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A Quick Guide For Addressing Cracked Heels

If you have hard, thickened, painful skin on the bottom of your heels, you may have what is called cracked heels.

Cracked heels, also known as heel fissures, is a common foot condition in which the skin on the bottom of the heels becomes excessively dry causing the skin to split and crack. Fissures are usually accompanied by thickened yellow or brown callus. These fissures can be painful and bleed and if persistent, can lead to infection.

To help avoid and manage cracked heels, follow the steps below:

Moisturize daily

This is probably the easiest thing you can do to help treat cracked heels. Applying moisturizer twice daily can really make a difference in your skin. Look for moisturizers that contain a handful percentage of urea. Urea helps to bring moisture into the skin as well as acts as a chemical exfoliant. For best results, apply right after washing your feet.

feet first clinic dermal therapy
  Dermal Therapy

Exfoliate

While in the shower or after a foot bath, use a pumice stone or file to gently exfoliate the heels of any dead skin cells and keep them smooth.

Feet First Clinic file and foot bath photo

Avoid harsh conditions

In general, avoid all harsh conditions such as excessively hot baths, exposure to very cold weather, or use of harsh soaps. Instead, opt for warm showers, wearing proper protective shoes and socks in the winter, and washing your feet using a gentle, scent free, moisturizing soap.

Visit your local Chiropodist

A Chiropodist is a primary health care provider who will be able to directly treat your heel fissures. This means, at your appointment, a Chiropodist will mechanically debride (removal of damaged tissue) or remove all calluses down to normal tissue to encourage closure of any cracks in the skin. If your cracked heels are accompanied with redness, swelling, pain, and you suspect infection, book an appointment with a Chiropodist for proper treatment.

Insoles

Whether over the counter or custom made, insoles with extra cushioning around the heels can also work to prevent cracked heels. In cases where you have an occupation which requires you to be on your feet all day or work on hard surfaces, insoles may be a great option to look into.

If you have a medical condition such as Diabetes associated with cracked heels, do not try to treat them yourself. Rather, book an appointment with a Registered Chiropodist at Feet First Clinic who will assess your feet and provide the necessary treatments. Careful debridement as well as the appropriate wound dressings may be required to encourage healing and prevent infection.

Call Feet First Clinic today!

Everything You Need to Know about Hammertoes

A hammertoe is a toe that is bent in the middle joint so that it folds or curls over. In some cases, the toes crowd over each other instead of sitting flat and pointing straight ahead. The musculoskeletal condition makes everyday activities like standing and walking uncomfortable or downright painful. And finding a pair of shoes that can accommodate the bent and awkwardly crowded joints can be a challenge.

Find out what you should do if you suspect that you have hammertoes:

Get Diagnosed

You should get checked at our Toronto foot clinic if you are exhibiting any of the above symptoms and suspect you have hammertoes. The specialist will examine your feet and determine the appropriate diagnosis. They will also check for problems that form in tandem with hammertoe like calluses, corns and blisters. Establishing the foot condition is the first step to treating it.

The good news is that flexible hammertoes can be reversed when you practice toe strengthening exercises and use specialized accessories. Hammertoes are a progressive foot condition — the longer you ignore them, the worse they’re going to get. However, the earlier that you notice the symptoms and commit to a personalized treatment plan, the faster you can rectify the problem.

Hammertoe Exercises

Hammertoe happens when the muscles in your feet tighten and the tendons contract, pulling the toes into a curled and clustered position. Eventually, your muscles can’t force the toes to lie flat. A non-invasive way to counteract the painful toe position is to strengthen the muscles in the toes and feet, so they can eventually lie in their natural position without discomfort.

A toe crunch is one of the best hammertoe strengthening exercises that you can try out at home. To do the exercise, sit down in a chair with your shoes and socks off. Put a towel on the ground right under your feet. Root your heels into the floor and then try to scrunch up the towel, drawing it closer to you using only your toes. Do multiple reps every day. You will notice a difference in how your toes feel and how they lie over time.

Hammertoe Accessories

Until the strengthening exercises take effect, you should consider hammertoe straighteners and separators to prevent your toes from curling or crossing over each other. These corrective accessories make it more comfortable to stand and walk.

