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Do Your Feet Hurt All of the Time? Check out Your Shoes

Your feet hurt, and they hurt all of the time. Before you think about booking a foot massage or taking an Epsom salt bath, you need to take a look at your shoes to see if they’re the reasons behind your aches and pains.

Check to see if they’re worn down

If you’re experiencing foot pain, the first thing you need to do is check your shoes to see if they need to be thrown out and replaced. Over time, the support and structure that you need in a shoe will break down and your feet will suffer the consequences.

Shoes don’t have an expiration date printed on the heel, so you have to look for proof that your shoes are breaking down:

  • The tread on the sole is worn down and smooth
  • The heel on one shoe has gotten lower than the other’s heel
  • There are holes in the mesh
  • The lining is splitting open
  • They look like they’re falling apart

You should also ask yourself when you first bought the shoes. Any pair that has been in your closet for over a year could be replaced, depending on their quality and how often you wear them. The more often you wear a pair of shoes, the sooner you will need to find replacements. For instance, a pair of running shoes will degrade faster than other styles because they’re used often, and they pound more pavement than the average sandal or slipper.

Check to see if they’re the right size

Another reason why you may be experiencing foot pain is that your shoes aren’t the right fit for your feet. Try to look for signs that they’re too big or too small.

If they’re too big, your heel will slip out and the shoe will slide around while you’re walking. The friction from the material moving up and down your foot can give you blisters and bruised toenails.

If they’re too small, you won’t be able to take them off without undoing all of the laces. They shouldn’t take too much effort to pull off. You may notice numbness or strain on the top of the foot, or a burning sensation when you’re running.

Don’t assume that discomfort is normal for brand-new shoes. A pair of dress shoes should be comfortably snug but not tight or painful when you first try them on. “Breaking them in” will only stretch the leather so much. If they’re too snug, come to Feet First Clinic to get them stretched out so that you don’t have to suffer pinching or blisters. Other shoe styles can’t be “broken in” in the same way.

When you buy new shoes, have your feet measured and make sure that they fit properly right off the bat.

Check to see if they’re the right shoes

Certain types of shoes won’t offer you good support or structure. If you depend on these styles too much, you’re going to deal with painful foot conditions. For example, high-heeled shoes can cause hammertoe and mallet-toe because the toes get crowded into the toe box and instinctively curl.

The first step in choosing proper footcare is taking the shoes that are causing you discomfort out of your closet and tossing them away for good. Replace them with comfortable and supportive shoes that can ease the pain and improve your foot conditions — if you act quickly, you might see a major turnaround!

If you don’t know where to go after throwing out your bad shoes, we can help you find great replacements and put your best foot forward with our impressive line of stylish orthopaedic footwear.

Your shoes are the likeliest cause behind your foot pain. Take some time to investigate if they’re too old, too big, too small or too unsupportive to stay in your closet. Then, go shopping to get yourself some footwear that is kinder to your feet.

Signs You Need A New Pair Of Shoes

Running/walking is a simple activity. There’s very little gear required.

Footwear is the exception. Shoes are your most important piece of gear, providing protection over the course of several hundred kilometres and helping lessen the impact and damage to your body. Most people go through a few pairs every year, and some even every month.

As you pile on the mileage, your shoe’s structure, and thus effectiveness, break down over time. Your shoes won’t feel the same out of the box as they do after 300-500 kilometres. It’s important to know when you need a new pair of shoes to help avoid injury and that starts with knowing what to look for in your footwear.

Below are some signs that your shoes could be due for an upgrade, and what to do to help lengthen their lifespan.

Culprit #1: A reduction in bounce as well as aches, pains, and sore joints.

Typically, running shoes can last between 500-750 kilometres. Over time, the cushioning breaks down and it no longer provides the same amount of energy return as it did right out of the box. If you feel your shoes are feeling flat, and don’t have that same type of bounce, it’s likely time for a new pair of shoes.

There are however ways to extend the lifespan of your shoes.

Try: purchasing two or three pairs of shoes at a time, and alternate use. Giving your shoes a day or two in between runs allows the cushioning to return to form, and lengthens its life. Purchasing in bulk can also be beneficial if your favourite shoe is discontinued or altered, which is commonplace as new iterations of models are released every year. Plus, bulk purchases can lead to lower shipping costs – per unit – if ordered online.

