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Plantar Hyperhidrosis: Frequently Asked Questions

Plantar hyperhidrosis is the medical term used to describe a condition characterized by excessive sweating of the feet. This condition affects approximately 1-3% of the population. Today, we will be answering some the most frequently asked questions about plantar hyperhidrosis.

  1. What causes sweaty feet?

Feet submerged in water and surrounded by question marksIn most cases, the cause of sweaty feet is idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown. Onset is usually in childhood suggesting a hereditary component to this physiological disorder. Emotional and physical distress as well as heat can initiate sweating and/or make it worse. Sweaty feet can also be secondary to a chronic systemic illness or it can simply be a side effect of a drug.

  1. How can I stop excessive sweating?

More often than not, plantar hyperhidrosis can be controlled by conservative measures including topical antiperspirants, foot powders, deodorants, proper footwear, moisture-wicking socks, and absorbent insoles. In severe cases, treatments include but are not limited to prescription oral medications, Botox injections, and iontophoresis.

  1. Can it be cured?

Plantar hyperhidrosis will likely require ongoing treatment and management.

  1. Does it get worse with age?

The general trend is sweaty feet actually improve with age. This is because as we age, our sweat glands become less active and less responsive to stimuli.

  1. How much does your feet perspire in a day?

According to the Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine, your feet contain approximately 250 000 sweat glands and the average person will perspire about a cup of moisture throughout the day.

  1. Does wearing socks make a difference with sweaty feet?

Socks on feetWearing socks with closed toe shoes help to reduce sweating in feet. When you don’t wear socks with closed toe shoes, the increased friction between your feet and the interior of the shoe in combination with poor air circulation tends to induce sweating.

The type of sock is also important. Choose socks made out of cotton, wool, or merino wool and avoid synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester.

In general, look for socks that have a “moisture-wicking” property. Finally, socks that contain silver, copper, or bamboo will control odors and growth of micro-organisms.

Sweaty feet can cause foul odors, increase risk of fungal and bacterial infections, and dramatically affect your quality of life.

Book an appointment with a Registered Chiropodist at Feet First Clinic today for all your foot concerns, including sweaty feet.

We are open six days a week!

Picking the Correct Footwear for Winter

Even though winter is a beautiful season, it can do some damage — this is particularly true when it comes to your feet. Continue reading to learn more about what you should look for when purchasing new winter footwear.

Getting Arch Support

Soon enough, the streets are going to be covered with snow. The problem with that is snow makes the ground uneven and difficult to walk on. If you suffer from foot conditions like or plantar fasciitis, walking on uneven surfaces can be extremely uncomfortable. This is because walking on uneven ground can cause the arch of your foot to flex awkwardly, making the symptoms of your condition even worse.

To minimize the risk of harming your feet, you should purchase a pair of custom orthotics. These insoles offer ample arch support while reducing the amount of strain and tension in your feet. By purchasing these insoles, you’ll be able to spend more of your time enjoying your walk through a winter wonderland.

Keeping Your Feet Warm and Dry

Unless you want to dry those cold feet after every trip outside, you’ll want to pick up footwear that’s water-resistant.

You don’t want to walk around with damp feet. For one, moisture breeds foot odour. It can lead to painful and embarrassing problems like blisters, toenail fungus and athlete’s foot. And in the winter, moisture can raise your chances of developing frostbite — so keep your toes safe and warm.

Another way to ensure that your feet stay warm is to wear compression stockings. These fantastic socks can improve circulation throughout your body, including your legs and feet. So, you can stay warmer for longer. Not to mention, compression stockings can help you improve your balance — this is extremely beneficial when you need to walk over slippery patches of ice.

Picking the Correct Footwear for Winter

Finding the Correct Size

Lastly, when picking footwear for winter, you need to ensure that your boots and shoes fit correctly. You want to make sure that they aren’t too small or too big.

Although it isn’t common knowledge, there are serious consequences to wearing shoes that are too small:

On the other hand, wearing large shoes is just as risky. When you wear shoes that are too big, you have less control. If you walk over ice or snow, you’ll have a higher chance of slipping and injuring yourself.

