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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. 

 

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! 

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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!

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.

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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!

Cosmetic vs Medical Pedicure

Many People May Confuse a Foot Clinic With a Nail Salon or Spa

The truth of the matter is, the two are very different. One focuses on the assessment and treatment of your foot issues, and the other on aesthetics and beauty. Here we will describe the similarities and differences (but mostly differences) of one particular service a foot clinic and a nail salon may offer pedicures. This quick and easy read will help you decide which service, a cosmetic pedicure or a medical pedicure, is best suited for you and your foot needs.

If cosmetic pedicures and medical pedicures have one thing in common, it is that they both tend to the toenails and skin of an individual’s foot. The purpose and details of these treatments are where the differences lie. A cosmetic pedicure is described as a beauty and therapeutic treatment for the toenails and feet. It involves removing dead skin, softening the skin, trimming and shaping the toenails, cutting back cuticles, and the optional application of polish. It is focused on providing space and time for pampering and relaxation.

Medical pedicures, on the other hand, involve the assessment and treatment of toenail and skin pathologies of the foot. They are performed by a medical health professional, specifically a chiropodist or a podiatrist, who specializes in the assessment, management, and prevention of dysfunctions, disorders, and diseases of the foot. At an appointment for a medical pedicure, a chiropodist will start by taking a full medical history, including current and past health conditions or morbidities, a list of active medications, and the main concern that prompted the visit. He or she will then proceed to check for the following: 

  • Proper and adequate circulation/blood flow
  • Proper and adequate nerve function   
  • Signs and symptoms of infection (ie bacterial, fungal, or viral)
  • Signs and symptoms of skin pathologies (ie callus, corns, psoriasis, eczema/dermatitis)
  • Signs and symptoms of nail abnormalities (ie thickened toenails, ingrown toenails, discoloured toenails)

Untitled-1Treatment

Treatment involves proper trimming and filing of the toenails as well as addressing any significant medical findings and complaints of pain. This may include the use of prescription or over the counter medications, physical reduction of nails and thickened skin, and education on how to prevent complications or reoccurrence. For instance, chiropodists treat fungal toenail infections using mechanical reduction of the nail and topical prescription medications. They also safely remove thickened calluses and painful corns down to normal skin using the precision of a surgical blade. Healthy, properly trimmed nails and smooth supple skin on your feet reduce risks of infection and can ultimately, significantly improve the quality of your life.

All treatments from a chiropodist are performed using medical grade products and a fresh set of sterilized instruments for each client. The sterilization process used by chiropodists will remove and kill all forms of life that should not be transferred between individuals, in particular micro-organisms such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, and spores. 

Finally, 

A medical pedicure is typically pain-free and can be relaxing as well. In fact, many clients will leave an appointment feeling much more comfortable than when they arrived. You can say, a medical pedicure is a way to pamper yourself in a health-conscious way. 

In the end, choosing what kind of pedicure is right for you will depend on what you are aiming to accomplish. 

If you are looking to groom your feet and leave with a freshly painted set of toenails, a cosmetic pedicure may be the right choice for you.

If you are looking to address any nail or skin abnormalities and/or other foot concerns, no matter how mild or severe, a medical pedicure is the right choice for you. If you have health conditions that put you at risk such as diabetes, it is highly recommended to seek nail care from a medical health professional. Routine medical pedicures will ensure your feet are on the right path to proper foot health by managing existing problems as well as detecting issues early on and treating them in their early stages.

Looking for a Foot Clinic in Downtown Toronto? We Can Help!


Book an appointment with one of our licensed chiropodists for a medical pedicure today.  Whether you’re on the mild or severe side of the spectrum, or you are just looking to have a general assessment of your nails and skin, you can rest easy knowing we’re able and happy to solve all your foot care needs. 

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Click to 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!

Do You Need Insoles or Orthopaedic Shoes? 

Do You Need Insoles or Orthopaedic Shoes? 