The type of shoe and amount of cushioning also plays a role. Minimalist shoes have less cushioning and thus you’ll feel the effects at a faster rate.

Your weight can also come into play. The heavier you are, the greater the load, and thus the quicker the foam cushioning will compress and break down.

As you can tell, there isn’t one reason why your shoes wear down over time but in fact many.

Culprit #2: Wrinkles across the foam on the mid-sole and heel of the shoe.

You may notice a shoe is breaking down by feel. Additionally, as is the case here, there are visual cues that make apparent the condition of your footwear. When your shoes’ foam begins to crease and wrinkle, it’s a sign that your shoes are beginning to age. However, this cycle is totally normal and doesn’t necessarily mean your shoes are toast.

Try: running on softer surfaces more often to alleviates the impacts that go through your shoes. Running on grass, gravel, and dirt is easier on your shoes – and your body – versus asphalt or concrete.

Culprit #3: Uneven wear patterns

Try: avoid wearing your running shoes casually throughout the day because added hours break down shoes at a faster rate. Your gait while walking is different than running too so you might be wearing your shoes out in unusual and unwanted patterns if you use your primary trainers as hybrids.

Uneven wear patterns are not necessarily a bad thing, but you should take them into account because it might be easier to troubleshoot an injury. Look for areas that are bare of tread like a car tire.

Culprit #4: Damaged heel counter and frayed edges.

The heel cup around your Achilles can break down, which can lead to chafing and blisters.

Try: avoiding tied laces when putting on and taking off your shoes. The laces are there for a reason. If you consistently slip your shoes on and off while tied, you’re likely adding more pressure to the heel counter and the inner material of the shoe. Tie and untie your shoes before and after each use.

Avoid using the dryer if your shoes get wet too as heat can break down the upper material as well as the cushioning of the shoe.

Culprit #5: Tears in the upper.

Look for rips around the toebox, as well as along the sides of your feet as that’s where the upper attaches to the midsole, leaving the seam vulnerable. To avoid blisters, and other foot problems, it’s important to find a shoe that fits right for the shape of your foot.

Try: changing to shoes that better suit you. These days, many brands offer wide versions of most models, and some brands are known for making wider shoes including Asics and Altra, both of which provide roomier a toe box compared to other brands.

Need help deciding on a pair of new shoes? Need a gait analysis done? Visit the clinic today.

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.

Practical Advice for Taking Care of Your Feet This Summer

Summer is prime time for trips to the beach, afternoons by the poolside and long walks in the park. Although these seasonal pastimes are relaxing and fun, they can take a toll on your feet. Read this practical advice on how to take care of your feet, whether you’re at the beach, the pool or anywhere else:

 

On the Beach

When dressing for the beach, you will probably grab a pair of flip flops. They’re breezy, quick to slip on and they’re easy to clean. And, if they break, you can always buy a new pair for under $10. The problem is that they’re terrible for your feet.

 

One of the many reasons why flip flops are bad for your feet is that the unsupported design forces you to strain your muscles to walk. You have to grip the material with your toes so the sole lifts with each step. Repeating this motion will hurt your feet and encourage hammer toe.

 

You should get some orthopedic sandals this summer to replace your cheap pairs of flip flops that are slowly hurting your toes, your feet, your hips and your lower back. The right sandals will be just as low-maintenance as flip flops, but they will have proper arch support, cushioning and grip. Feet First Clinic has an impressive collection of sandals from brands like Fitflop, Birkenstock and NAOT.

 

When you’re wearing sandals, remember to slather on some sunscreen on your feet. Reapply every two hours or directly after you go swimming, even if you’ve chosen a water-resistant formula.

 

Putting sunscreen on your feet will do more than save you from awkward sunburns. It will protect you from contracting foot melanoma — this is a rare but severe type of skin cancer, especially because it can spread unnoticed. If you have moles on your feet, keep an eye on them to see whether they change color, size, shape or appearance in any way.

