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Why does my toe hurt?

There are several reasons why your toe may be painful. The important thing to do is not ignore it, especially if the pain is accompanied with redness and swelling. Keep reading to find out what your next steps should be to find out the culprit to your pain.

  1. Ingrown toenail

An ingrown toenail is when the sides of your toenail grow into the surrounding skin. Once the nail pierces the skin, your body reacts by creating an inflammatory response to this, which leads to redness, swelling, warmth, and pain in the area. The longer the toe is left in this condition, the higher the risk of infection. How can you tell if you have an infection? The signs of an infection are somewhat similar to those of the body’s natural inflammatory response to a cut or wound, but greater in a sense. For instance, an infected ingrown toenail will increase in redness, swelling, pain, and warmth in addition to being accompanied by any of the following: a foul odor, maceration (moisture), pus (cloudy, creamy liquid), blood.

To find out more about ingrown toenails, such as what causes them and how they can be managed, click the link here

  1. Paronychia

Paronychia is the medical term to describe an infection of the hand or the foot at the location where the skin meets the nail, either on the sides of the nail or along its base. This infection can be bacterial or fungal in nature and is usually the result of damage to the skin (via biting or picking or any other physical trauma). Excessive and chronic moisture can also make the skin more vulnerable to these infections.

Similar to an ingrown toenail, paronychia will also present as a red, swollen, warm, and tender digit.

  1. Tinea Pedis

Although Tinea pedis also known as Athlete’s Foot, usually presents as itchy, dry, and flaky skin on the bottom of the foot, it can also be localized between the digits or along the sides of a single or multiple digit(s). Sometimes, Tinea Pedis features a cluster of small red vesicles, along a digit and may spread to adjacent digits. When left untreated, the toe may become red, swollen, and tender to the touch.

If you have a red, swollen, painful toe, regardless of the cause, book an appointment with a chiropodist today! Your chiropodist will be able to determine the cause of your pain and provide the necessary treatments to get you back on the path to good foot health. All the above conditions require medical attention, including a prescription for an oral or topical antibiotic or anti-fungal. In the meantime, as you wait for your appointment, try soaking your feet in a salt water bath for 5-10 minutes.

When you’re not soaking your feet, practice good hygiene and keep your feet clean and dry. Wear a new pair of clean socks everyday and let your feet breathe at home. Most microorganisms thrive in moist, dark environments.

4 Tips To Protect Your Feet As Temperatures Rise

Summer is a wonderful time of year for outdoor enthusiasts!

Any reason you can head outdoors when it’s warm is a good one. But with warmer temperatures and more sun exposure, it’s important to take certain precautions because it’s not only nice to have your feet looking their best, but it’s important to keep them in good health.

Use sunscreen

With rising temperatures and the change in seasons comes higher UV indexes. In all likelihood, you’ll be going barefoot, or wearing open-toed footwear, more often in the summer months. When being outside for prolonged periods of time, applying sunscreen is essential. Being exposed to UV ratings of 10-15 means you could sunburn in as few as 10 minutes.

When applying sunscreen, you often remember the usual spots: face, ears, arms, and legs. But don’t forget the tops of your feet. Note that your feet may not be exposed to the sun as often as the rest of your body so protection against UVA and UVB rays – the two most damaging to our skin – is particularly important. UVB rays can cause sunburns as they tend to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers while UVA rays can penetrate to the deeper skin levels.

According to Health Canada, look for sunscreens with SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or more that have “broad-spectrum” on the label to screen out most of the UVA and UVB rays.

Wear proper socks

Your socks are the last line of defense when it comes to foot protection. In the summer, your feet can perspire. Keeping your feet dry can help prevent athlete’s foot, fungus, and blisters. So, moisture-wicking socks can come in handy. Further, use household items like baking soda to put into your shoes to absorb moisture and use cornstarch on your feet for the same effect.

Leading brands and industry favourites include Stance, Darn Tough, Balega, Drymax, and Smartwool.

