416-769-FEET(3338)

Book an appointment

You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic. Schedule an appointment by using the Appointment Request form below or contact the clinic at

416-769-FEET(3338)
info@feetfirstclinic.com

Close

Walk Into Winter the Right Way: Part One

Walk Into Winter the Right Way: Part One

It’s time to break out a pair of boots for a winter walk! Winter is looming over Toronto, dusting the city with snow and making your commutes chilly. Winter can affect people differently, which means when it comes to footwear, many of us have different needs to get us through the winter. 

With different needs, come different footwear options. That’s why there is such a variety of winter shoes to choose from: They each have different purposes, advantages, and disadvantages. Which one you go with will depend a lot on your priorities, needs, and activities. Suppose you’re someone who loves the winter – more power to you! You’ll probably want to embrace it and suit up with some warm, protective winter gear. In contrast, you might be someone struggling with a foot condition who just wants to get through the winter with something recommended by a Toronto foot specialist, whereas the fashionista may skip the authentic “winter experience” in favour of winter style.

With that, here is part one of Feet First Clinic’s Walk Into Winter series! We’ll feature some top-notch winter boots and pair them with the winter persona that suits you and your winter activities best!

(Want to learn more about what makes winter footwear unique? Check out our winter footwear guide!)

The Winter Hiker: The Saucony Peregrine Ice 

Why You’ll Love it

Not everyone treats the winter like something that needs to pass; some Torontonians embrace it! If you enjoy hitting the GTA winter trails, you’re going to need extra traction for those icy surfaces. That’s where the Saucony Peregrine Ice from their Trail series might pique your interest.

This shoe lets you enjoy the benefits of a lightweight sneaker, combined with protection from the slippery ground. Thanks to the fantastic Vibram Arctic Grip Technology in the rubber outsole, you can run through various trail conditions without slipping, and therefore reducing your chance injury. Furthermore, the waterproof Gore-tex fabric and water-resistant upper guard your feet from wet winter conditions, like slush, water and trail debris.

The Peregrine Ice is also quite comfortable. Made with PWRRUN foam and an extra layer of topsole cushioning, you can continue exploring your favourite trails without tiring quickly. The cushioning also gives you an extra boost and keeps you on your feet for long periods without the annoyance of foot pain. It also has a removable footbed to accommodate your custom orthotics. These perks combined are perfect for physically active people who keep up with their running routines all year round.

The Downside

  • It doesn’t provide the warmth that winter boots have.
  • Not suitable for deep snowfalls: The shoe doesn’t rise above the ankles, so it’s more suited for trails with compacted snow.

People With Foot Pain: The Mephisto Zelda

Why You’ll Love it

Winter boots from Mephisto are an excellent choice for people struggling with foot pain. The water-resistant Mephisto Zelda winter bootie is lightweight compared to heavy-duty winter boots, and laces up so you can adjust the fit and opening. The luxurious, soft faux fur also keeps your feet toasty when those temperatures start dropping in Toronto. Chiropodists note that Mephisto is one of the best shoe brands in terms of foot pain management. The following technologies work together to make Mephisto footwear shine:

  • SOFT-AIR Technology: A Mephisto staple! The flexible and soft midsole provides excellent cushioning — perfect for sensitive feet.
  • Shock absorbing heels: Shock absorption protects the foot and ankle joints from fatigue. This is also the case for your knees and back! Mephisto’s shock-absorbing heels are a protective barrier between your feet and the harsh impact of the ground.
  • Arch support: Arch support is essential for a couple of reasons. First (and foremost), it supports the structures of your foot, which helps reduce strain and pressure on the joints and ligaments in the foot and ankle. It also helps provide stability for those with an abnormal gait. Several foot conditions, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause your gait to change while your body tries to accommodate foot pain and deformities. Arch support can also help with controlling balance. Mephisto’s highly defined, anatomic arch support in the footbed supports the natural shape of your feet and provides stability, balance and foot pain management.
  • Removable footbed: This removable footbed allows this boot to easily accommodate your custom orthotics or specialty insole of choice.

The Downside

  • This boot comes with laces and does not have a zipper. This can pose a problem for people who want to quickly slip their shoes on and off without having to bend over to tie laces.
  • The Mephisto Zelda is a bootie, so it doesn’t offer much lower leg coverage above the ankle.
  • Mephisto boots won’t provide the same degree of insulation as a heavier-duty winter boot. Therefore, your feet might get cold when the weather dips below -5.

The Winter Fashionista: The Ara Paula

Why You’ll Love It

If style is your thing, the knee-high Ara Paula might be the way to go. Although you’d be missing out on the faux fur that some winter boots provide, the Paula is still a great choice for nights out with light rainfalls and a dusting of snow. Thanks to the Gore-tex fabric, this trendy staple is waterproof and breathable while giving your winter looks some modern flair. 

The slight wedge gives you some height and that extra boost of confidence for your stylish winter looks. They’re also pretty comfy: The Ara Paula comes with a cushioned footbed and built-in arch support – an excellent base for your foot that can help with onset foot pain. The footbed is also removable so you can insert your custom orthotics or Superfeet insoles for extra, customized support. 

The Downside

  • The insulated lining does provide some warmth, but when temperatures dip to a certain level, you might want to consider other options.
  • Likewise, other winter boots may be more practical for long walking periods in adverse conditions.

The Winter Warrior: The Sorel Joan of Arctic

 

Sometimes, Toronto winters just aren’t enough for the winter connoisseur. For those who like to trek up north and immerse themselves in a winter wonderland, the Sorel Joan of Arctic is the way to go. Designed for heavy snow use, this boot protects your lower legs and feet entirely while you enjoy your winter walk – even through deep snow.

First, this boot is all about being toasty. With a temperature rating of -32 degrees C, you can say goodbye to numb toes. The faux fur shearling cuffs help lock in warmth, along with the removable 6 mm washable felt inner boot. The thick sole in this boot also contributes to insulation and prevents heat from escaping.

The entirety of the Joan of Arctic boot protects your feet and lower legs from the snow and slush, thanks to the waterproof suede design. This boot’s rubber sole is also suitable for gripping the icy ground during your winter adventures.

The Downside

  • Extra protection and warmth often mean needing a bulky, heavy boot. That said, if you’re looking to immerse yourself in a winter getaway up north, this likely won’t matter too much to you.
  • Likewise, the extra bulk means this boot may fall a little short when it comes to style. It’s meant for the outdoors, so it may be difficult to pair with your favourite indoor outfit. 
  • There is no removable footbed, which means this boot may not accommodate orthotics or custom insoles.
  • There is no side zipper, which can make the boots difficult to take on and off for some.

Tips To Keep Your Feet Dry In Wet Weather

 

Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day. But sometimes it doesn’t. For those days, we’ve prepared some handy tips to help keep your feet dry all year round.

From March-November, most Canadians experience rain, with the exception of snowy days. For those in warmer climates, like Vancouver or Victoria, rain is a year-round element that locals need to battle. And then, when the rain subsides, we get to deal with snow and slush puddles.

This goes to show you: soggy feet can strike at any time. But, fall, winter and spring – at least in Canada – are notoriously known for wet weather. With that in mind, it’s critical to keep your feet dry to fend off common foot conditions like:

By following our how-to guide below, you’ll be able to keep your feet dry all year round.

Upgrade your rain gear

Tips To Keep Your Feet Dry In Wet Weather

Like we always like to say, dress for the weather. When it’s wet outside, we typically think of rain boots. These are waterproof, typically calf-length rubber or plastic boots that repel rain. However, rain boots do not typically provide adequate support and are not foot-friendly. They also don’t breathe, which means your feet can still get wet from perspiration, which is bad for foot hygiene. Thus, while standard plastic rain boots may protect you from the rain, they don’t protect you from other common foot conditions, which is why chiropodists do not recommend them.

Fortunately, there are great waterproof footwear options now that are supportive, stylish, weatherproof, and breathable. Many companies offer shoes made with GORE-TE X technology. GORE-TEX is a specially engineered high-performance material technology that is highly waterproof, lightweight and versatile. Unlike plastic and rubber, it is also breathable. Many companies, like ASICS, Saucony and Mephisto, use GORE-TEX in their hiking shoes to keep feet dry on the trail, while making sure they can still breathe. Other companies, like ARA, use GORE-TEX in many of their dress shoes, dress boots, and winter boots, so you can look stylish while keeping your feet dry. Sorel and Clarks use full-grain, coated leather that is also waterproof and breathable. These options give you the best of all worlds: waterproofing, good foot hygiene, and great style!

Carry an extra pair of footwear

If you do find yourself commuting in wet weather, and the waterproof footwear options available don’t accord with your workplace dress code, bring an extra pair of shoes to the office. This ensures that if your feet do get wet, they won’t stay that way all day. Just make sure to follow proper office etiquette by making sure you don’t accumulate a build-up of shoes under your desk or in your locker.

