Benefits of Stretching vs not Stretching your feet
Incorporating stretching in your daily routine has many benefits to your overall health. And your feet are no exception. As long as you are mobile, your feet, ankles, and legs are constantly working to get you from one place to another all while supporting your body weight. If you’re an athlete or your job requires you to be on your feet for most of the day, the stresses acting on them can increase significant amounts, sometimes even up to ten-fold.
Here are 5 reasons why you should stretch your feet daily.
Improves Range of Motion
With age, the joints in our feet and ankles tend to become stiffer. Whether this is exacerbated by poor foot mechanics or tights muscles, stretching is a great way to keep the joints mobile. Joints that can move along its full range of motion rather than become limited allow for proper heel to toe gait.
Stretching allows the muscle to lengthen and becomes more flexible. This keeps your joints mobile and allows for ease with dynamic movements. It also allows your foot to properly adapt to the ground and absorb shock.
Helps to Keep Feet and Ankles Strong
Stretches such as toe curls, toe splays, toe extensions, and toe points are great ways to activate and strengthen the small muscles in the foot that don’t otherwise get too much attention. Keeping the muscles strong will also reduce the stress placed on joints, which is especially important for those who suffer from arthritic conditions.
Helps to Prevent Injury
Injuries to the foot and ankle often occur when the muscles, tendons, and ligaments are too tight. For instance, having tight calf muscles or tight plantar fascia can increase your risk of developing conditions such as Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Stretching these structures will help to reduce strain and tension when they are overworked or overused.
Encourages Blood Flow
Lastly, stretching your feet and ankles helps the blood to circulate to those areas, delivering oxygen and nutrients the muscles need.Stretches should be steady and held for around 30 seconds. If stretching a muscle causes pain, stop the stretch and rest. You don’t want to overwork your muscles and cause further damage.
Seeking a Medical Professional’s Opinion?
If you have ongoing foot or ankle pain that doesn’t improve, seek medical attention from a foot care specialist. Chiropodists are licensed professionals who are trained to assess and manage the diseases and disorders of the lower limb and foot.
Does your ankle crack or pop when you rotate it? You’re not alone. Ankle cracking and ankle popping are quite common, and there’s no immediate need to worry.
In fact, joint popping has a medical term. Crepitus is abnormal popping or crackling of a joint, which may be sometimes uncomfortable or painful. There are two variations to crepitus:
Bone crepitus: When two fragments of a fracture are moved against each other.
Joint crepitus: When the affected joint is passively moved with one hand, while the other hand is placed on the joint to feel the crepitus.
Why Does My Ankle Crack Every Time I Rotate It?
Ankle cracking or ankle popping can occur for two primary reasons
Tendons rubbing over a bone
Gas being released from the joint
A snapping sound in the ankle is most commonly caused by the tendon slipping over the bone. As you rotate your ankle, this triggers the snapping or clicking sound. Alternatively, an ankle may crack when rotated because as a force is exerted on the joint, bubbles of nitrogen in the synovial fluid burst. This can happen after long periods of sedentary, or if your muscles are tight.
Peroneal Subluxation / Dislocation
Ankle cracking and ankle popping may be due to the peroneal tendon rubbing over the joint. The peroneal tendons help support and stabilize the foot and ankle, and protects your lower leg from sprains. One peroneal tendon attaches to the outer part of the midfoot, while the other tendon runs under the foot and attaches near the inside of the arch. If either tendon is damaged, or slips out of place due to injury, it can rub on the bone cause cracking and popping. This cause is relatively uncommon, and seen mostly in athletes who severely sprain their ankles.
As you may know, cracking and popping is not exclusive to your ankles. In fact, many parts of your body can be ‘cracked’ in the traditional sense. Have you ever heard of the expression, “cracking your knuckles?” Understandably, knuckles, your hallux (toes), and neck joints can be easily cracked with minimal effort.
Is It Bad That My Ankles Crack?
A common claim to cracking your joints is that it causes arthritis. However, this argument is not backed by evidence. One study on joint cracking concludes that, “the evidence for the association of knuckle cracking and osteoarthritis comes mainly from observational studies that have failed to show an association.”
The truth of the matter is that ankle popping or cracking is not necessarily a bad thing. However, if when your ankle cracks, pain and swelling occur, then you should seek advice from a medical professional. As Healthline recommends, strengthening your ankles with Ankle Exercises can help prevent injuries, like ankle sprains. Ankle exercise can also help strengthen the muscles and tendons that help stabilize your lower leg.
How Do You Get Rid of Cracks In Your Ankles?
Cracks in your ankle are typically not a cause for concern. If you’re annoyed by the cracks, clicks, or pops, then there are some DIY treatment methods aimed at strengthening your ankles.
