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Protecting Your Body on the Hockey Rink

Hockey is the number one sport in Canada and this winter sport has been enjoyed around the world as well for over 100 years!

Not only is hockey extremely fun to play, but it’s also an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise and vigorously works your lower body. Playing hockey increases your heart rate, which improves your body’s ability to build muscle and burn calories.

Hockey is also beneficial for your mental health — getting vigorous amounts of exercise releases endorphins. This puts you in a better mood and gives you additional energy. Playing hockey can also keep your brain sharp; this is because it can help improve your problem solving and decision-making skills.

However, athletes should know that playing hockey comes with its fair share of risks. Hockey is one of the more aggressive sports —players can potentially experience concussions, lose teeth and break bones.

Hockey players are also prone to several foot and ankle related injuries. One of the most common hockey injuries is known as lace bite (also occasionally referred to as skate bite), which occurs when you tie your laces too tight.

Lace bite causes players to experience:

  • Ankle pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

Some hockey players may experience less-common issues like sprained ankles, fractured bones or peroneal tendonitis (a chronic form of tendonitis caused by excessive overuse).

We know that a few potential injuries won’t stop hockey players from doing what they love; that’s why our team at Feet First Clinic has put together this list of safety tips.

For those that aren’t familiar with our work, Feet First Clinic is a foot clinic in Toronto that offers a diverse variety of foot and ankle-related services.

Aside from offering unique services, like shoe stretching and measuring, our team of foot specialists also offers an assortment of foot and ankle products, like custom-made orthotics. These products can help you deal with current injuries and prevent future incidences from occurring.

Are you looking for effective ways to keep your body safe while playing hockey? Feel free to continue reading!

Always Wear a Helmet

Practically every hockey league (both professional and recreational) require players to wear a helmet. This requirement, which was put in place in 1979, is essential for several reasons.

As mentioned earlier, hockey players are prone to head injuries, like concussions. Studies show that concussions account for approximately 2% to 14% of all hockey injuries. Additionally, concussions account for about 15% to 30% of all hockey-related head trauma.

Although concussions are occasionally unavoidable, wearing a high-quality helmet can drastically decrease your risk of experiencing head trauma.

So, why are modern helmets so effective? First of all, modern hockey helmets are made out of high-quality materials like vinyl nitrile and expanded polypropylene foam. These materials are made to disperse and absorb large amounts of impact.

Additionally, modern hockey helmets are form-fitting; they are designed to cup and protect the orbital protuberance (the back of your head).

Are you looking to protect more than just your head? Then you may want to consider buying a helmet with a visor and/or ear guards. These helmets are made to protect the remainder of your face from stray pucks, sticks and skates.

Wear Skates That Have the Right “Fit”

Having the right pair of skates is integral, especially if you want to perform at the best of your ability.

Are you new to the sport? Then you may not know that buying a pair of skates is quite different from picking out a pair of shoes.

Here are several key differences that you need to keep in mind:

Size

The first thing you need to consider is the size. While looking for new skates, you need to remember that hockey skates have a different sizing system than traditional walking shoes. You should generally look for hockey skates that are one to one and a half sizes smaller than your everyday footwear.

Are you buying skates for your child? Then you may want to get a pair that has a little bit of wiggle room. This way, if your child has a growth spurt, you won’t have to replace their skates instantly.

Tightness

While playing hockey, athletes want their ankles to feel stable and secure. Wearing loose-fitting skates strains your ankles and can increase the risk of sprained or broken bones.

Before hitting the ice, make sure that neither of your laces are untied. This will not only help you feel secure, but it will also lower the chances of you accidentally tripping.

For extra security, you may want to wear a pair of thick socks. This will help keep your feet warm and fill in any additional space in the skates.

Heel Movement

Can you lift or shift your heels in your current pair of skates?

When your skates fit properly, you shouldn’t be able to move your heels at all. Instead, they should feel snug and continuously in one position.

Wearing skates that don’t fit properly can cause your heels to shift in place. This can make your skin feel rough and potentially lead to painful blisters on the sides of your feet.

If you’ve noticed that your skates are impacting your heels, you should consider getting over the counter insoles like Superfeet.

Superfeet is an over-the-counter insole company that offers a wide range of products. Each product is made to benefit the wearer in specific situations.

For instance, hockey players can benefit from wearing a pair of Superfeet’s yellow insoles. Superfeet’s yellow insoles are designed to fit perfectly in hockey skates. These hockey skate insoles also feature a flexible heel cradle, which is designed to keep your heels in one place at all times.

