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?
A 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
- 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!
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 arthritis, bunions 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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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!