also associated with weak muscles, improper footwear, and a hypermobile, pronated foot type.

shin splintsPlantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain and it is caused by inflammation of the fibrous band that runs from the heel bone to the ball of the foot. The tell-tale sign of plantar fasciitis is heel pain that is worst with the first steps in the morning out of bed. Pain also occurs with initial steps after sitting or rest.

Running puts a great deal of stress on the heel bone and strain on the plantar fascia as the arch of the foot depresses 50% more relative to walking. Overpronators, as well as increased body weight, puts you at higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

 Achilles Tendinopathies

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, which is a tendon that connects the calf muscle to the back of the heel bone. Repetitive strain and stress to the tendon or tissue encapsulating the tendon can result in irritation and therefore, inflammation. Pain may be along the tendon or closer to the heel bone and worsens with increased activity (ie after a run). Pain or stiffness may also be experienced in the mornings. Chronic inflammation may lead to thickening of the tendon and decreased flexibility of the ankle. Tight calf muscles, a sudden increase in running mileage, overpronation, and having bone spurs can all cause Achilles tendonitis.    

Ankle Sprains

The most common ankle sprain is an inversion ankle sprain, specifically at the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL). It occurs when you “roll” your ankle inwards and the ligament is stretched or torn causing pain and swelling. The more severe the sprain, the longer the recovery.

Ankle sprain treatment requires PRICE (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) for the first three days. Minor ankle sprains will then move onto range of motion exercises and then strengthening exercises. For more severe injuries, splints or immobilization is necessary before rehabilitation commences. You may be more likely to sprain your ankle if you have a varus deformity of the lower limb and foot, you have a hypermobile foot, you train on uneven terrain, or you have a history of ankle sprains. Improper footwear, as well as participation in sports that require dynamic foot movements, can also predispose you to ankle sprains.

sprainankleee

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as Runner’s knee results from overuse and overload of the patellofemoral joint resulting in an “achy” pain at the front of the knee and around the knee cap. Pain is worse with activity and worsens with downhill running, running on an uneven surface, or prolonged sitting. 

Having a high arched foot, knock-knees, muscular imbalance such as weak quads and tight hamstrings, or an overpronated foot, all predisposes you to developing patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Anterior Compartment Syndrome

Compartment syndrome, specifically chronic or exertional compartment syndrome occurs when pressure builds up at the front of the lower leg as the muscle expands in volume during exercise but the tissue encasing the muscle does not. This results in a deep aching pain, tightness, and swelling. It can also lead to reduced circulation and sensation resulting in numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and in severe cases, foot drop. Exertional compartment syndrome is caused by regular vigorous exercise and overtraining. It is initiated by activity and ceases with rest.

Csyndrome (1)Subungual Hematoma

A subungual hematoma is the medical term for bruising and bleeding under the toenail caused by trauma. With running, bruising usually occurs from the toe repetitively hitting the end of the shoe. Wearing properly fitted footwear will decrease your chances of developing a subungual hematoma. Silicone toe caps may also help.

 

If you are experiencing one or all of the injuries discussed above, incorporating a chiropodist in your circle of care may be of great benefit. Have your feet assessed today to determine if they may be a contributing factor to your pain.

 

For All Your Foot Concerns, We Can Help!

We have all your solution under one roof. Call or Book Today and we’ll have you in asap! Open 6 days a week, we’ll be happy to help inform you and solve all your concerns any day at your convenience! 

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

Are Sports Shoes Worth It?

We all know regular exercise is good for our health. It has many benefits such as helping with weight loss, reducing risk of chronic diseases, and improving overall mental health.

Exercise or sport activity also builds your bones and muscles and makes them strong. On the other hand, it also puts a tremendous amount of stress and pressure on them. The feet, ankle, and legs in particular, undergo high levels of biomechanical stress during various kinds of rigorous weight-bearing activity. On top of this, each sport activity requires specific movements and are played on different surfaces. Fortunately, we live in a time when shoes are designed with all these factors in mind. Wearing activity-specific shoes will not only help to improve performance and comfort but prevent commonly associated lower extremity injuries.  