Stay Hydrated

During the sweltering summer heat, athletes are constantly reminded to drink as much water as possible — however, if you’re playing sports in the winter, like hockey, you still need to drink a sufficient amount of fluids.

Drinking water is incredibly beneficial for athletes, as staying hydrated can:

  • Improve your joint and muscle health
  • Regulate your body temperature
  • Prevent and lessen the severity of muscle cramps

Failing to drink enough water can lead to dehydration; this happens when your body uses more fluids than it’s receiving. When this happens, your body slowly begins to shut down, and in some severe cases, dehydration can lead to short-term hospitalization.

It can be challenging to pinpoint exactly when you (or one of your teammates) are feeling dehydrated, as other common issues share many of the symptoms.

If you don’t know what to look for, then keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Dizzy/light-headed feeling
  • Dry mouth
  • Upset stomach
  • Elevated heart rate

To be safe, you should aim to drink at least 8 oz of water before playing. During the game, you should try to consume anywhere from 7 oz to 10 oz. Finally, you should have no less than 8 oz of water after the game is finished. This may seem like a lot of fluid, but your body will appreciate it.

Wear Compression Stockings

These garments are designed to apply therapeutic pressure to your feet and ankles.

Wearing compression stockings can help improve the circulation in your lower body and decreases fluid retention. Fluid retention (also referred to as water retention and edema) generally stems from prolonged periods of sitting and/or standing. This condition causes extremities, likes your feet, to swell up and feel uncomfortable.

Additionally, compression stockings are a cost-effective tool for reducing and managing blood clots. After experiencing a blood clot, some patients are advised to wear compression stockings for as long as two years.

So, why are compression stockings so vital for hockey players? In short, compression stockings can improve your athletic performance. This is because compression stockings can:

  • Increase your endurance
  • Minimize muscle strain
  • Improve your balance and stability
  • Lower the risk of shins splits and other forms of soft tissue damage

Additionally, if you wear compression stockings while doing your daily feet exercises, you can drastically decrease your recovery time (for lower-body injuries) — this means you can spend less time on the couch and more time on the ice.

If you’re a female hockey player, you most likely want something that fits your body. That’s why many companies produce compression stockings for women as well as men. This makes them an accessible tool for both genders.

With all of this in mind, it’s clear why athletes should always wear a pair of compression stockings underneath their uniforms.

Whether you’re a professional hockey player or just want to have some fun with your friends, there’s no denying that hockey is an exhilarating sport. It’s social, competitive and is the ideal winter activity. However, hockey is also a dangerous sport, and if you’re not paying attention, you can easily injure yourself.

If you don’t want this to happen to you, then you should make sure that you always wear a helmet and have the right pair of skates. You should also drink lots of fluids and purchase a pair of compression stockings.

Heel Spurs: What Should I Do?

What is a Heel Spur?

The human body is a complex and magnificent system that adapts and learns, continuously finding ways to build and strengthen itself through its experiences. One example of this is our bones’ response to stress.
Soft tissues such as ligaments and tendons insert themselves into bones; ligaments connect bone to bone while tendons connect muscle to bone. When the area of insertion undergoes injury or inflammation from stress or strain of these soft tissues, the bone may respond by depositing new bone on existing bone. This is the bone’s way of fortifying itself.

A heel spur is just that. It is a bony protrusion or growth from the underside of the heel bone that forms over time due to repetitive muscular and ligament strain from activities such as walking, running, and jumping.

Contrary to popular belief, a heel spur is simply the reaction to the problem at hand, and not necessarily the cause of your pain. In fact, most heel spurs are asymptomatic.
It is often associated with a condition known as plantar fasciitis, which is the inflammation of the fibrous tissue that connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot.

Rather than the heel spur itself being the culprit, more often than not, it is the associated soft tissue injury such as plantar fasciitis that causes sharp pain at the heel with the first steps in the morning or with initial steps after rest. Some report the pain turns into a dull ache and comes back with increased activity throughout the day.

Am I at Risk?

You can increase your risk of developing a heel spur and associated heel pain due to soft tissue injury by:

  • wearing unsupported shoes
  • not addressing current foot issues
  • abnormal gait
  • poor foot posture
  • increased time on your feet
  • vigorous sports or activities
  • weight

All these factors put high stress and strain on the soft tissues of your feet, specifically the plantar fascia.

How do I Manage the Pain?

Heel spurs are managed by rest, exercise, custom foot orthotics, supportive footwear, a night splint, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, and/or cortisone injections.

