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Ankle Popping And Cracking—Causes And Remedies

Does your ankle crack or pop when you rotate it? You’re not alone. Ankle cracking and ankle popping are quite common, and there’s no immediate need to worry.

In fact, joint popping has a medical term. Crepitus is abnormal popping or crackling of a joint, which may be sometimes uncomfortable or painful. There are two variations to crepitus:

  • Bone crepitus: When two fragments of a fracture are moved against each other.
  • Joint crepitus: When the affected joint is passively moved with one hand, while the other hand is placed on the joint to feel the crepitus.

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Why Does My Ankle Crack Every Time I Rotate It?

Ankle cracking or ankle popping can occur for two primary reasons

  • Tendons rubbing over a bone
  • Gas being released from the joint

A snapping sound in the ankle is most commonly caused by the tendon slipping over the bone. As you rotate your ankle, this triggers the snapping or clicking sound. Alternatively, an ankle may crack when rotated because as a force is exerted on the joint, bubbles of nitrogen in the synovial fluid burst. This can happen after long periods of sedentary, or if your muscles are tight.

Peroneal Subluxation / Dislocation

Ankle cracking and ankle popping may be due to the peroneal tendon rubbing over the joint. The peroneal tendons help support and stabilize the foot and ankle, and protects your lower leg from sprains. One peroneal tendon attaches to the outer part of the midfoot, while the other tendon runs under the foot and attaches near the inside of the arch. If either tendon is damaged, or slips out of place due to injury, it can rub on the bone cause cracking and popping. This cause is relatively uncommon, and seen mostly in athletes who severely sprain their ankles.

As you may know, cracking and popping is not exclusive to your ankles. In fact, many parts of your body can be ‘cracked’ in the traditional sense. Have you ever heard of the expression, “cracking your knuckles?” Understandably, knuckles, your hallux (toes), and neck joints can be easily cracked with minimal effort.

Is It Bad That My Ankles Crack?

A common claim to cracking your joints is that it causes arthritis. However, this argument is not backed by evidence. One study on joint cracking concludes that, “the evidence for the association of knuckle cracking and osteoarthritis comes mainly from observational studies that have failed to show an association.”

The truth of the matter is that ankle popping or cracking is not necessarily a bad thing. However, if when your ankle cracks, pain and swelling occur, then you should seek advice from a medical professional. As Healthline recommends, strengthening your ankles with Ankle Exercises can help prevent injuries, like ankle sprains. Ankle exercise can also help strengthen the muscles and tendons that help stabilize your lower leg.

crackedheels

How Do You Get Rid of Cracks In Your Ankles?

Cracks in your ankle are typically not a cause for concern. If you’re annoyed by the cracks, clicks, or pops, then there are some DIY treatment methods aimed at strengthening your ankles.

Ankle Exercises

Perform these ankle exercises to heklp prevent ankle popping or cracking:

  • Ankle circles
  • Calf raises
  • Single-legged balance
  • Draw the alphabet

Doing these in the morning will help loosen up your ankle and prevent stiffness, especially shortly after waking up. Incorporate these ankle exercises with the other Morning Foot Exercises you perform to start off your day.

Custom Foot Orthotics

If you have chronic ankle pain, Custom Foot Orthotics may be just what’s needed. Orthotics are custom-built corrective shoe inserts that provide personalized support for your lower legs. These devices work to correct faulty foot mechanics and redistribute pressures along the bottom aspects of the foot.

As always, if you have any questions about or concerns with your feet, please don’t hesitate to reach out to speak with one of our Licensed Chiropodists.

Is it OK to Crack Your Toes?

One of the most common joints in your body to crack is your hallux, the medical term for a person’s big toe.

According to WebMD, “as a rule, painless cracking of joints is not harmful.” But, if it’s painful or if there is signs of discomfort, then there may be a greater underlying problem.

Your Leg Solutions Live Here!

Does your ankle bother you? Our team is trained to handle any and all your foot health concerns. From mild, to critical, we cover all aspects of the foot. Call us to ask about actionable steps towards your solution today.

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Book Your Assessment Today!

How To Choose Winter Boots

Winter is approaching, fast. For better or for worse, cooler temperatures and shorter days are on the horizon. Winter doesn’t have to be a season of dread. Proper preparation starts with your feet. Investing in proper winter boots for harsh conditions is essential for a healthy body.

Here in Canada, there’s no shortage of harsh winter weather. Your footwear should do it all: protect against the cold, be waterproof, yet be stylish. Above all else, your winter boots should be comfortable. After all, you’ll be wearing your boots for 3-4 months, sometimes for hours on end. Canadians Walking In The SnowWe’re here to make your life easier. That’s why we’ve put together this complete winter boot guide. Below you’ll find how to recognize the signs of needing new winter boots, how to choose the right pair, and what’s actually available.

Signs You Need New Winter Boots

Winter Boots In Snow That Need ReplacingThere are a number of signs to look for when considering whether you should buy new winter boots. To start, if you develop any sort of foot pain or condition like blisters, calluses, or aggravated bunions, consider new boots.

Beyond the immediate discomfort, look for signs of muscle soreness or fatigue. These may be signs that your body is compensating for improper footwear, and may lead to problems down the road. Look for these signs that you need new winter boots:

  • Experience Blisters and calluses often.
  • Develop foot pain.
  • Trip or slip more often.
  • Have sore muscles after walking in your shoes.
  • Visual wear and tear on the boots itself.
  • Holes in the sole.

If you experience any of these conditions or problems, book an appointment with one of our licensed chiropodists for a thorough assessment.