At the Pool

If you’re going to go swimming at the community pool, you need to bring a pair of pool shoes or shower shoes. People will be walking barefoot on the ground, leaving sweat, dirt and germs behind. Bacteria thrive in moist areas, which means the poolside, the public showers and the locker room will be hot spots for infections like athlete’s foot or plantar warts.

 

If you think you’re suffering from an infection, you should contact a foot specialist today for professional diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan. People living with diabetes or weakened immune systems should make the appointment right away for the sake of their well-being.

 

Everywhere Else

Ballet flats, flat sneakers and unsupportive shoes are popular for this season. Choosing these shoes for everyday-wear will inevitably result in discomfort. If you’re tired of foot pain, treat your feet right this summer by getting custom orthotic inserts or by choosing stylish orthopaedic shoes to wear all day long.

 

A bad sunburn on your feet will force you to leave the beach early so that you can soothe them with Aloe Vera and cold packs. Athlete’s foot will make you regret your trip to the pool and prevent you from swimming until it’s gone. Foot strain will encourage you to cut your walk short. Taking better care of your feet will make sure your summer plans don’t get sidetracked.  

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

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!

Shoe terms you should know, explained

Invest in items that separate you from the ground, they say. Your bed, car/bike tires, and, of course, shoes. When it comes to selecting the right shoe, however, there can be a lot of (confusing) jargon associated with footwear, and feet in general as they pertain to shoes, from the type to the actual descriptions of a footwear’s construction and anatomy.

Familiarize yourself with all shoe jargon with this glossary of shoe terms.

15. HOW TO CHOOSE SHOES – INFO G

Running Mechanics

Gait: The way in which you run or walk. There are a number of primary descriptions including being a heel-striker, midfoot-striker or toe-striker, which specifies the first point of contact with the ground upon impact. Because people have varying gaits, there’s no one-size-fits-all shoe. Your pronation (see below for that explanation) is influenced by your gait.

Pronation: The side-to-side rolling movement of your foot when impacting the ground. Naturally, the foot has an inward-rolling motion, meaning you land on the outer part of your foot, and proceed to roll inwards until your foot is flat on the ground, before subsequent take-off.

Overpronation: The tendency to over-inward roll upon impact and through to take-off. You’re likely to see additional wear on the inner edge of your shoe’s cushioning.

Supination: The tendency to under-inward roll – in other words, to outward-roll – upon impact and through to take-off. You’re likely to see additional wear on the outer edge of your shoe’s cushioning.

Arch: Your arch is the curve of your foot that is either normal, high, or low. Often, you can determine whether you have flat feet or not through the use of a foot arch test, which involves wetting​ the bottom of your feet, and stepping on a piece of paper to see the outline of your foot. If you’re unsure, check out your local foot specialist shop like Feet First Clinic. 

 

Shoe Infrastructure

Upper​​: The material that wraps the foot and attaches to the midsole. This is the bulk of the shoe excluding the midsole and keeps your foot in place.

Overlay​​: The overlay is an additional layer of material on top of the upper. Overlays are useful for extra support, varying breathability and sometimes used to add a waterproof element to a shoe, like, for example, Nike’s “shield” running shoes which offer protection against rain and snow.

Eyelets​​: Shoelace holes.

Tongue​​: The tongue is the material that sits on top of your foot and under the sock laces non-slip-on shoes have a tongue.

Sock liner​​: The sock liner is the shoe’s inner material. The material is called a sock liner because it wraps around the foot like a sock. The material is often a few millimetres in thickness and can wear down and suppress over time, moulding to your foot.

Toe box​​: The area at the end of a shoe which houses your toes. The width of the toe box is particularly important for people depending on whether they have narrow or wide feet. Remember, the width of your foot is important too, and not just the length (size).

Drop/offset​​: Most shoes, besides Altra, have a drop greater than zero. The drop of the shoe is the difference in heel height versus toe height. If the shoe has a drop of 8 mm, for example, the heel is 8 mm higher than the height of the toe where the foot sits.

Outsole​​: The outsole, also known as the sole, is the base of the shoe and features treads and grips that are the shoe’s last line of defense between you and the ground.