Rest and exercise are both highly recommended when dealing with a heel spur and associated soft tissue strains. Stretching the muscles and tendons of the foot will reduce tension and resistance training will help to strengthen them.

Calf stretches against the wall and/or on a step are particularly helpful. Remember to hold your stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat the exercise 10 times on each leg and do this set a couple times throughout the day to get the best results.
Look for shoes that have a cushioned sole with arch support rather than a shoe that is completely flat.

A good shoe will also have good torsional stability, a firm heel counter, and a roomy toe box. In addition, for indoor shoes, opt for sandals or slippers with a cork foot bed that has arch support and straps around the forefoot, midfoot, and ankle.
Wearing a night splint while you sleep may also help to keep the plantar fascia elongate and therefore deplete tension.
around the forefoot, midfoot, and ankle. Wearing a night splint while you sleep may also help to keep the plantar fascia elongated and therefore deplete tension.

Talk to your local chiropodist for advice on custom foot orthotics. A custom insole will support your foot in all the right places and correct any harmful compensations or abnormal gait patterns. Furthermore, a heel pad may be added to provide additional cushioning or a horseshoe pad to offload a specific localized area of pain on the heel.

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If you are in an immense amount of pain, resulting in limitations to your mobility, talk to a Toronto foot specialist about cortisone injections, which may provide temporary, but effective relief. You can get up to three cortisone shots per year.
If conservative measures fail to relieve your pain within a year, surgery to either release the plantar fascia or remove the bone spur may be indicated to restore quality of life.

What Happens if it’s Not Treated?

Unfortunately, a heel spur or any bone spur for that matter is permanent and cannot be removed without surgery. However, the pain associated with a heel spur will likely worsen and become chronic if you do not seek treatment to address the soft tissue injury.
This can lead to changes in your gait to accommodate and compensate for the pain, resulting in a limping gait and secondary injuries to the hip and knee joints. If you avoid walking or activity all together, the chances of weight gain are high. On the other hand, most of individuals with heel pain will experience resolution when treated using conservative methods.

When Should I See a Foot Specialist?

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Any kind of foot pain is a valid reason to see a general physician, licensed chiropodist, or podiatrist for a consultation.

Chiropodists or podiatrists are primary health care professionals who specialize in the assessment, management, and prevention of dysfunctions, disorders, and diseases of the foot. The sooner you see an appropriate health care practitioner for heel pain or a heel spur, the sooner you will experience relief of your pain.

What Can I do to Prevent Spurs?

To help prevent heel spurs you can reduce injury to the heel bone by wearing supportive footwear. Always remember to stretch before and after sport activity, and gradually increase your level of activity rather than engaging in too much activity too quickly.

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Pay attention to the shape and movement of your feet to detect any anomalies with your gait pattern, and avoid long periods of standing.
You can also increase flexibility in your calf and plantar fascia with daily stretches, avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces, and maintain a healthy body weight.

How Can I be Sure it’s a Heel Spur?

A bone spur can only be definitively diagnosed with diagnostic imaging such as, x-ray or ultrasound. If you have a very localized area of pain on your heel(s) and experience pain with your first steps in the morning, talk to your doctor about these tests to determine if you have a bone spur or not.

For a full foot assessment and treatment for heel pain, book an appointment with one of our Toronto Licensed Chiropodists at Feet First Clinic.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Custom Made Orthotics

Have you been experiencing foot pain that just doesn’t seem to go away? Perhaps your pain is worse with your first steps in the morning or your initial steps after rest. Or maybe your feet are sore after standing all day at work. If this sounds like you, your feet may be suffering from faulty gait patterns or structural deformities that may benefit from custom foot orthotics.

Continue reading to find out everything there is to know about orthotics as we address the internet’s most asked questions regarding this medical device.

What are orthotics?

A line of different orthotics on a wooden surface

A custom foot orthotic is a device derived from a three-dimensional representation of a person’s foot and also made of suitable materials with regard to the individual’s condition. It is made specifically to address structural or functional foot conditions that lead to faulty foot mechanics and abnormal gait patterns by providing support, stability, and balance. It is a removable device that can be transferred between shoes.

A licensed chiropodist or podiatrist is the health care practitioner to see for a pair of custom foot orthotics. The appointment will include a full biomechanical assessment and gait analysis to determine a diagnosis and therefore, the cause of your symptoms. The foot specialist will also take a 3-dimensional mould of your feet using plaster of paris or a laser scanner.

