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Tips on How to be Marathon Ready

As you’re training for a marathon you’re stretching your hamstrings, quads and keeping track of your time but its also important to prepare your feet for that big day. Here are some tips to consider:

Footwear

Proper footwear for your foot type is one of the most important things when running a marathon.

Improper footwear can cause blisters, calluses, numbness and even muscle/tendon injuries. It is important to be measured properly for footwear to make sure the length, width and shoe type is right for your foot. Always buy your footwear from a reliable store that is familiar with shoe brands and the type of footwear which is ideal for your foot.

Footwear should also be replaced every 400-500 miles as the support in the shoe wears out and can cause injuries.

At Feet First, all of our staff are extremely knowledgeable in fitting the shoes and the types of running shoes which are an ideal  fit for your foot type. If you are unsure about your foot type, come in for a foot assessment by our Chiropodists who will do a full biomechanical assessment and gait analysis to find the perfect shoe type for your feet.

 

Custom Made Orthotics

Sometimes proper fitting footwear is not enough to prevent your feet from injury. Orthotics can help with proper alignment and stability in your ankles, knees and hips. Orthotics can also help with shock absorption to help save your joints from damage. Visit one of our Chiropodists to get a foot assessment and see if you would benefit from orthotics.

 

Socks

Improper fitting socks are the main cause of blisters and abrasions during a marathon. If your socks are too loose, they can cause a lot of rubbing or blisters; if they’re too tight, then your toenails can be bruised. Also, be sure to check the material – 100% cotton socks can hold in too much moisture. It is better to buy Bamboo material or even synthetics that have quick dry or Moisture wicking technology.

 

Creams

Moisturizing should be a part of daily foot care. It helps with preventing dry skin and cracks. While training for a marathon, it is necessary to moisturize before and after training. Be sure to never moisturize in between the toes as this can promote fungal growth. The following products are highly recommended:

  • Gehwol Hydrolipid lotion
  • Gehwol Foot Cream
  • Gehwol Deodorant Cream

 

Compression stockings

If your feet get swollen while you are running or right afterward, consider wearing sports compression stockings. Graduated compression socks have been shown to improve an athlete’s performance and aid in a faster recovery. When blood is properly circulated, it restores the oxygen and nutrients to tired muscles that are exhausted during exercise.

 

Get a Medical Pedicure

Before a marathon, it is a great idea to see one of our Chiropodists to get your feet checked out and get treatment. A medical pedicure consists of having your nails trimmed (especially before the race to prevent losing a toenail), calluses debrided and to make sure there are no open sores or blisters which can affect your training and performance.

 

Daily Foot Exercises

As you are preparing for a marathon, you’re strengthening and conditioning your large muscles but you also need to consider conditioning your muscles in your feet. Many injuries are directly related to weak feet and improper gait. The following exercises can be done 2-3 times a day:

  • Towel pick-ups: try to pick up a towel on the floor with your toes for 30 seconds
  • Heel raises: raise your heels by standing on your toes 30 times
  • Ankle rolling: roll your ankles clockwise 10 times and counterclockwise 10 times
  • Alphabet – spell the alphabet with your toes pointed
  • Heel drops – at the edge of stairs, drop your heels below the step and hold for 20 seconds

Last-minute Back to School Preparations For Your Feet

With summer over and the back to school rush, we have prepared a small checklist/guideline to get you and your little ones ready for the new school year.

 

Back to School Checklist:

Footwear

Often times the transition from summer sandals to closed toe shoes can be hard on the feet for children and adults alike. Be sure to check your children’s shoes to make sure they still fit by checking the following:

    •  Length: there should be at least 1-2 finger spaces from the end of their longest toe
    • Heel: should be fitting just right – not too snug or too loose as this can cause rubbing.
    • Width: should be roomy and you should not feel their toes bulging
    • Toebox: should be wide and deep – you shouldn’t be able to see toes squished at the top of the shoe

Socks

The right type of sock can make a huge difference in eliminating odours and damp socks.