If you don’t know what your true foot size is, get your foot measured before you buy a new pair. Check to see if there’s enough room for your toes to wiggle in the toe box. Test to see if the heels slip and slide when you walk. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Come to Feet First

Thankfully, choosing the right shoes for the season is easier than you’d think — especially with some help from the foot care experts at Feet First Clinic. Our team of experienced chiropodists provides professional services and customizable products that can get you through the toughest winter days, even if you suffer from painful foot care conditions.

Wearing your fall boots or running shoes in the winter is never a good idea. Other than ruining your perfectly good shoes, you put your health and safety at risk. You’re better off putting those other shoes in the closet and getting new footwear for the winter.

Nights Before Christmas at Toronto Distillery District

Enjoy this week’s unexpected winter wonderland weather by visiting the Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District.

The Christmas market opens on Thursday, November 14th, until Sunday, December 22nd; it is open 7 days a week from noon to 9pm or 10pm (Friday and Saturday only). Admission is free during the week and charged after 6pm on weekends.

The nights are getting colder and the snow came early this year so be sure to stay warm and comfortable for this outdoor event.

Compression stockings are the ideal product to keep you warm and pain free all evening. Compression stockings are graduated meaning they are tighter around the ankle and decrease in compression the higher they go; this provides a constant flow of circulation to your lower limb. With constant circulation, your muscles will not experience tiring effects of standing and walking. They also allow a quicker recovery so the next day you won’t feel that soreness from being on your feet the day before.

Sigvaris is always coming out with new innovative products and keeping up with current fashion trends. Their newest product is a Mulberry Opaque Stocking which is warm enough to wear during the colder evenings but thin enough to look like a regular stocking. mulberryAnother way to beat the chilly and unpredictable temperature at the Distillery District is by wearing the right footwear.

This time of the year, the ideal type of footwear should be durable, weatherproof but not too bulky.

Sorel has a great selection of transition boots with a variety of styles for both men and women. The “Out N’ About” boot is fully waterproof with a seamless design and more importantly anti-slip to keep you walking worry free in these slippery, slushy, and wet conditions.

sorelThe “Madson” boot is also fully waterproof with a seam-sealed design and tough leather exterior. The reduced bulk and EVA footbed make it a shoe to wear all day without putting your legs through excessive stress.

sorelThe Holidays are fast approaching and if you are experiencing any foot issues, come visit us at Feet First Clinic so we can help you start feeling great for the season. 

5 Simple Exercises for Bunions

A bunion (also known as hallux valgus) is a deformity of the big toe where the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint is misaligned. With this deformity, the muscles surrounding the big toe are at an imbalance. In particular, the muscle that pulls the big toe towards the lesser toes is at a mechanical advantage, pulling the big toe closer to the one beside it. This is muscle is called the Adductor Hallucis. To counteract this muscle, we have to strengthen the opposing muscle: the Abductor Hallucis.

The following exercises and stretches focus on the smaller muscles of the foot, which is essential in managing bunions and the pain associated with them.

Toe curls and spreads

Curling toes down and spreading toes upwards

Do this exercise sitting with your foot several inches off the floor. Curl the toes down as if you want to grab something with the toes. Hold that position for 10 seconds and release. Then bring your heel to the ground, lift your foot slightly and spread your toes as far apart as possible. Hold that position for 30 seconds. Do this 5 times on each foot.

Towel grip and pull

Curled toes pulling towel towards foot

Place a towel on the ground and put your foot on top of the towel. Then use your toes to scrunch the towel towards you. Do this for 1-2 minutes on each foot.

Toe stretches

Hand gently pushing toes downward

Use your fingers to press your big toe down and hold that stretch for 30 seconds. Then position your toe in the opposite direction and use your fingers to help reach the end range of motion. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Do this 5 times on each foot.