A custom-made insole works to realign the foot to eventually relieve your pain. This takes time and does not happen immediately. In fact, it can take several months for your pain to completely subside, but you should feel a gradual decrease within the first month or so.

How do I know I need them?

Woman rubbing her foot in pain

Your signs and symptoms are good clues. Pain at the heel, arch, ball of the foot, top of the foot, shin, ankle, knee, hip, low back, poor foot posture (ie flat feet), gait anomalies, and foot fatigue, are all valid reasons to have your feet checked by a professional. A foot orthotic is recommended when muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, or bones are not in an optimal functional position and are the cause of pain, discomfort, and fatigue.

If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms listed above, it is best to consult with a foot care specialist. A chiropodist or podiatrist will be able to tell you whether or not he or she recommends custom foot orthotics for your particular care.

What is an orthotic shoe?

An orthopedic shoe is designed with certain characteristics that make them different from everyday footwear. For instance, the shoe may have a firm heel counter, deep toe box, shock absorbing sole, stable sole, increased torsional stability, built in arch support, and come in a variety of widths to accommodate a wider foot. Orthopedics shoes work to support the foot’s structure and mechanics by reducing abnormal foot function, accommodating foot deformities, and enhancing the effectiveness of orthotic insoles.

Just as in the case of custom foot orthotics, a prescription for orthopedic footwear requires an appointment with a licensed chiropodist or podiatrist. The prescription will be based on a review of medical history, a full biomechanical assessment and gait analysis, and consideration of occupational, lifestyle, and environmental factors.

In addition, only certain manufacturers make acceptable true orthopedic shoes. Some brands of orthopedic footwear include Aetrex, Apex, Anodyne, Portofino, Asics. Though they have a stigma of being unappealing, you can find fashionable orthopedic shoes from most of these brands.

How long do and how often do I have to wear orthotic insoles?

Feet on a pair of orthotics

If your orthotics were prescribed to you because of some sort of pain, whether at your feet, knees, hip, or low back, you should be wearing them on a day to day basis until your pain subsides, that is if you experience pain daily. It is even recommended to wear them indoors. However, once the pain subsides, it is important to work on strengthening your feet as well as addressing any tightness in the lower limb and back to help manage your condition. Doing this will reduce the need for orthotics, although for the most part, they will still be needed to a certain degree.

Initially, when orthotics are prescribed and dispensed, they should be gradually incorporated into your daily regime as they are working to realign the foot to eventually relieve your pain. It is important to adhere to the break in schedule advised by your chiropodist to help your body slowly adjust to the new device. Most practitioners will recommend wearing the insoles for one hour the first day, two hours the next, three hours the third day and so on.

On average, it takes approximately a month to become fully accustomed to a new pair of custom orthotic insoles and feel comfortable wearing them all day long.

How do I know if my orthotics are working?

The easiest way to know if your orthotics are working is an alleviation of your symptoms.

What are the risks of using/wearing orthotics?

If made and prescribed correctly, orthotics will benefit you, not harm you. When worn for the first time, they may feel uncomfortable, like you are walking on a hard ball with most of the pressure felt at the arches, but this is normal. If you adhere to the break in schedule, your body will ease into the new foot posture in a relatively short period of time.

How expensive is it?

You will need to book a consultation with a foot specialist for a full biomechanical assessment and gait analysis before being prescribed and dispensed custom orthotics. At the end of this appointment, your foot specialist will determine if your particular condition and concerns can be managed and corrected by the devices. The price for custom foot orthotics differs between clinics, averaging approximately $500 per pair. The consultation fee is usually around $85-120.

If you have extended health benefits, you may have coverage for these kinds of devices as well as the consultation. Finally, you can always talk to your foot specialist about less expensive alternatives, such as over-the-counter insoles like Superfeet.

If you have foot concerns that you think may require custom foot orthotics, book an appointment with one of our licensed chiropodists at Feet First Clinic. We are located in Downtown Toronto at Jane and Bloor.

Call today!

3 Signs That Your Running Shoes Don’t Fit

It’s common knowledge that you stop growing after you reach a certain age. This would lead one to believe that their footwear will fit forever. Sadly, this is wishful thinking. Over time, your shoes are prone to stretching and shrinking.

As an example, if you wear the same pair of shoes every time you work out, they will gradually lose their shape and eventually feel looser. Additionally, people in hot climates have reported that their shoes are shrinking from over-exposure to the sun.

At Feet First Clinic, we know that wearing ill-fitting footwear can lead to severe consequences — for those that aren’t familiar with us, we’re a team of experienced foot specialists that offer specialized foot care services and products.