Types of Activity Specific Footwear

 

runners

Running  

Running generates a large impact on the lower limb. Forces acting on the body can reach up to ten times a person’s body weight. In addition, the arch of the foot tends to depress 50% more than in walking and the rate of pronation is generally increased. As such, running shoes are built with increased support, cushioning, and shock absorption properties. This is done in varying degrees to accommodate different foot types. The more pronation your foot exhibits, the greater amount of control and stability you should look for in a running shoe.

bballBasketball/Tennis

Basketball and tennis are sports that require a bit more dynamic movement across the court relative to running. Basketball in general, involves a lot of jumping, landing, starting, and stopping motions. As such, basketball shoes tend to have a higher upper to increase support around the ankle to increase stability and prevent ankle sprains. Court shoes tend to also have a thicker and wider outer sole that features a herringbone pattern for better grip, balance, and stability in all directions.

Baseball/Soccer

Baseball and soccer are both sports that require cleat shoes. Cleats are protrusions on the sole of the shoe that provide adequate traction on soft or slippery surfaces, such as a grass or dirt field. The shorter cleats found on soccer shoes as well as their low-cut uppers and lightweight design provide ankle manoeuvrability and better agility. A baseball cleat has an additional toe cleat in front to dig into the dirt to increase stability during sudden moments of acceleration such as running from base to base.

running

Hiking

Hiking is a long vigorous walk on trails and paths of uneven, rough terrain. You may walk through a forest, cross a river, pass a waterfall, and even climb a cliff. Wearing the proper shoes will ensure your feet are protected and able to withstand various impacts. Good hiking shoes have a wide and thick rubber lug sole to provide stability and good traction. They also have sufficient cushion and shock absorption properties as well as a waterproof membrane to keep the feet dry. 

All in all, are sports shoes worth it? Absolutely! 

Sports Foot Injury? We’re Here To Help!

If you have acquired a sport-related injury, book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists for a thorough assessment to determine an appropriate treatment plan.

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

Top 5 Common Toe Conditions

Your toes are one of the most essential parts of your body. Toes help your feet bear the weight of your body when you walk. Toes also provide our bodies balance and support. These core functions are important to our everyday life, and the weight our toes bear makes them vulnerable to injury. Plus, the fact that many of us are on our feet for hours on end, toe health is essential.

Below you’ll find the five of the most common toe conditions.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s Foot is a contagious fungal skin infection that afflicts the skin on soles of the feet and between the toes. Fungi prevalent in Athlete’s Foot thrive in dark moist areas and feed on keratin. This means that our feet, which spend most of the day bound up in socks and shoes, present an ideal environment for the proliferation of a fungal infection. Consequently, 1 in 10 people have athlete’s foot, or about 10% of the population making it one of the most common toe conditions. A common sign of an athlete’s foot is translucent white moist skin between the toes on one or both feet.

Additional symptoms of athlete’s foot include:

  • A scaly and raw looking rash
  • Itching
  • Stinging
  • Burning
  • Foot pain
  • Dry skin on the soles of the feet
  • Peeling skin on the soles of the feet
  • Cracked Skin on the Heels

Fortunately, treatment is simple yet effective. Over-the-counter topical antifungals are the most common remedy for athlete’s foot. Products include medicated creams, ointments, sprays, and powders. Our Toronto foot clinic is open six days a week.

Hallux Rigidus/Hallux Limitus

Toe Conditions
A bone spur on top of the left metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) due to hallux rigidus.

Hallux rigidus and hallux limitus are variations of a similar toe condition. Both are disorders of the joint at the base of the big toe. Hallux means big toe while rigidus and limitus refers to the damage of the joint and the degree of flexibility of the big toe. Rigidus refers to a rigid big toe, and limitus, a less severe version of injury, refers to limited flexibility and an earlier stage of the condition.

Hallux rigidus is the loss of flexibility due to arthritis in the first MTP (metatarsophalangeal) joint. As the toe stiffens, friction to the joint may lead to pain and/or a Bone Spur — your body’s defense mechanism to prevent further harm. As it’s a progressive condition, damage to the joint cannot be reversed. But, with proper measures including orthotics, proper footwear, and joint exercises, one can live pain free with the condition.

Hallux limitus on the other hand is characterized by limited flexibility in the joint and trouble bending the big toe. Typically, no bone spurs are present (yet). Flexibility is greater with those in hallux limitus than the more progressive hallux rigidus.