Check the following:

    • Materials:  Avoid buying synthetic material socks (acrylic, polyester and polypropylene); these breed odour causing bacteria and hold moisture in. If your child has very sweaty feet, avoid buying 100% Cotton socks. Cotton helps to retain heat which allows the growth of bacteria. The most breathable sock material is Bamboo which also has natural antimicrobial properties.
    • Fit: If socks are too short they will cause the toes to either rub (causing blisters) or curl (causing nail and skin issues). When purchasing socks, always check the shoe size associated with the fit on the label. When replacing shoes, be sure to also check the size of the socks and replace them accordingly.
    • Daily changes: Be sure to check that your child is changing their socks daily. If they have very sweaty feet, it would be beneficial to send them to school with an extra pair of breathable Bamboo socks to change into during lunch.

Creams

 If your child suffers from stinky sweaty feet, be sure to try the following products:

  • Gehwol deodorant foot cream – 24 hour relief with natural Manuka extract which has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties.
  • Foot and Shoe deodorant spray – spray once a day to eliminate bacterial and fungal spores from your skin and your footwear.

feet first clinic blog image

Foot pain

If your child has been complaining about foot, knee or hip pain, it would be a great idea to get them in for a Biomechanical analysis and Video Gait Analysis with one of our Chiropodists. It is common for children to experience some sort of growing pains. However, if the pain persists for weeks to months or with a specific activity such as running, biking, walking, there could be more serious issues at hand.

At Feet First Clinic, we assess your child’s feet, muscular strength, gait and footwear to make sure it is specific for their foot type and age.

Metatarsalgia: Treating your forefoot pain right

Metatarsalgia is very broad term that describes pain at the ball of the foot or forefoot region where the metatarsal bones are located. It is usually a result of overuse or faulty foot mechanics leading to persistent stress to the area followed by inflammation of the bone and/or soft tissues.

You can be experiencing pain at the balls of your feet because of various reasons ranging from a deep corn to a stress fracture of the 2nd metatarsal bone. Pain can stem from all levels of tissue and may be caused by but is not limited to the following:

  • Pathological callus/corn
  • Ganglion cyst
  • Capsulitis
  • Bursitis
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Nerve entrapment
  • Stress fracture
  • Arthritis

In general, to treat your forefoot pain, you must:

Reduce inflammation

Rest, ice, elevate and massage the area of pain with anti-inflammatory gels and topical creams. If absolutely necessary, a Licensed Chiropodist will prescribe an oral anti-inflammatory to help with manage your pain.

Change your footwear and get custom made orthotics

Wearing tight-fitting shoes with a high heel will only make the problem worse. Rather, wear shoes with a low heel and a wider toe box to reduce compressional stress to the balls of your feet. If the root problem is faulty foot mechanics, corrective custom foot orthotics will help to increase support and stability in the foot and ankle as well as redistribute plantar pressures. Essentially, with a custom orthotic, the goal is to remove excessive pressures from the balls of the feet by improving general foot function and/or controlling foot movement. There a number of different additions a health care professional can make to the orthotic for someone who is experiencing metatarsalgia. A common addition is a metatarsal dome pad or a plantar metatarsal pad with cut-outs. Both work to offload or reduce pressures from the area of concern.

If you are experiencing pain at the ball of your foot, book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists at Feet First Clinic. The appointment will include a thorough assessment followed by a proposed treatment plan that will get you on the path to pain-free feet today!

What You Can Do to Stop Terrible Foot Odour

The likeliest cause for persistent foot odour is sweaty feet. Bacteria like warm, moist environments, so shoes and socks that are damp from sweat are the perfect spots for it to grow. When you don’t address the moisture, the bacteria thrive and create a pungent smell. If you want to stop feeling humiliated by foot odour, you should read ahead.

Start by Cleaning Your Shoes

The easiest cleaning method is to sprinkle baking soda inside of the smelly shoes and then leave them alone for 24 hours. Baking soda will soak up the moisture and remove the odour. All you have to do is shake the powder out of the shoe later.

Another quick trick is to put the smelly shoes in a large plastic zip-lock bag and then store them in the freezer for a few hours. The cold temperature will kill the bacteria in the shoes in the same way that it kills bacteria living on food. Or, you could dry the shoes outdoors in the direct sunshine. The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight is a natural disinfectant.