Toe resistance exercises

Use your fingers or your other big toe to create resistance so that the small muscles within the foot are isolated and activated. Place your finger on top of the big toe and while applying a small amount of pressure downwards, move your toe in the opposite direction. Hold this for 10 seconds. Then bring your finger under the toe and apply a bit of pressure pushing the toe upwards. While doing this, push your toe downwards and hold for 10 seconds. Finally, bring your finger to the side of your big toe pushing it towards the second toe. While applying this pressure, move your big toe away from the lesser toes. Hold this for 10 seconds. Do this entire exercise 5 times on each foot.

Toe circles

Do this sitting on a chair. Bring your foot on the knee and use your hand to grip your big toe and run it through circular motions. This keeps the joint mobile.

At first, these exercises may seem unnatural and difficult to do, but with time and consistency, you will get the hang of it!

For more information on bunions, click here!

For more inquiries and hopes to speak to a Licensed Chiropodist, book an appointment at Feet First Clinic.

We are open six days a week!

Lest We Forget: Remembering our Veterans’ Hard Work

Remembrance Day is a memorial day to remember the end of World War I and to commemorate all those who served during the war.

During WWI soldiers were subjected to horrible conditions in trenches and on the battlefield. On average, each soldier would spend 8 days in the front line and 4 days in the reserve. However, when a soldier was injured, another had to take their place and they could possibly spend around 30 days in the front line trenches.

Trenches were dug around 10ft deep and 6ft wide and in the spring and fall they would fill up with rain up to a soldier’s waist.  During the harsh winter months, trenches did not provide a lot of shelter or warmth. Blankets and clothing were said to freeze, food became frozen and inedible and the frozen mud walls became hard as stone. Soldiers suffered from frostbite and exposure leading to amputations. Once the snow and mud started to thaw, it only escalated the muddy and wet conditions in the trenches similar to those in the warmer months. Along with thick mud and flooding, trenches were also infested with rodents and insects.

Prolonged exposure to moisture and unsanitary conditions lead to “trench foot”, which causes open sores, blisters, fungal nail and skin infection and eventually amputation due to gangrene.

In the early stages of war, the standard footwear of the British Army were known as “Ammunition boots” which were unlined ankle boots made out of tanned cowhide with an iron plate half sole that was fixed to the heel. They were designed to be durable but not comfortable nor waterproof.

Over the course of the war, due to the increasing number of British casualties caused by trench foot, trenches were constructed with better drainage and more importantly soldiers received improved waterproof footwear called the “Perishing boot”.

These boots were designed as an American combat boot and were made out of heavier leather, they had a thicker sole and several more hobnails and treatments to improve waterproofing.

The Perishing boot was also dubbed “Little Tanks” as the soldiers found the construction heavy and bulky but incidents of trench foot dramatically decreased.

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetic foot care and foot exams are extremely important for individuals who have just been recently diagnosed, those who have been living with diabetes for several years or at risk individuals.

Individuals living with diabetes are at a higher risk for developing infections and peripheral vascular disease.

What to expect:

For your first visit be sure to come prepared with a list of medication you are currently taking, bring a pair of your widely used footwear, and be sure to discuss any foot/knee/hip issues you may be experiencing.

The Chiropodist will do a full diabetic foot assessment and treatment which includes nail and callus care.

Diabetic Foot Assessment:

A diabetic foot assessment is a step by step approach to testing your vascular system, sensory system, motor system, skin system and footwear. It is highly recommended to have an annual assessment for most individuals living with diabetes. However, certain higher risk individuals need to be monitored more closely.

