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Should I Worry About My Kids’ Feet?

First off, do not panic. Children are developing beings. For the most part, common “foot abnormalities” in children spontaneously resolve as development progresses. At birth, a baby’s foot is made up of mostly cartilage, which hardens or ossifies to actual bones with age. Until a child’s foot develops adult bones, it will be very soft and flexible. As infants mature and learn to walk, their bodies undergo a process known as developmental unwinding where their limbs will unfold and externally rotate. In fact, the hips can unwind even up until age fourteen. 

Bare feet in a pile of shoes. Children’s foot on the background of sneakers. Foot and shoes

With that being said, it is important to be attentive to your child and what they may be trying to tell you as well as knowing when certain behaviours or tendencies do not follow the correct linear pattern of development. If your child is complaining of pain, “tired feet”, or is overly clumsy and/or frequently tripping, it is important to talk to your child’s paediatrician for further investigation. Your child’s paediatrician may then recommend a visit to a foot care specialist for proper podiatric management to prevent progression of symptoms into adulthood.

Here is a list of common foot problems seen in children.

Flat Feet

Flat feet are part of normal development in children up until the age of six. If your child has a mild and flexible flat foot and is under the age of 6, there is a good chance he or she may grow out of it. However, if your child is severely flat-footed, is developing pressure points, and is experiencing symptoms (this includes not wanting to participate in activities or sports because of foot pain or discomfort), it is a good idea to seek professional advice. Your child may be recommended custom made orthotics or over the counter arch supports. 

In-Toeing

In-toeing, commonly known as pigeon-toed is said to be the most common reason why parents seek podiatric care for their child. It is when the toes point inward toward the midline of the body rather than straight forward with walking. In-toeing is usually related to the developmental unwinding process and can be attributed to abnormalities at various levels of the lower limb such as the hip, femur, tibia, foot itself. More often than not, in-toeing spontaneously resolves without causing long term issues. However, treatment is warranted if the child is complaining of symptoms such as pain, difficulty walking, or exemplifying over-pronatory compensations that may cause future complications. Talk to your chiropodist regarding gait plates and whether your child is a good candidate for them.

Barefoot on the background of shoes. Feet in a pile of shoes. Children’s foot on the background of sneakers. Foot and shoes

Toe Walking

Toe walking is a normal occurrence in children as they learn how to walk, up until the age of three. Most children who continue to toe walk after the age of three and are otherwise developing normally, do so out of habit. Other causes include a congenital short Achille’s tendon, or other disorders such as, cerebral palsy, autism, and muscular dystrophy. In any case, talk to your child’s paediatrician regarding toe walking past the age of two. If your child is doing this habitually, it is important to establish heel to toe gait with the help of routine stretching and recommended footwear.

Sever’s Disease

Sever’s disease is an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel bone. It is the most common cause of heel pain in growing children and young athletes between the ages of seven and twelve and is associated with growth spurts and increased activity levels. Rest assured, this condition is very common and self-limiting once the growth plate ossifies. Management lies in mitigating pain via rest from strenuous activities, daily stretches, and a biomechanical assessment to determine if faulty foot mechanics may be contributing to the problem.

Need Medical Attention?

If you have been recommended by your child’s paediatrician to have your child’s feet assessed by a foot specialist, we’ve got you covered. 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!

Is Compression Gear Worth It?

Long story short, the answer is, it depends. Compression stockings can be very beneficial when given to the right individual and for the right reasons. There are support stockings and medical compression garments. Support stockings are the ones you find at your local retail or drug store. They are considered over the counter stockings that provide about 15-20mmHg of compression, which essentially exerts a passive resistance to swelling. On the other hand, medical-grade compression stockings not only offer higher levels of compression, but they are made according to strict medical and technical guidelines to ensure adequate ankle pressure and graduated compression up the limb. Before you decide to get measured for and purchase compression gear, talk to your doctor about them as they are not for everybody.

Here are four conditions compression therapy is commonly recommended for:

legs runner in compression calf sleeve

1. Edema

Edema is the medical term for swelling. It occurs when the small blood vessels in your body leak fluid to the surrounding tissue. As this fluid accumulates in the tissue, the tissues begin to swell. Edema can be the result of a number of disorders and diseases, some of which will be expanded in the points below. Others include, congestive heart failure, excessive retention of sodium and water, pregnancy, constrictive pericarditis, and prolonged inactivity. In some cases, edema in the lower extremity can lead to impaired wound healing, increased risk of infection, and pressure sores. As a result, it is highly recommended to speak to your doctor if you are experiencing edema in your feet and lower legs.

2. Varicose veins

Varicose veins are veins that have become diseased and appear enlarged, swollen, and twisted. They develop due to increased pressure in the venous system, causing damage to the valves that control proper blood flow back to the heart. As backflow of blood occurs, blood pools in the veins and causes them to dilate (widen in diameter). These are the start of venous insufficiency.

3. Chronic venous insufficiency

As the venous disease progresses, chronic venous insufficiency may develop. Similar to varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency is the result of valvular incompetence. Damaged valves compromise the flow of blood back to the heart and eventually, deep vein emptying cannot occur. Chronic venous insufficiency is also the most common cause of deep vein thrombosis. Symptoms include aching, heavy legs, lower leg and ankle edema, and moderate to severe varicosities. Chronic venous insufficiency can also lead to skin diseases such as stasis dermatitis (red, dry, itchy skin), hemosiderin deposits (brown pigmentation due to iron deposits in the skin), and ulcerations.

man runner in compression socks

 4. Venous thrombosis

Venous thrombosis describes a blood clot in a vein with accompanying inflammation of the vessel wall. Signs and symptoms of venous thrombosis in the lower leg include pain in the calf, edema, redness and increased warmth of the affected leg, fever, and generally feeling unwell. 

5. Lymphedema

The lymphatic system is made of channels and nodes that work to collect and filter fluids before returning it to the bloodstream. Lymphedema presents as swelling in either one or both limbs, the swelling worsening with progression of the disease. It is caused by extra fluid build-up in tissues due to a defective lymphatic system.

Question or Concerns?

If you have been diagnosed with any of the above conditions or your doctor has recommended compression therapy as part of your treatment plan, book an appointment with one of our licensed chiropodists to be properly measured. 

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!

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.

iStock-902595216-1800×1200

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!

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! 

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

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. 

Foot-Illustration-1

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!

How Does My Gait Affect My Life?

How Gait Affects Your Life

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

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

What Is Gait?

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

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

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

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

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

Gait Analysis

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

Gait Concerns? We Can Help!

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

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

Featured Birkenstocks For Summer

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

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

These are fantastic summer shoes for a few reasons:

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

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

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

Arizona

Birkenstocks

The Arizona is Birkenstock’s most iconic look.

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

Arizona EVA

Birkenstocks

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

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

Madrid

Birkenstock Madrid

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

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

Gizeh

Birkenstocks

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

Mayari

Birkenstock Mayari

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

Boston

Birkenstocks

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

Milano

Summer Birkenstocks

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

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

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

Where To Buy Birkenstocks

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

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

How Your Job Affects Your Feet

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

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

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

Different Careers = Different Foot Needs

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

What you wear has a great impact on you.

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

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

Healthcare Professionals

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

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

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

Construction

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

Teachers

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

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

Outdoor Jobs

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

Office Jobs

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

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

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

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

Proper Footwear For The Job

Foot health starts with proper footwear.

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

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

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

Your Solutions Live Here!

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

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

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

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).

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 Above to Book Your Assessment Today!