Certain types of shoes can be tossed in the washing machine. A pair of tennis canvas shoes? Perfect. A pair of leather dress shoes? No.

If you want to clean shoes in the washing machine, you should remove the laces and insoles ahead of time. If the laces or insoles look too worn down, replace them. Put the shoes inside of a pillowcase or mesh bag and then put it in the drum. Add in some towels. These steps will keep the shoes from bouncing around.

Run the machine on a gentle cycle with cold water, using liquid detergent and a splash of vinegar. When the cycle is over, let the shoes air dry. Stuff them with newspaper. The paper will absorb the moisture and help them retain their shape.

Check for Fungus

A foul odour sometimes accompanies the foot fungus commonly known as Athlete’s Foot (tinea pedis). Inspect your feet for other symptoms like flaky skin, redness and itching/burning sensations on your feet.

Toe fungus is another cause of foot odour. A bad case of Athlete’s Foot can spread to the toenails, meaning that you could have both conditions.

There are some home remedies for foot fungus and odour like black tea soaks and tea tree oil, but you’re better off trying a topical anti-fungal cream from the pharmacy. If that doesn’t work, you may need a prescription of anti-fungal pills.

If the problem keeps coming back, you might need to visit a foot clinic and have an appointment with a chiropodist. They could suggest reducing the thickness of the toenail to allow the anti-fungal treatment to penetrate better.

Practice Proper Foot Hygiene

Of course, the ultimate way to prevent foot odour is to practice good hygiene habits. You won’t have to deal with any future foot problems when you take care of them in the present.

Here are some simple good hygiene habits that will lessen your chances of foot odour:

  • Wash your feet every day with soap and water.
  • Always wear socks with your closed-toe shoes.
  • Change your socks when they get sweaty.
  • Rotate your shoes every day.
  • Air out your shoes after every use.
  • Don’t store your shoes in an enclosed space, like a gym bag.

Foot odour doesn’t have to follow you for the rest of your life. When you take good care of your shoes and your feet, you’ll find that that the odour goes away. In a matter of weeks, you’ll be comfortable taking off your sneakers in front of company.

Last Minute Long Weekend Plans

For most, Labour Day weekend marks the end of the summer season. It’s your last chance to enjoy your favourite outdoor activities in the summer heat before you have to hit the books or get back into the grind, so make the most of it!

Whether you are planning one last weekend away at the cottage, a camping trip with friends, or a hike at sunrise, don’t forget to think about the health of your feet so they don’t get in the way of ending your summer on a blissful and memorable note.

 

Things to consider on what footwear to wear best this Long Weekend:

 

  1. Base your footwear choices according to the activity.

If you’re going to be playing baseball or soccer, wear cleats to reinforce traction. If you’re going on a hike, wear proper hiking shoes with a rigid shank to ensure firmness when walking on rocky terrain. Even if you’re going to explore the hidden gems in your hometown, wear a supportive shoe with good cushioning in the sole. Making the right footwear choices will impact the longevity of your day, provide a stable foundation for better posture, and significantly reduce the risk of injury.

birken
Birkenstock – Arizona Soft
NAOT
NAOT – Pixie Sandal

 

2. Ensure proper fit.

Have your foot measured when you’re buying a new pair of shoes and always try them on in the store before purchasing. There should be about a finger’s width distance from your longest toe to the end of the shoe. Your footwear should also follow the general shape and width of your foot. Avoid heels higher than 2 inches and shoes with a narrow toe box. Inadequate width can result in compression of the tissues, corns, and calluses. Improperly fitted shoes increase the risk of bunions and Morton’s Neuroma.

 

3. If you own a pair of custom foot orthotics, use them!

Don’t let your orthotics go to waste. Your Chiropodist would have made your orthotics with your footwear and lifestyle in mind and therefore, should be used on a day to day basis. A custom foot orthotic is a device that works to control and improve the function of the foot, alleviating symptoms experienced in the foot and lower extremity by providing support or stability -perfect for a long day on your feet!