Tips for Buying Winter Boots

There are many variables to consider when buying winter boots. After all, you’ll likely want to mix fashion and function. Follow these tried and true tips for choosing the right winter boot for your feet.

  • Arch support: Choose a boot with proper arch cushioning and support to prevent conditions like plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and Morton’s neuroma.
  • Avoid high heels: High heels can put strain on your hips and feet, as well as be unstable given winter footing conditions.
  • Tread: depending on the climate and your needs, certain treads are more suitable for uneven grounds, more rugged footing, or for walking flat
  • Waterproof: keeping moisture away from your feet is essential in winter. Dark and moist places are a ground for athlete’s foot, blisters, and frostbite.
  • Fit: Be sure your boots have plenty of toe space, especially if you wear thicker socks in the winter or suffer from a foot condition like Bunions, Hallux Rigidus, or hallux limitus.
  • Buying: Did you know our feet are larger in the second half of the day? Our body retains water and our feet expand slightly. Trying shoes on at the end of the day accommodates for sizing.
  • Cost: This is the elephant in the room. Choose a boot that’s within your price range. However, consider winter boots an investment. These boots could last you multiple years depending on the quality of the product.
  • Warmth: If you live in an extreme cold climate, find boots with proper insulation to avoid frostbite.

OK, But What’s Available?

Our clinic take a preventative approach to foot care in which the patient is empowered to be an active participant in his or her treatment. Our on-site shoe store provides patients with therapeutic tools and resources including orthopaedic footwear, insoles, medical devices, and over-the-counter solutions.

We carry a selection of top winter boots from the following:

Below you’ll find a few of our favourites from Sorel, MEPHISTO, Clarks, and Ara. These brands are a mix of fashion and function. Sorel are more rugged and tougher in Canadian winter while MEPHISTO are more stylish and better for everyday occasions.

Sorel Caribou Boot

Winter Boots

MEPHISTO Agatha

Winter Boots

Clarks Batcombe Alp Gore-Tex

Winter Boots

Ara Aubrey Boot

Winter Boots

Visit the clinic to get a feel for each boot and to try on a pair. The clinic is open six days a week including on Saturday to accommodate your schedule.

Avoid The Winter Blues—Visit Feet First Clinic For Your Winter Boots Needs

If you’re looking for tips on how to prepare for winter, book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists for a thorough assessment or visit the clinic to browse our wide range of footwear options.

From leading brands to Shoe Fitting to Custom Foot Orthotics, we’re your one-stop shop for your footwear needs. Call us at 416-769-3338 or Book Your Assessment Today!

I Have Curled Toes — Is There Something Wrong?

“I have curled toes. Is there something wrong with my feet?” Everyones’ toes come in different shapes and sizes. Long, short, stubby, curled, straight. Just because your feet are a certain way, doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong. Curled toes are characterized by your toes bending downwards. Typically your joints at the end or middle of the toe cause the downward trend.

Curled Toes: What Are They?

Curled Toes

There are a number of conditions associated with curled toes. Everything – from your shoes to your lifestyle – affect our feet in different ways. It’s important to identify the known symptoms to diagnose the condition.

The following three Toe Deformities are curled toes.

Hammertoes

The smallest four toes of each foot have three bony segments connected by two joints. A Hammertoe has an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the toe. This term describes all lesser toe deformities. The second toe is most often affected. If your second toe is the longest of all five, then hammertoe is more likely. Hammertoe can affect one or more toes and can either be flexible or rigid.

Claw Toe

A claw toe has an abnormal bend in both the middle joint and the last joint closest to the toenail of a toe. Claw toe occurs mostly in the second through fifth toes.

Mallet Toe

A mallet toe has an abnormal bend in the joint of the toe that is closest to the toenail.

Curled Toes: Causes

Your Shoes

Most often, curled toes develop over time from wearing Footwear that’s too short, narrow, tall, or pointy. If you’re a runner, ill-fitting shoes can exacerbate the problem even more considering the impact and duration of exercise. Ill-fitting shoes crowd the toes, causing the tendons of the toes to contract and tighten. Extended time in this position causes a shift in the shape of your foot, curling your toes. Additionally, high arches and Bunions reduce the room in your shoe’s toe box. For these reasons, people with high arches and bunions may be more prone to curled toes.

To solve these problems, get a proper footwear fitting. In fact, ill-fitting shoes that are the leading cause of foot pain and foot problems and eight out of 10 people’s shoes fit incorrectly.Curled Toes

Shoe Fitting sessions are done at your local shoe store, including here at Feet First Clinic. We offer every customer a comprehensive footwear assessment free of charge to ensure that you invest in the healthiest footwear for your unique feet. Our footwear specialists and chiropodists will help match your foot shape, structure, and alignment to specific shoes and footwear features that answer to your corrective, supportive, or accommodative needs.

Other Reasons

Alternatively, muscle imbalances can cause curled toes. These imbalances can occur due to a variety of reasons including faulty biomechanics, long toes, neuromuscular disease, systemic conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes), and and genetics.

Treatment for Curled Toes

Footwear

As mentioned, the best treatment for curled toes is to invest and choose the proper footwear. If necessary, custom foot orthotics may be of benefit as well depending on your gait and foot type. Visit us in-store at 2481 Bloor St. W in Toronto. We’re open six days a week.  Looking for footwear? No appointment necessary, and we carry Industry-leading Products.

Exercises

At-home exercises and stretches are the best form of DIY to help prevent and treat curled toes. Mix any number of these stretches and exercises into your routine to better the health of your feet.