Perform these ankle exercises to heklp prevent ankle popping or cracking:
Draw the alphabet
Doing these in the morning will help loosen up your ankle and prevent stiffness, especially shortly after waking up. Incorporate these ankle exercises with the other Morning Foot Exercises you perform to start off your day.
Custom Foot Orthotics
If you have chronic ankle pain, Custom Foot Orthoticsmay be just what’s needed. Orthotics are custom-built corrective shoe inserts that provide personalized support for your lower legs. These devices work to correct faulty foot mechanics and redistribute pressures along the bottom aspects of the foot.
One of the most common joints in your body to crack is your hallux, the medical term for a person’s big toe.
According to WebMD, “as a rule, painless cracking of joints is not harmful.” But, if it’s painful or if there is signs of discomfort, then there may be a greater underlying problem.
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Does your ankle bother you? Our team is trained to handle any and all your foot health concerns. From mild, to critical, we cover all aspects of the foot. Call us to ask about actionable steps towards your solution today.
As simple as it may seem, trimming and filing your toenails correctly is an important part of maintaining proper foot health. It can save you from pesky and rather painful nail problems, such as ingrown toenails, broken toenails, and toenail related infections.
Here are the Dos and Don’ts of toenail cutting.
Wash and Dry Your Feet First
Clean your feet at least once a day to maintain proper hygiene. Your feet are either in contact with the ground or very close to it couped up in a pair of shoes. These circumstances make them highly susceptible to come in contact with harmful microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. Thoroughly drying your feet will also ensure your tools do not slip and you are able to see the nail edge clearly.
Have the Right Tool(s) Available
To trim your toenails, you will need a pair of sharp nail clippers or professional nail nippers if you have very thick nails. You will also need a nail file.
Clip Nails Straight Across
When cutting the toenail, the safest way to do it is to cut the nail straight across. This will ensure the toenail continues to grow forward.
File Sharp or Jagged Edges
This is an important step. Always file any sharp corners or jagged edges to ensure the nail edge is smooth. Sharp corners can catch on socks or even poke the surrounding skin. This also ensures you do not leave a nail spike behind to grow into the skin and cause a very painful ingrown toenail.
Wait Too Long Between Trimming Toenails
Although toenails do not grow as quickly as fingernails, they still need to be trimmed routinely. You should cut your toenails at least once every eight weeks. Keeping them long is not only uncomfortable in socks and closed-toe shoes, but it also increases the risk of the toenail breaking or cracking, and thus increases the risk of infection.
Rip, Peel, or Bite Your Toenails
Using your fingers or any other body part to “trim” your toenails is very unsafe (and unhygienic!). You have very little control when doing this and more often than not, the nail is left too short, jagged, and removed too deep.
Trim The Nails Too Short or Too Deep
The skin surrounding the nail should not be higher than the toenail as this may cause the nail to grow into the skin instead of on top of it. Rather, the nail should be cut to the edge of the skin and should not be cut deeper than that. Cutting the nails too short can also expose the nail bed underneath, making the area very tender.
Use Dirty Tools
Clean your tools regularly with rubbing alcohol or regularly replace them if they are disposable. Using tools that harbor germs and bacteria can be dangerous, especially if you accidentally nick your skin or have an ingrown toenail.
If you suspect you have a toenail issue, do not wait to seek attention from a licensed chiropodist, especially if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes. A chiropodist will be able to assess the problem and explore the appropriate treatment options.
Have Your Toenails Examined by a Professional Today!
We are confident in our ability to help inform you and solve your concern with the least amount of discomfort possible.
Ageing is inevitable. Foot problems aren’t. Understandably, as we age, our bodies are no longer what they once were. This includes ageing feet. After all, we put our bodies under immense wear and tear over the years. Ageing feet are prone to a number of conditions. In fact, many older adults are prone to certain foot conditions they’ve never experienced before. As we age, prevention is key. Treatment and recovery can be more difficult as the body ages. Learn about the various foot conditions that may affect the older population.
Fat Pad Atrophy
Fat Pad Atrophy is the thinning of the pad that protects the underlying structures of your feet, such as neurovascular tissues, ligaments and tendons. This is the “cushioning” of your feet. The fat pad protects your feet in everyday activity. Over time, this 1-2 cm pad begins to wear down as you age. According to the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association, by the age of 50, people lose half of the fat pad. Treatment includes custom foot orthotics, and orthopaedic footwear, both of which are sold in-store at Feet First Clinic.
Morton’s Neuroma is foot condition in the ball of your foot. It occurs most commonly in the area between your third and fourth toes. Morton’s neuroma can feel like you’re walking on a pebble and worsens with tight footwear and high heels. Neuroma is more common in females and inactive individuals, usually aged 15-50.