Waterproof your shoes

For those who don’t want dedicated rain footwear, many companies make a dress rubber overshoe. These rubber slip-ons transform your regular dress shoe into waterproof footwear. This is handy for commuters, and those going out on the town who want to stay dry but also dress up. The downside: rubber is not breathable, so – like your stereotypical rain boot – this option can cause sweaty feet if you’re wearing them for a long time. They also typically don’t rise above the ankle, which means they won’t protect you from deep snow and big puddles.

There are also solutions you can spray onto your shoes to waterproof them. Treating leather and textile footwear with a quality oil or silicone spray can make them wet-weather resistant. If your shoes are canvas, you can rub them down with an even coat of all-natural beeswax. Not only can these solutions help with water-proofing; they can also protect your footwear from stains and scratches so they last longer.

Regularly remove the liners from your shoes

Rainy Conditions

You should allow adequate time for your shoes to dry after each use. One critical component to this is removing the inner liner (if it’s removable). As the liner absorbs moisture and it’s the first point of contact on your feet, you’ll want to dry them to ensure dry feet.

Use proper socks

What’s your first (and last) line of defense between your feet and your shoes? Your socks, of course. These important accessories can be a game-changer for keeping your feet dry. Ideally, you’ll want to wear CoolMax socks that help wick moisture away from your feet. Think of them like a vacuum of moisture. Merino wool is also a great material for socks. Merino wool transports sweat and moisture away from the skin as a vapor. These fibres are inherently porous.

Now, if you want to go one step even further, did you know that waterproof socks exist? They do! Waterproof socks are comprised of three elements: a knit exterior sock, a waterproof membrane, and a knit interior sock. Because of this, these socks are thicker than athletic socks. Showerspass is one such example of a company that manufactures waterproof socks.

Dry your shoes between uses

Properly drying your shoes after each use helps remove moisture, and discourages the growth of odor-producing bacteria and fungus. This can help prevent athlete’s footfungal toenailsblisters, and cracked heels. There are a few ways you can do this:

If you have time before you have to wear your shoes again, you can let them air dry on a stand. Some laundry drying racks actually have designated attachments for drying out your shoes. You can also use a good old-fashioned hairdryer to help the drying process along.

If you don’t have the time to sit over your shoes with a hairdryer or want something that dries them faster, you may want to consider a shoe dryer or boot dryer. A shoe dryer or boot dryer is a machine used for drying shoes and usually functions by blowing air on the inside of the shoes. The airflow causes the shoes to dry faster. The air can be heated for even faster drying. These can be a good alternative to putting your shoes directly into a dryer (using a regular dryer can damage your shoes but if you take the proper precautions, it can be done safely).

These small appliances can be placed in your mudroom and foyer and can be left alone between shoe uses. It’s great for rainy seasons, or if you rely on 1-2 pairs of running shoes that regularly get wet. This way, you can put your shoes right into the dryer as soon as you get home, instead of forgetting.

What Makes Winter Footwear Unique: Key Features

Winter is around the corner, whether we like it or not.

Winter in Canada is the coldest season and stands out for a few reasons. It’s colder, it’s windier, there’s snow, frost, and it’s dark for most of the morning and evening. Due to conditions, footwear is absolutely critical between the months of December to March. Unlike other seasons, where all-season footwear might suffice, it’s important to invest in winter-specific footwear. Not only for comfort, but for safety as well.

Fortunately, these days, the look of winter boots can keep up with the technical features, but you should never sacrifice comfort for style. Doing so will hurt your feet and could cause injury.

In this post, you’ll learn more about the components of winter/snow boots and footwear, and key features to keep in mind when shopping for winter. Consider this your key features guide for 2022 winter footwear.

Winter Footwear Features

Insulation

The first consideration is warmth. Keeping your feet warm in winter means you can help prevent weather-related foot conditions including frostbite and frostnip.

Winter boots are warm because of their insulation. A boot’s liner and layers accomplish this. The thicker (or heavier) the liner and more layers it has, the warmer the boot. There are two types of liners: removable, or built-in liners. Pac boots (traditionally a moccasin-type soft shoe worn inside an outer shoe or boot) are effective because the soft shoe is both removable and extremely warm. They double as a sock and can be swapped in for either warmer or cooler insulate layers. You may see this in brands like Sorel.

Thinsulate boots (a brand of synthetic fibre thermal insulation) more often have a permanent layer of lining within the boot. You’ll likely see this type of liner in a boot without a removable liner, like hiking boots and Sorel’s Tivoli line. This synthetic fibre is designed to like down.

Additionally, you might also find boots lined with PrimaLoft. The North face, for example, uses this synthetic material to line its boots. PrimaLoft was created as a waterproof version of down, as down feathers become ineffective when wet.

Beyond insulation types, some winter boots also have temperature ratings (just like jackets or sleeping bags). Many stores and websites provide this guideline as a reference point. Examples may include:

  • 5°C to -5°C
  • -5°C to -15°C
  • -15°C to -20°C
  • -20°C to -30°C
  • -30°C and below

Those in Vancouver for example may have different insulation needs than those in Toronto. Further to that point, residents of the territories would need significantly warmer boots than those in Toronto. Use temperature ratings as a guideline, and go up an additional level if you’re unsure, just to be safe. It’s better to have overly warm boots than overly cold boots.

One way to influence boot warmth is to use an insole made of wool or sheepskin, which can add warmth to your boots.

Waterproof

Winter Footwear Features

Wet feet are never happy feet. With snow, ice, sleet, and puddles, the winter season is prime time for wet and soggy feet. If you wear footwear inadequate for the conditions, your boots may become waterlogged and even freeze, putting your feet at risk to the elements. Fortunately, most winter footwear is waterproof.

Look for brands that are either made with GORE-TEX or waterproof leather. GORE-TEX is a waterproof, breathable fabric membrane made of Teflon, and repels water while allowing water vapor to pass through. You can also make non-waterproof boots water-resistant by applying a PU coating. PU coating is polyurethane applied to the surface of a fabric which makes it waterproof.

By keeping your feet dry in the winter, in addition to being more comfortable, you’ll help prevent blisters, calluses, athlete’s foot, foot odour, and corns.

Sizing

Winter footwear sizing can differ from your regular shoe size. This is due to a few factors, including the liner compressing over time, the need to accommodate for thicker socks, and different sizing and cuts across brands.

Here are a few tips to ensure you choose the best winter footwear when it comes to size:

  • Get fitted in-store. Here at Feet First Clinic, you can drop in for a shoe fitting by our knowledgeable staff. If you have any particular foot concerns or a foot condition, you can also see one of our licensed chiropodists by appointment for a foot assessment.
  • Try boots on towards the end of the day. Feet swell throughout the day, and trying on footwear towards the end of the day ensures boots can accommodate the size fluctuations. The fact that our feet change size over time, and throughout the day is totally normal.
  • Size up, never down. Especially with winter footwear, it’s safe to size up slightly to prevent pinching or bunching of your toes at the tips of your feet. Plus, additional toe room takes into consideration the fact that you may wear bulkier socks depending on the weather.
  • Try on winter footwear with socks you own. When you go shoe shopping, we highly recommend trying shoes on with the socks you intend to wear them with. You can even bring an extra pair of socks to see how your shoes will work with different sock thicknesses. This replicates real-world scenarios so there are no surprises when you slip on your boots for the first – or 100th – time.
  • Adjust for custom foot orthotics: If you wear custom foot orthotics, bring them when you try on winter boots. We recommend focusing on boots with a removable footbed, which will better accommodate your orthotics.

Breathability

Most boots are made with a combination of materials. As mentioned above, boots may combine specific outer layer materials and inner materials (i.e.: liners). Each boot comes with a specific use case so let’s clear up any confusion around footwear breathability. This can be thought of as the effectiveness of a boot to wick moisture away from your feet.

  • GORE-TEX: Waterproof and Breathable
  • Nylon: Generally breathable, but not as waterproof (depending on how it’s engineering). Nylon is also more likely to retain odour.
  • Full grain leather boots: Breathable, but not always waterproof (it depends on how it’s coated)
  • Rubber: Not breathable, but waterproof, durable and provides traction

As you may have gathered from the above, the ability of a material to wick away moisture ultimately comes down to how it’s engineered and coated. For instance, Sorel uses technology in their full-grain leather uppers that make them highly waterproof. Also, the outsole of a boot – particularly those super durable rubber outsoles that help provide grip in slippery conditions – can sometimes affect a boot’s breathability.

Whatever material you go with, it’s important to ensure that its waterproofing and insulating materials are not at the expense of breathability; they are indeed compatible with each other.

Traction

How do you prevent falls in snow and slippery conditions? Your boots’ traction is critical for grip in adverse conditions.

