416-769-FEET(3338)

Book an appointment

You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic. Schedule an appointment by using the Appointment Request form below or contact the clinic at

416-769-FEET(3338)
info@feetfirstclinic.com

Close

Do’s and Don’ts of Athlete’s Foot, a.k.a. Fungus Between Your Toes

Do’s and Don’ts of Athlete’s Foot, a.k.a. Fungus Between Your Toes

Dry skin. Redness. Stinging and burning. All are signs of athlete’s foot, one of the most common foot conditions, and one most people will experience at least once. (Despite what the name suggests, not just athletes get it.)

But don’t worry: athlete’s foot is a treatable condition with a few simple steps. In this article, we’re going to teach you how to avoid athlete’s foot in the first place. Plus, we’ll give you tips to treat it if you have it.

What’s Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal skin infection that affects the skin on the soles of the feet and/or between the toe. The scientific name for this foot condition is Tinea pedis. Although its name inherently indicates it’s an athlete’s condition, the name comes from a common source: locker rooms and change rooms.

Locker Room

Symptoms include:

  • Translucent white moist skin between the toes on one or both feet.
  • A scaly and raw looking rash
  • Itching
  • Stinging
  • Burning
  • Dry skin on the soles of the feet
  • Peeling skin on the soles of the feet
  • Cracked skin on the heels
  • Foot odour

The cause of it is pretty straightforward: You can either catch it from a public place. Or, you may develop this foot condition through poor hygiene—namely letting your feet become moist and fester. Wet fall weather can certainly factor into that.

Do’s And Don’ts of Athlete’s Foot

Below you’ll find some common do’s and don’ts for athlete’s foot. Follow the ‘do’s,’ and try your best to avoid the ‘don’ts’ to keep Tinea pedis foot at bay, for good.

Do: Wear flip-flops or shoes in public places

Pair of flip flopsFungi love warm, moist environments, such as communal showers, locker rooms, and around public swimming pools. We recommend you wear flip-flops or shoes in these places. This way, your skin won’t come into contact with any infected surfaces.

Do: Thoroughly dry between your toes after a bath or shower

Thoroughly dry your feet and toes after bathing. This can be where athlete’s foot begins.

Do: Change socks regularly, even multiple times a day if your feet get very sweaty

Did you know that your feet have more than 250,000 sweat glands? Changing socks regularly is critical to keeping your feet dry. Swap your socks regularly, even if it takes multiple times a day. Bonus points for wearing moisture-wicking socks, as these draw sweat away from your feet.

Do: Use over-the-counter topical antifungals for athlete’s foot

Topical antifungal products can stop athlete’s foot in its tracks. Our Toronto foot clinic and online shop offer a variety of antifungal products including:

  • Medicated creams
  • Ointments
  • Sprays
  • Powders

These products contain ingredients that stop the growth of the fungus or kills it.

Don’t: Wear wet shoes, and avoid drying footwear between uses

Recall that fungi love warm, dark, and moist environments. There exist few better grounds for fungi than your shoes, especially if they’re wet. That can be a frequent issue in wet fall and winter weather (think about all the times your shoes and socks got soaked down to the skin while trudging through slush puddles on your way to work). Avoid wearing wet shoes as a first step, and dry your footwear between uses, especially if you wear this footwear on a daily basis. This foot condition doesn’t take long to build, so a few consecutive days of poor foot hygiene can quickly catch up to you.

Don’t: Share mats, rugs, bed linens, clothes, or footwear with someone who has athlete’s foot or a related dermatophyte infection like jock itch or ringworm

Did you know that 1 in 10 people have athlete’s foot? It’s always better to be safe than sorry when sharing equipment or items that come in contact with our feet. Additionally, wash your socks, bedding, and towels at 60 C+.

Don’t: Go barefoot in public places

Public showers

When using the pool, shared deck at a hotel, in the locker room, or even in your dorm, avoid going barefoot in places that you suspect others may be going barefoot.

Don’t: Wear exclusively shoes of non-breathable synthetic materials such as vinyl or rubber

To help facilitate dryness (in a good sense), wear breathable shoes as often as possible. Footwear made of vinyl or rubber may have their place in your wardrobe, but these materials aren’t as breathable and can trap moisture. If you do opt for one of these non-breathables, be extra cognizant of washing and drying your feet in between uses.

How (And Why) Body Weight Affects Our Feet

There are many risk factors that can lead to a variety of foot conditions and general changes to our foot anatomy. One of those is body weight. We know obesity, weight gain and being overweight are often associated with issues like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many arthritic diseases. But some of you may be wondering exactly how they affect our feet.

Below, we’ll explore the connection between our body weight and our feet.

Weight and your feet

According to one study in Translational Research in Anatomy, “increased body mass is known to contribute to elevated peak plantar pressures and elevated peak plantar pressures are associated with foot pain and changes in the anthropometric parameters of the foot. It seems intuitive, then, that as body weight increases, plantar pressure increases, overloading plantar tissue and causing pain. Furthermore, a previous study found that midfoot osteoarthritis is associated with higher midfoot pressures, suggestive of a mechanical relationship.”

The study continues, “the evidence we found points to confirming that increasing body weight is associated with an increasing load-bearing capacity of the foot, consequently, resulting in increase in hind-foot (heel) plantar pressure.”

In another study, researchers found that: “obese individuals exhibited flatter feet, reduced inversion–eversion range of motion, and higher peak plantar pressures. Bodyweight is independently associated with plantar loading after accounting for foot characteristic.”

There is another relationship between weight and your feet. Did you know weight also changes the shape and size of our feet? That’s because weight adds pressure on our feet. This can cause the fat pads on the base of your feet diminish over time.

Obesity in Canada

Generally, it’s worth the time to briefly go over the prominence of obesity in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, in 2018, 26.8% of Canadians 18 and older (roughly 7.3 million adults) reported height and weight that classified them as obese. Another 9.9 million adults (36.3%) were classified as overweight – bringing the total population with increased health risks due to excess weight to 63.1% in 2018. This was an increase from 2015 at which point 61.9% of Canadians aged 18 and older were overweight or obese.

In Ontario, the proportion of residents in this province who were obese (26.1%) was about the same as the national average.

Obesity has been linked with many chronic diseases, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer. Of these, diabetes and arthritis can target the feet.

Additional research shows that obesity is a growing health problem worldwide, and also results in a considerable number of movement dysfunctions, including degenerative changes and foot pain. In fact, body mass index (BMI) was found to significantly affect the height of the foot arch, whereas age did not. The weight of our body pressing down on our feet essentially flattens the arch.

Weight-related foot conditions

As mentioned above, weight can lead to certain foot-related conditions like diabetes and osteoarthritis. Additionally, either directly or indirectly, fluctuations in weight can contribute to the following foot conditions due to the distribution (or misdistribution) of weight, as well as the structure of the foot:

Benefits of physical activity

Physical activity is one of the most important contributors to our health. Whether it’s our mind, body (including our feet), or our mental health, physical activity has many benefits. It:

  • Gives us energy
  • Decreases stress
  • Makes us stronger
  • Prolongs independence as we age
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Flexibility
  • Reduces risk of falls (for seniors)

Additionally, physical activity can help prevent the following chronic diseases:

  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis and bone loss (particularly for people older than 65)

Being active can take a lot of forms. Whether it’s walking to work, being active in the yard, playing a recreational sport, or going to the gym, these all count as physical activities. It also can help you lose weight when done consistently. As a byproduct, this can reduce the strain put on your legs and feet, and improve your overall health.

Even if you don’t see any results on the scale, by being active you’re also strengthening the muscles in your legs and feet. That alone will go a long way toward improving your health.

Invest in your feet

So, we know weight can negatively impact our foot health. And we understand all the benefits of being physically active. But when you’re dealing with foot pain, getting started and increasing your level of activity is easier said than done. Fortunately, there are many tools available to help you take the first steps (literally). Here are some tips:

Custom orthotics

Custom Orthotics Next To A Person Standing

If you’re dealing with structural problems and foot pain, custom orthotics are a great solution. They are custom-built corrective shoe inserts that provide personalized support to the structures of our feet. Orthotics act to correct or accommodate biomechanical abnormalities, foot deformities (i.e.: bunions, hammertoes, flatfoot, high arches) and a variety of joint and muscle conditions (i.e.: arthritis) to improve your gait and manage pain. They do this by redistributing the force and pressure placed on our muscles and joints when we move. This in turn alleviates strain and pain in our feet and the rest of our body.