When the skin on the bottom of your heels becomes overly dry, it can split and crack. This condition is known as Cracked Heels. These fissures can be painful and bleed. If they persist, your heels can become infected.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the tissue (plantar fascia) along the bottom of your foot between your heel bone and toes. This condition of the arch is most commonly associated with overuse. Pain is gradual, but can be sharp upon first steps after prolonged rest—like when waking up.
Osteoarthritis is a common condition for adults over 70. This degenerative joint disease is the most common form of arthritis. Breakdown of cartilage and formation of osteophyte (bony outgrowth) are common symptoms.
Risk factors include:
Gender: women are more likely than men to suffer from OA, especially in the hands and knees.
Joint injury: prior trauma can alter joint alignment and cause more overuse in certain areas.
Obesity: increased weight will increase load on the joints, causing earlier onset of osteoarthritis.
Biomechanics: deviations in foot and knee joints can cause excess wear on certain joint areas.
Bone spurs are bone outgrowths caused by osteoarthritis. Often, bone spurs develop at joints, and where bones meet. The most common place for bone spurs is in the foot. Conditions include hallux rigidus and heel spurs.
Hallux rigidus is the medical term for stiff big toe. Hallux rigidus is a stiff first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) characterized by a bone spur on the big toe. This condition develops over time due to osteoarthritis and progressively worsens. Since it’s a wear-and-tear condition, ageing feet are particularly prone. Custom foot orthotics and stiff shoes with a rocker midsole can help prevent and limit the onset of hallux rigidus. Otherwise, surgery may be your best option.
Heel Spurs are a bony growth from the underside of the heel bone that forms due to repetitive muscular and ligament strain. Common activities include: walking, running, and jumping. Heel spurs are managed by rest, exercise, custom foot orthotics, supportive footwear, a night splint, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, and cortisone injections.
One in three people older than 18 have bunions making it one of the most common foot conditions. Bunions are bony protrusions along the edge of the big toe. At the site of the MTPJ, which bears up to 60% of our body weight, bones are particularly susceptible to shifting. Herein lies the start of a bunion. The bones of the big toe and foot can deviate from proper alignment and create the angular protrusion that juts out from the base of the big toe. Studies show that bunion deformity occurs more frequently in women and older individuals.
An ingrown toenail occurs when the side of the toenail curls down and pierces the flesh of the toe as the nail grows. Older adults are prone to ingrown toenails because of curved or thick nails. Thick and curved nails make ingrown toenails more prevalent.
Cutting your toenail too short or rounding the edge of the nail
Wearing shoes or socks that don’t fit well can also cause an ingrown toenail
Have an ingrown toenail? Visit Feet First Clinic for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Flat feet occur when your arch collapses, and can be a sign of ageing feet. Adults may get flat feet because of an injury, obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure. Over time, the tendons supporting your arch weaken, and your feet flatten. Orthotics, physical therapy, braces, and surgery help.
Middle-aged men’s ageing feet are most susceptible to gout, a common and complex form of arthritis. Gout is due to a condition known as hyperuricemia, which occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body. Red meat, shellfish, alcohol, and sugary foods all contribute to the build of uric acid. As you age, avoid the aforementioned to limit your chance of gout.
According to Harvard Medical School, bursitis is most common in people who are overweight, elderly or diabetic. Bursitis is an inflammation of a bursa, and often occurs in the foot. Bursae, which are small sacs of fluid that protect your tendons, bones, and joints, can swell and become painful due to repetitive impact. Fortunately, ice, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can help.
Hammertoes look like curled toes. (Read: I Have Curled Toes — Is There Something Wrong?) Hammertoe is a toe deformity in which the middle toe joint is abnormally contracted a bent causing the toe to curl downward. This can typically affect one or more toes and can either be fixed or mobile, and the second toe is most often affected.
Stress fractures are a small crack in a bone. Repetitive use, or trauma can cause the bone to break. According to one study, “the incidence of stress injuries in older athletes is noticeably increasing, associated with a more active, older population.” Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do with a stress fracture other than to rest, or stay off your feet. However, non-impact exercise like swimming is a way to stay active, but be careful of aggravating the bone.
Ageing Feet? We’re Here To Help!
As we age, regular foot health check-ups are essential. Be proactive, not reactive. Book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists for a thorough assessment to determine an appropriate preventative plan, or for treatment.
“I have curled toes. Is there something wrong with my feet?” Everyones’ toes come in different shapes and sizes. Long, short, stubby, curled, straight. Just because your feet are a certain way, doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong. Curled toes are characterized by your toes bending downwards. Typically your joints at the end or middle of the toe cause the downward trend.
Curled Toes: What Are They?