Winter boots come with varying layers and depths of tread on the underfoot. Think of this feature as equivalent to winter tires. Using this analogy, winter tires are designed specifically for use on snow and ice. They have a tread design with larger gaps than conventional tires. Winter boots serve the same purpose. Just as winter tires keep your car on the road, winter boots and their lugs help you maintain grip in slick conditions.

Most winter boots have outsoles that are either rubber, thermoplastic rubber (TPR) or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). All these materials are designed to be durable and provide traction. They also have shock absorbing properties.

It’s important to keep in mind that winter boots are not slip-proof on ice – especially on an incline. If you anticipate trekking through icy conditions, we highly recommend detachable crampons.

Comfort and support

Find and wear footwear that offers strong arch and foot support. The same principle applies to winter boots. Although winter boots will generally be heavier than other all-season footwear, try on 3-5 different pairs (more or less if you find a comfortable fit) to ensure you explore your options.

Proper arch support means you’ll keep common foot conditions at bay like plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and Morton’s neuroma.

If you’re having trouble finding a boot that gives you enough support, try a boot with a removable insole. That will let you take out the insole and replace it with your custom orthotics or supportive insole of choice.

Price

Because of the build and ruggedness of winter boots, expect to pay between $150-$400 for a quality pair. Though price shouldn’t be the main consideration, it’s definitely important to take into account when budgeting for winter boots. Depending on your closet size, you may opt for a single all-weather boot, or two pairs of more specific use-case boots.

 

Cuboid Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and How a Chiropodist Can Help

Cuboid syndrome can be one of the most misdiagnosed foot conditions. Have you ever heard of it? Mistaking it for more common foot injuries like ankle sprains, ankle injuries, or plantar fasciitis could be why.

This foot condition is particularly common in those who are active and engage in higher-risk activities like running, jumping, or ballet. But, with the proper assessment and treatment plan, cuboid syndrome can be treated with a mix of at-home treatment, physiotherapy and foot accessories like custom foot orthotics, and taping – the latter two of which can be done as part of a foot assessment by a chiropodist. In fact, after receiving a proper diagnosis, this syndrome is easily treated and preventable.

In this article, we’ll discuss common causes, symptoms, treatments, and general information as it relates to cuboid syndrome.

What is cuboid syndrome?

Cuboid syndrome is a condition caused by a problem with the cuboid bone. This condition produces pain on the outer side of the foot, most often on the foot’s underside. This would be the opposite of where your arch is at its highest. The cuboid bone itself is one of the 28 bones of the foot. It’s among the seven tarsal bones of the foot. Its purpose, as part of the calcaneocuboid joint, is to help maintain foot mobility while you move. So whenever you walk or run, your cuboid is a critical component.

The pain comes from not just the cuboid, but also the surrounding joints and ligaments that support the bone. In fact, cuboid syndrome is commonly referred to as cuboid subluxation, the latter a term used when a joint doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.

How do you know if you have cuboid syndrome?

Cuboid Syndrome

Problems can develop with the cuboid bone that makes it shift and dislodge from its normal position. This will cause pain and difficulty standing or walking. Cuboid syndrome most often affects athletes and dancers, although anyone can experience it. Age does not seem to play a role in developing the syndrome.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain along the outside of the foot (from the ankle to the toes)
  • Pain along the outer, underside of the foot
  • Discomfort while walking or running

Cuboid syndrome can be particularly difficult to diagnose and spot because cuboid misalignments may not show up on x-rays or MRIs.

What causes cuboid syndrome?

The most common causes of cuboid syndrome include:

  • Acute injury: A common cause of cuboid syndrome is an ankle sprain. A damaged cuboid is a byproduct of the lower leg injury.
  • Repetitive strain/overuse: Activities that cause repetitive strain/overuse include running, jumping, and any sport that involves running like tennis, soccer, or football. According to studies, ballet dancers are also prone to developing cuboid syndrome.
  • Foot mechanics: People with flat feet are more prone to developing cuboid syndrome as a collapsed arch adds additional pressure to the underside of the foot. Additionally, in one study, the results show “80% of the patients with cuboid syndrome presented with pronated feet, but it can also occur with pes cavus (supinated) feet”.
  • Excessive body weight
  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Training on uneven surfaces

How do you treat cuboid syndrome?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for cuboid syndrome. Effective treatment usually involves a combination of therapies to help strengthen, mobilize and support the joints and ligaments around the cuboid bone. A physiotherapist and chiropodist can help with this.

A physiotherapist can treat and manage cuboid syndrome by mobilizing the joints around the cuboid once the acute symptoms have resolved. This can involve manipulating the cuboid and pushing it back into position. Physiotherapy treatment also includes strengthening and conditioning exercises for the muscles and joints in the feet and lower body. By strengthening these muscles, they are better equipped to withstand our daily activities, which reduces strain and makes them less injury-prone.

If you want to learn more about how physiotherapy can help treat cuboid syndrome, be sure to visit our neighbours at the Bloor Jane Physiotherapy Clinic.

How can a Chiropodist treat cuboid syndrome?

It’s always a good idea to see a foot specialist, like a chiropodist, if you’re having any kind of foot pain – including cuboid syndrome. Involving a chiropodist in your care helps you tackle the issue from all angles. Depending on the severity of the condition, various treatments may be available to you, whether it’s a chiropodist assessment, custom foot orthotics, at-home treatment, or finding the right footwear.

Chiropodist assessment

Foot health isn’t just about the feet: Our feet are our body’s foundation, so if there’s a problem, it can affect the rest of our body. That’s where our chiropodists come in. During an assessment, a chiropodist (a foot specialist) will conduct a comprehensive biomechanical assessment and gait analysis.

At your assessment, the chiropodist will:

  • Address your foot concerns and conduct a full medical history.
  • Conduct a biomechanical assessment, including a full gait analysis, examine your feet.
  • Diagnose your foot issues and any underlying causes.
  • Discuss a treatment plan and make recommendations for treatment, prescriptions, footwear, or foot accessories.

For those with cuboid syndrome, chiropodists can assist in key areas:

  1. Diagnosing any underlying biomechanical issues that are causing your pain, and prescribing foot devices, such as custom orthotics, to help correct any issues with your gait and realign your foot (more on that below!)
  2. Recommending supportive footwear that accommodates your foot type and gait.
  3. Prescribing exercises and stretches for your feet that will help your recovery and maintain your overall foot health.
  4. Taping with a common goal of supporting the medial longitudinal arch can help.
  5. Padding to support the plantar cuboid may assist in supporting the foot.

Foot assessments are not covered by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) but foot care benefits and chiropodist services are included in many private extended health benefit plans. Check with your insurance provider on whether foot care benefits and chiropodist services are provided.

Custom orthotics

Managing foot pain involves more than just in-clinic treatment: We use our feet all the time, so it’s important to make sure that they’re properly supported through all our activities. That’s where custom orthotics come into play!

Custom orthotics are custom-built corrective shoe inserts that provide personalized support to the structures of our feet. Orthotics act to correct or accommodate biomechanical abnormalities, foot deformities (i.e.: bunions, hammertoes, flatfoot, high arches), and a variety of joint and muscle conditions (i.e.: arthritis) to improve your gait and manage pain. They do this by redistributing the force and pressure placed on our muscles and joints when we move. This in turn alleviates strain and pain in our feet and the rest of our body.

As it pertains to cuboid syndrome, custom foot orthotics can help correct certain biomechanical inefficiencies that cause cuboid syndrome. This can redistribute stress evenly across various parts of your foot.

Supportive footwear

What we put on our feet has a big effect on our foot health. Making sure your feet are getting the everyday support they need is critical to reducing strain on the muscles and joints in your feet, as well as the rest of your lower body. That’s why Feet First Clinic offers many footwear options to make sure you’re wearing the proper footwear for your day-to-day activities.

Orthopaedic shoes are available for purchase and special orders at our foot clinic. You can then browse our in-clinic shop with our knowledgeable staff to select the best shoes for you. We can also order orthopedic footwear on your behalf if we don’t have it in stock.

Like custom foot orthotics, supportive footwear can help treat and prevent cuboid syndrome by providing support under your arch and can reduce overstressed areas of your foot when exercising. Getting footwear that accommodates your gait is also very important. For example, people who overpronate or have flat feet are very prone to cuboid syndrome, so a stability shoe can go a long way toward giving your feet the day-to-day support they need. The knowledgeable staff at Feet First Clinic can size and guide you through our catered selection of footwear so you can find the perfect pair for you.

At-home treatment

Additional at-home treatments can be quite effective. A mix of ice therapy, rest, taping, and compression socks can all reduce pressure on the cuboid and help treat the condition.

The Best Shoes From ASICS

ASICS shoes are some of the best on the market. While they’re highly beneficial for athletes in terms of performance enhancement, they’re also suitable for anyone looking for maximum comfort in their daily activities. Ill-fitting and non-supportive footwear are the biggest contributing factors to many common foot issues. That’s why chiropodists recommend comfortable, supportive footwear for treating and preventing several chronic foot conditionsIt doesn’t matter if you’re a superstar athlete; ASICS running shoes are an excellent choice for people who care about foot health and managing foot pain flare-ups.