Bone Spur

Severe versions of hallux rigidus – with complete loss of flexibility in the joint – may require surgery. Options include:

  • A cheilectomy, removal of bone spurs from around the big toe joint. This is done to free the joint of volume, and to encourage greater degrees of flexibility.
  • A second procedure, which is permanent, is called arthrodesis. In these cases, the joints in the big toe are fused, eliminating the joint surface leaving the joint permanently stiff.

Hallux rigidus and limitus can be caused by abnormal foot anatomy or a history of trauma including turf toe, a toe fracture or repeated strain to the joint, like running for example. However, there are no specific causes. Rather, hallux rigidus and hallux limitus are influenced by several contributing factors.

Ingrown Toenails

An Ingrown Toenail occurs when the side of the toenail curls down and pierces the flesh of the toe as the nail grows. Untreated ingrown toenails can easily become infected.

To start, you’ll want to focus on treatment, and then prevention.

  • Place a spacer or splint under the ingrown edge of the toenail
  • Soak feet in Epsom salt and water bath at home to flush out the infection and manage pain and inflammation
  • Trim the ingrown portion of the nail
  • In recurring cases, surgical removal (outpatient) of part of your toenail 
  • If your toenail becomes infected you may need topical or oral antibiotics

Prevention includes:

  • Avoid shoes that crowd your toes
  • Trim your toenails straight across and file the corners
  • Avoid injury to your toenails

Blisters

Blisters are among the most common toe conditions. Although common, blisters typically are not serious and can be treated immediately for relief within a few days. Blisters are small, fluid-filled bubbles on the upper most layer of the skin. Friction against your skin and your socks and shoes causes your skin to form small bubbles to prevent further damage to the underlying skin. More serious blisters may contain blood as the vessels at the surface of your skin burst.

These skin conditions typically heal themselves within a few days. However, it’s advised to cover blisters either with a basic bandage, tape, or a Band-aid, all of which are available at our Toronto foot clinic. These measures are simply to prevent unwanted popping of the blister and to shield your skin from friction.

To schedule best foot care treatment with our licensed Chiropodists (foot specialists), use the booking form at the bottom of this page or call 416-769-FEET(3338).

Bunions

Toe Conditions

A Bunion is a deformity of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. A bony bump protrudes from the base of the big toe causing pain, redness, and sometimes even swelling. Bunions are atop the list of most common toe problems. It affects about 23% of adults. The common age range of onset is 20-50, and women are more commonly affected than men.

Like hallux rigidus and other progressive foot conditions, a bunion is irreversible once it starts. So you can’t reverse what’s already been down, but you can take measures to slow down the deformity over time. The sooner you address the problem, the slower the rate of bunion growth.

Do you have a bunion or hallux rigidus? Read: Hallux Rigidus or Bunions: What’s the Difference?

Measures to help slow a bunion’s progression include:

Surgery is also an option. Typically, surgery includes removing the protruding portion of the bone, and re-aligning the joints in the big toe. Like with any foot condition, educate yourself on the pros and cons of surgery to determine: Is Foot Surgery Worth It? But, there’s still hope for those with bunions. Check out these Effective Ways That you Can Treat Your Bunion Pain.

A bunion’s sibling: A bunionette

Similarly, a Bunionette (or tailor’s bunion) is a bunion on the opposite side of the foot. A bunionette appears on the pinkie toe and affects the fifth metatarsal. It’s smaller than a bunion, but still appears as a bump. 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. The causes of a bunionette are classified as either intrinsic or extrinsic.

Causes include:

  • External pressure on the forefoot
  • Tight shoes
  • Genetics
  • Foot anatomy
  • Faulty mechanics

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

Experiencing Toe Pain? We’re Here For Your Toe Conditions

Our team is trained to handle any and all your foot health concerns including common toe conditions. From bunions to blisters to ingrown toenails and orthotics, 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.

4 Common Ankle Injuries

Did you know that of all major joints, the ankle is the most commonly injured? In fact, there are a variety of conditions that affect the ankle. Here are the 4 Most Common Ankle Injuries.

Ankle Sprain

Sprains rank number one among the most common ankle injuries. There are three primary forms of ankle sprains: inversion, eversion and high. Ankle Sprains occur when the ligaments overstretch and damage. Generally, sprains take 2-3 weeks to recover from, but you can continue to walk and be mobile if you have your ankle taped, and secured. Though ankle sprains are a very common sports injury, they can happen to anyone.