Don’t skip on arch support

Convenience is the goal in the summer. Slipping in and out of flip-flops and sandals is easy when lounging around the pool, at the beach, or hanging out on your deck and patio. They’re great for short-term usage, but be careful when wearing them for hours on end. Their lack of support under your arch can make your feet ache and cause painful injuries including plantar fasciitis and to your metatarsal bones.

Though some sandals and flip-flops lack adequate arch support, some brands do. Birkenstocks, for example, mold over time to the shape of your foot, equalizing pressure and weight across the foot instead of putting pressure on the balls of your foot and heel. We offer an excellent selection of Birkenstock products in-store at Feet First Clinic. Check us out at 2481 Bloor Street West.

Even popular sports brands like Hoka One One now offer supportive flip flops called the Ora Recovery Slide. Of course, everyone reacts differently to footwear so experiment until you find products that work best for you.

Treat your feet

Protect your feet in the summer by addressing issues including discoloured or black toenails, callouses, dried skin, fungus, and blisters.

Tips To Protect Feet Summer

Simple tips including keeping your nails short, scrubbing away dead skin, and keeping your feet dry (or moisturizing, if necessary) can help keep your feet healthy throughout the summer. If any foot issues arise or persist, visit the clinic and talk to an expert to discuss the appropriate course of action.

Are Your Shoes Too Small? Here Are the Warning Signs

A “bad fit” doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to slip the shoe onto your foot. It could mean that the toe box is too close to the tips of your toes, the heel notch is digging into your skin, or the top is pressing into the bridge of the foot. If you don’t notice these discomforts, here are some warning signs that your shoes are too small:

Blisters

Unless they are caused by a sunburn, an infection or an allergy, foot blisters are caused by friction from the shoe material repeatedly rubbing against your skin. If you’ve noticed the fluid-filled pockets appearing on your feet, your shoes are probably too small.  

Bruised Toenails

Toenail bruises come from impact. The impact could be stubbing your toe on a step. Or the impact could be knocking your toenails on the edge of the toe box over and over — this is why runners often have bruised toenails.

The blood trapped under the nail makes it change colour. The nail goes from red to brown to purple and then black. It will stay that colour until it grows out after 6 to 9 months or until the nail falls off.

Hot Foot

You may recognize a sensation commonly called hot foot, where your feet are incredibly hot after going for a walk or finishing a workout. Friction from too-tight shoes will make your feet swell and feel like they’re burning.

 

Calluses

A foot callus is a rough and dry patch of skin on the sole. When the area is dealing with too much friction or pressure, the skin thickens and develops a callus.

Normally, you can try to get rid of your callus by doing a foot soak and removing the dry skin with a callus shaver. If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, you should make an appointment with a chiropodist for foot callus removal because you don’t want to risk a foot infection.

Corns

Corns are similar to calluses. They are hardened, raised bumps that form because of too much friction or pressure on the area. They tend to appear on top or between toes. They can be painful to the touch. You can make an appointment with the experts at Feet First clinic to undergo a safe and effective corn removal procedure.

If your shoes don’t fit properly, you shouldn’t wear them. You should get a new pair of shoes as soon as possible. When you’re buying a replacement pair, you should follow these steps to guarantee a proper shoe fit:

  • Have your feet measured to determine the accurate size.
  • Try on the shoe with the laces tied up.
  • Walk around in the shoes to test if your heel slips, your toes hit the toe box or the material pinches.

Consider getting custom orthotics to give your feet additional comfort and support. These specialized accessories will help counteract the effects of standing all day and walking all day, like soreness, calluses and corns.

Whatever you do, don’t ascribe to the mentality of breaking in your shoes. The method is reserved for leather dress shoes, which can be stretched to prevent any aches and pains. It was never meant for running shoes, sneakers or sandals.

If your shoe doesn’t fit properly in the store, it won’t fit when you get home. Don’t bear through discomfort in hopes that your footwear will eventually mold to your feet. Getting the right size and fit should be your number one priority.

 

3 Toenail Problems That We Can Help you With

You’ve pulled off your sock and noticed that something is wrong with your big toe. Maybe it’s swollen and sends a sharp twinge up your foot with each step, or maybe the nail has changed from its normal clear shade into a completely different colour. There’s no need to panic. Read this brief list of common toenail problems, and what steps you should take to resolve them.

Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail is when the side of the toenail cuts into the nailbed and causes the area to become swollen and painful. Sometimes the weight of a bedsheet or a sock will be too much to handle. Common causes of ingrown toenails are inadequate footwear, ill-fitting socks and cutting the nails too short.

 

For an at-home treatment, you can soak your foot in warm water with Epsom salt to reduce inflammation. Keep the affected area clean and place antibiotic cream over it to fight off infection. When appropriate, wear open-toed sandals to avoid putting pressure on the area. These steps could be enough to resolve the issue.

 

If you have diabetes or circulation problems, you should contact licensed chiropodists in Toronto to take care of your ingrown immediately because the area will be vulnerable to infection. Ignoring the toenail problem or trying to fix it on your own could put your health at risk. At Feet First Clinic, you can get your nail treated safely.

 

Common signs of this problem are hardened brittle nails, build-up beneath the surface, and discoloration (usually white or yellow). You can catch a toenail fungal infection from walking around barefoot in public areas with lots of moisture like swimming pools, locker rooms and gym showers. People who are elderly, who have diabetes or who have weakened immune systems will be more susceptible to fungal nail infection.   

 

You should schedule a nail fungus treatment appointment with a chiropodist when you spot any of the symptoms. Since there are different types of fungi, you will want to get a professional opinion before you try to get rid of your own.  

 

Bruised Toenails

When shoes are too small, the toes hit the edge of the toe box over and over again, resulting in black toenails that never seem to go away. Make sure that there is enough space for your toes to wiggle in the toe box.

If you’re a runner or jogger, you’ll also notice that you get black toenails whenever you’re stepping up your training for endurance goals like half-marathons and full marathons. The repetitive friction from running will hurt your toenails.

When you notice a black toenail, soak your feet in a bath of warm water and Epsom salt. If your shoes don’t fit, get a new pair that offers enough room and support. The best way to heal a bruised toenail is to give it time to recover.

If the nail falls off, try to keep the area clean and see your doctor right away. Whatever you do, do not remove the nail on your own.

Sometimes you can’t fix a toenail problem on your own. Trying to DIY your treatment could accidentally cause more damage and expose yourself to harmful bacteria. When Epsom salt soaks and rest can’t fix the issue, seeking help from a professional is your best bet for a cure.

 

 

How to Put A Spring in Your Step

Whether you have a long commute, you’re on your feet for most of the day at work, or you like to keep active at the gym, you have probably experienced foot pain at one time or another. Pain may be at the heel, the arch, the ball of the foot, or even at the base of your big toe.

 

If you have heel pain, especially if the pain is at its worst with your first steps in the morning, you may have something called, plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation or irritation of the soft tissue structure that runs from your heel to your toes and supports the arch of your foot. To help relieve some of this pain, roll a Rubz Hand and Foot Massage Ball under the heel and arch to massage the area. The ball uses numerous stimulating fingers and ancient acupressure techniques to apply pressure to help reduce tension, relax muscles, and stimulate circulation.

Foot Rubz Massage

If you have arch pain, proper footwear and a modified insole may give the relief you need. More often than not, the cause of this pain is faulty biomechanics, specifically overpronation.

Overpronation is when your foot rolls inwards towards its arches when walking and is the culprit of a number of foot anomalies. To counteract overpronation, an Arch Pad to support your arches along with a Rearfoot Post is a standard modification to the insole of your shoe.

Arch Pad

Overpronation may also lead to metatarsalgia (ball of the foot pain) or even a neuroma (irritation of the nerve bundles between the base of your toes). To help relieve pressures from the balls of your feet and splay the bones in the midfoot to reduce irritation of the nerve bundles, a Metatarsal Pad would be an acceptable addition to your insole. Although it may be slightly uncomfortable at first, with time and patience, your feet will be sure to thank you.