Orthopaedic shoes

Orthopaedic shoes are designed to fit correctly in order to properly support and accommodate the structure and mechanics of the feet and legs in all the right places (80% of foot problems are due to ill-fitting shoes). Orthopaedic footwear offers the following benefits:

  • Extra-firm heel counter: Cradles the heel to anchor the foot and reduce overpronation.
  • Wide toe box: Extra room allows toes to move freely, reducing crowding, rubbing, and excess pressure on bunions and hammertoes.
  • Stretchable upper: Ensures your feet maintain the correct or natural shape when you wear them. In other words, an orthopaedic shoe conforms to the contours of your foot instead of your foot conforming to the shape of the shoe.
  • Extra sizing options: Available in a range of widths such as wide, extra wide, and extra-extra wide, to offer a more precise fit.
  • Protective Interior: Soft, smooth, and breathable interior fabric that provides gentle contact with the foot to prevent blisters, calluses, and corns, which can be especially important in individuals with diabetes.
  • Performance midsole: Absorbs shock and promotes a natural gait.
  • Removable insoles: Many people who need orthopaedic shoes also need custom orthotics so this makes it easy to swap in custom devices or over-the-counter insoles that provide further comfort and support.

Low-impact exercises

These exercises all help improve function and mobility, and are good for everyone – whether or not you have foot pain. You can also perform them throughout your day – whether you’re at work or home, sitting, standing or lying down.

Keep in mind: everything in our body is connected. So any exercises that work on the muscles in the mid to lower part of your body will benefit your feet.

  • Toe Splay
  • Toe Flex & Raise
  • Toe Curls
  • Ball Roll
  • Towel Stretch
  • Toe Extension
  • Ankle Circles
  • Calf Stretch
  • Achilles Stretch (Soleus Stretch)
  • Calf Raises
  • Knee to Chest Stretch
  • Downward Dog

Looking for tutorials on each of these? Check out our Pinterest board or read our Top 12 Exercises for your arches, ankles, arches, and legs.

Wear shoes indoors

The primary benefit of wearing shoes indoors is that it can help with support. Specifically, like orthotics, wearing proper indoor footwear can help with arch support, foot alignment and pressure distribution to help with certain foot conditions. They can help your feet better support your bodyweight.

We’ve Got You Covered!

We’re confident in our ability to help inform you and solve your concern with the least amount of discomfort 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!

Battle of The Boots

If you haven’t already, it’s officially time to say goodbye to your sandals until next year! Fall has arrived in Toronto, and everyone is starting to sport their favourite boots to enjoy this colourful, crisp season. One thing is certain: fall boot choices can be overwhelming. 

There are many excellent brands out there that offer unique styles, designs, and health benefits for your feet. In today’s article, we’ll have some fun pitting two types, combat boots and ankle boots, in our battle of the boots! Both offer style and comfort, and numerous versions of these boots are available at Feet First Clinic, Toronto’s one-stop shop for all things foot-related.

We can confidently say that neither style is a wrong choice. The goal for a battle of the boots is to help you make an informed decision while exploring footwear. Everybody is different when it comes to fall footwear shopping. Some people swear by combat boots and enjoy the edginess, protection and safety of a modern, military-style boot, while others prefer the simplicity and chicness of ankle boots. However, one thing is for sure; both come with essential features that promote foot health. Toronto foot specialists applaud the brands we’ll talk about today, which include Sorel, Ara, Portofino and Clarks. Below you’ll find a list of the boots featured in this article. 

Battle of The Boots

  • Combat boot: Ara Dover Debbie
  • Combat boot: Sorel Lennox Lace
  • Combat boot: Portofino Flora
  • Ankle boot: Clarkdale Arlo
  • Ankle boot: Sorel Lennox Chelsea
  • Ankle boot: Ara Liverpool

Why Choose Combat Boots?

  • Ankle stability: The increased height in many combat boots protects your ankles. This provides stability and helps you avoid injuries, such as a twisted ankle.
  • Comfort and warmth: Fall and winter-oriented combat boots are often made with faux fur linings and insulating materials.
  • Easy transition from Toronto fall weather to light snowfalls
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Solid grip during wet, slippery weather
  • Removable footbeds to accommodate custom orthotics

Ara Dover Debbie

This combat boot adds an edgy flair to your fall looks. The Ara Dover Debbie comes equipped with an extra-thick rubber sole that gives your boots the ability to grip wet, slippery surfaces. Not only that, but the sole provides great shock absorption, giving you a gentle walking experience while protecting your joints from the impact of your step. It also offers extra thermal insulation. A significant component of how warm the Ara Dover is the fluffy faux fur lining, which feels silky smooth to the touch and keeps your feet toasty all day long.

Like many high-quality shoe brands, Ara equips their shoes with its signature cushioning technology. Their HighSoft technology includes a cushioned insole and footbed. This provides crucial comfort in more ways than one. First, the cushioning feels luxuriously soft and plush, giving your feet a comfortable base for your that also conforms to your feet’s natural shape. The cushioning also provides shock absorption and support. This prevents your feet from feeling tired, which is especially useful if your spend your days standing or walking for long hours. The Ara Dover is made with smooth leather, the faux fur lining and includes lacing and a side zipper.

Sorel Lennox Lace

This stylish boot from Sorel is grabbing attention with its superb weather-resistant qualities. With the waterproof full-grain leather material used to make them, Toronto downpours are no match for Sorel’s Lennox boot. The Lennox also includes an EVA footbed, midsole and outsole that all work together to provide long-lasting comfort.

EVA foam footbeds are known to be more lightweight than rubber while still offering a unique cushioning feature. The layered EVA comfort provides an effortless walking experience that absorbs the impact of every step, which will help you avoid achy, tired joints from developing in the future. Like the Ara Dover Debbie (and a major reason to choose a combat boot) the rubber sole of the Lennox Lace offers exceptional traction while walking in your favourite Toronto neighbourhoods, even in slick conditions.

Portofino Flora

Looking for footwear that takes foot health to the next level? You may want to consider Portofino when shopping for your next funky combat boot. This boot is equipped with a zipper and laces and comes in stylish patterns, or in a simple black. The thermo rubber sole is great for traction and gripping the pavement, and the leather shields your feet from the elements.

All shoes mentioned in this article are suitable for foot health and preventing foot problems. Likewise, Portofino is an orthopaedic shoe company. Toronto chiropodists often recommend and prescribe orthopaedic shoes to patients dealing with certain foot conditions. These include:

Why Choose Ankle Boots?

  • Easy to put on; often made with zippers or elastic gores
  • Straightforward style, fashionably versatile
  • Stylish
  • Protective and durable
  • Comfortable
  • Removable insoles to accommodate custom orthotics
  • Waterproof

Clarkdale Arlo 

There’s nothing like a classic Chelsea boot. The simplistic style pairs nicely with dresses, pants, skirts, and all of your favourite fall coats. The Clarkdale Arlo from Clarks in black leather is an exciting addition to some of the hottest ankle boots on the market. Made with elastic gores, you can slip this boot on quickly when you’re in a rush. This boot also has a slightly elevated heel, giving you a boost of height and confidence without causing foot pain.

Ankle boots provide durability, just like combat boots, and the Clarkdale Arlo is built to last. The Arlo has a rubber outsole, which is known for its strength and resilience. The OrthoLite footbed technology is moisture-wicking, ensuring a healthy foot climate and providing moisture control for good foot hygiene. This feature can help prevent athlete’s footfungal infections, and foot odour. That same footbed is also exceptionally comfortable and provides good shock absorption and cushioning.

Sorel Lennox Chelsea

Another waterproof Chelsea boot perfect for a rainy day in Toronto, the Sorel Lennox Chelsea comes in waterproof full-grain leather, protecting your feet entirely from the rain. You can slip these boots on easily when you’re in a rush with the trusty elastic gore pull tab on the back of the boot. Furthermore, the rubber sole and thick heels provide excellent traction when you’re out and about in downtown Toronto. The Lennox Chelsea includes the EVA footbed found in many Sorel shoes. This footbed is amazing for cushioning the impact of your step, protecting your joints and muscles from experiencing fatigue and wear and tear. If you’re looking for an effortlessly comfortable walking experience and a simple, weather-resistant boot, why not give the Lennox a try?