Inversion

An inversion sprain occurs when your ankle twists inwards.

  • Ankle rolls inwards
  • Most common form of ankle sprain

Eversion

An eversion sprain occurs when your ankle twists outwards. Eversion sprains impact the deltoid and medial ligaments of your ankle. Eversion sprains aren’t as common as inversion sprains because of the ligaments’ strength.

  • Ankle rolls outwards
  • Less common than inversion sprains
  • Accounts for 10-20% of sprains

High Ankle

A high angle sprain occurs when the foot twists outward due to the force. Here, we get a sprain of the syndesmotic ligaments which connect the tibia and fibula (shin bones).

  • Affects the high ankle
  • More common in sports (football, basketball, soccer) than in everyday life

To help prevent sprains, follow these Ankle Strengthening Exercises. Additionally, a Better Shoe Can Prevent Ankle Sprains. You’ll want shoes with a good fit, strong treads, and orthotic inserts if necessary. We carry a full line of footwear in the clinic including Leading Shoe Brands that you can choose from.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is a common foot condition that affects the ankle. It’s a result of a damaged posterior tibial nerve, and is considered the ankle’s version of carpal tunnel syndrome. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is the most common nerve entrapment of the ankle. 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.

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Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tarsal tunnel compresses. Imagine you squeeze a casing of wires. The more pressure you exert, the more you put onto the fillings inside. In this case, these are 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.

Achilles Tendonitis

Common Ankle Injuries

The Achilles is the longest tendon in the body, and can withhold extreme amounts of stress. The tendon connects the calf to the heel bone, and can become inflammed over time if overused. If this occurs, the injury is known as Achilles tendonitis. The most common symptom of Achilles Tendonitis is a mild ache or pain in the back of the lower-leg or above the heel, especially first thing in the morning and after exercise. The tendon can also be warm, swollen and irritated with certain ankle movements. This can cause pain in and around the ankle as well, as other joints and muscles attempt to compensate for the damage to the Achilles.

The following can cause Achilles tendonitis:

  • lack of conditioning in your lower leg muscles
  • excess strain on the Achilles tendon
  • bone spurs in the heel rub on the Achilles tendon
  • untreated flat feet lead to stress on the posterior tibial tendon

To treat, and prevent Achilles tendonitis, you can:

Dorsal Spurs

A Bone Spur is a benign growth and occurs on all parts of the body including on the heel, ankle, and toes. Specific to the ankle area, a Dorsal Spur is a bone growth at the insertion of the Achilles tendon. Bone spurs develop as your body’s response to trauma in the area. The body’s defense mechanism begins to grow bone to help protect the area against further damage. So, as these deposits build up, there is less area for your body to move freely, which can cause seperate issues due to the underlying bone spur.

There are two sides to this: one is that the injury is quite common. Two is that although bone spurs are common, only 5% of people with a bone spur feel pain.

Dorsal spurs occur because:

  • Straining foot muscles and ligaments
  • Over-stretching the plantar fascia
  • Repeated tearing of the thin lining of the heel bone

Generally, you should not worry about dorsal spurs. But if you do suspect a dorsal spur, or any sort of other ankle pain over more than a short period of time, consult a foot expert for next steps.

Questions About Your Ankle(s)? We Can Help!

Do you have an ankle injury? We’re confident in our ability to help inform you and solve all types of common ankle injuries with the least amount of discomfort as possible. Don’t hesitate: Call us 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!

Is Work Causing Your Foot Pain?

Is Work Causing Your Foot Pain? Do My Feet Hurt Because of My Job? 

Have you ever thought about how your job or lifestyle choices may affect your feet? Whether you are an athlete, engineer, labour worker, teacher, or health care professional, your feet are very important in your day to day life. And although anyone can develop foot problems, there are certain issues that are more commonly seen in specific professions. 

In today’s blog post, we will discuss profession and/or lifestyle specific foot concerns as well as easy tips on how to avoid them. Keeping your feet pain free and in good health will ensure you are less focussed on them and more focussed on doing your job to the best of your ability.