There are a number of conditions associated with curled toes. Everything – from your shoes to your lifestyle – affect our feet in different ways. It’s important to identify the known symptoms to diagnose the condition.
The smallest four toes of each foot have three bony segments connected by two joints. A Hammertoe has an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the toe. This term describes all lesser toe deformities. The second toe is most often affected. If your second toe is the longest of all five, then hammertoe is more likely. Hammertoe can affect one or more toes and can either be flexible or rigid.
A claw toe has an abnormal bend in both the middle joint and the last joint closest to the toenail of a toe. Claw toe occurs mostly in the second through fifth toes.
A mallet toe has an abnormal bend in the joint of the toe that is closest to the toenail.
Curled Toes: Causes
Most often, curled toes develop over time from wearing Footwear that’s too short, narrow, tall, or pointy. If you’re a runner, ill-fitting shoes can exacerbate the problem even more considering the impact and duration of exercise. Ill-fitting shoes crowd the toes, causing the tendons of the toes to contract and tighten. Extended time in this position causes a shift in the shape of your foot, curling your toes. Additionally, high arches and Bunions reduce the room in your shoe’s toe box. For these reasons, people with high arches and bunions may be more prone to curled toes.
To solve these problems, get a proper footwear fitting. In fact, ill-fitting shoes that are the leading cause of foot pain and foot problems and eight out of 10 people’s shoes fit incorrectly.
Shoe Fitting sessions are done at your local shoe store, including here at Feet First Clinic. We offer every customer a comprehensive footwear assessment free of charge to ensure that you invest in the healthiest footwear for your unique feet. Our footwear specialists and chiropodists will help match your foot shape, structure, and alignment to specific shoes and footwear features that answer to your corrective, supportive, or accommodative needs.
Alternatively, muscle imbalances can cause curled toes. These imbalances can occur due to a variety of reasons including faulty biomechanics, long toes, neuromuscular disease, systemic conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes), and and genetics.
Treatment for Curled Toes
As mentioned, the best treatment for curled toes is to invest and choose the proper footwear. If necessary, custom foot orthotics may be of benefit as well depending on your gait and foot type. Visit us in-store at 2481 Bloor St. W in Toronto. We’re open six days a week. Looking for footwear? No appointment necessary, and we carry Industry-leading Products.
At-home exercises and stretches are the best form of DIY to help prevent and treat curled toes. Mix any number of these stretches and exercises into your routine to better the health of your feet.
Stretch your toes: If your curled toes are flexible, stretch your toes as straight as possible and hold for 5-10 seconds. Avoid this if it’s too painful, but once those tendons shorten, or shorten the reps before building up to longer time.
Toe Lifts: Raise your toes off the ground and lower. Repeat 10-15 times. Make an effort to spread your toes when doing the lifts for additional benefit.
Floor Grips: With your feet flat on the floor, grip the ground with your toes to move forward. Moving ahead even a few centimetres at a time will be a challenge.
Marble pickup: Place any number of marbles on the ground and pick them up with your toes. This will help extend the range of motion of your toes and strengthen the tendons and ligaments in your toes
Towel curls: Place a towel on the ground and scrunch it with your toes. Aim to curl up the toe.
Curled Toes? We’re Here To Help!
If you have curled toes and want to discuss your options, book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists for a thorough assessment to determine an appropriate treatment plan.
Running is a great form of exercise that helps burn calories, strengthen muscles and bones, and improve cardiovascular fitness. Being that you only need a pair of running shoes and an open path, makes it very accessible, which is an added bonus. On the other hand, running also generates a lot of biomechanical stresses on the lower limb and that can potentially combine to result in injuries. Here are 8 common injuries that may occur with running.
IT Band Syndrome
Also known as Runner’s Knee or Cyclist’s Knee, IT Band Syndrome is the most common cause of lateral (outer) knee pain in runners. It is caused by excessive friction between the iliotibial band and the end of the femoral bone where the knee is located, resulting in tightness, irritation, and inflammation when the knee is bent. Pain usually occurs a few kilometers into the run and is typically worse with downhill running.
You are more likely to develop IT band syndrome if you have bowed legs, your foot overpronates, you have a tight IT band, or you have changed the intensity or frequency of your training.
Shin splints, medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is described as pain at the inner portion of the shin bone. It is caused by repetitive microtrauma to the bone and/or surrounding soft tissues.
Athletes who do not build up their mileage gradually or abruptly change their workout regime by increasing intensity or changing from a flat road to hills are more likely to experience shin splints. It is also associated with weak muscles, improper footwear, and a hypermobile, pronated foot type.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain and it is caused by inflammation of the fibrous band that runs from the heel bone to the ball of the foot. The tell-tale sign of plantar fasciitis is heel pain that is worst with the first steps in the morning out of bed. Pain also occurs with initial steps after sitting or rest.