When you’re doing a more intensive form of exercise, you may want to tape your hammertoes to keep them separate and straight underneath your sneakers. A gel straightener will be uncomfortable and will likely move during a jog or fitness class. Use sports tape or first-aid tape to do the job.

Modified Footwear

You need to stop wearing shoes that can make hammertoes worse. Otherwise, your strengthening exercises and accessories won’t offer any long-term results. You need to avoid wearing high heels and shoes with tight or pointed toe boxes so that your toes can stay properly aligned.

You can visit Feet First Clinic to find some comfortable orthopaedic shoes for sport, workwear and nights out. Specialists at the clinic can also help you get custom orthotic inserts to accommodate the curled toes and ease any discomfort while you move around. You can have them made for whatever kind of footwear you want, including skates, cleats and ski boots.

Certain medical conditions like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis will make it more difficult to alleviate the symptoms of hammertoes. If you are aware that you have these conditions, please notify the chiropodist during your visits. They offer other specialized services and products that can help you manage these ailments.

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

Last-minute Back to School Preparations For Your Feet

With summer over and the back to school rush, we have prepared a small checklist/guideline to get you and your little ones ready for the new school year.

 

Back to School Checklist:

Footwear

Often times the transition from summer sandals to closed toe shoes can be hard on the feet for children and adults alike. Be sure to check your children’s shoes to make sure they still fit by checking the following:

    •  Length: there should be at least 1-2 finger spaces from the end of their longest toe
    • Heel: should be fitting just right – not too snug or too loose as this can cause rubbing.
    • Width: should be roomy and you should not feel their toes bulging
    • Toebox: should be wide and deep – you shouldn’t be able to see toes squished at the top of the shoe

Socks

The right type of sock can make a huge difference in eliminating odours and damp socks.

Check the following:

    • Materials:  Avoid buying synthetic material socks (acrylic, polyester and polypropylene); these breed odour causing bacteria and hold moisture in. If your child has very sweaty feet, avoid buying 100% Cotton socks. Cotton helps to retain heat which allows the growth of bacteria. The most breathable sock material is Bamboo which also has natural antimicrobial properties.
    • Fit: If socks are too short they will cause the toes to either rub (causing blisters) or curl (causing nail and skin issues). When purchasing socks, always check the shoe size associated with the fit on the label. When replacing shoes, be sure to also check the size of the socks and replace them accordingly.
    • Daily changes: Be sure to check that your child is changing their socks daily. If they have very sweaty feet, it would be beneficial to send them to school with an extra pair of breathable Bamboo socks to change into during lunch.

Creams

 If your child suffers from stinky sweaty feet, be sure to try the following products:

  • Gehwol deodorant foot cream – 24 hour relief with natural Manuka extract which has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties.
  • Foot and Shoe deodorant spray – spray once a day to eliminate bacterial and fungal spores from your skin and your footwear.

feet first clinic blog image

Foot pain

If your child has been complaining about foot, knee or hip pain, it would be a great idea to get them in for a Biomechanical analysis and Video Gait Analysis with one of our Chiropodists. It is common for children to experience some sort of growing pains. However, if the pain persists for weeks to months or with a specific activity such as running, biking, walking, there could be more serious issues at hand.

At Feet First Clinic, we assess your child’s feet, muscular strength, gait and footwear to make sure it is specific for their foot type and age.

Metatarsalgia: Treating your forefoot pain right

Metatarsalgia is very broad term that describes pain at the ball of the foot or forefoot region where the metatarsal bones are located. It is usually a result of overuse or faulty foot mechanics leading to persistent stress to the area followed by inflammation of the bone and/or soft tissues.

You can be experiencing pain at the balls of your feet because of various reasons ranging from a deep corn to a stress fracture of the 2nd metatarsal bone. Pain can stem from all levels of tissue and may be caused by but is not limited to the following:

  • Pathological callus/corn
  • Ganglion cyst
  • Capsulitis
  • Bursitis
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Nerve entrapment
  • Stress fracture
  • Arthritis

In general, to treat your forefoot pain, you must:

Reduce inflammation

Rest, ice, elevate and massage the area of pain with anti-inflammatory gels and topical creams. If absolutely necessary, a Licensed Chiropodist will prescribe an oral anti-inflammatory to help with manage your pain.