4. Have a first-aid kit ready.

Lastly, if you plan to be in the outskirts of the busy city, keep a first-aid kit handy with basic supplies such as a topical antibiotic, alcohol wipes, gauze, tape, bandages and an ice/heat pack. That way, if anything were to happen, you will be prepared and can tend to your or your loved ones’ needs right away.

 

Stay safe and healthy this upcoming long weekend everyone!

 

For foot problems don’t ignore the pain make sure to call and book an appointment with a Licensed Chiropodist at Feet First Clinic.

Everything You Need to Know About High Arched Feet

Most people are aware a flat foot has its mechanical flaws, but less people know a high arched foot has its cons too. A foot with a high arch is a common structural abnormality that results in increased pressures on the heel and the ball of the foot.

This foot type is characterized by a degree of rigidity in the joints and limited pronation during gait. Pronation is the inward rolling of the ankles towards the arches of the foot and although too much pronation leads to complications, lack of it results in poor shock absorption and therefore, immense amounts of stress on your ankles and lower leg. In other words, your feet require a certain amount of pronation to absorb the force exerted on the them when making contact with the ground to then use this ground reaction force to help you propel forward.

Due to the limitations described above, a high arched foot has an increased risk of the following pathologies:

The good news is the right footwear choices and a well-fitted custom foot orthotics can do a great deal in relieving pain and discomfort as well as improve overall foot function.

When choosing footwear for a high arched foot, look for shoes that provide adequate cushioning and shock absorption. A contoured footbed/arch support as well as a sole made of a dense foam will likely do the trick.

 

gel nimbus 20
Asics Gel Nimbus 20

Over the counter insoles may also help to redistribute the pressures along the bottoms of your feet as well as provide extra cushioning.

 

superfeet insoles
Superfeet Over The Counter Insoles

Special additions such as heel cushions, arch pads, offloading pads, shock absorbing top layers, and postings may be added as needed and as recommended by the prescribing health care professional.

Book an appointment with a Licensed Chiropodist at Feet First Clinic for a biomechanical assessment and gait analysis to determine the right pair of orthotics for your feet.

With custom foot orthotics, you are guaranteed a functional device that is uniquely made for your foot.

You only got two feet. Take care of them! Book an appointment today!

How to treat Blisters

0What are blisters and what causes them?

Blisters are small, fluid-filled bubbles on the upper most layer of the skin. The blisters on your feet are most often caused by friction, although they can also occur as a result of extreme temperatures, chemical exposure, and certain medical conditions. Increased moisture or damp conditions increase the chance of a blister forming. The blister forms to actually protect and cushion the layers of skin underneath it, allowing the skin time to heal. The fluid within the blister can also vary from plasma-like fluid leaking from the cells as the top layer separates from the layer beneath it, to blood and even pus depending on the cause. If a small blood vessel at the surface of the skin ruptures, blood will leak in to the blister, giving it a dark bluish-purple appearance.

Treatment

More often than not, blisters will resolve on their own with time. Although it is tempting to pop and peel them, try to leave them alone. The roof of a blister helps to protect your skin from infection and removing it prematurely results in a wound. If you leave them alone, you will find that as new skin grows underneath it, the fluid inside the blister with reabsorb into the skin and the roof of the blister will dry and peel off naturally. While the blister is fresh, wear shoes that reduce pressure in the area of concern or avoid the shoes that caused them in the first place. In addition, covering it with a band-aid or gauze will provide added protection.

If you’re prone to blisters and you have diabetes, book an appointment with a Chiropodist today to have him or her assess your feet and treat them accordingly. Additional measures may need to be made to ensure blisters do not reoccur as they put you at risk for additional complications.

Prevention

There are a number of things you can do to help prevent blisters. First and foremost, ensure you are wearing shoes that properly fit your feet and that are comfortable. If you have a new pair of shoes, gradually break them in rather than wearing them for an eight-hour day the first time you decide to wear them. Also, reduce the moisture at your feet by always wearing socks when wearing closed toe shoes, opting for moisture-wicking socks especially during exercise, and applying foot powders either directly on the foot or even sprinkling some in your socks if your feet tend to perspire excessively. Finally, if you know you are prone to blisters at a certain area on your foot, be proactive and apply a piece of moleskin to reduce friction and shear forces.