  • Stretch your toes: If your curled toes are flexible, stretch your toes as straight as possible and hold for 5-10 seconds. Avoid this if it’s too painful, but once those tendons shorten, or shorten the reps before building up to longer time.
  • Toe Lifts: Raise your toes off the ground and lower. Repeat 10-15 times. Make an effort to spread your toes when doing the lifts for additional benefit.
  • Floor Grips: With your feet flat on the floor, grip the ground with your toes to move forward. Moving ahead even a few centimetres at a time will be a challenge.
  • Marble pickup: Place any number of marbles on the ground and pick them up with your toes. This will help extend the range of motion of your toes and strengthen the tendons and ligaments in your toes
  • Towel curls: Place a towel on the ground and scrunch it with your toes. Aim to curl up the toe.

Curled Toes? We’re Here To Help!

If you have curled toes and want to discuss your options, book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists for a thorough assessment to determine an appropriate treatment plan.

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Book Your Assessment Today!

Top 5 Common Toe Conditions

Your toes are one of the most essential parts of your body. Toes help your feet bear the weight of your body when you walk. Toes also provide our bodies balance and support. These core functions are important to our everyday life, and the weight our toes bear makes them vulnerable to injury. Plus, the fact that many of us are on our feet for hours on end, toe health is essential.

Below you’ll find the five of the most common toe conditions.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s Foot is a contagious fungal skin infection that afflicts the skin on soles of the feet and between the toes. Fungi prevalent in Athlete’s Foot thrive in dark moist areas and feed on keratin. This means that our feet, which spend most of the day bound up in socks and shoes, present an ideal environment for the proliferation of a fungal infection. Consequently, 1 in 10 people have athlete’s foot, or about 10% of the population making it one of the most common toe conditions. A common sign of an athlete’s foot is translucent white moist skin between the toes on one or both feet.

Additional symptoms of athlete’s foot include:

  • A scaly and raw looking rash
  • Itching
  • Stinging
  • Burning
  • Foot pain
  • Dry skin on the soles of the feet
  • Peeling skin on the soles of the feet
  • Cracked Skin on the Heels

Fortunately, treatment is simple yet effective. Over-the-counter topical antifungals are the most common remedy for athlete’s foot. Products include medicated creams, ointments, sprays, and powders. Our Toronto foot clinic is open six days a week.

Hallux Rigidus/Hallux Limitus

Toe Conditions
A bone spur on top of the left metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) due to hallux rigidus.

Hallux rigidus and hallux limitus are variations of a similar toe condition. Both are disorders of the joint at the base of the big toe. Hallux means big toe while rigidus and limitus refers to the damage of the joint and the degree of flexibility of the big toe. Rigidus refers to a rigid big toe, and limitus, a less severe version of injury, refers to limited flexibility and an earlier stage of the condition.

Hallux rigidus is the loss of flexibility due to arthritis in the first MTP (metatarsophalangeal) joint. As the toe stiffens, friction to the joint may lead to pain and/or a Bone Spur — your body’s defense mechanism to prevent further harm. As it’s a progressive condition, damage to the joint cannot be reversed. But, with proper measures including orthotics, proper footwear, and joint exercises, one can live pain free with the condition.

Hallux limitus on the other hand is characterized by limited flexibility in the joint and trouble bending the big toe. Typically, no bone spurs are present (yet). Flexibility is greater with those in hallux limitus than the more progressive hallux rigidus.

Bone Spur

Severe versions of hallux rigidus – with complete loss of flexibility in the joint – may require surgery. Options include:

  • A cheilectomy, removal of bone spurs from around the big toe joint. This is done to free the joint of volume, and to encourage greater degrees of flexibility.
  • A second procedure, which is permanent, is called arthrodesis. In these cases, the joints in the big toe are fused, eliminating the joint surface leaving the joint permanently stiff.

Hallux rigidus and limitus can be caused by abnormal foot anatomy or a history of trauma including turf toe, a toe fracture or repeated strain to the joint, like running for example. However, there are no specific causes. Rather, hallux rigidus and hallux limitus are influenced by several contributing factors.

Ingrown Toenails

An Ingrown Toenail occurs when the side of the toenail curls down and pierces the flesh of the toe as the nail grows. Untreated ingrown toenails can easily become infected.

To start, you’ll want to focus on treatment, and then prevention.

  • Place a spacer or splint under the ingrown edge of the toenail
  • Soak feet in Epsom salt and water bath at home to flush out the infection and manage pain and inflammation
  • Trim the ingrown portion of the nail
  • In recurring cases, surgical removal (outpatient) of part of your toenail 
  • If your toenail becomes infected you may need topical or oral antibiotics

Prevention includes:

  • Avoid shoes that crowd your toes
  • Trim your toenails straight across and file the corners
  • Avoid injury to your toenails

Blisters

Blisters are among the most common toe conditions. Although common, blisters typically are not serious and can be treated immediately for relief within a few days. Blisters are small, fluid-filled bubbles on the upper most layer of the skin. Friction against your skin and your socks and shoes causes your skin to form small bubbles to prevent further damage to the underlying skin. More serious blisters may contain blood as the vessels at the surface of your skin burst.

These skin conditions typically heal themselves within a few days. However, it’s advised to cover blisters either with a basic bandage, tape, or a Band-aid, all of which are available at our Toronto foot clinic. These measures are simply to prevent unwanted popping of the blister and to shield your skin from friction.

To schedule best foot care treatment with our licensed Chiropodists (foot specialists), use the booking form at the bottom of this page or call 416-769-FEET(3338).