 

Athlete

Toenail Trauma

The purpose of a toenail is to protect the skin and bone underneath it, which means it takes on quite a bit of distress especially during rigorous activity if not properly protected itself. Due to the enormous amount of strain your feet endure during a game/work out session/training, the fast-paced stop and go motions, and the occasional collision with a member from the opposing team, your toenails are very vulnerable to trauma. Toenails can crack, become bruised, and even fall off. If damaged critically enough or repeatedly, the toenail may exhibit permanent changes such as thickening, discolouration, and stunted growth. Trauma can also encourage fungus to invade and colonize the exposed nail bed leading to stubborn toenail fungus. 

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot, which is a fungal skin infection of your foot that causes skin peeling or a red scaly rash, is another common foot problem seen in athletes. During physical activity, feet can become very sweaty while confined within socks and shoes. This provides a perfect environment for fungi to thrive; dark and moist. Athlete’s foot is also contagious and can be spread from person to person by sharing towels and walking barefoot in gyms and locker rooms.

Solution:

  • Wear proper shoes that are activity specific and the correct size and fit to avoid injury
  • Wear toe caps to protect the toenails
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks
  • Disinfect the interiors of the shoe
  • Do not share towels and do not walk barefoot in public spaces

 

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Working With Safety Shoes

Hyperhidrosis

Safety shoes are shoes made to protect an individual who is or may be exposed to hazards in the workplace. They are usually made with a protective material (ie steel, aluminium alloy, carbon fiber) at the toes as well as other sturdy materials at the soles and upper of the shoe. They may be puncture-resistant, slip-resistant, heat resistant, acid-resistant etc. When bought incorrectly, safety shoes can be occlusive and results in excessive sweating also known as hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis and inadequate air circulation in footwear can lead to skin infections, foul odour, and heat rashes.

Solution:

  • Buy a safety shoe that is protective and breathable
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks
  • Change your socks throughout the day when they get too damp
  • Use foot powders to soak up the excess moisture

 

Desk Jobs

Swollen legs and feet

If you are sitting for extended periods of time, you may start to notice swelling at your legs and feet by the end of the day. This is because when you are inactive, the muscles in your legs do not help to pump the blood back up to the heart. With age, this can worsen, and swelling can lead to heavy and tired legs, maybe even varicose veins. These are all signs of venous insufficiency, which suggests your veins are not efficiently pushing the blood from your lower extremities back to the heart.          

Shortened calf muscle

Some jobs have a dress code, we get it. But, believe it or not, your footwear choices can really affect the anatomy of your feet. For instance, wearing high heels on a regular basis can effectively shorten the calf muscle. Tight calves can produce symptoms such as sudden pain at the back of your calf or heel, especially when the foot is flat on the ground. Sitting with your heels lifted from the ground (tip-toed position) can also lead to this.

Ingrown toenails

Wearing improper footwear can also cause nail issues. Tight-fitting and narrow shoes apply pressure to the toes, pushing them together in a small space, which may encourage toenails to curve and become ingrown over time.

Solution:

  • Walk around every couple of hours to get the muscles in your calf working
  • Wear compression stockings
  • Do not sit with your heels lifted off the ground
  • Do not wear shoes with a heel higher than 2 inches
  • Do not wear narrow shoes

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Hospital Staff / Health Care Workers / Restaurant / Food Industry

Heel pain/ball of foot pain/arch pain  

Working as a healthcare professional, a waiter/waitress, chef, or even a teacher, you are on your feet for most of the day. Unless you have a perfect foot, the sheer time spent on your feet can lead to overuse injuries and soft tissue strains resulting in inflammation and overall foot pain. More often than not, these conditions are caused by faulty foot mechanics.

Solution:

  • Wear shoes with arch support, good torsional stability, and adequate cushioning
  • Wear orthotic inserts
  • If pain is worsening or consistent, have your feet assessed by a foot care professional

As always, if you have serious concerns with your feet, do not wait to seek attention from a Licensed Chiropodist.

 

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 Book Your Assessment Today!