If you have been experiencing foot pain, discomfort, or have been diagnosed with a disease that put your feet at risk, you have probably heard of orthotics and orthopaedic shoes and may be left with the following questions: 

  • What is the difference between the two? 
  • Which one is better for me and my foot concerns?
  • What properties should I look for to accommodate my lifestyle?

In today’s blog, we will tackle these questions to help provide a better understanding of these devices, and ultimately help you make the right, healthy choices for your feet.

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What is an Orthotic Insole?

An orthotic insole is an insert that is placed inside a shoe to address various foot concerns. There are two major kinds of insoles: custom foot orthotics and over the counter insoles. 

Benefits of Custom Orthotic Insoles

A custom foot orthotic is classified as a medical device made from a three-dimensional mould of an individual’s foot. Therefore, it is unique to one’s specific foot and tailored to meet one’s foot needs. These devices are prescribed by a physician or a foot specialist, such as a Registered Chiropodist or podiatrist and will contain specific prescriptive elements based on the practitioner’s physical assessment. Custom foot orthotics address faulty foot mechanics and other foot ailments that cause pain such as, plantar fasciitis, painful calluses and corns, shin splints, tendonitis, diabetic feet, and ulcers. They are made to mechanically control, support, redistribute pressures, and balance the foot to improve function. They are also made from high-quality materials and will generally last 2-3 years if used properly. 

Look into your insurance plan as some plans cover a percentage of custom foot orthotics when prescribed and assessed by a recognized health care practitioner.

An over the counter insole is a shoe insert that you can find in the shelves of your local pharmacy or retail sports store. Compared to a custom orthotic, these devices are much less costly; however, they will not address or correct improper foot function and more serious foot problems. The purpose of over the counter shoe inserts/insoles/arch supports is to provide additional cushioning, support, and increase general comfort for the foot. 

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What is an Orthopaedic Shoe?

An orthopaedic shoe is a shoe made with properties a normal shoe would not typically have. These types of shoes are made to accommodate foot abnormalities or foot deformities, improve biomechanical foot function, as well as enhance the effectiveness of custom foot orthotics. 

Benefits of Orthopaedic Shoes

Orthopaedic shoes are for those who are suffering from bunions, hammertoes, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, diabetes, arthritis, flat feet, swollen feet caused by venous insufficiency/lymphedema, or recovering from foot surgery. This type of footwear is made with characteristics that a normal shoe would not normally have. These may include but are not limited to:

  • Extra-wide and deep toe box to accommodate and make room for bony toe deformities 
  • Firm heel counter to control and support the heel as well as prevent irritation to the Achilles tendon
  • Deep heel cup to control and stabilize the heel for better alignment 
  • Shock-absorbing sole to dissipate ground reaction forces and reduce stresses on joints and soft tissues of the body 
  • Stability sole and good torsional stability to help control faulty foot mechanics such as overpronation (rolling in of the foot towards its arches) and stabilize the foot
  • Rocker bottom sole to promote a smooth and efficient heel to toe gait by inhibiting painful joint motion such as those seen in conditions like hallux limitus or hallux rigidus 
  • Easy to fasten (eg velcro straps) for those who suffer from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and have difficulty using their hands 
  • Seamless design to prevent irritation and pressure points which may not be detected in an individual with diabetic neuropathy 
  • Removable liner to adequately accommodate a custom foot orthotic

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How to Choose an Orthotic Insole Based on Your Lifestyle

We are fortunate enough to live in a time when orthotic insoles come in a wide array of shapes and sizes to accommodate different lifestyles and footwear. The following are general guidelines to keep in mind when looking for insoles for specific lifestyle choices.*

Athletic 

  • Good shock absorption
  • Good cushioning if the footwear allows room for this
  • Semi-rigid to semi-flexible shell depending on what the individual can tolerate 
  • Top cover (the material that comes in direct contact with the foot) should have low friction and good breathability qualities 

Career-Oriented

  • Dress shoe orthotics
  • Thin and narrow device to fit into a lower volume shoe 
  • 3/4 length  

Retired Life 

  • Good cushioning properties in particular at the ball of the foot and heel
  • Full length 
  • Supportive 
  • Semi-flexible to flexible shell 

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*If you are experiencing foot pain and continuous foot discomfort it is in your best interest to book an appointment for a consultation from a licensed health care practitioner. Chiropodists are foot care specialists who are professionally trained to assess the biomechanics of the lower extremity. At your appointment, a full medical history will be taken and a biomechanical assessment and gait analysis performed to determine the right foot care devices for your needs.