This top-tier shoe company is known for producing quality stability shoes and neutral shoes. ASICS understands that many people need neutral shoes, and many need stability shoes. For that reason, they’re able to produce excellent versions of both. Let’s look at the difference between the two and highlight some of the best ASICS shoes on the market:

Stability ASICS Shoes

Stability shoes help control excessive motion in the foot and ankle and overpronation (when the foot rolls inward and downward toward the arch). This type of movement often leads to flat feet. Overpronation can also make people more likely to sustain an injury or develop a foot condition. More specifically, overpronation is linked to the following conditions and injuries:

Stability shoes work by favourably aligning the foot to a neutral position and providing extra arch support. ASICS stability shoes include a variety of innovative technologies in the midsole that work together to provide an exceptionally stable walking and running experience. The main stability features are the TRUSSTIC™ and DYNAMIC DUOMAX® technologies: The TRUSSTIC technology involves a resin structure (a medial post) in the midsole of the shoe that prevents the excessive twisting motion associated with overpronation. The DYNAMIC DUOMAX technology involves a firm sponge in the midsole that helps control and offset the inward rolling of the heel and foot. ASICS’s specially designed heel counter also provides added stability. All together, these features help reduce the strain on the joints and muscles caused by overpronation. For more information on these technologies, you can visit ASICS’ website, which offers helpful diagrams to illustrate how these features work.

If you think you need stability shoes or suspect you overpronate during movement, you can consult with a chiropodist. They may point you in the direction of some of the classic ASICS stability shoes listed below. The best thing about seeing the chiropodists at Feet First Clinic is that you can get your foot assessment and footwear all under one roof: Your fantastic chiropodist can perform a biomechanical assessment and make footwear recommendations, after which you can try them on and get them on site. Our friendly foot staff is here to help size you and guide you through your next shoe purchase. 

Below are our top recommended stability shoes from ASICS:

Gel Kayano

The Gey-Kayano (pictured above) has a reputation for being ASICS’s top stability shoe. It provides the most cushioning and stability among ASICS’s stability shoes, featuring the highest level of TRUSSTIC and DYNAMIC DUAMAX technologies. It includes classic ASICS features, including the infamous GEL® technology for the ultimate soft, cushioned ASICS experience. The max cushioning is also important for shock absorption, which works by cushioning and protecting your joints from the impact of your foot striking the ground. This lets you walk comfortably for longer without feeling the strain in your joints and muscles. Furthermore, the Gel-Kayano is made with FLYTEFOAM propel cushioning that gives you an extra spring to your step.

The Gel-Kayano is the right choice for people who experience moderate or severe overpronation, and who need maximum cushioning and arch support. It’s Feet First Clinic’s #1 recommendation for people with foot pain who overpronate, have flat feet, or seeking strong arch support and structure.

GT-1000

The GT-1000 from ASICS is a good option if you have mild to moderate overpronation. It provides moderate stability and sufficient, comfortable cushioning with the FLYTEFOAM™ technology. It’s also lightweight compared to other stability shoes. That said, it doesn’t sacrifice durability! This shoe is a great choice for everyday wear, especially if your lifestyle involves staying on your feet for long hours. The mesh upper promotes breathability and a healthy foot climate, which is important for people who wear shoes for long periods. A healthy foot climate can help fight and prevent foot conditions like foot odourfungal infections and athlete’s foot. The GT-1000 also has other classic ASICS features, like their rearfoot GEL technology for consistent shock absorption. 

The GT-1000 features ASICS’s DYNAMIC DUOMAX technology systems to ensure stability for people who overpronate or need a little extra control from their shoes. The GT1000 does provide a little less stability, motion control, and cushioning than the Gel-Kayano and GT-2000. Because of this, it is a more economical option for the budget-conscious.

GT-2000

The GT-2000 is another stability shoe from ASICS. Essentially the same as the GT-1000, it does have a few distinguishable features. This includes more responsive cushioning. According to Runner Click, extra responsive cushioning is another way to describe a shoe having more “energy.” It works by putting more power into your push-off and strides during a run. This makes it a good choice for runners looking for a consistently vigorous experience. That said, you don’t need to be a runner to show interest in the GT2000! The extra cushioning is beneficial for anyone seeking a little extra shock absorption and a softer footbed. While it does provide more cushioning and stability features than the GT-1000, it doesn’t provide as much as the Gel-Kayano. The GT-2000’s extra cushioning and stability features also make it slightly more expensive than the GT-1000.

In terms of stability features, the ASICS GT-2000 has the same DYNAMIC DUOMAX technology as the Gel-Kayano and GT-1000. It also has LITETRUSS technology, which is a scaled-down version of the TRUSSTIC technology offered in the Gel-Kayano. This allows for a little more freedom of movement and flexibility than the Gel-Kayano, but slightly less motion control for correcting overpronation.

Neutral ASICS Shoes

Neutral running shoes typically don’t have the same stabilizing features as stability shoes. Because of this, they allow for more flexibility and freedom of movement. They’re suitable for people who supinate (heels lean outward, placing more pressure on sides of the foot)have high archesor have a neutral gait. A neutral gait means your feet and ankles align properly during movement, which means you don’t necessarily need a stability shoe with foot and ankle control characteristics.

That said, ASICS shoes are special in that even their neutral shoes provide the stabilizing features offered in their stability shoes – just to a lesser degree. Therefore, you’ll still get great support and control from an ASICS runner, which is essential for any foot – whether or not you have foot concerns. 

The Gel-Nimbus and the Gel-Cumulus are our top neutral ASICS shoes, and come highly recommended by Toronto foot specialists.

Gel-Nimbus

The Gel-Nimbus is the perfect choice for people who are prone to foot pain and foot sensitivities. Furthermore, it’s an exceptionally good choice for people struggling with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the feet, knees and low back. Healthline notes that the Gel-Nimbus is also the best ASICS option for active people with knee pain flare-ups. The ASICS Gel-Nimbus is ideal for these conditions thanks to its maximum cushioning. In fact, it has the most cushioning out of all ASICS runners and is super soft. In addition to the soft comfort, the max level of GEL® cushioning technology gives these shoes maximum shock-absorbing properties. This also makes it perfect for people who supinate and have high arches, since these conditions cause extra shock on the lower body.

Even though the Gel-Nimbus is considered a neutral runner, it still offers the structured supportive features featured in many of ASICS’ stability shoes, including firm arch support, a specially engineered external heel counter, and the TRUSSTIC technology. It’s for all of these reasons that the ASICS Gel-Nimbus is Feet First Clinic’s #1 recommended neutral shoe.

If you want to see the Gel Nimbus in action, you can stop by Feet First Clinic, where you’ll often see Erica sporting her own pair around the clinic (pictured above). Erica loves the extra cushioning and shock absorption her Gel Nimbuses give her, which helps with her rheumatoid arthritis. She also swears by the arch support for her plantar fasciitis.

Gel-Cumulus

Inspired by cumulus clouds, the Gel-Cumulus is another ASICS staple. Great for people who love a smooth run and effortless walking experience, the upper and midsole are both designed to conform to each user’s foot anatomy while in motion. A layer of ASICS signature GEL® technology under the heel provides medium cushioning, and the FLYTEFOAM™ midsole supports your feet consistently throughout the day. The Gel-Cumulus also includes the AHAR® LITE outsole, which adds an extra layer of durability to the shoe.

The Gel-Cumulus is a great option for people who want a little more bounce and speed from their running shoes. Even though it’s not quite as cushioned and soft as the Gel-Nimbus, most people find the cushioning more than ample. It’s also offered a lower price point than the Gel-Nimbus, making it a more economical foot-friendly option for neutral walkers seeking a high-quality, durable, cushioned shoe.

Cracked Heels and Heel Fissures: The Dangers and What You Can Do

Cracked heels (heel fissures) are a common foot condition that can affect anyone. The main culprit behind cracked heels is dry skin. Cracked heels are often worse in the winter when the outdoor air is dry and the heaters are blasting full force at home, at work, and in public. 

Sometimes hectic lifestyles and the daily grind can get in the way of maintaining proper foot care to protect your feet from dry skin. Luckily, you have the option to see a Toronto foot specialist for your cracked heels. There are also many products and foot care tips you can use to manage and prevent them.

Let’s discuss cracked heels in-depth and answer the following questions:

  • What are cracked heels?
  • Are there risk factors?
  • Are there dangers or complications that may arise from having cracked heels?
  • How do you treat cracked heels?

What Are Cracked Heels?