Running puts a great deal of stress on the heel bone and strain on the plantar fascia as the arch of the foot depresses 50% more relative to walking. Overpronators, as well as increased body weight, puts you at higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, which is a tendon that connects the calf muscle to the back of the heel bone. Repetitive strain and stress to the tendon or tissue encapsulating the tendon can result in irritation and therefore, inflammation. Pain may be along the tendon or closer to the heel bone and worsens with increased activity (ie after a run). Pain or stiffness may also be experienced in the mornings. Chronic inflammation may lead to thickening of the tendon and decreased flexibility of the ankle. Tight calf muscles, a sudden increase in running mileage, overpronation, and having bone spurs can all cause Achilles tendonitis.
The most common ankle sprain is an inversion ankle sprain, specifically at the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL). It occurs when you “roll” your ankle inwards and the ligament is stretched or torn causing pain and swelling. The more severe the sprain, the longer the recovery.
Ankle sprain treatment requires PRICE (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) for the first three days. Minor ankle sprains will then move onto range of motion exercises and then strengthening exercises. For more severe injuries, splints or immobilization is necessary before rehabilitation commences. You may be more likely to sprain your ankle if you have a varus deformity of the lower limb and foot, you have a hypermobile foot, you train on uneven terrain, or you have a history of ankle sprains. Improper footwear, as well as participation in sports that require dynamic foot movements, can also predispose you to ankle sprains.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as Runner’s knee results from overuse and overload of the patellofemoral joint resulting in an “achy” pain at the front of the knee and around the knee cap. Pain is worse with activity and worsens with downhill running, running on an uneven surface, or prolonged sitting.
Having a high arched foot, knock-knees, muscular imbalance such as weak quads and tight hamstrings, or an overpronated foot, all predisposes you to developing patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Anterior Compartment Syndrome
Compartment syndrome, specifically chronic or exertional compartment syndrome occurs when pressure builds up at the front of the lower leg as the muscle expands in volume during exercise but the tissue encasing the muscle does not. This results in a deep aching pain, tightness, and swelling. It can also lead to reduced circulation and sensation resulting in numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and in severe cases, foot drop. Exertional compartment syndrome is caused by regular vigorous exercise and overtraining. It is initiated by activity and ceases with rest.
A subungual hematoma is the medical term for bruising and bleeding under the toenail caused by trauma. With running, bruising usually occurs from the toe repetitively hitting the end of the shoe. Wearing properly fitted footwear will decrease your chances of developing a subungual hematoma. Silicone toe caps may also help.
If you are experiencing one or all of the injuries discussed above, incorporating a chiropodist in your circle of care may be of great benefit. Have your feet assessed today to determine if they may be a contributing factor to your pain.
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We all know regular exercise is good for our health. It has many benefits such as helping with weight loss, reducing risk of chronic diseases, and improving overall mental health.
Exercise or sport activity also builds your bones and muscles and makes them strong. On the other hand, it also puts a tremendous amount of stress and pressure on them. The feet, ankle, and legs in particular, undergo high levels of biomechanical stress during various kinds of rigorous weight-bearing activity. On top of this, each sport activity requires specific movements and are played on different surfaces. Fortunately, we live in a time when shoes are designed with all these factors in mind. Wearing activity-specific shoes will not only help to improve performance and comfort but prevent commonly associated lower extremity injuries.
Types of Activity Specific Footwear
Running generates a large impact on the lower limb. Forces acting on the body can reach up to ten times a person’s body weight. In addition, the arch of the foot tends to depress 50% more than in walking and the rate of pronation is generally increased. As such, running shoes are built with increased support, cushioning, and shock absorption properties. This is done in varying degrees to accommodate different foot types. The more pronation your foot exhibits, the greater amount of control and stability you should look for in a running shoe.
Basketball and tennis are sports that require a bit more dynamic movement across the court relative to running. Basketball in general, involves a lot of jumping, landing, starting, and stopping motions. As such, basketball shoes tend to have a higher upper to increase support around the ankle to increase stability and prevent ankle sprains. Court shoes tend to also have a thicker and wider outer sole that features a herringbone pattern for better grip, balance, and stability in all directions.
Baseball and soccer are both sports that require cleat shoes. Cleats are protrusions on the sole of the shoe that provide adequate traction on soft or slippery surfaces, such as a grass or dirt field. The shorter cleats found on soccer shoes as well as their low-cut uppers and lightweight design provide ankle manoeuvrability and better agility. A baseball cleat has an additional toe cleat in front to dig into the dirt to increase stability during sudden moments of acceleration such as running from base to base.