Bunions

Toe Conditions

A Bunion is a deformity of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. A bony bump protrudes from the base of the big toe causing pain, redness, and sometimes even swelling. Bunions are atop the list of most common toe problems. It affects about 23% of adults. The common age range of onset is 20-50, and women are more commonly affected than men.

Like hallux rigidus and other progressive foot conditions, a bunion is irreversible once it starts. So you can’t reverse what’s already been down, but you can take measures to slow down the deformity over time. The sooner you address the problem, the slower the rate of bunion growth.

Do you have a bunion or hallux rigidus? Read: Hallux Rigidus or Bunions: What’s the Difference?

Measures to help slow a bunion’s progression include:

Surgery is also an option. Typically, surgery includes removing the protruding portion of the bone, and re-aligning the joints in the big toe. Like with any foot condition, educate yourself on the pros and cons of surgery to determine: Is Foot Surgery Worth It? But, there’s still hope for those with bunions. Check out these Effective Ways That you Can Treat Your Bunion Pain.

A bunion’s sibling: A bunionette

Similarly, a Bunionette (or tailor’s bunion) is a bunion on the opposite side of the foot. A bunionette appears on the pinkie toe and affects the fifth metatarsal. It’s smaller than a bunion, but still appears as a bump. Pain associated with a bunionette occurs on the outside of the foot, and tight shoes may exacerbate the condition. Shoes with narrow toe boxes are particularly problematic for those with a bunionette. Narrow toe boxes increase friction against the bony protrusion. The causes of a bunionette are classified as either intrinsic or extrinsic.

Causes include:

  • External pressure on the forefoot
  • Tight shoes
  • Genetics
  • Foot anatomy
  • Faulty mechanics

Bunion and bunionette treatment is similar. As such, properly-fitting shoes are an essential step. The team here at First Feet Clinic specializes in Shoe Fitting. No appointment is necessary to find a pair of shoes that fit your foot profile. Additionally, stretching your shoe can provide benefits as it artificially provides additional toe room. This allows your bunionette more space in the shoe.

Experiencing Toe Pain? We’re Here For Your Toe Conditions

Our team is trained to handle any and all your foot health concerns including common toe conditions. From bunions to blisters to ingrown toenails and orthotics, we cover all sides of the foot needs spectrum. Call us to ask about actionable steps towards your solution today.

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Click to Book Your Assessment.

4 Common Ankle Injuries

Did you know that of all major joints, the ankle is the most commonly injured? In fact, there are a variety of conditions that affect the ankle. Here are the 4 Most Common Ankle Injuries.

Ankle Sprain

Sprains rank number one among the most common ankle injuries. There are three primary forms of ankle sprains: inversion, eversion and high. Ankle Sprains occur when the ligaments overstretch and damage. Generally, sprains take 2-3 weeks to recover from, but you can continue to walk and be mobile if you have your ankle taped, and secured. Though ankle sprains are a very common sports injury, they can happen to anyone.

Inversion

An inversion sprain occurs when your ankle twists inwards.

  • Ankle rolls inwards
  • Most common form of ankle sprain

Eversion

An eversion sprain occurs when your ankle twists outwards. Eversion sprains impact the deltoid and medial ligaments of your ankle. Eversion sprains aren’t as common as inversion sprains because of the ligaments’ strength.

  • Ankle rolls outwards
  • Less common than inversion sprains
  • Accounts for 10-20% of sprains

High Ankle

A high angle sprain occurs when the foot twists outward due to the force. Here, we get a sprain of the syndesmotic ligaments which connect the tibia and fibula (shin bones).

  • Affects the high ankle
  • More common in sports (football, basketball, soccer) than in everyday life

To help prevent sprains, follow these Ankle Strengthening Exercises. Additionally, a Better Shoe Can Prevent Ankle Sprains. You’ll want shoes with a good fit, strong treads, and orthotic inserts if necessary. We carry a full line of footwear in the clinic including Leading Shoe Brands that you can choose from.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is a common foot condition that affects the ankle. It’s a result of a damaged posterior tibial nerve, and is considered the ankle’s version of carpal tunnel syndrome. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is the most common nerve entrapment of the ankle. The tarsal tunnel is a narrow space on the inside of the ankle next to the ankle bones. The tunnel is covered with a thick ligament that helps contain its inner workings – veins, arteries, tendons, and nerves. Notably, the tibial nerve runs through the tarsal tunnel.

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Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tarsal tunnel compresses. Imagine you squeeze a casing of wires. The more pressure you exert, the more you put onto the fillings inside. In this case, these are the nerves, arteries, and tendons inside. Symptoms include sharp, shooting pain, pins and needles, or a burning sensation on the inside of your foot, close to where your foot meets your ankle. Some say that pain can be severe enough to cause a person to limp, and individuals may describe a Radiating Pain that cannot be localized to one spot.

Achilles Tendonitis

Common Ankle Injuries

The Achilles is the longest tendon in the body, and can withhold extreme amounts of stress. The tendon connects the calf to the heel bone, and can become inflammed over time if overused. If this occurs, the injury is known as Achilles tendonitis. The most common symptom of Achilles Tendonitis is a mild ache or pain in the back of the lower-leg or above the heel, especially first thing in the morning and after exercise. The tendon can also be warm, swollen and irritated with certain ankle movements. This can cause pain in and around the ankle as well, as other joints and muscles attempt to compensate for the damage to the Achilles.