Cracked heels are what they sound like: cracks in the heels of the feet. Sometimes referred to as heel fissures, cracked heels are caused by dry skin. The skin on the bottom of your feet may also be hardened, in addition to being excessively dry. Web MD notes that sometimes cracked heels are just a cosmetic problem. That said, deeper cracks often present with bleeding and pain. If you suspect you may have cracked heels, you can check for the following common symptoms:

  • Hard skin on your heels that feels like plaster
  • Dry skin
  • Flaky, crusty or peeling skin
  • Heel pain
  • Foot callus formation surrounding the heel

You may notice the following in severe cases: 

  • Bleeding
  • Redness
  • Loss of sensation in the heel
  • Swelling/inflammation

Causes and Risk Factors

Risk factors include standing for long hours on hard surfaces, which places excessive pressure on the pad of the heel and contributes to splitting the skin. Seasonality can also play a role, as cold weather in the fall and winter can make your skin dry. Likewise, heated public spaces in the winter, as well as taking long hot baths and showers, can quickly dry out the skin on your feet. Other causes and risk factors for cracked heels include:

  • Using soaps and products with harsh chemicals
  • Obesity can increase pressure on the heel pads
  • Ill-fitting, unsupportive footwear
  • Dehydration can contribute to dry skin
  • Neglecting regular foot care, like moisturizing and exfoliation
  • Diabetes: Studies show that diabetics with high blood sugar are more likely to have dry skin
  • Flat feet and high arches: These biomechanical foot conditions can place excessive pressure on the heels
  • Eczema 

Are There Dangers Or Complications?

Cracked heels are normally a mild foot condition, but complications and more serious symptoms may present themselves if they are particularly deep and painful. First and foremost, if you have diabetes, untreated cracked heels may lead to a serious foot ulcer (sometimes resulting in amputation). According to Everyday Health, people with diabetes must regularly consult with a chiropodist to examine their feet.

Mild foot conditions can result in serious complications for people with diabetes due to a compromised immune system, poor circulation and diabetic neuropathy (loss of sensation) in the legs and feet. The loss of sensation means people with diabetes may be unaware of the seriousness of foot conditions without the assistance of a chiropodist. With cracked heels, this is extra important to acknowledge, as diabetes patients are prone to dry skin. Because diabetes also impairs the immune system, it’s very easy for cracked heels in diabetes patients to get infected, which can lead to serious complications. 

Even if you don’t have diabetes, or perceive your cracked heels to be mild, you should still see a foot specialist and learn how to treat them. If left untreated, deeply cracked heels can become progressively more painful and bleed. This can affect your quality of life, causing consistent soreness on your heels. Likewise, unchecked cracked heels can impact your ability to go about your daily life. Severely cracked heels can also make you vulnerable to a bacterial infection called cellulitis. Telltale signs of cellulitis include warm, swollen and painful skin surrounding the infected area.

How Do You Treat Cracked Heels?

Before you worry too much about cracked heels, you can rest assured that there are plenty of treatment options available. These include treatments with a Toronto foot specialist and things you can do at home to prevent and treat cracked heels.

A chiropodist can help by removing foot callus formation surrounding the affected heel. This repairs the skin’s natural elasticity. They can also make footwear recommendations that provide more cushioning and support for your heel, offloading pressure on the heel pad. Examples include Superfeet insoles, which can be easily inserted into your everyday shoes. This can be particularly helpful for people struggling with obesity-related cracked heels, people with flat feet, and those who stand for long hours on hard surfaces.

Chiropodists can also recommend products you can use to manage your cracked heels. Feet First Clinic offers products from Gehwol, a brand that specializes in foot creams, baths, deodorants, balms, salves, and more. One of their superstar products is Gehwol’s medical salve for cracked skin. Perfect for people with cracked, dry skin that regularly flares up, this salve can prevent the problem from getting worse by warding off itchiness, flaky skin, bleeding and irritation. Active ingredients include medicated soaps, Vaseline, lanolin, camphor and menthol. The latter helps soothe your sore feet, while other components work to protect the natural strength and elasticity in your heels.

Additional Treatment Options and Products Include: 

  • Dermal therapy heel careThis soothing cream moisturizes your heels and is an excellent preventative measure against dry, hard skin. For the best results, you can moisturize your feet daily with this cream, allowing for consistent moisture restoration during the winter.
  • Routine exfoliation. Gehwol’s Soft Feet Peeling Scrub is a great option!
  • As a preventative measure, use scent-free soaps without chemicals. Soaps should also moisturize your feet.
  • Avoid long, hot baths until cracked heels improve.

Horrifying Foot Care Habits To Avoid

Halloween is one of the most beloved holidays in Toronto. It’s always fun to embrace the theme and get into the spirit of the season! As such, our Bloor West foot clinic is here to spook you out of your horrifying foot care habits. Chiropodists advise against several dreadful habits. These include cutting your toenails poorly, wearing nail polish too often, going without socks, and more. 

Consistent bad habits can leave your feet vulnerable to some scary foot conditions that cause foot and ankle pain, affect your toenails and can lead to skin problems. If these ghastly habits sound like you, don’t worry- it’s never too late to make some lifestyle changes! After all, every part of your feet deserves attention. Your ankles, the ball of your foot, the tips of your toes (and everything in between) will thank you! 

Horrifying Foot Care Habits To Avoid:

  • Terrifying toenail cutting
  • Nightmarish nail polish
  • No socks can be scary
  • Frightful ill-fitting footwear
  • Barefoot running for your life

Terrifying Toenail Cutting 

If you’re someone who quickly trims their toenails without paying much attention, think again! The way you trim your toenails matters just as much as other nail care routines. Cutting your nails straight across is key and ensures that your nails continue to grow forward. You should also avoid cutting your nails down too much and keep a nail file handy for sharp, jagged edges, which are also risk factors for ingrown toenails.

You can see a chiropodist for a medical pedicure if you still feel unsure about how to cut toenails. Not only do medical pedicures leave your nails looking and feeling perfect, but they also moisturize your skin and soften calluses and corns. Incorporating routine medical pedicures into your routine is a great way to break one of the most horrifying foot care habits and prevent scary ingrown toenails. 

Nightmarish Nail Polish

Suppose you like showing off your toenails with a pop of colour – more power to you! However, you shouldn’t be spooked by a bare nail. Many foot specialists recommend taking a break from your favourite nail polish colours when it gets chilly. This is because there are many factors at play during the fall and winter that can dry out your nails. On top of that, the formaldehyde in many nail polishes will add to the dryness by trapping moisture, making the problem worse. Other products full of damaging chemicals, like polish removers, can also contribute to dry nails. Dry toenails are generally brittle, and consistent exposure to heat and dry air makes you vulnerable to cracked toenails.

So, why stop when it’s cold? Dry heat from toasty spaces like your home, workplace and other public areas can seriously affect your feet’s ability to produce natural moisture. The chilly, dry air in the winter can also be a contributing factor. Ditching the polish in the cold weather gives your nails a chance to get some much-needed oxygen when your feet are exposed. 

If you’re looking for a product to have on hand in case your nails become dry and brittle this year, you can try Gehwol’s Fusskraft soft nail and skin protection spray. It strengthens your toenails with vitamin E acetate and panthenol, which also gives your nails a moisture boost by helping the nail bind with water.

No Socks Can Be Scary

Wearing your shoes without socks is another horrifying foot care habit that you should stop immediately! You should always wear socks with enclosed footwear like sneakers and boots. First, socks add an extra layer between your feet and your shoe, lowering the risk of blister formation by preventing your bare feet from excessively rubbing against your shoe.  

Secondly, that extra layer from your socks can help you avoid contracting foot fungus. Foot fungus loves to thrive in moist, dark environments, so simply remembering your socks can keep your feet dry and help you avoid nasty fungal infections, like fungal toenails and athlete’s foot. Other ways to avoid frightening fungus include:

  • Choosing ventilated and breathable shoes 
  • Keeping your shoes dry
  • Avoiding walking barefoot in public spaces
  • Regularly changing socks

Frightful Ill-fitting Footwear

Does it feel like your feet are cursed? Do you have strange foot pain, knee pain, or even back pain? If this sounds like you, your shoes may be the villain. Shoes that don’t support your arch, offer enough cushioning, or accommodate your foot width and length are a recipe for disaster! Very Well Health notes a correlation between ill-fitting shoes and certain foot conditions and scenarios, including: 

If you want to avoid gruesome, ill-fitting shoes, Feet First can help. Our friendly foot staff offer services like shoe stretching and shoe fittings in our one-stop foot shop. Our chiropodists can also make recommendations during appointments, and prescribe orthopaedic footwear for those suffering from foot conditions.

Barefoot Running For Your Life

Classic horror films always show characters running away from a terrifying villain. Now, it might be unfair to judge their unfortunate circumstances, but if they took a couple of seconds to put on their running shoes, they would probably have better luck escaping! With that, another horrible foot care habit to avoid is running without your shoes. 

