pin Our Location 2481 Bloor St. W, Toronto 416.769.3338(FEET)

clock Open Saturdays Mon-Fri 10am-7pm Sat 10am-4pm calendar Book Appointment

See A Licensed Chiropodist

416-769-FEET(3338)

Tips on How to be Marathon Ready

As you’re training for a marathon you’re stretching your hamstrings, quads and keeping track of your time but its also important to prepare your feet for that big day. Here are some tips to consider:

Footwear

Proper footwear for your foot type is one of the most important things when running a marathon.

Improper footwear can cause blisters, calluses, numbness and even muscle/tendon injuries. It is important to be measured properly for footwear to make sure the length, width and shoe type is right for your foot. Always buy your footwear from a reliable store that is familiar with shoe brands and the type of footwear which is ideal for your foot.

Footwear should also be replaced every 400-500 miles as the support in the shoe wears out and can cause injuries.

At Feet First, all of our staff are extremely knowledgeable in fitting the shoes and the types of running shoes which are an ideal  fit for your foot type. If you are unsure about your foot type, come in for a foot assessment by our Chiropodists who will do a full biomechanical assessment and gait analysis to find the perfect shoe type for your feet.

 

Custom Made Orthotics

Sometimes proper fitting footwear is not enough to prevent your feet from injury. Orthotics can help with proper alignment and stability in your ankles, knees and hips. Orthotics can also help with shock absorption to help save your joints from damage. Visit one of our Chiropodists to get a foot assessment and see if you would benefit from orthotics.

 

Socks

Improper fitting socks are the main cause of blisters and abrasions during a marathon. If your socks are too loose, they can cause a lot of rubbing or blisters; if they’re too tight, then your toenails can be bruised. Also, be sure to check the material – 100% cotton socks can hold in too much moisture. It is better to buy Bamboo material or even synthetics that have quick dry or Moisture wicking technology.

 

Creams

Moisturizing should be a part of daily foot care. It helps with preventing dry skin and cracks. While training for a marathon, it is necessary to moisturize before and after training. Be sure to never moisturize in between the toes as this can promote fungal growth. The following products are highly recommended:

  • Gehwol Hydrolipid lotion
  • Gehwol Foot Cream
  • Gehwol Deodorant Cream

 

Compression stockings

If your feet get swollen while you are running or right afterward, consider wearing sports compression stockings. Graduated compression socks have been shown to improve an athlete’s performance and aid in a faster recovery. When blood is properly circulated, it restores the oxygen and nutrients to tired muscles that are exhausted during exercise.

 

Get a Medical Pedicure

Before a marathon, it is a great idea to see one of our Chiropodists to get your feet checked out and get treatment. A medical pedicure consists of having your nails trimmed (especially before the race to prevent losing a toenail), calluses debrided and to make sure there are no open sores or blisters which can affect your training and performance.

 

Daily Foot Exercises

As you are preparing for a marathon, you’re strengthening and conditioning your large muscles but you also need to consider conditioning your muscles in your feet. Many injuries are directly related to weak feet and improper gait. The following exercises can be done 2-3 times a day:

  • Towel pick-ups: try to pick up a towel on the floor with your toes for 30 seconds
  • Heel raises: raise your heels by standing on your toes 30 times
  • Ankle rolling: roll your ankles clockwise 10 times and counterclockwise 10 times
  • Alphabet – spell the alphabet with your toes pointed
  • Heel drops – at the edge of stairs, drop your heels below the step and hold for 20 seconds

6 Common Trail Running Injuries

Trail running? More like extreme running.

Trail runners run for hours on end pushing their body to the limit. They endure brutal terrain, harsh conditions, and they put their feet through the wringer.

When running at such extremes, it’s no wonder that injuries are common.

Below are six of the most common trail running injuries, and what you can do to prevent and treat each of the pains. These injuries are not exclusively for trail runners, but are common because of the nature of the sport leaving the average runner more susceptible to these ailments.

Metatarsalgia

Metatarsal pain is discomfort in the small bones within the ball of your foot. Metatarsalgia can start off as a small bruise, and slight discomfort, but can quickly escalate into a serious injury like a metatarsal fracture.v

Fortunately, most trail running shoes these days are built with a rock plate, a rigid piece of plastic within the midsole. The rock plate offers protection against sharp edges on the trail and is essential when running on more technical terrain when facing rocks, roots, and uneven surfaces.