If you need to book an appointment with the best chiropodist in Toronto, you should get in contact with one of our fantastic team members.

Before you throw on your running shoes, make sure you keep an eye out for the following signs:

You Can’t Slide Your Shoes Off Easily

Woman sliding off shoe

In some sports, like hockey, players are encouraged to tie their laces as tightly as possible. Tightly tied skates can prevent issues like rolled and sprained ankles.

However, this isn’t necessarily the case with running shoes. If your footwear is the ideal size, you should be able to slide them on and off without undoing the laces.

If you can’t do this, you’re either tightening your laces too much or wearing ill-fitting footwear. Thankfully, you don’t have to throw out your favourite pairs of shoes; we offer reliable shoe stretching services that can help you get the optimal fit

Your Toes Touch the Inside of Your Sneaker

Toes touching the top of tiny shoes

Are your feet swollen and sore after a long day of work? This may be because your toes are touching the inside layer of your sneakers.

If your toes rub against the inside of your sneakers, you can potentially bruise your nails or get a hammer toe.

To ensure that your shoes aren’t too tight, you need to make sure that there’s at least a thumb’s worth of space between your toes and the inside layer of your sneakers.

Your Heel Moves Around While Walking

Kids wearing high heels that are too big

Whether you’re walking around the block or through a snowy trail, the last thing you want is heel pain.

Unfortunately, if you wear footwear that’s too loose, you’re in for a lot of pain and discomfort. If your shoes are too loose, your heel has more room to move around and rub up against your footwear. This causes additional friction, which can be extremely uncomfortable.

Does this happen to you? The simplest way is to deal with this issue is by tying your shoelaces correctly.

If you want to go the extra mile, feel free to try insoles for extra cushioning — this will minimize the amount of wiggle room in your footwear and keep your heel snuggly in place.

You should never rely on over-the-counter insoles. These items are nowhere near as comfortable or effective as our customized orthotic insoles.

Before you slide on the shoes that you’ve had for far too long, you should take a look for the signs mentioned above. This will ensure that you don’t harm your feet in the (not so distant) future.

Getting Your Feet Vacation-Ready

Anyone who lives in the city of Toronto is familiar with cold, winter weather.

All of the slush, ice and snow can put a damper on your mood, especially if you suffer from phycological conditions like seasonal affective disorder (often shortened to SAD).

To combat their winter blues, several Torontonians will pack their suitcases and take a trip to a tropical country.

However, if you’re going somewhere exotic, there’s one essential thing that you need to do beforehand: get your feet vacation-ready.

If you don’t take the time to beautify your feet, you might feel less comfortable walking around in sandals or flip-flops. Instead of wearing closed-toed shoes to the beach, you should use the list of practical tips that our team at Feet First Clinic has put together.

Our team is made up of a group of experienced and knowledgeable foot specialists in Toronto — we provide high-quality foot care services and products, like customized orthotic inserts.

Continue reading to learn how you can beautify your feet before your next tropical vacation.

Exfoliate and Moisturize

Woman exfoliating her foot with a pumice

Do you want your feet to look youthful and attractive?

The first thing you need to do is exfoliate and moisturize them.

To exfoliate your feet, you’ll want to find a pumice stone or foot scrubber. You can use these tools to remove dry, dead skin from your feet.

Once you’ve removed all of the excess skin from your feet, it’s time to moisturize them. Moisturizing your feet will keep them feeling soft and touchable for your entire vacation.

You should try to avoid getting moisturizer in between your toes — this can encourage fungi to grow. If you have a case of toe fungus, you should book an appointment with a licensed chiropodist in Toronto before you depart on your trip.

Tend to Your Nails

Woman receiving laser treatment on her feet for the treatment of a mild fungal infection in the toenails

When you’re on a tropical vacation, looking down at cracked toenails can ruin your mood and make you want to hide your feet in the sand!

Damaged toenails can also lead to several different types of foot fungus.

These fungi can affect the appearance of your nails and make them:

  • Brittle
  • Discoloured
  • Have an unpleasant odour

Additionally, if you have an untreated ingrown toenail, you need to make an appointment with us before you go. If left untreated for too long, ingrown toenails can result in harmful (and avoidable) conditions like bone infections and even ulcers!

Thankfully, if you contact one of our foot specialists before you go, we can remove your ingrown toenail in no time.