Newton Running states that some experts recommend barefoot running in very small intervals, as it may help improve your running mechanics and train your feet to land lightly. That said, it should not become a routine. The risk of falling and sustaining an injury is much higher if you make a habit of running without shoes. 

Running without your shoes also heightens your risk of developing plantar fasciitis. As the plantar surface of your foot hits the hard pavement, the lack of cushioning and sole protection increases the risk of pain and strain on the structures in your foot. The extra strain puts those susceptible to plantar fasciitis at risk. By running barefoot, you’re also putting yourself at risk of overworking your muscles and developing foot calluses, corns, and blisters. 

Need the perfect running shoes? Our footwear product page has what you need! 

Need Help Avoiding These Horrifying Foot Care Habits? Give Us a Call!

Don’t be spooked by your horrible foot care habits; there’s always time to make a change. Our foot and ankle clinic strives to make sure you are feeling your best so you can have a safe and enjoyable Halloween! Our Toronto chiropodists and helpful foot clinic staff are here 6 days a week if you need some extra assistance. 

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

Battle of The Boots

If you haven’t already, it’s officially time to say goodbye to your sandals until next year! Fall has arrived in Toronto, and everyone is starting to sport their favourite boots to enjoy this colourful, crisp season. One thing is certain: fall boot choices can be overwhelming. 

There are many excellent brands out there that offer unique styles, designs, and health benefits for your feet. In today’s article, we’ll have some fun pitting two types, combat boots and ankle boots, in our battle of the boots! Both offer style and comfort, and numerous versions of these boots are available at Feet First Clinic, Toronto’s one-stop shop for all things foot-related.

We can confidently say that neither style is a wrong choice. The goal for a battle of the boots is to help you make an informed decision while exploring footwear. Everybody is different when it comes to fall footwear shopping. Some people swear by combat boots and enjoy the edginess, protection and safety of a modern, military-style boot, while others prefer the simplicity and chicness of ankle boots. However, one thing is for sure; both come with essential features that promote foot health. Toronto foot specialists applaud the brands we’ll talk about today, which include Sorel, Ara, Portofino and Clarks. Below you’ll find a list of the boots featured in this article. 

Battle of The Boots

  • Combat boot: Ara Dover Debbie
  • Combat boot: Sorel Lennox Lace
  • Combat boot: Portofino Flora
  • Ankle boot: Clarkdale Arlo
  • Ankle boot: Sorel Lennox Chelsea
  • Ankle boot: Ara Liverpool

Why Choose Combat Boots?

  • Ankle stability: The increased height in many combat boots protects your ankles. This provides stability and helps you avoid injuries, such as a twisted ankle.
  • Comfort and warmth: Fall and winter-oriented combat boots are often made with faux fur linings and insulating materials.
  • Easy transition from Toronto fall weather to light snowfalls
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Solid grip during wet, slippery weather
  • Removable footbeds to accommodate custom orthotics

Ara Dover Debbie

This combat boot adds an edgy flair to your fall looks. The Ara Dover Debbie comes equipped with an extra-thick rubber sole that gives your boots the ability to grip wet, slippery surfaces. Not only that, but the sole provides great shock absorption, giving you a gentle walking experience while protecting your joints from the impact of your step. It also offers extra thermal insulation. A significant component of how warm the Ara Dover is the fluffy faux fur lining, which feels silky smooth to the touch and keeps your feet toasty all day long.

Like many high-quality shoe brands, Ara equips their shoes with its signature cushioning technology. Their HighSoft technology includes a cushioned insole and footbed. This provides crucial comfort in more ways than one. First, the cushioning feels luxuriously soft and plush, giving your feet a comfortable base for your that also conforms to your feet’s natural shape. The cushioning also provides shock absorption and support. This prevents your feet from feeling tired, which is especially useful if your spend your days standing or walking for long hours. The Ara Dover is made with smooth leather, the faux fur lining and includes lacing and a side zipper.

Sorel Lennox Lace

This stylish boot from Sorel is grabbing attention with its superb weather-resistant qualities. With the waterproof full-grain leather material used to make them, Toronto downpours are no match for Sorel’s Lennox boot. The Lennox also includes an EVA footbed, midsole and outsole that all work together to provide long-lasting comfort.

EVA foam footbeds are known to be more lightweight than rubber while still offering a unique cushioning feature. The layered EVA comfort provides an effortless walking experience that absorbs the impact of every step, which will help you avoid achy, tired joints from developing in the future. Like the Ara Dover Debbie (and a major reason to choose a combat boot) the rubber sole of the Lennox Lace offers exceptional traction while walking in your favourite Toronto neighbourhoods, even in slick conditions.

Portofino Flora

Looking for footwear that takes foot health to the next level? You may want to consider Portofino when shopping for your next funky combat boot. This boot is equipped with a zipper and laces and comes in stylish patterns, or in a simple black. The thermo rubber sole is great for traction and gripping the pavement, and the leather shields your feet from the elements.

All shoes mentioned in this article are suitable for foot health and preventing foot problems. Likewise, Portofino is an orthopaedic shoe company. Toronto chiropodists often recommend and prescribe orthopaedic shoes to patients dealing with certain foot conditions. These include:

Why Choose Ankle Boots?

  • Easy to put on; often made with zippers or elastic gores
  • Straightforward style, fashionably versatile
  • Stylish
  • Protective and durable
  • Comfortable
  • Removable insoles to accommodate custom orthotics
  • Waterproof

Clarkdale Arlo 

There’s nothing like a classic Chelsea boot. The simplistic style pairs nicely with dresses, pants, skirts, and all of your favourite fall coats. The Clarkdale Arlo from Clarks in black leather is an exciting addition to some of the hottest ankle boots on the market. Made with elastic gores, you can slip this boot on quickly when you’re in a rush. This boot also has a slightly elevated heel, giving you a boost of height and confidence without causing foot pain.

Ankle boots provide durability, just like combat boots, and the Clarkdale Arlo is built to last. The Arlo has a rubber outsole, which is known for its strength and resilience. The OrthoLite footbed technology is moisture-wicking, ensuring a healthy foot climate and providing moisture control for good foot hygiene. This feature can help prevent athlete’s footfungal infections, and foot odour. That same footbed is also exceptionally comfortable and provides good shock absorption and cushioning.

Sorel Lennox Chelsea

Another waterproof Chelsea boot perfect for a rainy day in Toronto, the Sorel Lennox Chelsea comes in waterproof full-grain leather, protecting your feet entirely from the rain. You can slip these boots on easily when you’re in a rush with the trusty elastic gore pull tab on the back of the boot. Furthermore, the rubber sole and thick heels provide excellent traction when you’re out and about in downtown Toronto. The Lennox Chelsea includes the EVA footbed found in many Sorel shoes. This footbed is amazing for cushioning the impact of your step, protecting your joints and muscles from experiencing fatigue and wear and tear. If you’re looking for an effortlessly comfortable walking experience and a simple, weather-resistant boot, why not give the Lennox a try?

Ara Liverpool

Let’s chat about Ara, yet again! Not only do they have their combat boot game on lock, but Ara also offers a wide variety of trendy ankle boots. The Ara Liverpool is another excellent option for ankle boot lovers. Available in a choice of a luxurious suede or protective leather exterior, the Liverpool shines when it comes to fashion versatility. You can also remove the footbed that comes with these boots and add your custom orthotics or Superfeet insoles if you like. These boots are also easy to put on with a convenient zipper on the side. Finished with a stylish buckle on the sides, you can pair your Ara Liverpool boots with virtually any fall outfit! Don’t worry though; thanks to Ara’s High Soft technology, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort and durability for incredible style!

Come Try On Some Boots With Us!

Our Toronto foot and ankle clinic doesn’t just offer appointments with foot specialists! Our Bloor west foot clinic is also a one-stop shop for your next fall pair of foot-friendly fall boots! Our welcoming, friendly staff can show you what’s in store and spend time with you during a shoe fitting! Be sure to also check out our product catalogue for even more footwear options.

Indoor Shoes At Home: Do You Need Them?

There’s more to footwear than what you wear outdoors.

We spend much of our time in our homes – especially these days with many of us working remotely. A cardinal rule in many cultures is for guests to take off their shoes when in another person’s home. But what do we do in our own home? Does it make sense to wear indoor shoes in the house?

There are definitely certain benefits to wearing indoor shoes, whether it’s for a specific purpose, personal preference, or simply habit. On the flip side, some may have their reservations about it and may prefer to be more natural in the house by going barefoot (or in socks).

Ultimately, the choice is a personal one, and benefits/drawbacks vary. Cases can be made for both wearing and not wearing indoor shoes at home. We’ll break down the pros and cons for each so you can see whether the added support and protection of indoor shoes at home may benefit you.