Alternative forms of prevention and treatment include using a metatarsal pad, icing the affected area, and self-massage. When in doubt, and you’re not sure whether the injury is serious, take an extra day or two off of running as a precautionary measure and cross-train in the pool or on the bike instead.

Achilles tendonitis

Trail running consists of a lot of ups and downs.

The undulating terrain is a lot different than say, road running. Constantly climbing and descending can add pressure on parts of your body like your Achilles tendon. When climbing or descending, stress is disproportionally allocated to your lower legs compared to running on flat land.

Achilles tendinitis can be a sharp or dull pain in your Achilles heel and can extend into your lower calf. Because the Achilles is such an essential part of your running economy, addressing the symptoms early is important to prevent the tendinitis to be long-lasting.

When trail running, make sure to ease your way into it, and do not increase mileage too quickly. Doing a proper warm-up with calf raises and some stabilizing exercises can help prevent tendinitis and eliminates the period at the beginning of a run when you’re running on stiff legs. Cold muscles don’t fire properly, and they can lead to overcompensation, with that domino effect reaching your Achilles heel.

Ankle Sprains

An ankle sprain is one of the most common trail running injuries. Because of the rugged terrain and unexpected obstacles that many trails present, all it takes is one wrong step to roll an ankle. When you sprain an ankle, you essentially over-stretch the ligaments or tear them in more serious cases, beyond their maximum. Immediate signs include swelling, often around the top, or lateral side, of your foot, pain, and tenderness.

To lessen the lasting impacts of an ankle sprain, follow the R.I.C.E. protocol which includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This reduces swelling, and the pain to subside. In some cases, and if the sprain isn’t serious, you can have your ankle wrapped for support and continue running, although you’ll be more susceptible to re-spraining it if you come back too quickly.

It’s always good to do a proper warmup before trail running, and you can help prevent ankle sprains by working on mobility. Other ways of avoiding ankle sprains include planning your route ahead of time to account for mud and trail conditions, taking routes within your ability, and allowing adequate space between you and other runners as to not block your eyesight.

If you still experience pain after extended rest, or the pain is extreme immediately, contact a healthcare professional to rule out more serious injuries like a tear or rupture.

Blisters

Thanks to being out on the trains for hours on end, blisters are another common trail running foot injury. And it’s not only the duration of activity but also the crazy fact that in some cases the run involves crossing through – not around – small bodies of water, like Ajax, Ont.’s Seaton Soaker trail race.

Blisters can start small, like a hotspot somewhere on your foot, and get progressively worse if you don’t address the chafing. Investing in proper running socks, and using some sort of anti-chafe cream like vaseline can help prevent blisters in the first place. If you feel one in the early stages, cover it with a band-aid or better yet, use medical paper tape.

Trail Running Injuries

In fact, as published in a recent study, it’s reported “that inexpensive paper tape, the kind available at most drugstores, when applied to blister-prone areas prior to exercise, successfully reduced the incidence of foot blisters in those areas. The tape commonly known as surgical tape is used for wound treatment. It is only mildly adhesive — an advantage because it doesn’t tear the blisters if they do occur.” Sometimes the simplest measure can be the most effective.

ITB Syndrome

Iliotibial band (IT) syndrome is one of the most frustrating and common trail running injuries.

ITB syndrome can be described as an overuse injury of the connective tissues that are located on the outer thigh and knee.

Thanks to the repeated climbs and descents of trail running, your IT band is exposed to more impact. Additionally, the IT band is stressed the most at certain flexion angles, like when ascending, while your knees and IT band take additional stress when descending.

A warm-up with clamshells and stretching out your hip flexors pre-run can help with the pain and tightness. What you want to do here is activate and work the hip abductors, as muscle imbalances and weakness can be the source of the problem.

You don’t necessarily need complete rest from running, but you will need pain management and mileage reduction, if necessary. Investing in a proper foam roller and routinely working the band will help alleviate pain. Plus, stretching our your hip flexors can help release your IT band.