The following can cause Achilles tendonitis:

  • lack of conditioning in your lower leg muscles
  • excess strain on the Achilles tendon
  • bone spurs in the heel rub on the Achilles tendon
  • untreated flat feet lead to stress on the posterior tibial tendon

To treat, and prevent Achilles tendonitis, you can:

Dorsal Spurs

A Bone Spur is a benign growth and occurs on all parts of the body including on the heel, ankle, and toes. Specific to the ankle area, a Dorsal Spur is a bone growth at the insertion of the Achilles tendon. Bone spurs develop as your body’s response to trauma in the area. The body’s defense mechanism begins to grow bone to help protect the area against further damage. So, as these deposits build up, there is less area for your body to move freely, which can cause seperate issues due to the underlying bone spur.

There are two sides to this: one is that the injury is quite common. Two is that although bone spurs are common, only 5% of people with a bone spur feel pain.

Dorsal spurs occur because:

  • Straining foot muscles and ligaments
  • Over-stretching the plantar fascia
  • Repeated tearing of the thin lining of the heel bone

Generally, you should not worry about dorsal spurs. But if you do suspect a dorsal spur, or any sort of other ankle pain over more than a short period of time, consult a foot expert for next steps.

Questions About Your Ankle(s)? We Can Help!

Do you have an ankle injury? We’re confident in our ability to help inform you and solve all types of common ankle injuries with the least amount of discomfort as possible. Don’t hesitate: Call us to ask about a quick question and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction!

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Book Your Assessment Today!

Is Work Causing Your Foot Pain?

Is Work Causing Your Foot Pain? Do My Feet Hurt Because of My Job? 

Have you ever thought about how your job or lifestyle choices may affect your feet? Whether you are an athlete, engineer, labour worker, teacher, or health care professional, your feet are very important in your day to day life. And although anyone can develop foot problems, there are certain issues that are more commonly seen in specific professions. 

In today’s blog post, we will discuss profession and/or lifestyle specific foot concerns as well as easy tips on how to avoid them. Keeping your feet pain free and in good health will ensure you are less focussed on them and more focussed on doing your job to the best of your ability.

 

Athlete

Toenail Trauma

The purpose of a toenail is to protect the skin and bone underneath it, which means it takes on quite a bit of distress especially during rigorous activity if not properly protected itself. Due to the enormous amount of strain your feet endure during a game/work out session/training, the fast-paced stop and go motions, and the occasional collision with a member from the opposing team, your toenails are very vulnerable to trauma. Toenails can crack, become bruised, and even fall off. If damaged critically enough or repeatedly, the toenail may exhibit permanent changes such as thickening, discolouration, and stunted growth. Trauma can also encourage fungus to invade and colonize the exposed nail bed leading to stubborn toenail fungus. 

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot, which is a fungal skin infection of your foot that causes skin peeling or a red scaly rash, is another common foot problem seen in athletes. During physical activity, feet can become very sweaty while confined within socks and shoes. This provides a perfect environment for fungi to thrive; dark and moist. Athlete’s foot is also contagious and can be spread from person to person by sharing towels and walking barefoot in gyms and locker rooms.

Solution:

  • Wear proper shoes that are activity specific and the correct size and fit to avoid injury
  • Wear toe caps to protect the toenails
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks
  • Disinfect the interiors of the shoe
  • Do not share towels and do not walk barefoot in public spaces

 

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Working With Safety Shoes

Hyperhidrosis

Safety shoes are shoes made to protect an individual who is or may be exposed to hazards in the workplace. They are usually made with a protective material (ie steel, aluminium alloy, carbon fiber) at the toes as well as other sturdy materials at the soles and upper of the shoe. They may be puncture-resistant, slip-resistant, heat resistant, acid-resistant etc. When bought incorrectly, safety shoes can be occlusive and results in excessive sweating also known as hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis and inadequate air circulation in footwear can lead to skin infections, foul odour, and heat rashes.

Solution:

  • Buy a safety shoe that is protective and breathable
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks
  • Change your socks throughout the day when they get too damp
  • Use foot powders to soak up the excess moisture

 

Desk Jobs

Swollen legs and feet

If you are sitting for extended periods of time, you may start to notice swelling at your legs and feet by the end of the day. This is because when you are inactive, the muscles in your legs do not help to pump the blood back up to the heart. With age, this can worsen, and swelling can lead to heavy and tired legs, maybe even varicose veins. These are all signs of venous insufficiency, which suggests your veins are not efficiently pushing the blood from your lower extremities back to the heart.          

Shortened calf muscle

Some jobs have a dress code, we get it. But, believe it or not, your footwear choices can really affect the anatomy of your feet. For instance, wearing high heels on a regular basis can effectively shorten the calf muscle. Tight calves can produce symptoms such as sudden pain at the back of your calf or heel, especially when the foot is flat on the ground. Sitting with your heels lifted from the ground (tip-toed position) can also lead to this.

Ingrown toenails

Wearing improper footwear can also cause nail issues. Tight-fitting and narrow shoes apply pressure to the toes, pushing them together in a small space, which may encourage toenails to curve and become ingrown over time.

Solution:

  • Walk around every couple of hours to get the muscles in your calf working
  • Wear compression stockings
  • Do not sit with your heels lifted off the ground
  • Do not wear shoes with a heel higher than 2 inches
  • Do not wear narrow shoes

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Hospital Staff / Health Care Workers / Restaurant / Food Industry

Heel pain/ball of foot pain/arch pain  

Working as a healthcare professional, a waiter/waitress, chef, or even a teacher, you are on your feet for most of the day. Unless you have a perfect foot, the sheer time spent on your feet can lead to overuse injuries and soft tissue strains resulting in inflammation and overall foot pain. More often than not, these conditions are caused by faulty foot mechanics.