5 Foot Care Tips Everyone Needs to Know About

Let’s face it, feet are probably the most neglected part of the human body. Think about it. When is the last time you checked the bottoms of your feet or in between the toes? Do you pay attention and tend to the aches and pains in your feet? Feet work hard every day to support your body and take you wherever you need to go, all while being cooped up in socks and shoes (hopefully comfortable ones at the least) for most the day. Stresses on your feet are more so if your job requires you to be on your feet, you’re a busy parent looking after an active child, you’re an athlete, or exercise is part of your daily regime. Making sure your feet get the care and love they deserve will not only leave your feet feeling better, but it will keep them healthy, keep you mobile and pain-free, and ultimately improve the overall quality of your life. Keep reading to educate yourself on five very simple foot care tips and why each is important to healthy and happy feet. 

 

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Proper Toenail Cutting/Toenail Care 

We need toenails to help protect our toes, in particular the skin and bones underneath them. Toenails are made of a protein known as keratin, which makes them less vulnerable to daily wear and tear. It is important to maintain the health of our toenails so that they can fulfil their purpose. 

Proper toenail cutting is a simple way to reduce the risk of nail complications such as ingrown toenails and toenail fungus. The safest way to cut your toenails is to cut them straight across using a clean, disinfected nail clipper. Avoid cutting the nail too short and do not cut the nail at an angle down the sides. Finish off by filing the edge of the nail smooth, getting rid of any sharp corners or jagged edges that may get caught in clothes or bed sheets and tear the nail. Toenails should be cut every six to eight weeks.

 

Moisturize 

Your skin is your body’s largest organ and it plays a vital role in creating a barrier against harmful microbes. If the skin is dry, it can become irritated, itchy, and crack. Breaks in the skin will allow bacteria to enter and may lead to inflammation and infection. 

Moisturizing your skin daily with a good moisturizer will help to hydrate the skin and keep it soft and smooth. Look for creams that contain effective ingredients such as urea and/or alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Urea causes skin cells deep below the surface to attract, absorb and hold moisture better while AHA speeds up cell turnover and stimulates cell renewal by dissolving the bonds that hold them together. In the end, you’re left with younger-looking, smoother, and softer skin. It is best to apply moisturizer right after a shower and reapply a couple times a day.

If you have calluses, in addition to moisturizing, using a foot file or a pumice stone can help to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. Thick calluses and painful corns will need to be removed by a health care professional. Regular application of vitamin E oil on the nails can also help to keep them strong and moisturized. 

 

Wash Your Feet 

Washing your feet thoroughly (don’t forget in between the toes) and drying them well afterwards is a very simple way to keep the feet clean and healthy. And no, it is not enough to think they get cleaned in the shower from simply standing in soapy water. Wash your feet somewhat vigorously and daily with soap and water to help physically remove dirt and dead skin cells as well as prevent the build up of bacteria that can cause foul foot odours. You can also reduce the risk of infections such as Athlete’s foot and plantar warts.

 

Effective Shoes 

A proper shoe has many benefits including comfort, protection, and support. Wearing the right shoe for you will make all the difference, especially on days when your feet take on extra stress. Here are some tips to keep in mind when looking for shoes: 

  • Always try shoes on before purchasing. No two feet are the same, therefore, what may be comfortable for someone may not be comfortable for you. 
  • If you are unsure of your size, have your feet measured. Keep in mind, the right fitted shoe will have about a finger’s width between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. If you can feel the end of the shoe with your toe, it’s too small! 
  • Bring your orthotics. If you wear orthotic insoles, bring them with you and try them on with the shoes. A shoe that has a removable insole are more likely to comfortably accommodate an orthotic device. 

 

A good shoe will have the following features: 

  • The shape of the shoe matches the shape of the foot. Avoid wearing narrow or pointed shoes that force your toes to squeeze in small spaces.
  • Functional fastenings such as laces, velco, buckles. The foot should make no effort to keep the shoe on.
  • The shoe should only bend where the foot naturally bends which is at the joints that connect the toes to the rest of the foot. You should also be able to twist it slightly.
  • A firm and snug heel counter. The heel should feel gripped into the shoe.
  • The outer sole should provide enough grip and traction to prevent slippage.
  • A midsole that provides adequate cushioning and shock absorption.
  • An innersole that provides arch support.

 

Don’t Wait to See Attention

Above all, if you have ongoing foot pain or discomfort, or you’ve noticed changes to the skin or nails of your feet, don’t wait to seek attention from a licensed chiropodist. Chiropodists are primary health care professionals who specialize in the assessment, management, and prevention of dysfunctions, disorders, and diseases of the foot. More often than not, the earlier you treat your foot problems, the better the results. In particular, if you have health conditions that put you at risk such as diabetes, it is recommended to seek care right away. 