Plantar Fasciitis

This pesky injury arises when you experience pain and inflammation within the tissue on the underside of your feet that connect your heel and toes. The pain can be anywhere from your heel to the ball of your feet and can be sharp or dull.

We recently wrote more about plantar fasciitis, remedies, and prevention methods on our blog, which you can read here.

Are you still experiencing any of these common trail running injuries? Book an appointment with us at Feet First Clinic online or by calling us at 416.769.3338(FEET).

Useful Tips That Will Help Athletes Recover from Injuries

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

Don’t Go Back to Working Out without Permission!

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

Go for Low-Impact Activities!

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

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

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

Make Yourself Comfortable!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National I Love My Feet Day!

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

 

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

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

  1. Wash, dry, and monitor daily

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

 

  1. Routine upkeep

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

 

  1. Wear proper footwear

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

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

 

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

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

3 Types Of Footwear

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

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

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

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

Arch Types

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

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

Motion Control

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

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

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

Stability

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

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

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

Neutral

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

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

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

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

 

8 Races To Run This Summer In The Greater Toronto Area

Summer is the hottest time of year on the Toronto running scene – in every sense.

With a race just about every weekend, there are as many options as one could hope for within the city itself, as well in surrounding areas of the GTA and beyond. You can escape the inner core of Toronto by racing in the suburbs or on the trails, or you can race downtown and experience what it’s like to run on deserted streets that are typically packed with vehicles.

June 21, the first day of summer, is quickly approaching. If you’re still in the planning stage of figuring out your summer schedule, this list of eight reputable and well-organized races is a good start.

Below are our picks, in chronological order, of events within the GTA.

June 22 – Pride and Remembrance Run

One of Toronto’s most beloved road races is the Pride and Remembrance Run, a 5K which takes place during Pride Month and a day before the Pride Parade. The race begins at Church and Wellesley and heads east for two loops of Queen’s Park before returning to where you started. The race, now sponsored by local retailer BlackToe Running, is offering medals to all participants this year and even has its own beer called fab! lite.

July 1 – GGS Law Canada Day 5K

What better way to kick off Canada Day than with a road race. From the same organizers as the Chilly Half-Marathon comes a Canada Day celebration with a flat and fast out-and-back 5K in Burlington, Ont. The race is a short drive from downtown Toronto and runs along Lake Ontario during one of the nicest times of the year.

July 20 – MEC (Trail) Race Four

MEC offers the most affordable races of anyone in Canada and the race series comes with no frills. At just $20, the MEC Race Four (Trail) is a great introduction to off-road running in a low-key but well-organized environment. Kortright Conversation Centre provides an escape from city life just north of Toronto and the race includes a 7K and 12K on non-technical terrain.

July 28 – Beaches Jazz Run

Hosted by the Toronto Beaches Runners Club, the Beaches Jazz Run is another grassroots event that’s popular among the running community. Entry fees are on the pricier side ($55-$79 for the 5K and half-marathon) but the event is well run, there are multiple race kit pick-up locations – a must in Toronto traffic – and the course on the Martin Goodman Trail and on the Leslie Spit can’t be beaten.

August 24 – Toronto Women’s 10K/5K

The Toronto Women’s Run Series is the most popular women’s race circuit in the province, if not the country. The supportive and friendly environment is great for first timers and the event is held in the peaceful setting of Sunnybrook Park, relief from many of the city’s road races which are held on major roads. The 5K/10K on Aug. 24 is the second of three events the series hosts throughout the summer and fall.

September 8 – Longboat Toronto Island Run

Secluded on Toronto Island, just a minutes boat ride from the downtown core, the Longboat Island Run is a local favourite and often times a tune-up race for many runners pursuing a fall marathon. One of the best parts of the experience is riding the ferry to and from the island along with the hundreds of other runners. The course is extremely flat and a post-race BBQ is offered for all participants.

September 8 – B&O Yorkville Run

The B&O Yorkville Run, a truly premium running event, doubles as the national 5K road championships which attract the top runners to Toronto from across the country. Registration costs $125 + HST plus a $100 minimum fundraising donation for charity which is recovered from the extravagant race kit every participant receives: a duffle bag with a technical shirt, Barry’s Bootcamp class pass, a spa gift card for the St. Regis, and much more.