Blisters may seem like a small problem, but they can be rather painful. Pain with every step throughout your day can really impact the quality of your life.

Remember, it’s the little things that can make a big difference!

For all your foot concerns and for all products mentioned above check out our Toronto Foot Clinic!

To schedule best foot care treatment with our licensed Chiropodists (foot specialists) check out our website for more inquiries or call 416-769-FEET(3338).

Feet First Clinic is open Monday-Friday 10am-7pm, Saturdays 10am-4pm. You do not need a referral to become a patient at our Foot clinic.

Last Minute Summer Foot Checklist

Summer in Toronto is spectacular. The sun is out, people have come out of hibernation, and are spending more time outdoors; walking instead of driving or taking public transit, participating in sport activities, attending local festivals, camping, hiking, and more!

 

However, with increased activity, we can’t forget about our feet. In fact, it’s all the more reason we should give our feet a little more love and care. To get you started, here is your go-to checklist for healthy feet this summer season.

  1. Shoes

This can’t be stressed enough: Wear the proper shoes for the activity and for your foot type. Footwear can make a drastic difference and dictate whether or not you come home with sore feet at the end of the day. This summer try opting for shoes that help your feet rather than work against them.  Limit the use of heels, flats, and flip flops; rather invest in a good running or walking shoe. Look for shoes with good support, cushioning, adequate torsional stability, and that accommodates the natural shape of your foot.

 

  1. Cream

IMG_7468

Keep your feet moisturized. Wearing sandals and open toe shoes can really dry out your skin and calluses may build up. Overly dry skin loses its elasticity and can tear, which can increase your chances of contracting an infection. You can prevent this by simply applying moisturizer every day to your feet, preferably one that contains the ingredient urea. Urea helps your skin to absorb moisture as well as exfoliates it from dead skin cells, leaving it soft and smooth.

 

  1. Bath salts

epsom-salt-detox-bath-remove-toxins-diy-naturally

If your feet feel sore or tired, try a foot bath with Epsom salt. Epsom salt helps to reduce inflammation and swelling, irrigates infections or wounds, and even controls unpleasant odors. Make the experience even more therapeutic by adding your favourite scented essential oil.

 

  1. Toe supplies (band-aids, corn pads) and general foot care

Finally, if you notice a blister or experience pain or tenderness from excessive friction, make use of the foot care supplies available at your local drug store such as band-aids, silicone toe separators, and corn pads. Maintaining proper foot hygiene such as keeping your toenails trimmed and feet clean will also reduce risks of any complications. Wash your feet daily and wear a clean and dry pair of socks with closed toe shoes every day.

 

Summers in Toronto are great, but they’re short! So, get out there and take full advantage of it while it lasts. Don’t let your feet get in the way of having your most memorable summer yet.

Smelly feet? Don’t fret!

Smelly feet are annoying and downright embarrassing! It makes you self-conscious and anxious about having to take off your shoes in front of other people, sometimes even your loved ones. Continue reading if you want to find out more about what causes stinky feet and what you can do to treat and prevent it for good.

 

Malodorous feet are most often caused by excessive sweating, which can be due to standing on your feet for an extensive period of time, stress, and sometimes a common disorder called hyperhidrosis. When you sweat, the bacteria on your feet break down the sweat and in doing so, release an unpleasant odor. If you’re wearing closed toe shoes and your feet are sweating all day, the shoes will become damp; this dark, moist environment creates a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to thrive.

 

So, then how can we treat and prevent smelly feet? The answer is in controlling moisture and bacteria overgrowth. Follow these steps to do just that!

 

  1. Make sure you are washing your feet daily (sometimes even twice a day if need be) with an antibacterial soap. Maintain good foot hygiene by drying well between the toes after washing and keeping the toenails relatively short and free of debris. Once in a while, exfoliating the dead skin off your feet will also help reduce bacterial load.

 

  1. Allow your shoes to fully dry between wears. It is sometimes necessary to alternate between two shoes to allow sufficient dry time.