Change your footwear and get custom made orthotics

Wearing tight-fitting shoes with a high heel will only make the problem worse. Rather, wear shoes with a low heel and a wider toe box to reduce compressional stress to the balls of your feet. If the root problem is faulty foot mechanics, corrective custom foot orthotics will help to increase support and stability in the foot and ankle as well as redistribute plantar pressures. Essentially, with a custom orthotic, the goal is to remove excessive pressures from the balls of the feet by improving general foot function and/or controlling foot movement. There a number of different additions a health care professional can make to the orthotic for someone who is experiencing metatarsalgia. A common addition is a metatarsal dome pad or a plantar metatarsal pad with cut-outs. Both work to offload or reduce pressures from the area of concern.

If you are experiencing pain at the ball of your foot, book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists at Feet First Clinic. The appointment will include a thorough assessment followed by a proposed treatment plan that will get you on the path to pain-free feet today!

All You Need To Know About Bone Spurs

A bone spur is an abnormal bone growth.

Bone spurs, also referred to as osteophyte, can occur throughout the body, and along bone edges. Common sites include the spine, neck, and in the foot, specifically in the heel and toes (as pictured in this blog post).

What is a bone spur?

Osteophyte is bony outgrowth at the intersection of your bones. Osteophyte occurs because of damaged joints and develops when the body tries to heal itself from injury. A bone spur can be visible in the form of a hard bump. In other cases, it may not be apparent at all that you have a bone spur.

What can cause a bone spur?

Osteophyte forms when the body tries to repair itself, so there are underlying causes to how and why a bone spur forms.

Osteoarthritis is a leading cause. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and occurs when the cartilage between your bones begins to wear down. Because joint cartilage cannot be repaired, the problem often gets worse if not treated or addressed correctly.

In response, your body forms extra bone to stabilize the damaged joint. One can develop osteoarthritis, and thus a bone spur, because of overuse – running, ballet, and any other sport that puts enormous pressure on your feet – as well as an acute injury, obesity or being overweight, and wearing tight shoes. Overuse can result in osteophyte because of ligament damage and your body attempts to fortify itself by building calcium deposits.

Symptoms

Symptoms of osteophyte include pain, stiffness, tenderness, loss of flexibility, grating sensations, swelling, and seeing bony projection itself.

You may experience loss of flexibility as your joints lose their full range of motion, as well as swelling due to the damaged tissue being inflamed. You may also hear and feel grating due to the bones rubbing together.

Bone Spur
A bone spur on the top of the big toe.

These symptoms are particularly prevalent in athletes who participate in high-impact sports. Those who run, or do gymnastics and ballet are particularly prone, as are older people. Symptoms may get worse over time if not addressed. Plus, you may experience any combination of these symptoms.

Typically, if you have a heel spur, you will notice a bony projection on the underside of the foot. Meanwhile, if you have a bone spur in your metatarsal or toe, there may be a protrusion on the top of your foot. If the growth is serious enough, you may need new shoes to accommodate the growth.

Treatment

Treatment isn’t always necessary, since a bone spur may not cause you any pain or reduce your quality of life.

If you experience pain, visit a professional to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. It should be noted that you cannot remove the bone spur without surgery. But, if you fix the problem at its root, and take certain precautionary steps, bone spurs won’t necessarily be painful, and surgery won’t be necessary. In any case, surgery is a short-term solution as a bone spur can re-develop.

Certain treatments include weight loss, changing shoes, hot and cold therapy to reduce inflammation, and anti-inflammatories.

If you do require surgery, the course of action is to either remove the bone spur entirely or to fuse the bones together. Recovery time can vary, and as always, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis.