September 21 – Oasis ZooRun

Hosted by Canada Running Series, the top running circuit in the country, the Oasis ZooRun features a challenging but unique course through the Toronto Zoo. Run past exotic wildlife and take on the undulating hills during the 5K and 10K on the final summer weekend of 2019.

Gearing up for a summer race? Visit Toronto’s Feet First Clinic for the latest footwear and much more.

3 Simple Ways to Get Relief from Your Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is the ligament that connects the heel of the foot with the toes. When your ligament is inflamed, you can experience frequent pain in the heel or arch of the foot. The pain is often stronger first thing in the morning, or when you’ve been walking or standing at length. The common condition is called plantar fasciitis.

If you’re struggling with the near-constant discomfort from plantar fasciitis, read these simple tips to get relief and rectify the problem:

1. Stretches

Stretches can do two major things to alleviate irritation and discomfort: they will loosen the tightness of the ligament, and they will strengthen the limbs over time. By incorporating plantar fasciitis stretches into a daily exercise regimen or night-time routine, you can achieve positive long-term results. 

To deal with the ligament directly, take off your shoes and socks so that you’re barefoot. Sit down on a chair, loop a tea towel under the arch of one of your feet. Push outward with the foot while pulling back with the towel for gentle resistance. Do this several times with each foot. 

You should also stretch out your hip flexors because they can contribute to this painful condition. Strained hips create a domino effect on the limbs, changing your gait, tightening your calf muscles and overworking the plantar fascia. Many yoga routines incorporate stretches that work out the hip flexors like the pigeon pose or the bound angle pose.

Sitting too much will tighten hip flexors. Try to break this cycle by getting up from your desk or couch more often. 

2. Massage

One of the best treatments for painful plantar fasciitis is massaging the arch of the foot — this can be achieved with the help of a professional masseuse or completed on your own. If you’re doing it yourself, you can use your hands to loosen the tight ligament, or you can use a tennis ball. For the tennis ball, place it under the arch of your foot and roll it around your sole. Repeat the step with the other foot.

3. Change Your Footwear

One of the most common plantar fasciitis causes is over-pronation or flat feet — this means that the weight doesn’t distribute properly across the foot. The biomechanical issue puts more stress on the plantar fascia, leading to inflammation and discomfort.

That’s why orthotic shoes and custom orthotic inserts are excellent non-surgical methods for plantar fasciitis treatment. These will counter-balance the vulnerabilities caused by overpronation, giving your heel and arch the additional support they need for everyday activities.

You can click here to see your orthopaedic footwear options from a variety of trusted brands like Sorel, Birkenstock and Mephisto. We have shoes for every possible occasion. We have stylish dress shoes for the office, sneakers for the gym, sandals for the beach, slippers for the house and more.  

For immediate relief from a bad flare up, give your feet a break. If it’s happening in the middle of a jog, walk or workout session, understand that you are putting your feet under duress. Stop doing the activity and give your feet time to rest. When the pain and discomfort are hard to ignore, press a bag of ice or chilled gel pack onto the area. An over-the-counter anti-inflammatory can also reduce symptoms in a short amount of time.

Good Tips for Foot and Leg Care When you Have Diabetes

People living with diabetes need to make foot care a priority. As someone who has been diagnosed with the medical condition, you will be at a greater risk of developing foot injuries and infections. Diabetes makes it harder to heal from foot infections and to feel them forming, due to symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

Neglecting proper foot care can lead to severe infections that require intensive medical intervention. At worst, you could require amputation as a health and safety measure.

Check Your Feet Every Day

One of the essentials of diabetic foot care that you should practice is a daily inspection of your feet. If you can’t easily reach your feet and see the bottoms, either use a mirror to help you see different angles or have someone you trust to do it for you. What you’re trying to do is look for any vulnerabilities that could turn into medical problems in the near future:

For example, an ingrown toenail can lead to a nail infection that doesn’t heal, putting your health at risk. If you spot an ingrown, make an appointment for an ingrown toenail removal with a chiropodist at Feet First Clinic. When you have diabetes, doing an at-home removal could be a big mistake.

Click here to learn about common foot conditions that you should look out for during your routine inspections. By catching them ahead of time, you can guarantee that the professionals solve the problems quickly and keep your feet in good shape.