We’ve Got You Covered! 

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.

Haglund’s Deformity – All You Need To Know

Haglund’s deformity is a bony enlargement on the back of the heel.

The foot condition is found where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel. The enlargement can lead to bursitis, an inflammation of the bursa (a fluid-filled sac between the tendon and bone).

Haglund’s deformity is often known as “pump bump.” Originally, doctors gave the condition this name because women who wore high heels were often observed to have Haglund’s. This is generally a myth as high heel wearers and non-wearers alike can get the condition, which was first coined by Patrick Haglund in 1927. Still, the term continues to be used today.

Causes

Although Haglund’s deformity is considered a common clinical condition, it’s “still poorly understood.”

Friction between the Achilles heel and the shoe contributes to Haglund’s. Beyond your shoes, it could be because of wearing ice skates or any stiff-backed footwear. This friction causes inflammation of where the Achilles attaches to the heel and a bone spur forms. Over time, the bone spur (a bony enlargement) irritates the bursa.

Typically, friction along the Achilles heel is the result of two things. First, overuse. Runners are particularly susceptible to Haglund’s deformity because of high mileage. Specifically, long-distance runners are prone to getting the bone spur.

Second, improper footwear can lead to Haglund’s deformity. If your shoes are too tight, your Achilles will rub excessively against the back of the shoe. Over time, bone spurs develop as a self-defence mechanism.

Additional causes may include:

  • High arch
  • Tight Achilles tendon
  • Tend to walk or run on the outside of your heel

Overall, there are several risk factors involved with Haglund’s deformity but pinpointing a cause can be difficult. While external factors may increase your likelihood of having the condition, your foot structure as determined by your genetics may also come into play.

Symptoms

Beyond pain, Haglund’s deformity is one of the few foot conditions that you can visibly see.

Typically, your Achilles heel will have a bump indicating a bone spur. The enlargement feels rigid, as it’s a bone, and can grow over time. Since bone spurs are progressive conditions, meaning they won’t get any better even if treated, addressing the true cause is crucial to prevent additional friction.

Common symptoms may include:

  • A bump on the back and outside of the heel
  • Inflammation
  • A callus
  • A clicking sensation when you press on the bump

Diagnosis

As conditions that affect the Achilles tendon can be quite similar, diagnosing Haglund’s deformity can be difficult.

Fortunately, because of the presence of the bone spur, the appearance of your heel can differentiate Haglund’s from other Achilles conditions, like tendonitis. If in doubt, contact a healthcare professional for a diagnosis, and to have X-rays or an MRI, if required.

Treatment

Generally, and we’ve written about this before, surgery should be a last-resort option if non-invasive treatments fail. First, consider the following:

  • Proper shoes (we at Feet First Clinic offer a free shoe fitting)
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Icing
  • Self soft tissue massage
  • Custom Foot Orthotics

If none of the above treatments work, surgery may be your best and last option. During surgery, the doctor removes the bone spur from your heel, or it can be smoothed and filed down. This reduces the volume of the bone in the area and also frees up your bursa.

Removal of the enlargement also means that you may be less prone to the area rubbing against the back of your shoe.

Recovery is typically 8-10 weeks. In fact, a number of long-distance runners opt to have surgery for Haglund’s in the offseason. This illustrates that, if done correctly, surgery and a proper recovery plan can improve your quality of life if non-surgical options don’t work.

For most, walking is still possible with an air cast. This way, you can still move as you normally would, but reduce the weight-bearing component on your one leg (or both).

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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.

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.