Prevention of bone spurs

To prevent bone spurs, in essence, you want to reduce your risk of osteoarthritis. Common preventions include:

  • Orthotics, which can help support your feet if you have high or low arches.
  • Avoid wearing shoes tight in the toe and heel region, and find footwear that best suits your foot type by visiting a specialist. Our foot clinic is open six days a week and offers a large selection of supportive and cushioning footwear.
  • Follow the RICE method – rest, ice, compression, and elevation – after intense exercise to allow your body and feet to recover.
  • Visit a doctor if you notice early signs of a bone spur, or osteoarthritis.

Visit us at 2481 Bloor St. W, Toronto or call us at 416.769.3338(FEET) to book an appointment for your foot care needs and treatment.

Morton’s Neuroma: Walking With a Constant Pebble in Your Shoes

Do you feel like you’re walking on a pebble? Do you experience a numbing, tingling, burning sensation or sharp pain in your foot and have to take off your shoes to rub it for relief? Does the pain radiate from the ball of your foot to your toes?

If you answered yes to the above questions, you may have what is called an intermetatarsal neuroma. An intermetatarsal neuroma is a type of nerve compression syndrome which involves the nerves located at the base of the lesser toes. Irritation of the nerve at this location causes the nerve to enlarge or swell making it more vulnerable to compressive stresses. Persistent compression results in localized pain, which radiates to the toes when wearing shoes or walking.

The most common nerve to be affected is the nerve found at the ball of the foot between the 3rd and 4th toes at the 3rd web space. This nerve is naturally thicker than the rest putting it at higher risk of developing a neuroma. A neuroma at this specific location on the foot is called a Morton’s Neuroma.

What causes a Neuroma?

It is very likely that the cause of your neuroma is poor foot mechanics, the most common one being overpronation.

Overpronation is the involuntary act of rolling the ankles towards the arches as one walks. As the foot pronates more than it should, the metatarsals also move more than they should, leading to compression and subsequent irritation of the nerves, resulting in pain and inflammation.

The goal of treatment is to remove pressures from the area of concern, allow the nerve to heal, and prevent future incidences of discomfort.

Your Chiropodist may recommend a custom made foot orthotic which corrects poor foot mechanics and controls pronation. The orthotic will likely include special additions such as a metatarsal dome pad, which helps to remove pressures from the nerves by splaying the metatarsal bones.

For more immediate relief, you can try over-the-counter metatarsal dome pads and add them to the insoles of your shoes.

Wearing wider shoes with a wide toe box and a low heel will help to manage your pain and prevent exacerbation of symptoms.

Both pads and a variety of footwear options are available for purchase at Feet First Clinic.

If you think you may have a neuroma, book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists today!

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).

What You Can Do to Stop Terrible Foot Odour

The likeliest cause for persistent foot odour is sweaty feet. Bacteria like warm, moist environments, so shoes and socks that are damp from sweat are the perfect spots for it to grow. When you don’t address the moisture, the bacteria thrive and create a pungent smell. If you want to stop feeling humiliated by foot odour, you should read ahead.

Start by Cleaning Your Shoes

The easiest cleaning method is to sprinkle baking soda inside of the smelly shoes and then leave them alone for 24 hours. Baking soda will soak up the moisture and remove the odour. All you have to do is shake the powder out of the shoe later.

Another quick trick is to put the smelly shoes in a large plastic zip-lock bag and then store them in the freezer for a few hours. The cold temperature will kill the bacteria in the shoes in the same way that it kills bacteria living on food. Or, you could dry the shoes outdoors in the direct sunshine. The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight is a natural disinfectant.

Certain types of shoes can be tossed in the washing machine. A pair of tennis canvas shoes? Perfect. A pair of leather dress shoes? No.

If you want to clean shoes in the washing machine, you should remove the laces and insoles ahead of time. If the laces or insoles look too worn down, replace them. Put the shoes inside of a pillowcase or mesh bag and then put it in the drum. Add in some towels. These steps will keep the shoes from bouncing around.

Run the machine on a gentle cycle with cold water, using liquid detergent and a splash of vinegar. When the cycle is over, let the shoes air dry. Stuff them with newspaper. The paper will absorb the moisture and help them retain their shape.