Ara Liverpool

Let’s chat about Ara, yet again! Not only do they have their combat boot game on lock, but Ara also offers a wide variety of trendy ankle boots. The Ara Liverpool is another excellent option for ankle boot lovers. Available in a choice of a luxurious suede or protective leather exterior, the Liverpool shines when it comes to fashion versatility. You can also remove the footbed that comes with these boots and add your custom orthotics or Superfeet insoles if you like. These boots are also easy to put on with a convenient zipper on the side. Finished with a stylish buckle on the sides, you can pair your Ara Liverpool boots with virtually any fall outfit! Don’t worry though; thanks to Ara’s High Soft technology, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort and durability for incredible style!

Come Try On Some Boots With Us!

Our Toronto foot and ankle clinic doesn’t just offer appointments with foot specialists! Our Bloor west foot clinic is also a one-stop shop for your next fall pair of foot-friendly fall boots! Our welcoming, friendly staff can show you what’s in store and spend time with you during a shoe fitting! Be sure to also check out our product catalogue for even more footwear options.

How Back Pain Can Be Linked to Your Feet

They say the human body is a complex system of interconnected parts. From your head to your feet, different parts of your body work together in unison. And although each system in our body performs a different role, they all work together to keep the entire body healthy. This complex whole made of parts is only as strong as its weakest link in some cases. That’s because if one part of your body isn’t functioning properly – take your feet, for example – the effects are likely felt elsewhere – back pain, for instance. This is a domino effect—a cumulative impact produced when one event initiates a succession of similar events.

Because our feet are the support and basis for all human movement, it’s no wonder that they can produce a chain reaction if our foot and ankle biomechanics are off. In this article, we’ll explore how our feet and back are connected.

Back pain is a far-reaching condition that affects much of the population. According to the College of Family Physicians of Canada, between 49% and 90% of people in developed countries will experience at least one episode of low back pain during their lifetime. Further, according to the CFPC, back pain usually resolves within 2 weeks, but symptoms may linger for up to 2 months; 24% to 80% of patients will experience further episodes within a year, and over three quarters will have a reoccurrence at some point in their lives.

Can Feet Cause Lower Back Pain?

Biomechanics and foot abnormalities can influence everything from your gait to muscle balances (or imbalances) throughout your lower body. If there is an imbalance, it means your joints and muscles have to do extra work they weren’t designed to handle. This can ultimately lead to the following conditions:

Imagine a line drawn from your hips to your feet. Ideally, this straight line should pass through your big toe and second toe. If it does, your weight is born evenly throughout your legs and feet. However, if you have foot abnormalities, this line can pass through the outside of your big toe or even to your third and fourth toes. To compensate, your knees may turn inwards, causing knock-knees. Or in the case of high arches, your knees may turn outward causing uneven balances in your hips. Another example is big toe arthritis. Ultimately, these biomechanics affect how your spine work, which may put pressure on your low back and cause pain.

If your joints hurt, you might change the way you walk. This subtle change in your walking pattern affects how you distribute your body weight. It can then lead to a chain reaction throughout your lower body, into your hips, and ultimately into your back. For instance, if the joints in your toes and feet hurt, the ankles have to compensate. This puts extra stress and pressure on your ankles, so your knees then have to pick up the slack. Then, when the knees get overwhelmed, the load transfers to the next joints up the line: the weight-bearing joints in the pelvic and low back. These joints are connected to the muscles in our low and mid-back; when they’re overworked, those muscles become inflamed and tighten. The result is low back and hip pain.

Step after step, standing for long periods of time, or extended bouts of physical activity can exacerbate the issue simply due to the time spent on your feet. Over time, these imbalances can go from minor issues to major problems that extend throughout your legs and back.

Can My Shoes Cause Back Pain?

Back pain

Always, always, always invest in proper footwear. This can be said for all foot and foot-related conditions, as well as for overall health. Not only is proper footwear- meaning properly fitted footwear – necessary in general, but you should also wear shoes designed for their specific purpose. For example, wearing supportive workwear when on the job, or wearing running shoes when doing physical activity.

If you need help finding the right footwear, the knowledgeable staff at Feet First Clinic can help you out at our on-site shoe shop. You can also book an appointment with one of our licensed chiropodists to assess your feet and gait and make footwear recommendations to match your foot shape, structure, alignment, and accommodative needs.

Additionally, we offer custom foot orthotic services. Orthotics act to correct or accommodate biomechanical abnormalities, foot deformities (for example bunions, hammertoes, flatfoot, high arches), and a variety of joint and muscle conditions (i.e.: arthritis) to improve your gait and manage pain. They do this by redistributing the force and pressure placed on our muscles and joints when we move. This in turn alleviates strain and pain in our feet and the rest of our body.

In fact, according to a study in the National Library of Medicine, six weeks of prescription shoe orthotics significantly improved back pain and dysfunction compared with no treatment.

What Part of Your Foot Connects To Your Back?

Sciatic Nerve Foot Pain Linked to Back

The primary connector between your feet and back is the sciatic nerve.

According to Spine-Health, the sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body and is formed by the union of five nerve roots from the lower spine. It passes deep in the buttock and down the back of the thigh to the heel and sole of the foot. The sciatic nerve serves a vital role in connecting the spinal cord with the skin and muscles of the thigh, leg, and foot.

In fact, the sciatic nerve roots lies underneath those same muscles that connect to the joints in our pelvis and lower back (the ones that cause back pain and buttock pain). So, when those muscles tighten and get inflamed, it can irritate the sciatic nerve.

You may have heard of the term sciatica. This condition refers to any pain that stems from the sciatic nerve. Due to the length of the nerve, whenever pain stems from this area, it can be felt throughout or in part along the sciatic nerve. Specifically, within the foot, you may feel pain in:

  • The top and outer side of your foot
  • Sole of your foot
  • Between your first and second toes

Your Foot Care Solutions Live Here!

All under one roof! Our team handles 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!

What Does a Foot Clinic Do?

If you’re living in downtown Toronto, a foot clinic may not be something you think could benefit you. You might think that foot issues are a common occurrence that you just grin and bear, but that’s completely untrue. Despite what people may think, foot pain and many common and foot conditions are preventable and treatable! We know there many types of clinics that focus on specific body parts or practices. For instance, you may go to your dentist’s office or eye clinic regularly for upkeep and maintenance. But you could be neglecting one of the most important clinics there is. Let’s discuss what a foot clinic can do for you! Here is what we’ll answer in this article:

  • What is a foot clinic?
  • What does a foot clinic do?
  • How to book your first appointment
  • What can chiropodists do?

What is a Foot Clinic?

foot clinic is a healthcare clinic that treats foot and ankle conditions. In Ontario, healthcare professionals who work in foot clinics are called chiropodists. For more detailed information on chiropodists, you can check out this post.

What Does a Foot Clinic Do?

Foot clinics provide services to patients with minor, moderate and severe foot conditions, or who want to maintain their foot health. Many foot conditions cause foot pain and ankle pain in the form of soreness, dull aches, sharp pains, stinging/burning sensations, and more. Foot pain can occur in any area of the foot, depending on the condition. Foot conditions can also cause structural deformities, swelling, discoloured toenails, foot odour, thickened toenails, skin abnormalities, and a loss of sensation or feeling in the feet and limbs.

Likewise, several foot conditions have the potential to severely limit one’s mobility and stability. That’s where a foot clinic comes into play: In a nutshell, foot clinics strive to help people suffering from foot issues maintain a normal life and enjoy everyday activities. No matter how minor or severe, chances are regular visits with a chiropodist can benefit someone with foot concerns or a foot condition. 

Foot conditions generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions
  • Infections
  • Skin conditions
  • Diabetes-related complications
  • Toenail conditions

Even if you don’t have any particular foot issues, regular visits with a chiropodist have many preventative benefits. After all, foot health is critical to our overall health. And the chiropodists at a foot clinic give your feet the attention and care they deserve so that you don’t get tripped up by foot issues down the line. 