Hiking is a long vigorous walk on trails and paths of uneven, rough terrain. You may walk through a forest, cross a river, pass a waterfall, and even climb a cliff. Wearing the proper shoes will ensure your feet are protected and able to withstand various impacts. Good hiking shoes have a wide and thick rubber lug sole to provide stability and good traction. They also have sufficient cushion and shock absorption properties as well as a waterproof membrane to keep the feet dry.
All in all, are sports shoes worth it? Absolutely!
Sports Foot Injury? We’re Here To Help!
If you have acquired a sport-related injury, book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists for a thorough assessment to determine an appropriate treatment plan.
Your toes are one of the most essential parts of your body. Toes help your feet bear the weight of your body when you walk. Toes also provide our bodies balance and support. These core functions are important to our everyday life, and the weight our toes bear makes them vulnerable to injury. Plus, the fact that many of us are on our feet for hours on end, toe health is essential.
Below you’ll find the five of the most common toe conditions.
Athlete’s Foot is a contagious fungal skin infection that afflicts the skin on soles of the feet and between the toes. Fungi prevalent in Athlete’s Foot thrive in dark moist areas and feed on keratin. This means that our feet, which spend most of the day bound up in socks and shoes, present an ideal environment for the proliferation of a fungal infection. Consequently, 1 in 10 people have athlete’s foot, or about 10% of the population making it one of the most common toe conditions. A common sign of an athlete’s foot is translucent white moist skin between the toes on one or both feet.
Fortunately, treatment is simple yet effective. Over-the-counter topical antifungals are the most common remedy for athlete’s foot. Products include medicated creams, ointments, sprays, and powders. Our Toronto foot clinic is open six days a week.
Hallux Rigidus/Hallux Limitus
Hallux rigidus and hallux limitus are variations of a similar toe condition. Both are disorders of the joint at the base of the big toe. Hallux means big toe while rigidus and limitus refers to the damage of the joint and the degree of flexibility of the big toe. Rigidus refers to a rigid big toe, and limitus, a less severe version of injury, refers to limited flexibility and an earlier stage of the condition.
Hallux rigidus is the loss of flexibility due to arthritis in the first MTP (metatarsophalangeal) joint. As the toe stiffens, friction to the joint may lead to pain and/or a Bone Spur — your body’s defense mechanism to prevent further harm. As it’s a progressive condition, damage to the joint cannot be reversed. But, with proper measures including orthotics, proper footwear, and joint exercises, one can live pain free with the condition.
Hallux limitus on the other hand is characterized by limited flexibility in the joint and trouble bending the big toe. Typically, no bone spurs are present (yet). Flexibility is greater with those in hallux limitus than the more progressive hallux rigidus.
Severe versions of hallux rigidus – with complete loss of flexibility in the joint – may require surgery. Options include:
A cheilectomy, removal of bone spurs from around the big toe joint. This is done to free the joint of volume, and to encourage greater degrees of flexibility.
A second procedure, which is permanent, is called arthrodesis. In these cases, the joints in the big toe are fused, eliminating the joint surface leaving the joint permanently stiff.
Hallux rigidus and limitus can be caused by abnormal foot anatomy or a history of trauma including turf toe, a toe fracture or repeated strain to the joint, like running for example. However, there are no specific causes. Rather, hallux rigidus and hallux limitus are influenced by several contributing factors.
An Ingrown Toenail occurs when the side of the toenail curls down and pierces the flesh of the toe as the nail grows. Untreated ingrown toenails can easily become infected.
To start, you’ll want to focus on treatment, and then prevention.
Place a spacer or splint under the ingrown edge of the toenail
Soak feet in Epsom salt and water bath at home to flush out the infection and manage pain and inflammation
Trim the ingrown portion of the nail
In recurring cases, surgical removal (outpatient) of part of your toenail
If your toenail becomes infected you may need topical or oral antibiotics
Avoid shoes that crowd your toes
Trim your toenails straight across and file the corners
Avoid injury to your toenails
Blisters are among the most common toe conditions. Although common, blisters typically are not serious and can be treated immediately for relief within a few days. Blisters are small, fluid-filled bubbles on the upper most layer of the skin. Friction against your skin and your socks and shoes causes your skin to form small bubbles to prevent further damage to the underlying skin. More serious blisters may contain blood as the vessels at the surface of your skin burst.
These skin conditions typically heal themselves within a few days. However, it’s advised to cover blisters either with a basic bandage, tape, or a Band-aid, all of which are available at our Toronto foot clinic. These measures are simply to prevent unwanted popping of the blister and to shield your skin from friction.
To schedule best foot care treatment with our licensed Chiropodists (foot specialists), use the booking form at the bottom of this page or call 416-769-FEET(3338).
A Bunion is a deformity of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. A bony bump protrudes from the base of the big toe causing pain, redness, and sometimes even swelling. Bunions are atop the list of most common toe problems. It affects about 23% of adults. The common age range of onset is 20-50, and women are more commonly affected than men.