Paint Your Nails

Woman painting her toenails

Once you’ve dealt with any nail-related conditions, you’re free to paint your nails! This is something both men and women can do (a coat of clear nail polish goes a long way, guys).

Not only will this make your feet look better, but it can also give you an enormous confidence boost!

Whether you’re crossing a single border or an entire ocean, you need to make sure that your feet are vacation-ready before you go.

Running on a Treadmill Doesn’t Have to Hurt

Running is a simple and satisfying way to stay in shape. It gives you a physical and mental rush that you can’t obtain through any other activity.

During the frigid winter months, many runners in Toronto can’t stand the idea of subjecting themselves to the cold outdoor temperatures.

That’s why several runners trade in their favourite trails for treadmills during the winter; these fantastic pieces of equipment are ideal for people that want to run for an extended period without going outside.

However, some runners find that their bodies (particularly their feet) hurt after running on a treadmill. Instead of living with this pain, you should use the list of tips and tricks that our team at Feet First Clinic has put together.

If you’re not familiar with our work, we’re a team of experienced chiropodists that offer a wide variety of foot pain treatment services and products.

Continue reading to learn how you can reduce the amount of physical pain you feel while running on your treadmill.

Don’t Over-Use Your Body

If you work a full-time job, you probably don’t have as much time to run as you’d like. Because of this, you most likely try to get as much out of each run as possible.

Although you may think this is a good thing, it’s counterproductive.

If you put too much strain on your body, you may end up developing ankle tendonitis (also referred to as peroneal tendonitis). Tendonitis can affect several other body parts including your:

  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Shoulders

The symptoms of tendonitis can range from minor swelling to severe pain. If you don’t take care of your tendonitis, it can potentially grow into a chronic condition (which means that you’ll have to deal with it for a lengthier period).

If you have tendonitis or want to learn more about how you can prevent it, then you need to book an appointment with the best Toronto foot clinic.

Analyze Your Gait 

The way that you walk or run has a significant impact on your body. If you don’t move correctly, you can end up slowly damaging your body over time. This will make it more challenging to walk or run in the future.

If you want to make sure that you’re walking and running on your treadmill correctly, you should book a video gait analysis appoint at our Toronto foot care clinic.

For those that don’t know, gait is the scientific term for how a person walks. Your gait can be affected by numerous things, including:

  • Genetic makeup
  • Previous/current health conditions
  • Physical abnormalities
  • Foot, leg or pelvic injuries

By getting your gait analyzed, we’ll be able to recommend the ideal foot care treatments for you. If necessary, we can also design and produce customized orthotic insoles during the same appointment.

High-quality orthotic insoles can make running on a treadmill less painful and more productive.

Before you step on another treadmill, make sure that you keep the tips mentioned above in mind.

Things You Need To Know About Flat Feet

Feet come in all shapes and sizes. If you have a very low arch or no arch at all when you stand, you have what is called a flat foot, also known as pes planus in the medical world. But you’re not alone! About 30% of the population live with this postural deformity.

Flat feet can be caused by a number of different reasons including, excessive pronation (the motion of your foot rolling in towards its arches when walking), having a naturally flexible or hypermobile foot, damage by trauma, damage by disease, and genetics. People with flat feet often complain of fatigue, arch strain, calf cramps, shin splints, heel pain, and pain at the balls of their feet. Although flat feet are usually permanent, there are ways to treat the symptoms and manage the condition to prevent future problems.

Treatment for Flat Feet

Custom foot orthotics

Foot above custom orthotics

If you have flat feet, talk to your chiropodist about custom foot orthotics and if you may be a good candidate for them.

Custom foot orthotics help to position your foot in a more optimal alignment, allowing for better support, stability, and balance between the muscles that contribute to its dynamic movements. They can be made to control pronation in the foot and reduce stress, while maintaining proper mobility in the foot. They are removable insoles made custom to your foot and your foot’s needs.

Orthopedic Footwear

Feet in orthopaedic footwear from Birkenstocks

Wearing better footwear can also help to manage your flat feet. Depending on the severity of your flat foot, you may benefit from an orthopedic shoe, which is designed with certain characteristics that make them different from everyday footwear.

For instance, the shoe may have a firm heel counter, increased torsional stability, built in arch support, and come in a variety of widths to accommodate a wider foot. Orthopedic shoes work to support the foot’s structure and mechanics by improving mobility and stability, as well as providing a comfortable fit.

Physical Therapy

Woman with physical therapist using resistance band

With a flat foot, muscle balance is disturbed due to excessive pronation and a low arch profile.