Metatarsal Pad

Finally, a Reverse Morton’s Extension is another useful modification in the case of hallux limitus or a dropped the first ray. This modification works in two ways: One, it removes direct pressure from the joint thereby relieving pain. And two, it encourages your foot to push off on the big toe to engage in proper propulsion forward.

 

In general, any type of foot pain should be assessed by a Chiropodist who is trained to determine the cause of pain and the treatment options available to manage the pain and/or correct any gait abnormalities. Book an appointment with a Chiropodist at Feet First Clinic, a clinic located in Downtown Toronto to get your feet closer to being pain free!

 

3 Simple Ways to Get Relief from Your Plantar Fasciitis

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

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

1. Stretches

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

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

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

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

2. Massage

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

3. Change Your Footwear

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

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

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

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

Good Tips for Foot and Leg Care When you Have Diabetes

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

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

Check Your Feet Every Day

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

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

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

Exercise

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

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

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

Wear Compression Socks

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

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

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

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

Do you Have Foot Calluses? How to Treat Them

You may not realize you have calluses on your feet until you take a closer look. Maybe you decide to swap your pair of sneakers for sandals and see the yellowish skin around your heel. Maybe you start to massage a sore foot and then feel patches that are dry and rough. It’s common for them to form right under your nose — or in this case, under your feet, without any notice.

What is a callus?

Calluses appear on the bottoms of your feet when they are dealing with lots of friction and pressure. As a reactionary measure, the skin thickens and hardens, acting as a protective hide. Here are some common situations that create a lot of friction on the bottoms of your feet:

Wearing shoes that are too big for your feet

Wearing shoes that are too small for your feet

Not wearing socks with shoes

Wearing ill-fitting socks

Walking on the floor barefoot

What is the difference between a corn and a callus?

Calluses are hardened skin that appears on the soles of your feet and usually has the same thickness throughout. Corns tend to appear on the tops of your feet or toes along with boney prominences. In comparison to calluses, foot corns are much smaller in size and because they have a hard, deep centre, they are usually painful to the touch. They are also caused by friction from ill-fitting shoes and poor foot care.

If you have corns, you should see a chiropodist specialist in Toronto to have them safely remove the growths with a surgical scalpel, especially when you are living with diabetes or coronary disease. To help slow down their return, a chiropodist may recommend offloading pads or custom foot orthotics depending on the circumstance.

How do you get rid of it?

In some cases, you can remove foot calluses at home by soaking your feet in warm water at night to soften the skin, making sure to towel them off completely once you’re done. Then, use a callus remover to shave some of the dry skin off in the morning. Do not get overzealous with the shaving. You don’t want to break the skin.

If you have diabetes, you shouldn’t remove the callus on your own. You should see a chiropodist to perform careful foot callus removal so that you don’t have to worry about accidentally cutting or scraping the skin. A small mistake could prompt a serious foot infection. Here at the Feet First Clinic, we will prioritize your health and safety.

If the callus is painful, uncomfortable, or resurfacing often, you should also visit the clinic for foot callus removal.

Getting your calluses removed is one step. You also must make sure you fix the issues that got them to show up in the first place:

Get shoes that fit properly

Get socks that fit properly

Don’t walk around barefoot

It’s incredibly important for you to get supportive shoes that fit, especially if you are an avid runner or jogger. The friction from physical activity will make you susceptible to this condition, along with other painful foot problems caused by frequent friction and improper footwear.

The wrong shoes can lead to blisters, blackened toenails, arch pain, knee pain and shin splints. You can click here read more about common fitness injuries that can be alleviated through careful treatment, orthopedic footwear and custom orthotics.

Most calluses won’t seem like a big deal. They will often look and feel unpleasant to touch. They appear harmless — but they are warning signs telling you that your footwear and your foot care need to improve as soon as possible.

Are You Wearing the Right Shoes for Your Feet? How Footwear Plays a Part in Foot Function

Were you ever recommended a shoe from a friend that just did not live up to its expectation? They may have helped your friend with his/her foot issues, but not your own? Many people don’t know you should be wearing shoes according to your foot type. What might work for your friend to alleviate foot pain and improve their foot function, may not necessarily work for you.