  • Vascular Assessment: an assessment to test your blood supply to your feet. Blood supply can become limited to the feet and extremities with long standing diabetes, uncontrolled diabetes and old age. The assessment includes taking pulses, measuring the blood flow back to the skin, gradual cooling of the lower limb to the feet and assessing the skin and nails for any vascular changes.
  • Sensory Assessment: an assessment to test your feeling in your feet. Often with long standing or uncontrolled diabetes, the small and large nerves in your feet can be affected and eventually stop working. The assessment includes testing different locations on your feet with your eyes closed, vibration test, light touch test, and soft pinch test.
  • Motor Assessment: an assessment to test your most important joints for walking. If your gait is impaired, pressures will not be distributed properly which may cause the build up of calluses, corns or even diabetic pressure ulcers.
  • Skin Assessment: an assessment of your skin and nails to check for corns, calluses, ingrown nails, warts, dry or cracked heels, diabetic ulcers or fungal infections to name a few. Since healing is impaired alongside diabetes, it is very important to treat any infections immediately.
  • Footwear Assessment: an assessment to make sure your shoes are being properly worn and they are not causing any calluses or sores to develop.

Diabetic Foot Treatment:

A diabetic foot treatment is a safe medical pedicure which includes nail and skin care. It is very important to avoid nail salons and spas as they do not use clean sterilized instruments nor do they have the medical knowledge necessary to provide diabetic foot treatment. Diabetic nail care includes trimming your nails safely and properly, cleaning out the corners from each nail and thinning out thick/rough nails. Skin treatment includes taking down any hard calluses or corns in a safe manner to a proper depth and even distribution. If any pressure points were noted in the footwear or skin assessment, these pressure points are addressed and often your footwear will receive a makeover to help your feet feel better.

Taking care of your feet is an important aspect of overall diabetic care and that includes having a Licensed chiropodist to be a part of your diabetic health team.

Foam Rolling 101: Why And How To Do It

Foam rolling is one of the easiest ways to keep your legs at their best.

Foam rolling is a self-therapy method used to eliminate general fascia restrictions. Think of foam rolling as your own personal massage therapist.

What is foam rolling?

Foam rolling involves using a foam roller as a method of release. By using your own body weight, the method is simple, effective and low-cost. Foam rolling is a great injury prevention method and can leave your muscles feeling refreshed afterwards.

Some people who foam roll do it as a warm-up to exercise, as it gets the muscles firing and activated. For example, some runners foam roll before activity to ensure their muscles aren’t cold when heading out the door.

Alternatively, foam rolling can be done after exercise, to break up the fascia, and knots that develop in the muscles.

What type of foam roller to buy

There are a number of different types of foam rollers on the market, from simple to premium.

Foam Rolling

Basic foam rollers can be found at most sporting goods stores for approximately $30.

Depending on your needs, a basic foam roller may do just fine. On the other end of the spectrum are more premium options, including Hyperice and Trigger point. These products are meant more for deep tissue massages and have additional features like vibration. Typically, the foundation of these rollers are made of stiff plastic with a foam outer layer, so they will last longer than a purely foam product. As their cores are also plastic, they also have a lot less ‘give.’

Foam rollers also come in various sizes. You can find travel sizes so they fit in your luggage if you’re a frequent traveller, Or, there are standard versions which cover a greater surface area of your leg and are often less painful because weight is dispersed more evenly across where you’re rolling. Fortunately, because they’re largely inexpensive, owning more than one won’t break the bank.

It should be noted that there are alternative ways to roll, including using tennis or lacrosse balls. The smaller the object, the more precise you can be with targeting trouble spots, or ‘trigger points.’

Foam Rolling

According to the American Council on Exercise, foam rolling  “focuses on reducing pain or the discomfort that comes from the myofascial tissue—the tough, but thin membranes that cover and surround your muscles.”

How to do it

Foam rolling can be tricky at first, but you can get the hang of it pretty quickly. Using your body weight, position the foam roller about two-thirds to the bottom of your body, or to wherever on your legs you want to target. Then, roll slowly and gently back and forth and pause on particularly tight spots.

You can reduce the pressure by bearing more weight on your upper body, or when you’re on your side, by having your torso on the ground. There should be some discomfort, but don’t go as far as feeling intense pain.

You’ll want to avoid bones, and focus on the muscles, specifically trigger points. These refer to specific knots that form in the muscles, that will benefit from being rolled out, which increases blood flow to the area.