Chiropodists don’t just offer services at foot clinics; they also work hard to educate their patients. Foot care specialists take pride in making sure their patients are as informed as possible about their conditions. They do so by giving patients the tools to practice foot care routines and preventative techniques from home. This includes recommending stretches and strengthening exercises and products. 

How to Book Your First Appointment

Your local Toronto foot clinic is waiting to help you get back on your feet! And you can get the ball rolling right away; there’s no need to wait for a referral from your family doctor to visit a foot clinic. You are welcome to schedule an appointment at a foot clinic on your own.

To start the process, reach out and book an initial foot assessment with a chiropodist. An initial assessment is necessary for first-time patients. Specifically, they give your foot specialist time to learn your medical history and foot health concerns. Next, your foot specialist will examine your feet and ankles. Your chiropodist will then diagnose any present foot issues. They’ll communicate what’s going on and help you understand what’s causing your foot concerns. The initial assessment concludes with your chiropodist presenting you with a treatment plan and beginning treatment. The treatment plan may include a combination of the services we’ll discuss below. Depending on your situation, you may need to return for follow-up appointments as needed.

What Can Chiropodists Do?

Chiropodists offer numerous services to patients. These include:

  • Nail and skincare
  • Footwear recommendations and fittings
  • Medical devices
  • Minor surgeries

Nail and Skin Care 

Nail care at foot clinics involves several approaches and options. This can range from regular toenail trimming and maintenance, to treating fungal and ingrown toenails, to minor toenail surgeries (while trained chiropodists can perform these surgeries, they like to try other options first).

First, chiropodists can perform routine nail care. This involves properly trimming, filing and shaping the nails. By having your toenails tended to by a chiropodist, you can be assured that they will grow back properly, which is key for preventing ingrown toenails. A chiropodist will also thoroughly clean the nail folds, nail plates, and cuticles. Most importantly, chiropodists use steam-sterilized surgical medical tools, so you don’t need to worry about infections.   

Nail care at foot clinics can also include: 

  • Prescribing topical ointments for fungal toenails.
  • Prescribing antibiotics for infected toenails.
  • Treating and removing ingrown toenails (more on that later)
  • Nail care for diabetes patients. Diabetes patients are often unable to tend to foot conditions on their own and need regular assessments. One of the reasons for this is diabetic neuropathy, which causes nerve damage and a loss of sensation. Diabetes patients also have a weakened immune system, which means any nail care mishaps can lead to serious complications. This makes foot health upkeep very difficult without assistance from a foot specialist.

Skincare at foot clinics involves a combination of treatment services and product recommendations for at-home foot care. Skin conditions affecting the feet include, but are not limited to, the following:

One standard skincare service is foot callus and corn removal. This is done with special tools to shave down or completely remove bothersome corns and calluses. When done by a chiropodist, corn and callus removal is often painless and provides immediate relief. Another service many patients need is blister drainage. Unbeknownst to many people, blisters on the feet can pop and lead to an infection. After the draining process, chiropodists can apply an ointment on the affected area that further prevents infection. Diabetic foot care is also an important aspect of skincare at foot clinics. Complications can arise rapidly for diabetes patients, even with minor issues like tiny cuts or calluses. Like routine nail care, people with diabetes should check in with their foot specialist so they can search for skin abnormalities and treat them at their early stages.

Chiropodists also like to give patients the confidence to maintain proper skincare from home. This includes suggesting different balms, salves, bath salts, creams and foot deodorants from trusted brands. One foot care brand chiropodists love is Gehwol for its ability to target several conditions and multifaceted medicinal ingredients.

Many people want both their skin and toenails cared for together. That’s why foot clinics offer medical pedicure treatments. These are both preventative and can be used to treat minor toenail and skin conditions. While similar to a cosmetic pedicure, medical pedicures also focus on the following: 

  • Checking for pre-existing foot and skin abnormalities.
  • Cleansing the feet with alcohol.
  • Cleaning thoroughly; nail folds, nail plates, and cuticles.
  • Removing onychophosis (build-up of skin cells).
  • Smoothing calluses and corns.
  • Intense moisturizing.

Medical pedicures are great for anyone – foot condition or not. They’re a part of foot hygiene and have many preventative benefits. They also feel great!

Medical Devices

Two of the most popular and widely beneficial services that chiropodists provide are dispensing custom orthotics and compression stockings.

First, custom orthotics play a key role in treating musculoskeletal conditions that cause consistent foot pain. These include, but are not limited to, plantar fasciitis, the different forms of arthritisbunions and Achilles tendonitis. The orthotics themselves are inserts that you wear with your shoes. They compliment the exact shape and structure of your foot. Chiropodists follow an in-depth process when dispensing orthotics to patients:

  1. They perform a thorough biomechanical assessment. During the biomechanical assessment, they test your range of motion, how your feet bear weight, and your gait (the specific way you walk).
  2. Next, they cast your feet – either in plaster or with a sophisticated 3D scanning device – to capture the exact shape of your foot. The casting process is what manufacturers use to make your custom orthotics.
  3. Once the orthotics are made, your chiropodist will see you for a fitting. At this time, they’ll answer questions about your new inserts and explain how to use them.

Foot specialists can also prescribe and measure you for compression stockings. A fitting involves noting important measurements, including the ankle, calf, thigh and hip areas. The measurements taken depends on how much leg area the patient would like to cover, as compression clothing can be pantyhose, socks, and more.

Compression stockings work by gently squeezing the leg, feet, and ankle areas. They help relieve symptoms of a wide variety of issues, specifically vein-related problems and swelling. This includes varicose veins (enlarged twisted veins), lymphedema, and the hormonal effects of pregnancy. Specifically, pregnancy can result in blood pooling in the feet and ankles when certain hormones affect the veins in the legs. 

Minor Surgeries

Chiropodists often need to perform minor surgeries on the toenails and skin on our feet. They include toenail avulsions, wart needling and wart excisions. Foot clinic patients may need a partial or total toenail avulsion if they have an infection or toenail condition that hasn’t improved with other less invasive treatments. They’re most commonly performed to treat chronic or severe ingrown toenails. It’s a relatively simple process that begins with numbing the area with an anesthetic. Next, chiropodists drain the area and remove either a section of the nail or the entire nail. The nail is generally only completely removed if partial removal hasn’t done the trick. Chiropodists may also perform an avulsion to prevent your nail from regrowing if you have a chronic toenail condition (i.e.: recurring ingrown toenails).

Toenail avulsions can treat the following conditions:

Wart needling is a form of wart removal and another minor surgery that chiropodists perform. A reliable treatment option for plantar warts, it involves using a needle to puncture the wart repeatedly. The goal is to trigger our body’s natural immune response to the HPV (human papillomavirus) that causes plantar warts. Needling is an effective method for foot wart removal not only because it lets our body fight the wart, but it can also prevent future plantar warts. As with other surgical procedures, a chiropodist uses a local anesthetic to numb the area first. Wart needling is most commonly used to treat mosaic warts (clusters of multiple warts).

Some patients with plantar warts may need a wart excision procedure for warts that are particularly bothersome and stubborn. A wart excision also involves first numbing the area. Next, the chiropodist cuts the wart out using sterilized tools. The chiropodist then cauterizes the area to ensure no excess viral tissue (HPV) is left behind. This method is usually a last resort option for patients who don’t respond to other plantar wart treatments. 

Footwear Recommendations and Fittings

While not necessarily available at all foot clinics, Feet First Clinic clinics offer one of the most critical pieces of footwear there is – shoes! From shoe fittings to shoe stretching, at Feet First Clinic, it’s our job to ensure our patients sport the right shoes for their daily activities. Chiropodists can prescribe orthopaedic footwear. Orthopaedic shoes are a great treatment method for many Toronto dwellers looking to relieve symptoms of musculoskeletal conditions, swollen feet, Morton’s neuroma (ball of foot pain), and so much more. Our chiropodists can also make footwear recommendations at a foot assessment. Feet First Clinic strictly offers shoes from brands that promote foot health. This includes orthopaedic shoe companies (i.e.: Anodyne, APEX and Porto-Fino) and companies with innovative and comfortable designs, like Mephisto, ASICS, or NAOT. Providing shoes for all types of foot conditions is one of the most essential functions of a foot clinic.

Need a Foot Clinic? Try Feet First Clinic!