 

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We have all your solution under one roof. Call or Book Today and we’ll have you in asap! Open 6 days a week, we’ll be happy to help inform you and solve all your concerns any day at your convenience! 

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Everything About Your Gait

What is Gait?

Have you ever wondered if you are walking properly? Do your feet feel easily tired from activity? Did you know that a lot of the time, you can attribute the pain you experience at your feet (such as the arches, heel, and balls) to abnormal walking patterns?

Today’s blog will explore the gait cycle and look at how faulty foot mechanics, specifically overpronation and oversupination can affect your gait, as well as how one’s gait changes with running. 

Gait is defined as a person’s manner or pattern of walking. It is a complex, coordinated series of movements that involve both the upper and lower extremities to propel the human body forward. For simplicity’s sake, we will focus on how the lower extremity moves during gait and in particular, the foot. 

What is a “Normal” Walking Gait? 

The gait cycle is a cyclical series of events, meaning it is the continuous repetition of one gait cycle over and over again. One gait cycle is the period from heel strike of one foot to the next heel strike of the same foot. One gait cycle can be divided into two major phases: stance phase and swing phase

Gait Cycle

Stance phase refers to the time your foot is on the ground. It occupies approximately 60% of the gait cycle. It begins with the heel making contact with the ground and ends with toe-off, at which point the foot rises from the floor to enter into swing phase. 

During stance phase, the lateral heel (outer portion of the heel) comes into contact with the ground and initiates pronation of the foot. Pronation is the motion at which your foot rolls inward towards its arches. This natural motion allows for proper shock absorption and allows the foot to adapt to the terrain it is striking. 

Then as the weight of the foot moves from the heel to the ball and then toe-off, it should supinate. Supination is the rolling motion towards the outside edge of the foot. At this point, the foot transitions from the fluid, adaptor to a stable and rigid lever. The foot needs rigidity for efficient toe off and propulsion. 

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Swing phase refers to the time your foot is in a non-weight bearing position. It occupies approximately 40% of the gait cycle. It provides the actual step which moves us from one location to another and the power necessary to advance the limb forward. 

Overpronation?

Overpronation can be observed in the stance phase. If you overpronate, it means you roll your foot towards its arch excessively, more than what is necessary for normal foot function. In some cases, over-pronation can lead to an absence of supination, resulting in an apropulsive gait. The foot will flatten its arch when it is pronating; therefore if you overpronate, you will likely have fallen arches or a flat foot. 

Other foot manifestations/symptoms associated with overpronation include:

  • Bunions 
  • Hallux limitus/Hallux rigidus
  • Plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
  • Arch pain 
  • Tired feet 
  • Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction 

Oversupination?

Oversupination is also observed in the stance phase. It is defined as the lack of pronation after heel strike, resulting in poor shock absorption at the foot. Weight remains on the outside of the heel then travels along the lateral border (outside border) as it moves to the ball of the foot. 

People with high arches are at particular risk of oversupination.  

Other foot manifestations/symptoms associated with oversupination include:

  • Knee pain 
  • Achilles tendonitis 
  • Inversion ankle sprains
  • Calluses 

How Does Gait Change With Running?

Similar to a gait cycle, a running gait cycle is a cyclical series of running strides. One running cycle consists of two main phases: contact phase and swing phase

In a running cycle, the swing phase is longer than the contact phase. In fact, as a runner’s speed increases, the contact phase will further decrease and the swing phase increases. This means the foot is in contact with the ground for a shorter period of time. It also means the body’s weight is supported by a single limb at any given time during contact phase. Furthermore, there are even moments in the swing phase of a running cycle where neither foot is in contact with the ground, called double float or airborne phase.

As such, you can imagine biomechanical stresses are much higher with running than with walking. For one, the forces acting on the body while running can reach up to 10 times the body weight. Ground reaction forces can be 2 to 3 times greater than in walking, and the foot tends to pronate 50% more. Faulty foot mechanics in a runner can increase risk of developing complications and symptoms of foot problems. If you are experiencing pain, don’t ignore your problems. Have your feet checked by a licensed chiropodist today. 

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!