The tendons that run along the arch become stretched and weakened while the opposing muscles on the outside of the foot become shortened and tight. This usually worsens over time. Physical therapy such as foot and ankle exercises can help to strengthen and stretch targeted muscle groups. See our blog post on Daily Feet Exercises for more information on exercises you can try to keep your feet strong and healthy.

Taping is another mode of physical therapy that may be used to help manage your symptoms associated with flat feet. It involves placing strips of athletic tape on your body in specific directions to help control pronation and support your joints, muscles, and tendons.

If you or a loved one has flat feet, book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists for a one on one consultation.

Call Feet First Clinic today!

New Foot Care Routine

What better way to start off the new year right than by getting some new self care routines. Here are some tips on new foot routines to get you feeling your best:

Start off with a foot soak

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Gehwol Fusskraft Herbal Bath

Foot soaks are known to soothe muscles, hydrate your skin, and relax sore feet. Gehwol Fusskraft Herbal Bath has natural herbal extracts such as rosemary, mountain pine, lavender and high levels of urea which helps alleviate a lot of foot problems. This herbal foot soak ensures that calluses will be softened and strong odours will be eliminated.

An alternative but equally effective product is the Gehwol Bath Salts with rosemary extract which thoroughly cleanse your skin, strengthen your skin and improve circulation.

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Gehwol Bath Salts

Exfoliate

After a good 15 minute foot soak, take your favourite pumice stone or foot scrub and exfoliate and polish your feet, especially the heels. Exfoliating your feet keeps them healthy by removing all of the dead skin. Dead skin can form calluses, build up bacteria and can clog pores. When dead skin accumulates along with a lack of proper hydration, you run a higher risk of getting cracks in your skin which create an opening for bacteria and fungus.

Clip your toenails

After you have dried off your feet, it’s time to give your toenails a trim. Always cut your nails straight across and leave the sides a little longer to prevent ingrown toenails. If longer sides irritate your nearby toes, check the width of your shoes or round them with a file. If you have any issues with ingrown toenails or have a hard time reaching your feet, come and visit Feet First to see one of our Chiropodists to get a medical pedicure.

Moisturize

The best way to finish off an at home pedicure is to moisturize with a high end moisturizer. Gehwol products are designed for the well-being of your feet. Each Gehwol product has high levels of urea which is a natural moisture retaining compound found in our skin. Gehwol Fusskraft Hydrolipid cream is excellent for daily use – it absorbs quickly into the skin and keeps your feet hydrated all day. Gehwol salve for cracked heels is an excellent evening cream especially for problematic dry heels. Gehwol soft feet cream milk and honey is perfect after a foot soak because it contains essential oils that quickly absorb into your skin. Daily moisturizing is necessary especially during the winter months when our skin experiences excessive dehydration.

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Gehwol Fusskraft Hydrolipid

Socks

According to the National Sleep Foundation, keeping your feet warm can help widen your blood vessels which helps with circulation and prepares your brain for sleep. The best socks for sleeping are loose in fit and soft in material. Microfiber and Merino wool socks are soft and breathable so they help prevent sweaty feet. Cashmere socks are also excellent for sleeping in because of their high breathability and softness. Be sure to change your socks daily and to keep your feet clean and dry to help prevent bacteria and fungus build up.

Air out your shoes

Before you go to sleep, take out your insoles or orthotics and let them dry. Better yet, spray them with Gehwol shoe and foot deodorizing spray which helps eliminate odour causing bacteria and fungus. Shoes and orthotics can also be cleaned with soap and water without causing any damage. Never place your shoes or orthotics in the washing machine as it can destroy the EVA material.

These new foot routines can be applied on a daily basis or at least 1-2 times a week.

If you are experiencing any issues or concerns with your feet, then come visit us at Feet First Clinic.

Custom Made Orthotics: What to Expect on Your First Appointment

You have been recommended by your friend, family member, colleague, doctor, or other health care provider to use custom foot orthotics for your ongoing foot pain. What are the next steps? Who do you book an appointment with? What will the appointment entail and what do you have to prepare?

Continue reading this article to find out all you need to know about custom foot orthotics and how to be properly assessed for them.

What is a custom foot orthotic?

Custom running orthoticA custom foot orthotic is a device derived from a three-dimensional representation of a person’s foot and also made of suitable materials with regard to the individual’s condition. It is made specifically to address structural or functional foot conditions that lead to faulty foot mechanics and abnormal gait patterns by providing support, stability, and balance. It is a removable device that can be transferred between shoes.