Typically, anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes is appropriate for an area before moving on. In total, spend 10-15 minutes rolling various parts of your legs, even if they’re not particularly sore. Remember, sore muscles in one spot may mean the problem is actually somewhere else, so distribute the rolling appropriately.

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling doesn’t just have to be on your legs either. You can do your back, hips, arms, shoulders, and whatever else is sore.

Benefits

There are a number of benefits to foam rolling, both as an injury treatment, as well as for injury prevention. Best of all, it’s one of the most affordable methods of self-treatment needing little more than a $30-40 product, that lasts quite a few years too.

According to the American Council on Exercise, foam rolling has been shown to help the following conditions: 

  • IT band syndrome
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee)
  • Shin splints
  • Lower-back pain
  • Infrapatellar tendinitis (jumper’s knee)
  • Blood flow, overall soreness
  • Joint range of motion

If pain continues to persist, and foam rolling doesn’t seem to be helping, your injury may be more serious.

For all of your foot treatment needs, schedule an appointment, or contact Feet First Clinic at 416-769-FEET(3338).

Fashion Forward Shoes That Are Also Good For Your Feet

There is a common misconception that healthy shoes are ugly shoes.

This is not the case! There are actually a number of different companies that design and make shoes with the foot’s anatomy, activity and overall health in mind all while keeping up with latest fashion trends. Most of them are also made with a removable foot bed for easy accommodation of a custom foot orthotic.

Custom foot orthotics are custom-made insoles prescribed and dispensed by a health care practitioner, made from raw materials and can be moved from one shoe to another. It is a functional device that works to support, stabilize, correct foot and gait anomalies. If a Licensed Chiropodist has recommended orthotics for you, it is important to wear the devices on a daily basis to reduce stress on your feet and the lower extremities.

Brands that are Orthopaedic Footwears:

Clarks

Clarks has a great selection of footwear for both men and women. Probably the most fashion forward of the list, the sleek, simple designs are what attracts most of their customers. Most shoes are also made with a removable foot bed, come in half sizes, and varying widths.

Naot

Naot is most well known for their signature footbeds made from cork, latex and suede. The latex layer adds softness and padding while the cork provides flexibility, durability, and shock absorption. These two materials are then wrapped in suede, which provides additional comfort and absorbs excess moisture. Finally, the footbed is designed with arch support, a deep heel cup, an elevated centre, and hallux support to help support and better align your foot.

Mephisto

Mephisto offers a wide selection of sandals, casual walking shoes, dress shoes, and winter boots. Their footwear includes their innovative soft-air technology in the soles for excellent shock absorption, cushioning, and better air circulation for healthier foot climates. With their removeable footbeds, these shoes are perfect for orthotics while guaranteeing tireless and easy walking for hours on end.

Ara

Ara is a German shoe company that claims to offer the comfort of a running shoe in a ballerina slipper and women’s pumps. This family owned business makes shoes with a High Soft feature that combines a super soft upper material and a flexible, soft padded outsole for ultimate comfort.

All the shoes mentioned above, and more are available at Feet First Clinic. We are open six days a week!

Cracked toenails

Cracked toenails can really be a bother. They get caught on socks, pants, and bed sheets, and depending on the severity of the crack, they can be downright painful. Although in most cases patience and simple nail care will tend to the issue, there are times when further treatment may be required. It really all depends on the reason why the toenail has cracked or split in the first place.

image of a cracked big toenail

Causes of A Cracked Toenail

Trauma

Trauma is a broad term that includes an injury which may result in a bruise and undetected, repetitive micro trauma from daily activities. Sport activity, an accidental fall, dropping a heavy object on the foot, ill-fitting footwear, and frequent use of high heels can all cause trauma to the toenails.

Environment

Frequent exposure to wet or cold environments can make the nail weak and vulnerable to cracking.

Nail polish

Frequent use of nail polish and strong solvents such as nail polish remover can cause the nail to split.

Fungal infections

Harmful microorganisms can infect a weakened nail and cause the nail to change. If your toenail looks yellow, white, brown, cracked, crumbly, and/or thickened, you may have a fungal nail. To protect yourself from fungus, avoid injury to the nail, wearing wet or damp shoes or socks, unsanitary pedicures, and always wear shoes in public gyms or showers.