Midsole​​: The midsole of a shoe is where the cushioning lies. Your foot sits on the midsole, separated by the in-sole (the removable sole inside your shoe), and provides the support you need. Often times, the midsole is made of ​Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA).

 

Shoe type

Stability​​: Mild pronators, or heavier-set runners, should consider stability footwear as the shoe doesn’t have as much support as a motion control shoe, but more than neutral footwear. Stability footwear often features extra support (called a medial post) on the inner side of the shoe side to prevent arch collapse.

Neutral​​: Shoes with neutral cushioning are built uniformly with no additional features to compensate for your gait/running pattern. Cushioning is often softer than motion control and stability footwear and is designed to absorb impact rather than correct running form. Regular pronators and supinators should consider neutral footwear.

Motion control​​: Motion control shoes are pretty self-explanatory; they’re designed to control the side-to-side range of motion of your gait. So, if you overpronate, motion control shoes have systems in place including stiffer heels and additional support on the inner medial side of the shoe to prevent additional inward roll beyond what is normal. Mild- to severe-overpronators should consider motion control shoes.

Orthotics​​: Custom insole inserts based on your feet designed to provide corrective measures to your running gait.

All these terms are good to know when deciding on a pair of shoes. For more in-person assistance, to have your gait analyzed, feet properly measured or to see if custom orthotics are right for you, check out Toronto’s Feet First Clinic on Bloor Street West. You can contact us at 416-769-3338(FEET).

Why Do You Get Shin Splints When You Run?

You’re halfway through your morning run when a nagging pain starts to form in your shins. The more strides you take, the stronger the ache gets. You push yourself a little further, but the feeling gets too distracting to continue. You stop running, catch your breath and decide you’ll have to give up on your workout for the day. It seems like you’re dealing with the common running injury called shin splints.

What Is It?

The medical condition medial tibial stress syndrome refers to frequent tenderness or pain along the shinbone, usually in the middle of exercising. People may also suffer mild swelling in the area. The syndrome is commonly called “shin splints.” 

Why Do You Have It?

It could be that your workout routine is too intense. If you’ve taken a long break from running and push yourself too hard, your legs could be protesting your process. 

The other possible cause of your shin splints could be your gait. Toe-running, heel-running and overpronation can all lead to the painful syndrome. When weight is distributed unevenly across the foot, other muscles work harder to get through the movements.

One of the benefits of using video gait analysis is that a professional can identify problems with your weight displacement while taking forward strides. It’s difficult for someone to notice factors like weight distribution or impact on their own. A chiropodist can carefully review a video of the exercise and make a thorough analysis of abnormalities and difficulties that need to be addressed.

If you’re dealing with shin splints, you should book an appointment today to participate in video gait analysis and to get a better idea of why you’re suffering when you run.

How Do You Fix It?

For immediate relief, runners should stop their workout. They should take a break from exercise, ice their legs for 10 to 20 minutes and take an over-the-counter pain reliever if necessary.

Start by modifying your exercise routine to see if that makes a difference. You can either cut back on the distance, slow down your pace or reduce your workout frequency. Choosing a softer terrain could also make running easier on your legs in comparison to the pavement. Once you establish limits that work better with your physical capabilities, you may find that the pain doesn’t return.

For a long-term solution, practice exercises for shin splints on a daily basis to strengthen the muscles that absorb the ground’s impact. Runner’s World recommends movements like toe curls, toe flexes, heel drops and single-legged bridges.

One of the most effective ways to prevent shin splints is to get the right running shoes — they should have strong arch-support, shock-absorption and overall stability. If you don’t want to get brand new shoes, you can give your arches support with custom orthotics. These will be made to match the shape of your feet and the height of your arches to increase comfort levels and decrease the risk of injury.

Anyone who suffers foot pains after running or working out should also consider getting custom orthotics made for their running shoes. They can manage and correct functional foot abnormalities and thereby the pain that results from conditions like Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis and heel spurs. Not only will the shins be safe from irritation— the rest of your lower body will be, too.

A small level of discomfort is expected when you go for a challenging run, but, you shouldn’t be in pain every time you commit to a workout. A nagging case of shin splints is your body’s way of telling you that something needs to change, whether it’s your routine, your gait or your footwear.