Check for Fungus

A foul odour sometimes accompanies the foot fungus commonly known as Athlete’s Foot (tinea pedis). Inspect your feet for other symptoms like flaky skin, redness and itching/burning sensations on your feet.

Toe fungus is another cause of foot odour. A bad case of Athlete’s Foot can spread to the toenails, meaning that you could have both conditions.

There are some home remedies for foot fungus and odour like black tea soaks and tea tree oil, but you’re better off trying a topical anti-fungal cream from the pharmacy. If that doesn’t work, you may need a prescription of anti-fungal pills.

If the problem keeps coming back, you might need to visit a foot clinic and have an appointment with a chiropodist. They could suggest reducing the thickness of the toenail to allow the anti-fungal treatment to penetrate better.

Practice Proper Foot Hygiene

Of course, the ultimate way to prevent foot odour is to practice good hygiene habits. You won’t have to deal with any future foot problems when you take care of them in the present.

Here are some simple good hygiene habits that will lessen your chances of foot odour:

  • Wash your feet every day with soap and water.
  • Always wear socks with your closed-toe shoes.
  • Change your socks when they get sweaty.
  • Rotate your shoes every day.
  • Air out your shoes after every use.
  • Don’t store your shoes in an enclosed space, like a gym bag.

Foot odour doesn’t have to follow you for the rest of your life. When you take good care of your shoes and your feet, you’ll find that that the odour goes away. In a matter of weeks, you’ll be comfortable taking off your sneakers in front of company.

3 Exercises To Help Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis can be a real pain in the foot.

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

Typically, overuse, old footwear, and weak supporting muscles can contribute to the problem. To cope with overuse, you can rest, and ice. To combat foot pain because of collapsed arches from old footwear, simply replace your shoes. Or, alternatively, you may benefit from orthotics. For the third, there are a number of exercises you can do to help prevent future issues arising from your plantar.

But, when injured, strengthening exercises don’t do much good. That’s for after the pain subsides. Below, we get into what you can do to eliminate the pain in the first place, and what exercises you should incorporate into your routine going forward to stay injury-free.

Eliminating initial pain

As we previously wrote, 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 plantar fasciitis. 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.

Additionally, you can use a golf ball, or frozen water bottle to roll out the bottom of your foot. A frozen water bottle works in the same way as a golf ball would in massaging, but with the additional benefit of reducing inflammation.

Next, and once you’re no longer feeling plantar discomfort, you can start with the following exercises to build strength so you can avoid the injury in the future: calf raises, foot doming and towel pickups.

Calf raises

When experiencing plantar fasciitis, or any injury for that matter, it’s important to find the root of the problem. Don’t just address the point of pain itself. Since weakness in certain areas of the body results in a domino effect elsewhere, strengthening the supporting muscles in your legs is crucial. To help strengthen your arch, you can work on your heel and calf muscles through calf raises, which are essentially heel lifts.

Stand at the edge of a step, and push up through your toes and with your calf to raise your heel off the ground. Slowly bring your heel back to the ground and repeat. Start with three sets of 8-10 repetitions and build up accordingly.

Foot doming

Doming is also known as the short foot maneuver. What you want to achieve here is the cupping of your foot (to form a dome), where your arch is off the ground. Imagine scrunching your feet – effectively making your foot ‘shorter’ – and releasing. Don’t be frustrated if this exercise is hard at first; it is. As weird as it may feel, focus on the movement one stage at a time. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of it.

You can also make the exercise easier by using a towel and trying to grab it with your feet and pulling it towards you. This allows your foot to actually grip something. You won’t notice a big difference right away. The goal here is to improve muscle endurance so they don’t become overloaded when exercising.

Towel pickups

As alluded to above, a towel can be an underrated strengthening tool. In this case, and while in a sitting position, keep your heel on the ground while picking up a towel off of the ground using only your toes. Drop down, release and repeat. Aim to do two to three sets of 10-15 repetitions to start before increasing the number. If you get comfortable with the load, use additional weight to increase resistance.

Are you still experiencing foot pain? Book an appointment with us at Feet First Clinic online or by calling us at 416.769.3338(FEET).