Like hallux rigidus and other progressive foot conditions, a bunion is irreversible once it starts. So you can’t reverse what’s already been down, but you can take measures to slow down the deformity over time. The sooner you address the problem, the slower the rate of bunion growth.
Similarly, a Bunionette (or tailor’s bunion) is a bunion on the opposite side of the foot. A bunionette appears on the pinkie toe and affects the fifth metatarsal. It’s smaller than a bunion, but still appears as a bump. Pain associated with a bunionette occurs on the outside of the foot, and tight shoes may exacerbate the condition. Shoes with narrow toe boxes are particularly problematic for those with a bunionette. Narrow toe boxes increase friction against the bony protrusion. The causes of a bunionette are classified as either intrinsic or extrinsic.
External pressure on the forefoot
Bunion and bunionette treatment is similar. As such, properly-fitting shoes are an essential step. The team here at First Feet Clinic specializes in Shoe Fitting. No appointment is necessary to find a pair of shoes that fit your foot profile. Additionally, stretching your shoe can provide benefits as it artificially provides additional toe room. This allows your bunionette more space in the shoe.
Experiencing Toe Pain? We’re Here For Your Toe Conditions
Our team is trained to handle any and all your foot health concerns including common toe conditions. From bunions to blisters to ingrown toenails and orthotics, we cover all sides of the foot needs spectrum. Call us to ask about actionable steps towards your solution today.
Did you know that of all major joints, the ankle is the most commonly injured? In fact, there are a variety of conditions that affect the ankle. Here are the 4 Most Common Ankle Injuries.
Sprains rank number one among the most common ankle injuries. There are three primary forms of ankle sprains: inversion, eversion and high. Ankle Sprains occur when the ligaments overstretch and damage. Generally, sprains take 2-3 weeks to recover from, but you can continue to walk and be mobile if you have your ankle taped, and secured. Though ankle sprains are a very common sports injury, they can happen to anyone.
An inversion sprain occurs when your ankle twists inwards.
Ankle rolls inwards
Most common form of ankle sprain
An eversion sprain occurs when your ankle twists outwards. Eversion sprains impact the deltoid and medial ligaments of your ankle. Eversion sprains aren’t as common as inversion sprains because of the ligaments’ strength.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is a common foot condition that affects the ankle. It’s a result of a damaged posterior tibial nerve, and is considered the ankle’s version of carpal tunnel syndrome. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is the most common nerve entrapment of the ankle. The tarsal tunnel is a narrow space on the inside of the ankle next to the ankle bones. The tunnel is covered with a thick ligament that helps contain its inner workings – veins, arteries, tendons, and nerves. Notably, the tibial nerve runs through the tarsal tunnel.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tarsal tunnel compresses. Imagine you squeeze a casing of wires. The more pressure you exert, the more you put onto the fillings inside. In this case, these are the nerves, arteries, and tendons inside. Symptoms include sharp, shooting pain, pins and needles, or a burning sensation on the inside of your foot, close to where your foot meets your ankle. Some say that pain can be severe enough to cause a person to limp, and individuals may describe a Radiating Pain that cannot be localized to one spot.
The Achilles is the longest tendon in the body, and can withhold extreme amounts of stress. The tendon connects the calf to the heel bone, and can become inflammed over time if overused. If this occurs, the injury is known as Achilles tendonitis. The most common symptom of Achilles Tendonitis is a mild ache or pain in the back of the lower-leg or above the heel, especially first thing in the morning and after exercise. The tendon can also be warm, swollen and irritated with certain ankle movements. This can cause pain in and around the ankle as well, as other joints and muscles attempt to compensate for the damage to the Achilles.
The following can cause Achilles tendonitis:
lack of conditioning in your lower leg muscles
excess strain on the Achilles tendon
bone spurs in the heel rub on the Achilles tendon
untreated flat feet lead to stress on the posterior tibial tendon
To treat, and prevent Achilles tendonitis, you can:
A Bone Spur is a benign growth and occurs on all parts of the body including on the heel, ankle, and toes. Specific to the ankle area, a Dorsal Spur is a bone growth at the insertion of the Achilles tendon. Bone spurs develop as your body’s response to trauma in the area. The body’s defense mechanism begins to grow bone to help protect the area against further damage. So, as these deposits build up, there is less area for your body to move freely, which can cause seperate issues due to the underlying bone spur.
Repeated tearing of the thin lining of the heel bone
Generally, you should not worry about dorsal spurs. But if you do suspect a dorsal spur, or any sort of other ankle pain over more than a short period of time, consult a foot expert for next steps.
Questions About Your Ankle(s)? We Can Help!