Exercise

According to Harvard Medical School, exercise is good for diabetes because it can regulate your blood sugar and improve your body’s reaction to insulin. Routine exercise will contribute to other health benefits that could minimize symptoms. It will lower harmful cholesterol, raise healthy cholesterol, strengthen muscle and reduce anxiety.

Slowly incorporate physical activities into your daily routine. Jumping into an intense workout could be overwhelming. You should take several safety precautions before grabbing your gym shoes:

  • Test your blood sugar before a workout. If it’s too high, don’t exercise. If it’s too low, have a small snack and wait for it to reach a stable level.
  • Pack small snacks in your bag, just in case.
  • Let the gym staff know you have diabetes.
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet.

Wear Compression Socks

compression stockings demo2

Poor blood circulation can lead to problems with the legs, as well as with your feet. One condition that you need to be aware of is varicose veins — these are veins with ineffective valves that become swollen and protrude from the body. They can often be uncomfortable or painful to deal with.

Varicose veins should be concerning for people living with diabetes because they can rupture or turn into varicose ulcers. Instead of dealing with the consequences, you can get compression hosiery to control swelling, improve circulation, and prevent further progression of the condition. The hosiery compresses the limb, reducing the diameter of any distended veins and encouraging blood flow back to the heart.

Come to your local Toronto foot care clinic to get pairs of compression stockings in different styles for casual everyday wear and active wear.

Making these changes may feel like a lot of effort at first, but soon enough, they will be fully incorporated into your routine. Doing your foot inspections, putting on your compression stockings and planning your workouts will become second nature to you. In the first few weeks of committing to these changes, remind yourself that they are vital for your long-term health and well-being.

Shoe terms you should know, explained

Invest in items that separate you from the ground, they say. Your bed, car/bike tires, and, of course, shoes. When it comes to selecting the right shoe, however, there can be a lot of (confusing) jargon associated with footwear, and feet in general as they pertain to shoes, from the type to the actual descriptions of a footwear’s construction and anatomy.

Familiarize yourself with all shoe jargon with this glossary of shoe terms.

15. HOW TO CHOOSE SHOES – INFO G

Running Mechanics

Gait: The way in which you run or walk. There are a number of primary descriptions including being a heel-striker, midfoot-striker or toe-striker, which specifies the first point of contact with the ground upon impact. Because people have varying gaits, there’s no one-size-fits-all shoe. Your pronation (see below for that explanation) is influenced by your gait.

Pronation: The side-to-side rolling movement of your foot when impacting the ground. Naturally, the foot has an inward-rolling motion, meaning you land on the outer part of your foot, and proceed to roll inwards until your foot is flat on the ground, before subsequent take-off.

Overpronation: The tendency to over-inward roll upon impact and through to take-off. You’re likely to see additional wear on the inner edge of your shoe’s cushioning.

Supination: The tendency to under-inward roll – in other words, to outward-roll – upon impact and through to take-off. You’re likely to see additional wear on the outer edge of your shoe’s cushioning.

Arch: Your arch is the curve of your foot that is either normal, high, or low. Often, you can determine whether you have flat feet or not through the use of a foot arch test, which involves wetting​ the bottom of your feet, and stepping on a piece of paper to see the outline of your foot. If you’re unsure, check out your local foot specialist shop like Feet First Clinic. 

 

Shoe Infrastructure

Upper​​: The material that wraps the foot and attaches to the midsole. This is the bulk of the shoe excluding the midsole and keeps your foot in place.

Overlay​​: The overlay is an additional layer of material on top of the upper. Overlays are useful for extra support, varying breathability and sometimes used to add a waterproof element to a shoe, like, for example, Nike’s “shield” running shoes which offer protection against rain and snow.

Eyelets​​: Shoelace holes.

Tongue​​: The tongue is the material that sits on top of your foot and under the sock laces non-slip-on shoes have a tongue.

Sock liner​​: The sock liner is the shoe’s inner material. The material is called a sock liner because it wraps around the foot like a sock. The material is often a few millimetres in thickness and can wear down and suppress over time, moulding to your foot.