Feet First Toronto is proud to offer all of the services we’ve discussed today, and more! For all things footwear and foot health related, our Bloor West foot clinic has been a Toronto favourite for years. 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 Book Your Assessment Today!

 

Fall Footwear Essentials Everyone Can Use

It’s time for a fall footwear overhaul! While it’s always a downer to say goodbye to summer, fall adds a crisp and picturesque quality to downtown Toronto. It’s time for those cozy sweaters, stylish coats, and of course – new footwear!

To help you get into the fall spirit, Feet First Clinic is here to remind you of some fall footwear staples that benefit many people when the temperatures start dropping. Some of these are pretty obvious, while others you may not have thought of before. With that said, let’s get into some fall footwear essentials that can help with foot pain and foot conditions, protect you from the weather, and keep you feeling warm and toasty.

Here are Some Fall Footwear Essentials We’ll Discuss Today

  • Fall boots (think comfortable and waterproof!)
  • Moisture-wicking socks
  • Compression stockings
  • Slippers
  • Foot Cream

Fall Boots

One of the most critical fall footwear essentials is an excellent pair of boots. When the temperatures start dropping, it’s time to suit up with something protective and warm to avoid those chilly nights and numb toes! Boots should also be waterproof, but that doesn’t mean it has to be like the clunky rubber boots you wore as a kid. Waterproof boots can match all of your outfits and pair nicely with dressy and casual looks. Lastly, and as always, your shoes need to support the natural shape of your feet, fit snugly, help prevent the development of foot pain and keep you moving comfortably. Here are a couple of examples of boots we’re excited about this fall: 

Sorel’s Madson II Chelsea Boot

This classic Chelsea boot for men offers sleek style and long-lasting protection from the elements. The removable molded EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) footbed provides consistent support for days spent on your feet with comfort levels similar to your favourite sneakers! It works to absorb the impact of walking, ensuring every step is gentle. EVA footbeds are also highly durable and flexible. This footbed is a component of many Sorel shoes, and we’ll be mentioning it quite a bit. 

You may be wondering what makes this boot so convenient for wet, fall weather. The Madson II rubber outsole provides traction (grip) during rainfalls, which lets you avoid the sudden slips that may happen with a lower quality shoe. Not only that but it’s also made with waterproof synthetic leather or suede, offering an impenetrable barrier between you and the weather.

Sorel’s Emelie II Lace Boot

For the ladies, an Emelie II Lace boot from Sorel is a great option for a snug fit, comforting warmth, and protection from the weather. The waterproof quality comes from the full-grain leather and suede combination used to make this fashion-forward boot. While the laces aren’t waterproof, the boot provides sufficient protection from heavy rainfall where it counts and is extremely durable. The canvas and synthetic lining protect your feet from getting soaked, while the rubber outsole gives you a firm grip on wet pavement and surfaces. Like the Madson II, the Emelie II also includes superb cushioning, shock absorption, and long-lasting comfort with the EVA footbed.  

Waterproof Boots for Kids

Don’t worry; there’s a great fall boot for your kids’ feet as well! Sorel also makes some fantastic fall boots for children. The Youth Whitney Puffy is a protective boot that will keep your child’s feet warm and dry all day long. These boots include a cozy microfleece lining and top cover on the footbed, and waterproof nylon. They’re also slip-on boots, making them easy to put on without a fuss. The best thing about these boots is that they can easily transition to winter and handle heavy snowfalls.

Moisture Wicking Socks and Compression Stockings

When the fall hits, you may want to also consider including some moisture-wicking socks in your fall footwear collection. Socks that control moisture and give you an extra layer of warmth and protection are essential for many people. Not only are they great for repelling perspiration for athletes, but they also add an extra layer of sweat control for long days in your favourite fall boots. These socks are a great companion to your outdoor fall activities (think hiking and raking up those beautiful fall leaves). Furthermore, they can fight foot odour, blister formation and promote a healthy foot climate by regulating temperature.

As we’ve mentioned, many office workers will still be working from home this fall. Knowing this, you may want to invest in a pair of compression stockings to accompany your homebody lifestyle. A good pair of compressions stockings is a game-changer when it comes to healthy blood circulation. With many people sitting for long hours in their work-from-home setups, issues due to poor circulation can arise, such as pain and swelling in the feet and ankles. Sitting for prolonged periods can also increase your risk of developing varicose veins

If you know you’re going to be spending your days at home and would like to prevent foot and lower leg discomfort, you can arrange for an assessment with a chiropodist to see if compression stockings are right for you. A foot and ankle specialist can prescribe compression stockings and assure you end up with the right pair. At our Toronto foot clinic, our chiropodists and trained staff can also measure you to make sure you get the right fit. On average, compression stockings retain their compression levels for about six months.

Sigvaris Group

Sigvaris Group is one of the best brands for your compressions stocking needs. They have several collections tailored to provide support for people with different concerns. These include sheer stockings that are fashionable, breathable and pair well with several outfits. They also have stockings that are thermoregulating. Rest assured, they all help relieve the symptoms of tired, achy feet and legs and promote blood flow. Furthermore, Sigvaris makes moisture-wicking socks! These include the Motion High Tech series and the Motion Comfort series for men and women. They provide the same qualities as a compression stocking with the added benefit of moisture control.

Slippers

Many people make the mistake of forgetting that even a house slipper should promote foot health! As we’ve mentioned, many Torontonians will still be working from home this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While this might save you a trip on the TTC, it’s still a good idea to suit up with some supportive, protective and comfy slippers while spending the day at home. 

Prolonged walking on hard surfaces like marble and hardwood can cause foot pain over time while your feet try to conform to the hard surfaces. To avoid achy feet, your slippers should have supportive technology built into the footbed to help prevent joint and muscle strain. Slippers can also help protect your feet from sudden toe stubs, cuts, scrapes and other minor injuries. Plus, they’ll keep your feet nice and toasty on cold hard floors! Here are some example of slippers you might love to try:

Manawan II Slipper From Sorel 

If you’re looking to add a slipper to your fall footwear collection, you should go all out! The Manawan II from Sorel is a classy, exceptionally comfortable slipper that will keep you warm and comfortable all day long. Made with a stunning suede exterior and a wool-polyester combination for the interior, these slippers are built to last. You can also use these slippers for short errands, thanks to the thick rubber sole made with natural crepe rubber. You can easily step outside to get your mail, bring out your garbage, or grab something at the store. Lastly, the EVA footbed supports your feet and prevents foot and ankle pain. 

Go™ Coffee Run Slipper From Sorel

This classic slipper from Sorel makes you feel like you’re walking on a cloud and is perfect for your work-from-home day. In addition to next-level softness, these slippers also offer proper foot support with the classic EVA footbed. Like the Manawan and other Sorel staples, it cushions and supports your feet. These slippers are also made with the sturdy rubber outsole you’ll find on other Sorel products, meaning you can wear them outside for a quick coffee run (hence the name)! 

While we want to stress the importance of wearing slippers inside, it’s equally important to give your feet time to breathe during the day. Doing so will also prevent foot odourskin irritation and stimulate healthy blood flow. It also gives you the perfect opportunity to apply your favourite foot cream (more on that below). 

Foot Cream

As the weather gets colder and dryer, so does the skin on our feet. It’s very common to get dry cracked heels during fall, which can be quite a nuisance. To beat the chilly fall weather, try comforting your feet with some soothing balms from Gehwol. They’ll moisturize your feet, while replenishing and strengthening your skin’s protective barriers, giving your feet the perfect defence from the elements. One of the best foot creams for fall from Gehwol is the Fusscraft Red. It’s made for dry, rough skin and will warm your cold feet.

We’ve Got Your Fall Footwear Needs Covered!

We hope highlighting some exciting fall boots and other fall footwear essentials gave you some insight into your foot health and goals! Don’t forget to consult our complete product catalogue for everything you need for your fall footwear overhaul! You may also need to see a qualified foot specialist to give your feet the attention they deserve. Call or cook today, and we’ll have you in asap! Open six 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 Book Your Assessment Today!

How Changing Seasons Can Affect Your Feet

Summer is coming to a close in Toronto, and soon the temperatures will be chilly, and the air will feel dry – although the leaves will look stunning! Most people know there are preparation and lifestyle changes involved with seasonality. These include simple things like needing new, warmer clothes and suddenly not feeling so dependant on your air conditioner. However, did you know that your body can feel different throughout the year due to the changing seasons? This certainly applies to your feet, which can go through adjustments that affect the skin, joints and even cause fluid accumulation.