Solution:

  • Wear shoes with arch support, good torsional stability, and adequate cushioning
  • Wear orthotic inserts
  • If pain is worsening or consistent, have your feet assessed by a foot care professional

As always, if you have serious concerns with your feet, do not wait to seek attention from a Licensed Chiropodist.

 

Your Solutions Live Here!

All under one roof! Our team is trained to handle any and all your foot health concerns. From mild, to critical, we cover all sides of the foot needs spectrum. Call us to ask about actionable steps towards your solution today! 

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Book Your Assessment Today!

5 Foot Care Tips Everyone Needs to Know About

Let’s face it, feet are probably the most neglected part of the human body. Think about it. When is the last time you checked the bottoms of your feet or in between the toes? Do you pay attention and tend to the aches and pains in your feet? Feet work hard every day to support your body and take you wherever you need to go, all while being cooped up in socks and shoes (hopefully comfortable ones at the least) for most the day. Stresses on your feet are more so if your job requires you to be on your feet, you’re a busy parent looking after an active child, you’re an athlete, or exercise is part of your daily regime. Making sure your feet get the care and love they deserve will not only leave your feet feeling better, but it will keep them healthy, keep you mobile and pain-free, and ultimately improve the overall quality of your life. Keep reading to educate yourself on five very simple foot care tips and why each is important to healthy and happy feet. 

 

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Proper Toenail Cutting/Toenail Care 

We need toenails to help protect our toes, in particular the skin and bones underneath them. Toenails are made of a protein known as keratin, which makes them less vulnerable to daily wear and tear. It is important to maintain the health of our toenails so that they can fulfil their purpose. 

Proper toenail cutting is a simple way to reduce the risk of nail complications such as ingrown toenails and toenail fungus. The safest way to cut your toenails is to cut them straight across using a clean, disinfected nail clipper. Avoid cutting the nail too short and do not cut the nail at an angle down the sides. Finish off by filing the edge of the nail smooth, getting rid of any sharp corners or jagged edges that may get caught in clothes or bed sheets and tear the nail. Toenails should be cut every six to eight weeks.

 

Moisturize 

Your skin is your body’s largest organ and it plays a vital role in creating a barrier against harmful microbes. If the skin is dry, it can become irritated, itchy, and crack. Breaks in the skin will allow bacteria to enter and may lead to inflammation and infection. 

Moisturizing your skin daily with a good moisturizer will help to hydrate the skin and keep it soft and smooth. Look for creams that contain effective ingredients such as urea and/or alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Urea causes skin cells deep below the surface to attract, absorb and hold moisture better while AHA speeds up cell turnover and stimulates cell renewal by dissolving the bonds that hold them together. In the end, you’re left with younger-looking, smoother, and softer skin. It is best to apply moisturizer right after a shower and reapply a couple times a day.

If you have calluses, in addition to moisturizing, using a foot file or a pumice stone can help to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. Thick calluses and painful corns will need to be removed by a health care professional. Regular application of vitamin E oil on the nails can also help to keep them strong and moisturized. 

 

Wash Your Feet 

Washing your feet thoroughly (don’t forget in between the toes) and drying them well afterwards is a very simple way to keep the feet clean and healthy. And no, it is not enough to think they get cleaned in the shower from simply standing in soapy water. Wash your feet somewhat vigorously and daily with soap and water to help physically remove dirt and dead skin cells as well as prevent the build up of bacteria that can cause foul foot odours. You can also reduce the risk of infections such as Athlete’s foot and plantar warts.

 

Effective Shoes 

A proper shoe has many benefits including comfort, protection, and support. Wearing the right shoe for you will make all the difference, especially on days when your feet take on extra stress. Here are some tips to keep in mind when looking for shoes: 

  • Always try shoes on before purchasing. No two feet are the same, therefore, what may be comfortable for someone may not be comfortable for you. 
  • If you are unsure of your size, have your feet measured. Keep in mind, the right fitted shoe will have about a finger’s width between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. If you can feel the end of the shoe with your toe, it’s too small! 
  • Bring your orthotics. If you wear orthotic insoles, bring them with you and try them on with the shoes. A shoe that has a removable insole are more likely to comfortably accommodate an orthotic device. 

 

A good shoe will have the following features: 

  • The shape of the shoe matches the shape of the foot. Avoid wearing narrow or pointed shoes that force your toes to squeeze in small spaces.
  • Functional fastenings such as laces, velco, buckles. The foot should make no effort to keep the shoe on.
  • The shoe should only bend where the foot naturally bends which is at the joints that connect the toes to the rest of the foot. You should also be able to twist it slightly.
  • A firm and snug heel counter. The heel should feel gripped into the shoe.
  • The outer sole should provide enough grip and traction to prevent slippage.
  • A midsole that provides adequate cushioning and shock absorption.
  • An innersole that provides arch support.

 

Don’t Wait to See Attention

Above all, if you have ongoing foot pain or discomfort, or you’ve noticed changes to the skin or nails of your feet, don’t wait to seek attention from a licensed chiropodist. Chiropodists are primary health care professionals who specialize in the assessment, management, and prevention of dysfunctions, disorders, and diseases of the foot. More often than not, the earlier you treat your foot problems, the better the results. In particular, if you have health conditions that put you at risk such as diabetes, it is recommended to seek care right away. 

 

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Everything About Your Gait

What is Gait?

Have you ever wondered if you are walking properly? Do your feet feel easily tired from activity? Did you know that a lot of the time, you can attribute the pain you experience at your feet (such as the arches, heel, and balls) to abnormal walking patterns?

Today’s blog will explore the gait cycle and look at how faulty foot mechanics, specifically overpronation and oversupination can affect your gait, as well as how one’s gait changes with running. 