Systemic issues

Toenails can crack because of an underlying systemic disease including but not limited to rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, anemia, psoriasis, eczema, and peripheral vascular disease. Bad habits such as smoking increase the risk of developing conditions that cause poor circulation, especially to the extremities of the body.

Nutritional deficiencies

Your nails need nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and protein to grow healthy and strong. Iron deficiencies as well as vitamin B deficiencies are common causes of split nails.

Age

Finally, age is another factor that can cause the nail the become brittle and more vulnerable to crack.

As mentioned previously, treatment depends on the cause. If the cause is a systemic issue, the systemic disease must be addressed and treated. If the cause is a vitamin deficiency, talk to your doctor or nutritionist about vitamin supplements and possible dietary changes.

For local treatment of the nail itself and management of potential infections, visit a Licensed Chiropodist or foot specialist who will address the concern directly.

Chiropodists are primary health care professionals who are able to prescribe medications, administer local injections, and perform soft tissue surgeries, including nail surgeries. Although rare, a nail surgery may be indicated for a damaged nail depending on the severity of the deformity.

Leading up to your appointment with a foot specialist, you can prevent further damage to the nail by protecting the area with either a bandage, a toe sleeve, or toe cap, and keeping the nail trimmed, filed, and clean.

Book an appointment today!

Why It’s Important to Keep Your Feet Covered Up

Walking around barefoot is not the wisest decision. The main reason to keep your feet covered up is that it lowers your chances of catching an embarrassing condition. When you expose your bare soles to a germ covered floor, you can accidentally pick up a virus or fungus.

Athlete’s Foot

Skipping your shoes and walking barefoot can lead to athlete’s foot — it can even happen in the comfort of your own home. The foot fungus is contagious. When a family member or roommate has an irritating infection, you are likely to contract it too. A person with this specific fungal infection will contaminate the floor whenever they walk over it barefoot.

Exposing your feet to the contaminated area raises your risk of infection. If you’ve never suffered from the foot fungus before, here are some common symptoms of athlete’s foot that you should recognize:

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Dry, cracking skin
  • Rash
  • Odour

Toenail Fungus

You can catch toenail fungus from a surface that’s been contaminated by someone with the infection. You can also get an infected toe if you have athlete’s foot. The foot fungus spreads from the soles and up into your toenails, turning them thick, brittle and yellow. You can click here to find out what causes toenail fungus other than contaminated floor surfaces and wandering athlete’s foot. Knowing the risks can help you avoid an uncomfortable infection.

Plantar Warts

If you walk around barefoot, you can also contract the human papillomavirus (HPV) through your sole and develop a plantar wart. It is a small rough growth that looks like a callus or corn. Since the plantar wart is on the bottom of your foot, it can feel tender or painful when you stand, walk or put pressure on it in any other way.

What Should You Do?

Start by breaking the bad habit of walking around barefoot. You can wear waterproof shower shoes in public spaces like gym locker rooms, swimming pool decks and saunas to protect your feet. Surfaces that are warm and moist present a higher risk of contamination.

Buy some pairs of indoor slippers for the home and place them by your main entrance. This way, you can effectively cover up your bare feet and avoid tracking outside dirt on your clean floors.

Here are some other simple tips to avoid infection:

  • Wash your feet every day
  • Moisturize your feet if your skin is dry
  • Cover up cuts or wounds on your feet with bandages

If you happen to contract any of these infections, you should make an appointment with one of our licensed chiropodists. We have the best foot solutions in Toronto — we can do everything from nail fungus treatment to plantar wart excision. When over-the-counter medications and home remedies don’t do the trick, experts can give you effective treatment options.

As an additional perk, slippers and shower shoes protect your bare feet from any objects lying on the floor. You’ll appreciate the protective barrier when you step over something sharp like a shard of glass, something hard like a discarded toy piece, or something disgusting like a cat’s hairball.