Don’t worry; you’re not alone if you feel like the changing seasons affect your feet. People with certain foot conditions may notice this more, but it can even happen to people without debilitating foot conditions. This article will break down some of the ways the changing seasons affect your feet. We’ll also provide several tips to help you manage these changes.

How Changing Seasons Can Affect Your Feet

  • Cracked and peeling skin
  • Swollen feet
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Storm season and joint pain

Cracked and Peeling Skin

Cold air in the fall and winter can lead to dry skin that can crack and even bleed. However, it’s not just dipping temperatures alone that affect your foot health; it’s the combination of cold outdoor weather with indoor heating. American Foot notes that low humidity, heated homes and cold outdoor temperatures can be a recipe for disaster in terms of skincare. Cracked skin and cracked heels can form when the dry air from the outdoors combines with low humidity and your toasty home. Symptoms include thick skin that feels like plaster, cracked skin, inflammation, pain, and sometimes bleeding.

To solve your cracked skin concerns this fall and winter, you should find the time to practice routine foot care. Exfoliation and moisturizing can work wonders for dry skin. Specifically, our Toronto chiropodists recommend investing in Gehwol products to treat your skin. One example is Gehwol Hydrolipid Lotionwhich is known for its healing and preservation properties. Not only does it treat dry, scaly skin during the colder seasons, it also strengthens the skin and protects your skin’s natural resiliency. The ceramides, natural oils, glycerine and urea components shine by preserving moisture in those deep skin layers. 

Gehwol’s Med Salve for Cracked Skin is also a favourite in the fall and winter months. The Vaseline, Lanolin, and medicated soap help soften dry skin and protect it from future damage. Bisabolol and panthenol also work to smoothen small cracks in the skin, and the menthol component cools irritated and inflamed skin. 

Below you’ll see some other ways to be kind to your feet!

Swollen Feet 

Does it feel like the size of your feet never seems consistent? Is it because your foot width or length has changed? The culprit may be swollen feet and ankles, and those size fluctuations could be season and weather-related. You may feel like your summer sandals are bigger than your fall boots, which can cause frustration and confusion over your actual shoe size. If you have diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or another issue that causes swelling, this can get much worse when the weather is humid. 

The National Library of Medicine notes that seasonality is a significant contributor to swelling. More specifically, hot summer weather can trigger your body’s natural cooling mechanism. When your body gets too hot, your veins dilate (widen) to try to cool your body down. However, when veins dilate, fluid can also leak to the surrounding tissues. If your body can’t recirculate this fluid, it will accumulate and begin to pool, which leads to swelling. It’s easy for fluid to pool in the foot and ankle area because your veins have to work against gravity to pump blood from the feet back into the heart. If your veins are struggling they can’t do that, which causes your feet to swell. 

There are ways you can try to manage the effect of swollen feet. Low sodium intake, healthy eating and frequent movement and exercise can help your body pump blood more efficiently and reduce or prevent fluid accumulation in the feet and ankles. Compression stockings can also be beneficial by applying graduated pressure to the ankle and calf to give your veins the boost they need to pump blood back to your heart. Don’t worry about being uncomfortable in thick socks! On the contrary, you can get compression stockings that are breathable and sheer for the hot weather. You can even get styles with open toes for the summer.

If you feel like your foot size tends to fluctuate from swelling, you can also inquire about professional shoe stretching. Our Toronto foot and ankle clinic offers shoe stretching services to make sure your shoes fit as comfortably as possible.

Another excellent remedy for swollen feet is a foot scrub or foot soak. Gehwol’s Refreshing Foot Bath is known to boost circulation in the lower limbs and feet. Another option would be to try making your own foot soak or scrub using Epsom salt. The magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt may reduce swelling and inflammation in the feet and improve circulation.

Weight Fluctuations

Do your feet feel more achy and sore in the fall or winter? Did you feel light on your feet in the summer, but suddenly taking a walk at the end of the year seems more difficult? This could be due to simple weight fluctuations. 

It’s no surprise that people tend to stay home when it’s cold. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to increased inactivity and poor eating choices, which can ultimately cause weight gain. Likewise, when people gain weight, it can place more pressure on their feet. The extra weight can exhaust the many ligaments and tendons in the feet. This can cause onset foot pain that you may not have felt if you were a lower weight in the summertime.

Weight gain can be a risk factor for certain foot conditions, including plantar fasciitis (inflammation and microtears of the tissue that connects the heel to the ball of the foot) and posterior tibial tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon that attaches the calf muscle to the bones of the foot).

You can help manage your foot pain by noticing your footwear habits so you can make any needed improvements and adjustments. Proper fitting footwear can go a long way in terms of coping. Custom orthotics can also help position your feet more favourably and correct any biomechanical irregularities with the way you move. These irregularities are often the underlying cause of many common foot conditions. Correcting biomechanical issues can help manage pain symptoms in the heel, arch, ball of the foot, ankles and even the knees. Custom orthotics can also prevent long-term joint damage and make it easier to exercise and get in shape comfortably. Superfeet insoles are also great for preventing and managing foot pain: they provide arch support, cushioning and shock absorption, and are engineered to redistribute pressure in your foot. 

Storm Season And Joint Pain

You know all those rainstorms that hit around September and October? Well, those storms can cause joint pain in the feet. This is due to barometric pressure decreasing during storm season, causing the foot joints and muscles to expand. According to The Active Times, this can worsen pain that already exists in someone with joint inflammation, particularly in people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

New, well-fitting footwear can help people manage the symptoms of joint pain. High-quality brands that promote foot health, offer proper arch support, and have innovative cushioning technology are the way to go. These are vital features that can help relieve some of the pressure on your muscles and joints while walking. Other ways to help deal with joint pain include custom orthotics, over-the-counter insoles and regular strengthening and stretching exercises, which can you check out on our Pinterest board(the toe flex and raise and single calf raise are great examples!)

If you’re looking for even more information on managing foot pain, check out our Top 12 Tips for Foot Pain Relief

Are The Changing Seasons Hurting Your Feet? We’re Here For You!

Be sure to check out Feet First Clinic’s product catalogue for your next pair of cozy, protective shoes. Our Bloor west foot clinic also specializes in many services that can help you reach your foot health goals, no matter what time of year it is. Give us a call anytime to inquire about what our Toronto chiropodists do! We’re open 6 days a week and are eager to hear from you! Our main goal is always to get your feet feeling as healthy and happy as possible.

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

5 Shoe Brands That Make Comfy Heels and Wedges

Sometimes high heels and wedges can be a real pain, literally. It’s common knowledge that heels can hurt our feet, and can be difficult to wear for long periods. Wearing high heels all the time can also lead to long-term foot issues, like bunions and Morton’s neuroma. This isn’t good news for shoe lovers who want to dress up with some flair. Luckily, there are some foot-friendly (well – friendl-ier) high heel options available! We’re here to discuss 5 shoe brands that make comfy heels and wedges.

You should be able to walk comfortably no matter what shoes you’re wearing. Likewise, there are some fantastic shoe brands out there that don’t sacrifice style for comfort. Companies like Clarks, Ara, and more make some gorgeous heeled shoes that we think you’ll love. Read on to learn why Toronto foot specialists recommend these brands!

5 Shoe Brands That Make Comfy Heels and Wedges

  • Clarks
  • Ara
  • Naot
  • Portofino
  • Mephisto

Clarks

Clarks is one of our favourite shoe brands. They have an incredibly versatile collection that features several shoes with heels and trendy wedges. Whether your looking for summer sandals or swear by booties no matter what season it is, they have the perfect heels or wedges for you. Some people prefer wedged heels for extra stability, and they can feel more durable. If that’s what you’re looking for, you can check out these red wedges from Clarks. If you swear by a heel, there’s also the classic peep-toe heel.

Clarks shoes are known for their comfort-focused technologies. Many wedges from Clarks come with the Contoured Comfort OrthoLite® footbed, and their heels often incorporate the Cushion Soft technology. Thanks to their innovation, your heels or wedges from Clarks will feel exceptionally comfortable compared to your old shoes.