Gait is defined as a person’s manner or pattern of walking. It is a complex, coordinated series of movements that involve both the upper and lower extremities to propel the human body forward. For simplicity’s sake, we will focus on how the lower extremity moves during gait and in particular, the foot. 

What is a “Normal” Walking Gait? 

The gait cycle is a cyclical series of events, meaning it is the continuous repetition of one gait cycle over and over again. One gait cycle is the period from heel strike of one foot to the next heel strike of the same foot. One gait cycle can be divided into two major phases: stance phase and swing phase

Gait Cycle

Stance phase refers to the time your foot is on the ground. It occupies approximately 60% of the gait cycle. It begins with the heel making contact with the ground and ends with toe-off, at which point the foot rises from the floor to enter into swing phase. 

During stance phase, the lateral heel (outer portion of the heel) comes into contact with the ground and initiates pronation of the foot. Pronation is the motion at which your foot rolls inward towards its arches. This natural motion allows for proper shock absorption and allows the foot to adapt to the terrain it is striking. 

Then as the weight of the foot moves from the heel to the ball and then toe-off, it should supinate. Supination is the rolling motion towards the outside edge of the foot. At this point, the foot transitions from the fluid, adaptor to a stable and rigid lever. The foot needs rigidity for efficient toe off and propulsion. 

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Swing phase refers to the time your foot is in a non-weight bearing position. It occupies approximately 40% of the gait cycle. It provides the actual step which moves us from one location to another and the power necessary to advance the limb forward. 

Overpronation?

Overpronation can be observed in the stance phase. If you overpronate, it means you roll your foot towards its arch excessively, more than what is necessary for normal foot function. In some cases, over-pronation can lead to an absence of supination, resulting in an apropulsive gait. The foot will flatten its arch when it is pronating; therefore if you overpronate, you will likely have fallen arches or a flat foot. 

Other foot manifestations/symptoms associated with overpronation include:

  • Bunions 
  • Hallux limitus/Hallux rigidus
  • Plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
  • Arch pain 
  • Tired feet 
  • Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction 

Oversupination?

Oversupination is also observed in the stance phase. It is defined as the lack of pronation after heel strike, resulting in poor shock absorption at the foot. Weight remains on the outside of the heel then travels along the lateral border (outside border) as it moves to the ball of the foot. 

People with high arches are at particular risk of oversupination.  

Other foot manifestations/symptoms associated with oversupination include:

  • Knee pain 
  • Achilles tendonitis 
  • Inversion ankle sprains
  • Calluses 

How Does Gait Change With Running?

Similar to a gait cycle, a running gait cycle is a cyclical series of running strides. One running cycle consists of two main phases: contact phase and swing phase

In a running cycle, the swing phase is longer than the contact phase. In fact, as a runner’s speed increases, the contact phase will further decrease and the swing phase increases. This means the foot is in contact with the ground for a shorter period of time. It also means the body’s weight is supported by a single limb at any given time during contact phase. Furthermore, there are even moments in the swing phase of a running cycle where neither foot is in contact with the ground, called double float or airborne phase.

As such, you can imagine biomechanical stresses are much higher with running than with walking. For one, the forces acting on the body while running can reach up to 10 times the body weight. Ground reaction forces can be 2 to 3 times greater than in walking, and the foot tends to pronate 50% more. Faulty foot mechanics in a runner can increase risk of developing complications and symptoms of foot problems. If you are experiencing pain, don’t ignore your problems. Have your feet checked by a licensed chiropodist today. 

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Is Compression Gear Worth It?

Compression Gear is often Touted as The Secret to Recovery – True or False?

Since the 1980s, spandex in sports and exercise seems to have grown exponentially. And compression gear is not only prevalent in sports. Athletic compression gear is a spin-off of original Medical Leggings, which have been used for decades to treat blood clots and certain circulatory disorders, according to the Globe and Mail. Medical leggings use “graduated” compression, which squeezes more the farther they are from the heart. This prevents blood from pooling in the legs; that’s why you see people on planes, trains, and at work wearing them.

What’s The Deal With Compression Gear?

Compression stockings are specialized garments that put therapeutic pressure on your legs in order to increase circulation and prevent fluid retention (edema/swelling) during prolonged periods of sitting and standing or in those with venous diseases. Compared to traditional hosiery, compression stockings fit more snugly and use stronger elastic to apply a gentle squeeze to the legs and feet.

Motif_Compression_Socks_Site_Graphic

Generally, compression gear comes in all forms – socks, sleeves, long tights, and shirts. The idea behind compression gear is that it increases blood flow throughout the body. Improved blood flow helps bring oxygen to the muscles that need it, and is often used by athletes and amateurs alike for recovery after exercise. Conversely, increased blood flow helps remove unwanted byproducts of exercise including lactic acid away from the muscles.

However, the science on compression gear is mixed. The reasoning: there are conflicting results on optimal use. Generally, it’s believed that compression gear helps with recovery and that this recovery helps next-day or succeeding performance. However, it’s also believed that compression gear does not aid in the performance itself. For example, wearing compression socks during activity. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone as not all strive for athletic greatness.

For The General Population,

Compression apparel shines are around controlling swelling and enhancing circulation. If you experience swollen calves from sitting for prolonged periods at work, compression sleeves may help control circulation. Professions where prolonged standing or sitting include education, travel, retail, restaurants, medical, civil service, manufacturing, and construction.

Compression from apparel can help:

  • Reduce the incidence of blood clots
  • Reduce the incidence of varicose veins
  • Prevent complications resulting from Diabetes
  • Prevent complications resulting from veinous disorders

Others may enjoy compression gear purely for comfort.