Do you have an ankle injury? We’re confident in our ability to help inform you and solve all types of common ankle injuries with the least amount of discomfort as possible. Don’t hesitate: Call us to ask about a quick question and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction!
Let’s face it, feet are probably the most neglected part of the human body. Think about it. When is the last time you checked the bottoms of your feet or in between the toes? Do you pay attention and tend to the aches and pains in your feet? Feet work hard every day to support your body and take you wherever you need to go, all while being cooped up in socks and shoes (hopefully comfortable ones at the least) for most the day. Stresses on your feet are more so if your job requires you to be on your feet, you’re a busy parent looking after an active child, you’re an athlete, or exercise is part of your daily regime. Making sure your feet get the care and love they deserve will not only leave your feet feeling better, but it will keep them healthy, keep you mobile and pain-free, and ultimately improve the overall quality of your life. Keep reading to educate yourself on five very simple foot care tips and why each is important to healthy and happy feet.
Proper Toenail Cutting/Toenail Care
We need toenails to help protect our toes, in particular the skin and bones underneath them. Toenails are made of a protein known as keratin, which makes them less vulnerable to daily wear and tear. It is important to maintain the health of our toenails so that they can fulfil their purpose.
Proper toenail cutting is a simple way to reduce the risk of nail complications such as ingrown toenails and toenail fungus. The safest way to cut your toenails is to cut them straight across using a clean, disinfected nail clipper. Avoid cutting the nail too short and do not cut the nail at an angle down the sides. Finish off by filing the edge of the nail smooth, getting rid of any sharp corners or jagged edges that may get caught in clothes or bed sheets and tear the nail. Toenails should be cut every six to eight weeks.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ and it plays a vital role in creating a barrier against harmful microbes. If the skin is dry, it can become irritated, itchy, and crack. Breaks in the skin will allow bacteria to enter and may lead to inflammation and infection.
Moisturizing your skin daily with a good moisturizer will help to hydrate the skin and keep it soft and smooth. Look for creams that contain effective ingredients such as urea and/or alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Urea causes skin cells deep below the surface to attract, absorb and hold moisture better while AHA speeds up cell turnover and stimulates cell renewal by dissolving the bonds that hold them together. In the end, you’re left with younger-looking, smoother, and softer skin. It is best to apply moisturizer right after a shower and reapply a couple times a day.
If you have calluses, in addition to moisturizing, using a foot file or a pumice stone can help to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. Thick calluses and painful corns will need to be removed by a health care professional. Regular application of vitamin E oil on the nails can also help to keep them strong and moisturized.
Wash Your Feet
Washing your feet thoroughly (don’t forget in between the toes) and drying them well afterwards is a very simple way to keep the feet clean and healthy. And no, it is not enough to think they get cleaned in the shower from simply standing in soapy water. Wash your feet somewhat vigorously and daily with soap and water to help physically remove dirt and dead skin cells as well as prevent the build up of bacteria that can cause foul foot odours. You can also reduce the risk of infections such as Athlete’s foot and plantar warts.
A proper shoe has many benefits including comfort, protection, and support. Wearing the right shoe for you will make all the difference, especially on days when your feet take on extra stress. Here are some tips to keep in mind when looking for shoes:
Always try shoes on before purchasing. No two feet are the same, therefore, what may be comfortable for someone may not be comfortable for you.
If you are unsure of your size, have your feet measured. Keep in mind, the right fitted shoe will have about a finger’s width between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. If you can feel the end of the shoe with your toe, it’s too small!
Bring your orthotics. If you wear orthotic insoles, bring them with you and try them on with the shoes. A shoe that has a removable insole are more likely to comfortably accommodate an orthotic device.
A good shoe will have the following features:
The shape of the shoe matches the shape of the foot. Avoid wearing narrow or pointed shoes that force your toes to squeeze in small spaces.
Functional fastenings such as laces, velco, buckles. The foot should make no effort to keep the shoe on.
The shoe should only bend where the foot naturally bends which is at the joints that connect the toes to the rest of the foot. You should also be able to twist it slightly.
A firm and snug heel counter. The heel should feel gripped into the shoe.
The outer sole should provide enough grip and traction to prevent slippage.
A midsole that provides adequate cushioning and shock absorption.
An innersole that provides arch support.
Don’t Wait to See Attention
Above all, if you have ongoing foot pain or discomfort, or you’ve noticed changes to the skin or nails of your feet, don’t wait to seek attention from a licensed chiropodist. Chiropodists are primary health care professionals who specialize in the assessment, management, and prevention of dysfunctions, disorders, and diseases of the foot. More often than not, the earlier you treat your foot problems, the better the results. In particular, if you have health conditions that put you at risk such as diabetes, it is recommended to seek care right away.
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