These comfort technologies add the extra layer of comfort that you need for a pain-free day or evening. The cushioning and thick heel also provide shock absorption while relieving some of the pressure on your forefoot. This helps protect the joints and offset some of the long-term risks commonly associated with high heels. 

Furthermore, Clarks offers other technologies that contribute to overall foot health. Clarks makes shoes with the following:

  • Moisture-wicking materials and lining to keep your feet dry, which helps prevent discomfort, foot odour, blisters, and cracked skin. After all, no one likes waterlogged and wrinkly feet! Some of Clarks shoes also have a GORE-TEX lining to shield your feet from the elements, while also letting them breath. 
  • All leathers, laces, and threads are also certified waterproof by Clarks.
  • Some of Clarks’ shoes feature Wavewalk sole technology to promote shock absorption and evenly spread pressure throughout your foot. Need to stay on your feet all day? Not a problem; this technology will keep you on your feet without foot pain.

Ara

Ara is a trusty brand that makes plenty of heels and wedges. From ballerina shoes with a slight heel to a bold pair of pumps, Ara has all of your heel needs covered! Similar to Clarks, they have some funky wedged sandals and sandals with heels and straps for the summer and special occasions. They also have classic pumps that are perfect for the office or a night out. The comfort levels in Ara shoes are all thanks to their HighSoft technology. This technology in Ara heels offers the following:

  • The elasticized lining adjusts to fit your feet perfectly. It also prevents your feet from chafing and stops blister formation.
  • The heel counter is thermo-moulded for extra stability.
  • The insoles are made with microcellular foam, providing necessary cushioning for your feet.

Naot

Naot is another great shoe brand offering comfy heels and wedges. Certified by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), Naot shoes promote optimal foot health. What’s more, they make trendy sandals with heels that are perfect for the summer. Many women assume that you can’t walk in a fashionable sandal without onset foot pain. Luckily, Naot sandals with a wedge heel are breathable, stylish, and exceptionally comfortable.

The secret lies in Naot’s famous cork footbed. This footbed has natural shock absorbing properties and helps diffuse pressure throughout your foot to protect the joints. The cork provides fantastic support for the arches and structures in your feet, and moulds to the shape of your foot with wear. Best of all, it’s soft and super comfy!

Naot’s sandals include the Aisha, which comes in a sleek black with a slight wedge. If you’d like something a little bolder, you can check out the Pixie sandal. It’s featured above in the delightful colour combo of champagne leather, silver mirror leather, and pearl rose leather. Whatever sandal you choose, Naot sandals will last the entire summer, and many more summers to come!

Portofino

Portofino is a specialty orthopaedic shoe brand offering several types of cute Mary Janes and pumps. Made with a chunky, slightly lower heel, they offer a high level of comfort and support. The leather used to make these shoes is stretchy and flexible, and Portofino pumps are also orthotic friendly! Portofino is yet another shoe brand that focuses on both style and comfort. Their footwear can help those struggling with debilitating or minor foot conditions, including:

If you’re looking for something practical yet trendy, Portofino may be the way to go. Most of their heeled shoes are suitable for work and formal events and are perfect for spring, summer, and fall. If you’re someone with sensitive feet or a disability, you can still rock a great pair of shoes. Achieving your foot health goals can absolutely be done in style.

Mephisto

Lastly, we’re going to talk about Mephisto! They make cozy shoes that are perfect for all of your summer outfits. We love their wedged sandals and sandals with heels, such as the Helen. Their heels and wedges come in a wide variety of colours and styles and are heavily featured on our Instagram. Mephisto shoes are ultra-comfy due to their Soft-air technology, which provides the following:

  • flexible and soft midsole, which reduces shock absorption while walking on hard surfaces. There is also sufficient elasticity in the midsole. All three combined work by preventing the pain you feel in your joints, vertebrae, and spine when you wear uncomfortable and unsupportive shoes.
  • You can enjoy walking for hours at a time without discomfort. This is yet again thanks to the SoftAir technology that protects the sensitive parts of the foot, as well as the shock absorbing technology in the shoe’s cork midsole.
  • Say goodbye to sweaty, itchy, and uncomfortable feet! A healthy foot climate will come in handy in the heat or after running around all day! Mephisto shoes are breathable and designed to prevent sweaty feet and promote good hygiene.

 

Looking For Some Comfortable Heels and Wedges?

Feet First Clinic has the perfect pair of comfy heels or wedges waiting for you! Give us a quick call anytime to ask if we have a certain shoe in stock. We’re confident we’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. Whether it’s a pair of shoes for dinner, work, or an evening out, our friendly staff is available 6 days a week to help! Even better, one of our Toronto chiropodists can help maintain your foot health with one of our many services.

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

The Dangers of Being Barefoot

Summer is still in the air in Toronto, and that means going barefoot! In general, it’s pretty harmless to feel the sand between your toes and walk barefoot around your patio in the summertime. That said, it’s important to wear supportive sandals and sneakers most of the time. Going barefoot for too long can harm our foot health. From infections to injuries, it’s good to be aware of the dangers of being barefoot in the summer. Likewise, diabetes patients and people with foot conditions need to understand why you shouldn’t go barefoot very often, if at all.

3 Main Dangers of Being Barefoot 

  • Worsens foot conditions
  • Higher risk of injury
  • Higher risk of infection

Danger #1: Worsens Foot Conditions

Walking barefoot for too long outside can make certain foot conditions much worse. This is especially true for plantar fasciitis and diabetes

In the summer, we tend to walk outside leisurely on patios and decks without shoes. Afterwards, without thinking, we can go back inside and continue to be barefoot. However, walking barefoot for hours throughout the day can affect the plantar fascia. This occurs due to the prolonged lack of crucial support needed for people with plantar fasciitis, specifically, impact absorption, cushioning, and arch support. This increases strain on the ligaments and joints in your feet. The hard surface also wears away the fatty pad on your heel, which puts extra pressure on your heel.

The same can also be said for people with arthritis, Achilles tendonitis, and other foot conditions affecting the joints and muscles in the lower body. Running and exercising barefoot in the summer can worsen the symptoms of these conditions. Those who were not suffering from these conditions before may also put themselves at risk by running barefoot.

Diabetes patients should also avoid walking barefoot at all costs. Even inside, supportive footwear is key. Diabetes compromises the immune system and causes poor circulation and nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy). These can seriously harm people with diabetes if they stub their toes or drop something on their feet. On Health notes that while these are minor occurrences for many of us, these accidents can lead to major complications, such as infections and foot ulcers, if you have diabetes.

In the summer, people with diabetes should always make sure their feet aren’t exposed. A tiny twig or splinter on a boardwalk could seriously harm a diabetes patient, even while at the beach. Furthermore, while it may seem harmless in the summer to walk down your driveway, the hot pavement can actually burn the bottoms of the feet or even cause an infection.

Danger #2: Higher Risk of Infections

Walking barefoot for too long is also a risk factor for fungal infections like athlete’s foot and fungal toenails. Fungal infections are highly contagious and through direct contact between the skin and an infected surface, and vice versa. If someone with a foot infection used one of these shared spaces before you, you are putting yourself at risk. Plus, if you have a fungal infection in your feet, you can also spread it to others. To prevent getting a fungal infection, you should always wear protective footwear in shared spaces such as pool and beach bathrooms, changing rooms, and showers. Also keep your feet clean, dry, and deodorized with a deodorant cream or spray.

In addition to fungal infections, damp warm shared spaces like pools, public washrooms, change rooms, locker rooms, and showers are also ripe breeding grounds for plantar warts. Like fungal infections, plantar warts are contagious and spread when the skin comes in direct contact with an infected surface. So, if you’re walking around barefoot on the same wet pool deck that someone with a plantar wart also walked on, you can get them too. Again, the best way to prevent this is to wear footwear (like flip-flops) in shared public spaces. 

Danger #3: Higher Risk of Injury

Picture this; you’re on the beach enjoying the last days of summer and go for a light run along the water without your shoes. It sounds exhilarating, but it may be putting you at risk of sustaining a foot or ankle injury. While some experts claim that barefoot running can reduce the risk of tibial stress fractures (shin fractures), it puts runners at risk of sustaining metatarsal stress fractures (foot fractures).