Who do I see for a custom foot orthotic?

A doctor, chiropodist, or podiatrist

A doctor, chiropodist, or podiatrist can write a prescription for custom foot orthotics.

Once you have a prescription, you must book an appointment with a chiropodist or podiatrist to be assessed for your foot concern. At this appointment, the provider will determine if a custom foot orthotic device would be beneficial to your situation.

What should I expect at an appointment with a Licensed Chiropodist?

A chiropodist with patient at a custom orthotic appointment

The appointment will start with a review of your past medical history and the history of your present illness/condition.

The chiropodist will ask a number of different questions including any medications you are currently taking, allergies, symptoms revolving your current issue, occupation, activities, and footwear choices. It is a good idea to bring a list of medications if you cannot remember all of them and a couple of shoes you frequently wear.

You will then be examined. The chiropodist will perform a biomechanical assessment and gait analysis to assess the range of motion in the joints of the foot and lower limb as well as the presence of structural and/or functional abnormalities and their compensations. You should expect your chiropodist to be hands on and very observational during this portion of the visit.

After the assessment, the chiropodist will explain his or her findings and the treatment options available to you, including whether or not custom foot orthotics will address your specific needs.

If a custom foot orthotic is recommended and you, as the patient, agrees with this treatment plan, you will then be casted.

Casting involves creating a three-dimensional mould of your foot using plaster of paris, an STS slipper sock, or a laser scanner while in non-weight bearing position.

Once casted, this marks the end of your appointment. The moulds of your feet will be used to make the custom foot orthotics from scratch.

Manufacturing time usually takes at least a week, at which point you will be contacted to attend a fitting appointment to pick up the orthotics.

At your fitting appointment, your provider will ensure the orthotics fit properly into your shoes and do not impose any immediate discomfort. You will also be given instructions on how to break in the devices and educated on signs that may suggest the orthotics are not working properly. Your provider should be able to adjust or modify the orthotics should any problems arise.

If you would like to book an appointment with a Licensed Chiropodist to be assessed for custom foot orthotics.

Call Feet First Clinic today!

Things to do Before New Year

With only a few days before the New Year, here are some helpful tips to start off the New Year right. 

Declutter

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The key to decluttering is to start off small and simple!

Label 4 boxes:

  • Donations
  • Keep
  • Re-locate or
  • Garbage

Take 5 minutes a day and pick one room in the house to gather items for each box. By the end of the week, you should have enough items to donate, reorganize or throw out.

Donating clothing and shoes is always a first step for decluttering. If you are unsure how often you wear certain clothing, then start off by hanging all of your clothes in one direction and when you wear them and put them back, hang them in the opposite direction. By the end of the week, keep all of your clothes that you wear often in one part of your closet and sort through the ones that are facing the “unworn” direction. If you give away an item each day then by the end of the year you have given away 365 items.

Donate Shoes

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Organizations such as Soles4Souls are helping underprivileged people with proper footwear. Without shoes, people are exposed to the elements and can be infected with infectious diseases, parasites and are more likely to experience trauma to their lower limb. Also, children are also expected to wear uniforms and have proper footwear for schools.

Finally, wearing footwear restores a lot of dignity for many underprivileged people living in harsh conditions. Soles4Souls accepts new and gently-worn shoes to help individuals start and sustain small businesses so they may feed and support their families.

Feet First Clinic has partnered with Soles4Souls for many years so you can drop off any new or gently used shoes to our clinic.

Two-Ten Foundation is a Non-Profit foundation is dedicated to assisting members of the Canadian footwear industry with shoe drives, fundraisers and special events. This organization assists Canadians in need by helping to fit them with proper footwear for their jobs, lifestyles or education.

Exercise

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Exercise is important for not only overall physical health but also for mental health. After all of those Holiday calories, it is important to get back into your workout routine or start the new year right by exercising right.

Cardiovascular health is important for maintaining your heart strength and circulation. Common cardio exercises are brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming, rowing and cross-country skiing. If you add 30 minutes of brisk walking a day, you can burn about 150 calories a day. The calorie count is amplified with more rigorous exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight and diet will help prevent or limit foot issues such as

Enjoy the holidays but be sure to get back into a healthy and active lifestyle with the New Year!

Check your old running shoes for any excessive wear pattern or better yet start off the New Year with a new pair of ASICS or Saucony from Feet First Clinic.

Also, if you are experiencing any foot issues which are preventing you from walking or running properly, visit Feet First Clinic and see one of our Chiropodists to get you feeling your best.