Before we get into the details, it is always important to follow these general guidelines when looking for proper footwear:

  1. Size

Your shoe should be the correct length and width. As a general rule of thumb, allow for one digit’s width distance between your longest digit and the end of the shoe. Also, make sure any bunion deformities are accommodated.

  1. Stability

To check for good stability in a shoe, you want to make sure you cannot bend the shoe in half or twist it along the midfoot. The only place it should display good flexion is at the forefoot where your toes begin.

  1. Grip

The outer sole of the shoe should have enough grip to prevent or at least not encourage the foot from slipping when walking.

  1. Activity appropriate

Always consider the activity you intend on using the shoes for when purchasing shoes. Some shoes are made specific to a sport and for good reason. For instance, cleats help to increase friction between the ground and the shoe to reduce risk of falls and injury.

 

Now, depending on your FOOT TYPE, you should look for certain characteristics in a shoe.

In general, we can categorize feet into three main categories:

  1. Overpronator

Your feet tend to roll inwards towards its arches when walking. Typically, your feet are very mobile or flexible. You may notice your foot widens quite a bit when standing and your arches lower significantly, if not completely flatten.

The best shoe for this foot type is a motion control shoe. This shoe has a straighter sole or last and offers a stiffer heel to counter overpronation.

  1. Oversupinator (underpronator)

Your feet tend to be a bit more rigid and stiff. You may also feel pressures along the outer edge of your foot rather than at the arch. Finally, you most likely have a high arch with pressure points at the ball of the foot and the heel.

The best shoe for this foot type is a cushioning shoe. This type of shoe includes increased shock absorption and minimal arch support to encourage pronation. Shoes with a mouldable sole may also help to redistribute pressures along the bottom of your foot.

  1. Neutral

Your foot does not have a high or flat arch, rather more medium to low. You pronate an appropriate amount. When looking at your feet from behind in standing position, your heels are relatively straight.

The best shoe for this foot type is a stability shoe. A stability shoe helps to decelerate mild pronation and also has some cushioning features.

 

Educating yourself is the first step towards better foot health. Second, is practicing what you know. Happy shoe shopping!

Foot Pain is Real: Benefits of Visiting a Chiropodist

As silly as it sounds, we don’t tend to think about our feet and their health simply because they are the farthest body part from our eyes. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind”. However, foot pain, whether you are experiencing pain at the nails, skin, heel, or ball of your foot, should not be ignored. Your foot health is an integral determinant of the quality of your life. Just think about how many steps you take in a day and how much your life would change if your feet were compromised. Pain is a good indicator that something is not normal and should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further complications down the road.

A Registered Chiropodist is a primary health care professional who specializes in the assessment, management, and prevention of dysfunctions, disorders, and diseases of the foot. Here are a few benefits of visiting a chiropodist for a foot check.

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Checking for nail abnormalities

Your toenails are much more susceptible to changes and infections than your fingernails, mainly due to their vulnerability to damage or trauma. Toenails can become thickened, discoloured, curved, and painful. If you start noticing these changes, book an appointment with your local foot specialist to help safely manage these changes and determine the cause, ruling out fungus or an ingrown toenail.

Checking for skin disorders

For the most part, your feet spend a lot of time in a closed space either in a pair of shoes or a pair of socks. If you exercise regularly or if your feet are naturally sweaty, this introduces another factor: moisture. All these things increase the chance of getting Athlete’s foot or a plantar wart. Hard callus and deep corns can also cause pain and can easily be treated.

Correcting foot function

If you have foot pain, the chances are, the underlying cause is due to how your foot moves through your gait. With time, these abnormal movements can cause strain and sometimes even permanent damages in the soft tissues and joints. Addressing the issue sooner than later through proper footwear advice, stretches, taping, and/or custom foot orthotics, will work out to your benefit.

A foot specialist knows the ins and outs of foot health and is able to treat a very wide spectrum of foot problems with various treatment options. Get your feet on the path of good health today. Call Feet First Clinic to book an appointment with one of our Registered Chiropodists.