Lastly, running barefoot puts a lot more pressure on your ankles than when you’re sporting comfortable footwear. When you run barefoot, you are performing what is known as forefoot striking. Rayner & Smale note that this can put more pressure on your ankle joints, causing ankle pain and increasing the risk of an ankle injury. Forefoot striking also burdens your calf muscles more than running with sneakers.

 

Going Barefoot? Don’t Forget Your Foot Health! 

Summer and vacations are exciting times to let loose and ditch your shoes on the beach, at the pool, and on your peaceful patio. However, at Feet First Clinic, we think it’s important to present the dangers of going barefoot so you can make good decisions and maintain happy and healthy feet.

If you need to see a Toronto foot specialist, reach out to us! We’re confident in our ability to help inform you and solve your concern with the least amount of discomfort 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!

The Sun and Your Feet: Summer Foot Care Tips

Sun’s out, the toes are out. OK, maybe that’s not the idiom but when the sun shines, you’re inclined to spend time outdoors. With that comes the need to protect your body, including your feet, from the elements, namely in the sun’s UV rays as well as the heat.

Although protection against the sun is critical year-round, it’s especially important in the summer. In this article, we’ll guide you on common warm-weather foot care tips including how to protect your feet from the sun, how to limit common summer foot conditions, and guidance on what to do if you get a sunburn.

Use Sunscreen On Your Feet (Both Sides!)

Your best measure for skin protection is covering up. Your next best is sunscreen. Some may know it as sunblock, sun lotion, or sunscreen, but in essence, it’s a lotion or spray that absorbs and/or reflects some of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It protects your skin against sunburn and helps prevent skin cancer. Additional benefits of using sunscreen include slowing the development of wrinkles, dark spots, and sagging skin.

Sunscreen Summer Foot Care Tips Skin Protection

No one is completely safe from the sun. In Canada, the sunlight is strong enough to cause skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, and harm to the eyes. In fact, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer; it’s also one of the most preventable.

Here are our top sunscreen practices:

  • Always use sunscreen before going out in the sun. Apply sunscreen rain or shine. Even on cold cloudy days, there’s still a UV rating. For best results, apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Apply sunscreen to both sides of your feet. Applying sunscreen to your feet means both sides. Don’t forget your soles for maximum protection, especially when you’re at the beach.
  • Reapply sunscreen after going in the water. Additionally, look for broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB protection) and “water-resistant” on the label if you plan on taking a dip.
  • Use an SPF of 30 or higher. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends you use an SPF of 30 or higher because at that rating it blocks out 97% of UVB rays.
  • Use sunscreen before other sprays/skincare products. If you’re using insect repellent, for example, apply sunscreen to your body and feet first.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours. Sweat, water, or toweling off can remove sunscreen and lessen its effectiveness. Reapply sunscreen often to ensure you’re always protected.
  • Check the expiration date. Sunscreens should not be used after the expiry date. This is because they contain chemicals that degrade over time, and therefore won’t be as effective after the expiration date. Additionally, sunscreens can be affected by extreme changes in temperature.

Check Your Feet Regularly

Here are a few facts about melanoma and skin conditions, courtesy of the Canadian Cancer Society and the Mayo Clinic:

  • UV rays cause 90% of melanoma (the most serious type of skin cancer) cases in North America
  • Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Canada
  • Incidence rates of melanoma in North America ranked second highest in the world
  • Skin cancer is highly preventable
  • Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight, tanning lamps, and tanning beds increases your risk of developing melanoma

Regular foot checks can help you spot abnormalities early on. Check your feet each month for any suspicious spots, changes in moles, or dark patches of skin. Many moles are not a cause for concern. One rule of thumb is to follow the ABCDE method of detection. It stands for:

  • A = Asymmetrical shape
  • B = irregular Border
  • C = Changes in Colour (look for moles with many or an uneven distribution of colours)
  • D = Diameter (look for growth larger than ~6 mm)
  • E = Evolving

Doing a thorough analysis of your feet, which takes just seconds, allows you to monitor any developments close to real-time, if not shortly after.

Common Summer Foot Conditions

It’s not just the sun you should worry about in the summer. The heat and humidity are grounds for a number of foot conditions to develop.

Blisters: Moisture is a prime breeding ground for blisters. This condition occurs when a small fluid-filled bubble forms just under the top layer of your skin. Using moisturizer (which strengthens your skin’s protective properties and makes it less vulnerable to blisters), foot powders (to counteract excessive foot sweat), wearing moisture-wicking socks, and properly-fitted footwear are all preventative measures to avoid blisters.

Cracked Heels: Summer heat makes you more prone to dehydration, contributing to dry skin, and thus cracked heels. Additionally, the prospect of going barefoot is particularly attractive in the summer making your feet more prone to the elements, whether it’s the beach or in the yard. Shop our selection of Gehwol products to help moisturize your feet.

Corns: Corns are frequently caused by shoes that don’t fit properly. In the summer, the culprit may be flip-flops or any ill-fitting or unsupportive shoe that puts pressure on hot spots like your toes or bony prominences.

Plantar fasciitis: Summer is flip flop season. Cheaper flip flops can have minimal arch support, putting your plantar under pressure. Over time, this aggravation can lead to plantar fasciitis. Stop this foot condition in its track by shopping sandals from MephistoFitFlopNaot, and ClarksFitFlop sandals in particular are engineered to address plantar fasciitis. For more information, check out our article about why we love FitFlop sandals

Treating Sunburns

A sunburn occurs when your skin has been exposed to too much ultraviolet (UV) light. It’s a form of radiation burn.

Common symptoms include changes in skin tone, skin that feels warm or hot to the touch, pain, tenderness, swelling, headaches or fever, or even small blisters.

Sunburns can vary in intensity. A mild sunburn is not a big deal, but over time, there is potential for long-term consequences. Sun damage can lead to cancerous changes in your skin, and your feet are no exception. A sunburn on your foot can also be particularly painful as it’s a tender part of your body. Pair that with the fact that we regularly wear socks and shoes, it’s hard to avoid aggravating the burn after the fact.

Fortunately, there are a number of at-home remedies you can use to reduce the pain and help heal sunburns. These include:

  • Soak your feet in cool water or milk
  • Use medication like acetaminophen to reduce pain
  • Apply aloe vera to help soothe your skin
  • Allow your blisters to heal on their own. Don’t pop them!
  • Elevate your feet, which minimizes swelling
  • Stay hydrated

Skin Damage Risk Factors

According to the Weather Network, UV rays can cause sunburns, eye cataracts, skin aging, and skin cancer. Nearby surface(s) can exacerbate the effects of UV rays. For example, being on the water, or in the snow (which isn’t relevant for our feet, but rather our body in general), can increase exposure because of the reflection off the ground. Extra precaution and protection are needed in these scenarios.

Sun Summer Foot Care Tips Skin Care Protection

The strength of the sun, and in turn the strength of UV rays, also varies by time of day. The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Full precautions are needed during these times in particular: Seek shade, cover-up, and wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Your local weather network will have a UV Index report that indicates the UV strength at various times of the day. The UV Index scale is between 1-11, with one being the lowest and minimal risk, and 11+ being the extreme and highest risk for skin damage. The higher the UV Index number, the stronger the sun’s rays, and the greater the need to take precautions.

The UV Index scale breaks down as follows:

UV Index Description Sun Protection
0-2 Low
  • Minimal sun protection required
  • Wear sunglasses on bright days. If outside for more than one hour, cover up and use sunscreen
  • Reflection off snow or light surfaces can nearly double UV strength. Wear sunglasses and apply sunscreen
3-5 Moderate
  • Take precautions – cover-up, wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen especially if you will be outside for 30 minutes or more
  • Look for shade near midday when the sun is strongest
6-7 High
  • Protection required – UV rays damage the skin and can cause sunburn
  • Reduce time in the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and take full precautions – seek shade, cover up, wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
8-10 Very High
  • Extra precautions required – unprotected skin will be damaged and can burn quickly
  • Avoid the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and take full precautions – seek shade, cover-up, wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
11+ Extreme
  • Values of 11+ are very rare in Canada. However, values can reach this high (even 14+) in the tropics and the southern United States
  • Take full precautions. Unprotected skin will be damaged and can burn in minutes. Avoid the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., cover up, wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen

Your Foot Care Solutions Live Here!

All under one roof! Our team of Toronto foot specialists 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!