Toe box​​: The area at the end of a shoe which houses your toes. The width of the toe box is particularly important for people depending on whether they have narrow or wide feet. Remember, the width of your foot is important too, and not just the length (size).

Drop/offset​​: Most shoes, besides Altra, have a drop greater than zero. The drop of the shoe is the difference in heel height versus toe height. If the shoe has a drop of 8 mm, for example, the heel is 8 mm higher than the height of the toe where the foot sits.

Outsole​​: The outsole, also known as the sole, is the base of the shoe and features treads and grips that are the shoe’s last line of defense between you and the ground.

Midsole​​: The midsole of a shoe is where the cushioning lies. Your foot sits on the midsole, separated by the in-sole (the removable sole inside your shoe), and provides the support you need. Often times, the midsole is made of ​Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA).

 

Shoe type

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

Neutral​​: Shoes with neutral cushioning are built uniformly with no additional features to compensate for your gait/running pattern. Cushioning is often softer than motion control and stability footwear and is designed to absorb impact rather than correct running form. Regular pronators and supinators should consider neutral footwear.

Motion control​​: Motion control shoes are pretty self-explanatory; they’re designed to control the side-to-side range of motion of your gait. So, if you overpronate, motion control shoes have systems in place including stiffer heels and additional support on the inner medial side of the shoe to prevent additional inward roll beyond what is normal. Mild- to severe-overpronators should consider motion control shoes.

Orthotics​​: Custom insole inserts based on your feet designed to provide corrective measures to your running gait.

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

Why Do You Get Shin Splints When You Run?

You’re halfway through your morning run when a nagging pain starts to form in your shins. The more strides you take, the stronger the ache gets. You push yourself a little further, but the feeling gets too distracting to continue. You stop running, catch your breath and decide you’ll have to give up on your workout for the day. It seems like you’re dealing with the common running injury called shin splints.

What Is It?

The medical condition medial tibial stress syndrome refers to frequent tenderness or pain along the shinbone, usually in the middle of exercising. People may also suffer mild swelling in the area. The syndrome is commonly called “shin splints.” 

Why Do You Have It?

It could be that your workout routine is too intense. If you’ve taken a long break from running and push yourself too hard, your legs could be protesting your process. 

The other possible cause of your shin splints could be your gait. Toe-running, heel-running and overpronation can all lead to the painful syndrome. When weight is distributed unevenly across the foot, other muscles work harder to get through the movements.

One of the benefits of using video gait analysis is that a professional can identify problems with your weight displacement while taking forward strides. It’s difficult for someone to notice factors like weight distribution or impact on their own. A chiropodist can carefully review a video of the exercise and make a thorough analysis of abnormalities and difficulties that need to be addressed.

If you’re dealing with shin splints, you should book an appointment today to participate in video gait analysis and to get a better idea of why you’re suffering when you run.

How Do You Fix It?

For immediate relief, runners should stop their workout. They should take a break from exercise, ice their legs for 10 to 20 minutes and take an over-the-counter pain reliever if necessary.

Start by modifying your exercise routine to see if that makes a difference. You can either cut back on the distance, slow down your pace or reduce your workout frequency. Choosing a softer terrain could also make running easier on your legs in comparison to the pavement. Once you establish limits that work better with your physical capabilities, you may find that the pain doesn’t return.

For a long-term solution, practice exercises for shin splints on a daily basis to strengthen the muscles that absorb the ground’s impact. Runner’s World recommends movements like toe curls, toe flexes, heel drops and single-legged bridges.

One of the most effective ways to prevent shin splints is to get the right running shoes — they should have strong arch-support, shock-absorption and overall stability. If you don’t want to get brand new shoes, you can give your arches support with custom orthotics. These will be made to match the shape of your feet and the height of your arches to increase comfort levels and decrease the risk of injury.

Anyone who suffers foot pains after running or working out should also consider getting custom orthotics made for their running shoes. They can manage and correct functional foot abnormalities and thereby the pain that results from conditions like Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis and heel spurs. Not only will the shins be safe from irritation— the rest of your lower body will be, too.

A small level of discomfort is expected when you go for a challenging run, but, you shouldn’t be in pain every time you commit to a workout. A nagging case of shin splints is your body’s way of telling you that something needs to change, whether it’s your routine, your gait or your footwear.