What Does The Science Say?

One study in the National Library of Medicine concluded:

The largest benefits resulting from compression gear (CG) were for strength recovery from 2 to 8 hours and >24 hours. Considering exercise modality, compression most effectively enhanced recovery from resistance exercise, particularly at time points >24 h. The use of CG would also be recommended to enhance next-day cycling performance. The benefits of CG in relation to applied pressures and participant training status are unclear and limited by the paucity of reported data.

Another study, from Frontiers in Physiology in 2018, found the following effect of compression gear on DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness):

Active recovery, massage, compression garments, immersion, contrast water therapy, and cryotherapy induced a small to large decrease (−2.26 < g < −0.40) in the magnitude of DOMS, while there was no change for the other methods.

As you can see, there are benefits, it just depends on what you’re looking to get out of compression apparel.

Where Can I Buy Compression Gear?

We carry leading brands at Feet First Clinic including Sigvaris, high quality and innovative medical compression solutions that improve health and well being. Drop-in compression wear fitting is offered during clinic hours Monday-Saturday and is a complimentary service. No is appointment required.

Compression stockings must be the correct size in order to get optimal benefits. Feet First Clinic has certified fitters on staff who will determine your specific size based on measuring the circumference of your ankles, calves, thighs, and hips.

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Do I Need A Prescription For Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings and socks are covered under many supplemental insurance plans. If you’re unsure about your benefits and compression wear coverage, check with your employer’s HR department, your insurance policy provider, or Feet First Clinic can get a policy breakdown on your behalf. If you want to use your private foot care benefits to get compression stockings, all insurance providers require a prescription from a medical doctor.

Compression Question? We Can Help!

We’re confident in our ability to help inform you and solve your concern with the least amount of discomfort as possible. Call us even to ask about a quick question and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction!

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Cosmetic vs Medical Pedicure

Many People May Confuse a Foot Clinic With a Nail Salon or Spa

The truth of the matter is, the two are very different. One focuses on the assessment and treatment of your foot issues, and the other on aesthetics and beauty. Here we will describe the similarities and differences (but mostly differences) of one particular service a foot clinic and a nail salon may offer pedicures. This quick and easy read will help you decide which service, a cosmetic pedicure or a medical pedicure, is best suited for you and your foot needs.

If cosmetic pedicures and medical pedicures have one thing in common, it is that they both tend to the toenails and skin of an individual’s foot. The purpose and details of these treatments are where the differences lie. A cosmetic pedicure is described as a beauty and therapeutic treatment for the toenails and feet. It involves removing dead skin, softening the skin, trimming and shaping the toenails, cutting back cuticles, and the optional application of polish. It is focused on providing space and time for pampering and relaxation.

Medical pedicures, on the other hand, involve the assessment and treatment of toenail and skin pathologies of the foot. They are performed by a medical health professional, specifically a chiropodist or a podiatrist, who specializes in the assessment, management, and prevention of dysfunctions, disorders, and diseases of the foot. At an appointment for a medical pedicure, a chiropodist will start by taking a full medical history, including current and past health conditions or morbidities, a list of active medications, and the main concern that prompted the visit. He or she will then proceed to check for the following: 

  • Proper and adequate circulation/blood flow
  • Proper and adequate nerve function   
  • Signs and symptoms of infection (ie bacterial, fungal, or viral)
  • Signs and symptoms of skin pathologies (ie callus, corns, psoriasis, eczema/dermatitis)
  • Signs and symptoms of nail abnormalities (ie thickened toenails, ingrown toenails, discoloured toenails)

Untitled-1Treatment

Treatment involves proper trimming and filing of the toenails as well as addressing any significant medical findings and complaints of pain. This may include the use of prescription or over the counter medications, physical reduction of nails and thickened skin, and education on how to prevent complications or reoccurrence. For instance, chiropodists treat fungal toenail infections using mechanical reduction of the nail and topical prescription medications. They also safely remove thickened calluses and painful corns down to normal skin using the precision of a surgical blade. Healthy, properly trimmed nails and smooth supple skin on your feet reduce risks of infection and can ultimately, significantly improve the quality of your life.

All treatments from a chiropodist are performed using medical grade products and a fresh set of sterilized instruments for each client. The sterilization process used by chiropodists will remove and kill all forms of life that should not be transferred between individuals, in particular micro-organisms such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, and spores. 

Finally, 

A medical pedicure is typically pain-free and can be relaxing as well. In fact, many clients will leave an appointment feeling much more comfortable than when they arrived. You can say, a medical pedicure is a way to pamper yourself in a health-conscious way. 

In the end, choosing what kind of pedicure is right for you will depend on what you are aiming to accomplish. 

If you are looking to groom your feet and leave with a freshly painted set of toenails, a cosmetic pedicure may be the right choice for you.

If you are looking to address any nail or skin abnormalities and/or other foot concerns, no matter how mild or severe, a medical pedicure is the right choice for you. If you have health conditions that put you at risk such as diabetes, it is highly recommended to seek nail care from a medical health professional. Routine medical pedicures will ensure your feet are on the right path to proper foot health by managing existing problems as well as detecting issues early on and treating them in their early stages.

Looking for a Foot Clinic in Downtown Toronto? We Can Help!


Book an appointment with one of our licensed chiropodists for a medical pedicure today.  Whether you’re on the mild or severe side of the spectrum, or you are just looking to have a general assessment of your nails and skin, you can rest easy knowing we’re able and happy to solve all your foot care needs. 

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