 

  1. Wear a clean and dry pair of socks each day. Consider even carrying an extra pair of socks with you if you know your feet will sweat more that day. Simply wearing socks with your closed-toe shoes can also reduce sweating. Choose materials such as cotton or wool or specifically socks with a moisture-wicking property.

 

  1. Use deodorants or antiperspirants on the foot. At Feet First Clinic, Gehwol products are available for purchase, such as the Foot and Deodorant Spray. This along with several others help to control moisture and odors on the foot and in the shoe.

foot and shoe deodorizing spray

  1. Insoles with a deodorizing, antifungal, antibacterial, and absorbent effect are also available at Feet First Clinic and may be beneficial to help control growth of unwanted micro-organisms as well as control odor.

 

Sometimes, malodorous feet can also be caused by a fungal infection in the foot. If the malodor is accompanied with pain, itchiness, bleeding, or pus, see a Registered Chiropodist at Feet First Clinic for the necessary treatment. You may require a prescription for an oral or topical antifungal or antibiotic.

 

Stay informed and gain your confidence back by saying good-bye to smelly feet today!

3 Types Of Footwear

Your shoes are one of your greatest assets. You wear them for hours on end, for days, weeks, and months. Knowing the shoe for you is important, but narrowing them down based on your specific foot type can be challenging. To help educate you on the differences, we break down the three most common types of footwear.

Before we get into that, it’s important to learn the structure of your feet, specifically your arch, as it provides some hints as to what the best shoe might be for you.

A simple test, called the wet test, exists to help determine your arch type. Essentially, the wet test involves dipping the soles of your feet into water and to next stand on a piece of paper. When you step off, you should see an imprint of your foot which will make evident your arch type.

Seeing half of your arch (the middle portion of your foot) indicates a normal arch while seeing the majority of your arch on the paper indicates you have flat feet (or a low arch). Conversely, seeing minimal arch indicates a high arch. See below for a visual.

Arch Types

You can learn more about the wet test and the specifics of your arch height at this link.

Typically, those with flat feet can benefit from motion control footwear while those with normal and high arches are better suited for stability and neutral footwear, with stability being just a bit more ‘shoe’ in terms of support, depending on your preference. But above all, and studies support this, choose shoes that are most comfortable and that work for you.

Motion Control

Motion control footwear is the most supportive, and corrective, forms of shoes. To help with overpronation (when your foot rolls too far inward), motion control footwear have medial support built into the midsole to help limit the damage and wear to the inner portion of your shoe. By having medial support, the shoe is designed to essentially stop the inward rolling of your gait, and in theory, can help lessen the chance at injury if the fit is right. Motion control shoes can also feature a stiff heel, firmer cushioning, and overall less flexibility through the midsole.

Common examples of motion control footwear include Saucony Stabil CS3 and Asics Gel Foundation.

It’s important to note that the amount of cushioning is not necessarily an indicator of the type of shoe, but rather it’s a combination of medial features, stiff plastic, and other factors. Cushioning can also be stiff or soft depending on the denseness and type of foam.

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, but not as rigid as motion control footwear.

Stability and motion control shoes serve the same purpose: to prevent excessive lateral movement for your foot. The main difference is that stability shoes are a dumbed-down version of motion control shoes and are a nice medium between having support under your arch and being too supportive (and heavy). Stability aims to correct mild overpronation while motion control shoes are designed to lessen the impact of extreme overpronation.

Common lines of stability footwear include the Saucony Guide and the Asics Gel Kayano.

Neutral

As the name implies, neutral cushioned shoes do not have medical support or features within the midsole. With neutral shoes, there is simply cushioning, and no wedges or stiff plastic support along the arch to prevent any sort of under or overcompensation when walking or running. Overall, the structure of the shoe is relatively symmetrical.

Regular pronators and supinators (when your foot fails to roll inwards and applies pressure to your outer foot) should consider using neutral shoes because any stability features would be moot. Common examples of neutral shoes are the Saucony Kinvara, Asics Cumulus, and Saucony Ride.

Ultimately, and as the Mayo Clinic notes, “there is no one best shoe or a particular foot type, and comfort and proper fit should be the main criteria you use when selecting new athletic 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).