The case for wearing indoor shoes at home

Stairs showing the importance of indoor shoes at home

There are a number of benefits to wearing shoes indoors. The primary three at home include:

  1. Injury prevention
  2. Safety
  3. Comfort

We’ll discuss these more below:

1. Injury prevention

First and foremost, there are a number of foot conditions and injuries that you may be able to prevent – or limit the effects of – by wearing indoor shoes at home. The support, shock absorption and cushioning provided by indoor shoes help these conditions by reducing stress, strain and pressure on your feet and lower limbs when you move. Some conditions that may especially benefit from indoor shoes include:

  • Plantar fasciitis: Indoor shoes are incredibly helpful for plantar fasciitis. This is a painful condition where the band of fibrous tissue at the bottom of your foot (called the “plantar fascia”) becomes inflamed. It is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Walking barefoot on hard surfaces for long periods can aggravate or contribute to plantar fasciitis due to the lack of support and excessive pressure this places on the plantar fascia. That’s why foot specialists often recommend that people with plantar fasciitis wear indoor shoes with strong arch and heel support, like the Birkenstock Arizona or the Mephisto Hester.
  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a degenerative form of arthritis in which the cartilage between the joints in your body breaks down. It is often caused by the “wear and tear” of our joints over time. People with osteoarthritis often have very sensitive feet and may find relief from the cushioning of a good shoe.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This form of arthritis involves chronic inflammation of the joints, which ultimately leads to pain, swelling and joint damage. Similar to osteoarthritis, the tiny joints in our feet are commonly affected. As with osteoarthritis, arthritic feet are very sensitive and benefit from cushioning, shock absorption and anything supportive that eases the burden on the joints and muscles in the feet.
  • Bunions: A Bunion (also known as “hallux valgus”) is a deformity affecting the joint that connects the big toe to the foot ( the “first metatarsophalangeal joint” – or “MTP” joint).
  • Hammertoes: A hammertoe is a toe deformity in which the middle joint in the toe bends abnormally, causing the toe to point downward on an angle like a claw or hammer. It occurs in the four smallest toes of the foot, most commonly the second toe.
  • Posterior tibial tendonitis (also known as shin splints): Shin splints is a term generally used for any sort of lower limb pain associated with the tibia, the large bone in the front of your leg. Medial tibial stress syndrome is the proper term for the condition.
  • Heel spur: This 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. It is often associated with plantar fasciitis.
  • Flat feet: A collapsed arch with much of your sole in contact with the ground. This is relative to a regular arch, which is when about half of your arch is in contact with the ground. Flat feet require strong, consistent arch support in order to keep the muscles and joints in the feet properly supported and reduce strain.
  • Athlete’s foot: Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal infection that can be spread via floors, towels, or clothing. Wearing shoes indoors (if you’re sharing an apartment, or common space) can help keep your feet off the floor where the bacteria and fungus may live. Just make sure your footwear is breathable and has moisture-wicking or antimicrobial properties, because fungus and bacteria love moisture.

2. Safety

Safety is a very real concern in the home. Falling, stubbed toes, sprains, and bruises are all common at-home injuries.

In fact, according to the Seniors’ Falls in Canada: Second Report issued by the government of Canada, falls remain the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among Canadian seniors. Between 20% and 30% of seniors fall each year. The report states:

“Falls can lead to negative mental health outcomes such as fear of falling, loss of autonomy and greater isolation, confusion, immobilization, and depression. In addition to the negative physical and mental health consequences of falling, there are significant associated financial costs, estimated at $2 billion annually, a value 3.7 times greater than that for younger adults.”

The report also states that footwear designs may improve postural stability through, for example, balance-enhancing insoles. Although the report focuses on seniors, the same remains true for the remainder of the population. Wearing supportive shoes can help you stay balanced and on your feet.

Although falls may be less prevalent in younger generations, anyone can stub their toes, sprain an ankle, or bruise. Closed-toe footwear can add a layer of protection against such mishaps. This protection is essential for people with diabetes. Even a small cut or scrape can cause serious complications when you have diabetes. That’s why indoor footwear is a highly recommended safety precaution for diabetic feet.

Birkenstocks an example of wearing indoor shoes at home

Products like NAOT sandals and Birkenstocks give you the best of both worlds: open-toed shoes that let your feet breathe, combined with adequate support. Birkenstocks feature shock-absorbing EVA material underfoot, a cork footbed that molds to your feet, and a footbed liner that keeps your feet dry. Birkenstock offers both sandals as well as closed-toe shoes and clogs depending on your preference.

Meanwhile, Apex‘s Moore Balance Shoe (MBS) is the first-ever footwear scientifically designed to reduce one’s risk of falling.

3. Comfort

Finally, indoor shoes are great for comfort. Are your feet always cold? Indoor shoes can also provide warmth and comfort as temperatures drop between fall and spring.

Anodyne‘s slippers, for example, feature a premium suede upper, soft faux-shearling lining, a supportive foam footbed, and a protective toe box and heel counter. These products are designed with the diabetic end-user in mind. Not only is warmth a factor, but the support provided by indoor shoes can help reduce pain and discomfort for those who find walking barefoot uncomfortable.

The case against wearing indoor shoes at home

Hardwood floors inside a house

Now for the flip side. To play devil’s advocate, there are three primary reasons not to wear shoes indoors:

  1. Personal choice
  2. The wrong shoes
  3. Improper care

1. Personal choice

Some people prefer not to wear shoes inside because it means you essentially wear footwear 24/7. Some claim this can impede the “natural” movement of our feet. Those who prefer minimalist outdoor shoes, for example, may believe that excessive use of footwear can contribute to further muscle imbalance.

There may also be the personal preference of simply being outside of shoes after a long day of work. If you wear shoes all day or are on your feet for long hours, unwinding sans shoes may be preferable. In these cases, the choice of no shoes may outweigh the potential benefits of indoor shoes at home.

2. The wrong shoes

By wearing indoor shoes at home, you may simply choose the wrong pair. Features of footwear including soles that are too thick, a tread that is too smooth, and shoes with heels that are too high and/or too narrow are linked to falling risk.

Switching back and forth between indoor and outdoor shoes can add in another element. For example, wet footwear can lead to slips on smooth indoor flooring. Thus, avoid wearing indoor shoes outside, and getting lazy, and not swapping them out when you go inside.  Wearing your indoor shoes outside, and then bringing them indoors poses additional risks. For example, you may be exposed to additional germs (picture a sidewalk), debris, and smells.

3. Improper care

With any type of footwear, you want to take good care of your shoes. Make sure you swap out any footwear you use consistently, especially if you wear them without socks. Watch for signs of smell, holes, or worn treads.

The longer you wear your footwear over the course of a day, the more prone you are to moisture-buildup. This can lead to unwanted foot conditions, like Athlete’s foot and toenail fungus, which thrive in dark, moist environments. Of course, you can offset this risk by wearing breathable shoes with moisture-wicking and anti-microbial materials. Skin cells from your feet also shed into any footwear you wear, so letting them sit can also be helpful.

Your footwear solutions live here!

We have all your solution under one roof. Our on-site shoe store provides patients with therapeutic tools and resources including orthopedic footwear, insoles, medical devices, and over-the-counter solutions. Open six days a week.

Call or Book Today and we’ll have you in asap! Open 6 days a week, we’re happy to help and solve all your concerns any day at your convenience!

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

What Does a Foot Clinic Do?

If you’re living in downtown Toronto, a foot clinic may not be something you think could benefit you. You might think that foot issues are a common occurrence that you just grin and bear, but that’s completely untrue. Despite what people may think, foot pain and many common and foot conditions are preventable and treatable! We know there many types of clinics that focus on specific body parts or practices. For instance, you may go to your dentist’s office or eye clinic regularly for upkeep and maintenance. But you could be neglecting one of the most important clinics there is. Let’s discuss what a foot clinic can do for you! Here is what we’ll answer in this article:

  • What is a foot clinic?
  • What does a foot clinic do?
  • How to book your first appointment
  • What can chiropodists do?

What is a Foot Clinic?

foot clinic is a healthcare clinic that treats foot and ankle conditions. In Ontario, healthcare professionals who work in foot clinics are called chiropodists. For more detailed information on chiropodists, you can check out this post.

What Does a Foot Clinic Do?

Foot clinics provide services to patients with minor, moderate and severe foot conditions, or who want to maintain their foot health. Many foot conditions cause foot pain and ankle pain in the form of soreness, dull aches, sharp pains, stinging/burning sensations, and more. Foot pain can occur in any area of the foot, depending on the condition. Foot conditions can also cause structural deformities, swelling, discoloured toenails, foot odour, thickened toenails, skin abnormalities, and a loss of sensation or feeling in the feet and limbs.

Likewise, several foot conditions have the potential to severely limit one’s mobility and stability. That’s where a foot clinic comes into play: In a nutshell, foot clinics strive to help people suffering from foot issues maintain a normal life and enjoy everyday activities. No matter how minor or severe, chances are regular visits with a chiropodist can benefit someone with foot concerns or a foot condition. 

Foot conditions generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions
  • Infections
  • Skin conditions
  • Diabetes-related complications
  • Toenail conditions

Even if you don’t have any particular foot issues, regular visits with a chiropodist have many preventative benefits. After all, foot health is critical to our overall health. And the chiropodists at a foot clinic give your feet the attention and care they deserve so that you don’t get tripped up by foot issues down the line. 

Chiropodists don’t just offer services at foot clinics; they also work hard to educate their patients. Foot care specialists take pride in making sure their patients are as informed as possible about their conditions. They do so by giving patients the tools to practice foot care routines and preventative techniques from home. This includes recommending stretches and strengthening exercises and products. 

How to Book Your First Appointment

Your local Toronto foot clinic is waiting to help you get back on your feet! And you can get the ball rolling right away; there’s no need to wait for a referral from your family doctor to visit a foot clinic. You are welcome to schedule an appointment at a foot clinic on your own.

To start the process, reach out and book an initial foot assessment with a chiropodist. An initial assessment is necessary for first-time patients. Specifically, they give your foot specialist time to learn your medical history and foot health concerns. Next, your foot specialist will examine your feet and ankles. Your chiropodist will then diagnose any present foot issues. They’ll communicate what’s going on and help you understand what’s causing your foot concerns. The initial assessment concludes with your chiropodist presenting you with a treatment plan and beginning treatment. The treatment plan may include a combination of the services we’ll discuss below. Depending on your situation, you may need to return for follow-up appointments as needed.

What Can Chiropodists Do?

Chiropodists offer numerous services to patients. These include:

  • Nail and skincare
  • Footwear recommendations and fittings
  • Medical devices
  • Minor surgeries

Nail and Skin Care 

Nail care at foot clinics involves several approaches and options. This can range from regular toenail trimming and maintenance, to treating fungal and ingrown toenails, to minor toenail surgeries (while trained chiropodists can perform these surgeries, they like to try other options first).

First, chiropodists can perform routine nail care. This involves properly trimming, filing and shaping the nails. By having your toenails tended to by a chiropodist, you can be assured that they will grow back properly, which is key for preventing ingrown toenails. A chiropodist will also thoroughly clean the nail folds, nail plates, and cuticles. Most importantly, chiropodists use steam-sterilized surgical medical tools, so you don’t need to worry about infections.   

Nail care at foot clinics can also include: 

  • Prescribing topical ointments for fungal toenails.
  • Prescribing antibiotics for infected toenails.
  • Treating and removing ingrown toenails (more on that later)
  • Nail care for diabetes patients. Diabetes patients are often unable to tend to foot conditions on their own and need regular assessments. One of the reasons for this is diabetic neuropathy, which causes nerve damage and a loss of sensation. Diabetes patients also have a weakened immune system, which means any nail care mishaps can lead to serious complications. This makes foot health upkeep very difficult without assistance from a foot specialist.

Skincare at foot clinics involves a combination of treatment services and product recommendations for at-home foot care. Skin conditions affecting the feet include, but are not limited to, the following:

One standard skincare service is foot callus and corn removal. This is done with special tools to shave down or completely remove bothersome corns and calluses. When done by a chiropodist, corn and callus removal is often painless and provides immediate relief. Another service many patients need is blister drainage. Unbeknownst to many people, blisters on the feet can pop and lead to an infection. After the draining process, chiropodists can apply an ointment on the affected area that further prevents infection. Diabetic foot care is also an important aspect of skincare at foot clinics. Complications can arise rapidly for diabetes patients, even with minor issues like tiny cuts or calluses. Like routine nail care, people with diabetes should check in with their foot specialist so they can search for skin abnormalities and treat them at their early stages.

Chiropodists also like to give patients the confidence to maintain proper skincare from home. This includes suggesting different balms, salves, bath salts, creams and foot deodorants from trusted brands. One foot care brand chiropodists love is Gehwol for its ability to target several conditions and multifaceted medicinal ingredients.

Many people want both their skin and toenails cared for together. That’s why foot clinics offer medical pedicure treatments. These are both preventative and can be used to treat minor toenail and skin conditions. While similar to a cosmetic pedicure, medical pedicures also focus on the following: 

  • Checking for pre-existing foot and skin abnormalities.
  • Cleansing the feet with alcohol.
  • Cleaning thoroughly; nail folds, nail plates, and cuticles.
  • Removing onychophosis (build-up of skin cells).
  • Smoothing calluses and corns.
  • Intense moisturizing.

Medical pedicures are great for anyone – foot condition or not. They’re a part of foot hygiene and have many preventative benefits. They also feel great!

Medical Devices

Two of the most popular and widely beneficial services that chiropodists provide are dispensing custom orthotics and compression stockings.

First, custom orthotics play a key role in treating musculoskeletal conditions that cause consistent foot pain. These include, but are not limited to, plantar fasciitis, the different forms of arthritisbunions and Achilles tendonitis. The orthotics themselves are inserts that you wear with your shoes. They compliment the exact shape and structure of your foot. Chiropodists follow an in-depth process when dispensing orthotics to patients:

  1. They perform a thorough biomechanical assessment. During the biomechanical assessment, they test your range of motion, how your feet bear weight, and your gait (the specific way you walk).
  2. Next, they cast your feet – either in plaster or with a sophisticated 3D scanning device – to capture the exact shape of your foot. The casting process is what manufacturers use to make your custom orthotics.
  3. Once the orthotics are made, your chiropodist will see you for a fitting. At this time, they’ll answer questions about your new inserts and explain how to use them.

Foot specialists can also prescribe and measure you for compression stockings. A fitting involves noting important measurements, including the ankle, calf, thigh and hip areas. The measurements taken depends on how much leg area the patient would like to cover, as compression clothing can be pantyhose, socks, and more.

Compression stockings work by gently squeezing the leg, feet, and ankle areas. They help relieve symptoms of a wide variety of issues, specifically vein-related problems and swelling. This includes varicose veins (enlarged twisted veins), lymphedema, and the hormonal effects of pregnancy. Specifically, pregnancy can result in blood pooling in the feet and ankles when certain hormones affect the veins in the legs. 

Minor Surgeries

Chiropodists often need to perform minor surgeries on the toenails and skin on our feet. They include toenail avulsions, wart needling and wart excisions. Foot clinic patients may need a partial or total toenail avulsion if they have an infection or toenail condition that hasn’t improved with other less invasive treatments. They’re most commonly performed to treat chronic or severe ingrown toenails. It’s a relatively simple process that begins with numbing the area with an anesthetic. Next, chiropodists drain the area and remove either a section of the nail or the entire nail. The nail is generally only completely removed if partial removal hasn’t done the trick. Chiropodists may also perform an avulsion to prevent your nail from regrowing if you have a chronic toenail condition (i.e.: recurring ingrown toenails).

Toenail avulsions can treat the following conditions:

Wart needling is a form of wart removal and another minor surgery that chiropodists perform. A reliable treatment option for plantar warts, it involves using a needle to puncture the wart repeatedly. The goal is to trigger our body’s natural immune response to the HPV (human papillomavirus) that causes plantar warts. Needling is an effective method for foot wart removal not only because it lets our body fight the wart, but it can also prevent future plantar warts. As with other surgical procedures, a chiropodist uses a local anesthetic to numb the area first. Wart needling is most commonly used to treat mosaic warts (clusters of multiple warts).

Some patients with plantar warts may need a wart excision procedure for warts that are particularly bothersome and stubborn. A wart excision also involves first numbing the area. Next, the chiropodist cuts the wart out using sterilized tools. The chiropodist then cauterizes the area to ensure no excess viral tissue (HPV) is left behind. This method is usually a last resort option for patients who don’t respond to other plantar wart treatments. 

Footwear Recommendations and Fittings

While not necessarily available at all foot clinics, Feet First Clinic clinics offer one of the most critical pieces of footwear there is – shoes! From shoe fittings to shoe stretching, at Feet First Clinic, it’s our job to ensure our patients sport the right shoes for their daily activities. Chiropodists can prescribe orthopaedic footwear. Orthopaedic shoes are a great treatment method for many Toronto dwellers looking to relieve symptoms of musculoskeletal conditions, swollen feet, Morton’s neuroma (ball of foot pain), and so much more. Our chiropodists can also make footwear recommendations at a foot assessment. Feet First Clinic strictly offers shoes from brands that promote foot health. This includes orthopaedic shoe companies (i.e.: Anodyne, APEX and Porto-Fino) and companies with innovative and comfortable designs, like Mephisto, ASICS, or NAOT. Providing shoes for all types of foot conditions is one of the most essential functions of a foot clinic.

Need a Foot Clinic? Try Feet First Clinic!

Feet First Toronto is proud to offer all of the services we’ve discussed today, and more! For all things footwear and foot health related, our Bloor West foot clinic has been a Toronto favourite for years. 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!