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Useful Tips That Will Help Athletes Recover from Injuries

If you’re dealing with a sports injury that will take longer than an afternoon to heal, you need to consider a long-term recovery plan. Here are some tips to speed up the healing process and reduce your risk of re-injury:

Don’t Go Back to Working Out without Permission!

Before you ease back into your routine, you need to consult a medical professional to see if they give you the go-ahead. You may feel like you’re ready to get back on the treadmill or jump back onto the basketball court, but that doesn’t mean you actually are. Getting back into your regular routine could sabotage the progress you’ve made.

Go for Low-Impact Activities!

Certain types of activities will be easier on your body than others. You should incorporate low impact exercises into your workout routine to stay in shape during your recovery period. 

Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise. The water supports your weight, so going through the motions won’t put a strain on your joints. If you’re not a strong swimmer, you can still put on your bathing suit for water aerobics — this is a workout routine that takes place in the shallow end of the pool. It’s famous for helping people with sports injuries, osteoarthritis and other physical complications. 

An activity like restorative yoga is also a good choice because it’s low-intensity, and it accommodates a variety of physical limitations. Let the instructor know about your injury ahead of time, so they can choose positions that work for you. 

Make Yourself Comfortable!

Get yourself the right equipment to ease the discomfort of your injury and make your day to day less of a hassle. For instance, someone dealing with ankle pain could visit Feet First Clinic for an assessment to see if they should get orthopedic shoes or custom orthotics. The additional cushioning from specialized footwear could reduce discomfort by taking some pressure off of the joint. The additional support could also protect the ankle from re-injury.

Here are some more products that can combat the aches and pains from sports injuries:

  • Braces/stabilizers/supports
  • Athletic tape
  • Pillows
  • Ice packs
  • Heating pads

What If You’re Not Sure That You’re Injured?

You’re not sure if your Achilles Tendon pain or aching knees are symptoms of sports injuries, or if they’re just signs that you need a break in your workout routine.

You should come to Feet First Clinic to see a chiropodist. They will ask about your symptoms and do a physical examination to determine if you have a concerning problem that needs addressing. They can also request that you do a video gait analysis to identify abnormal movement patterns that could point to musculoskeletal conditions.

In some cases, you may need to need to go to a medical imaging centre for an ultrasound or X-ray.

A sports injury can be very frustrating to deal with. All you will want is for the injury to hurry up and heal so that you can get back to normal. But the smartest thing you can do is take your time. Pushing forward and ignoring your physical limitations will not make things better. If anything, it will make your injury worse.

How to treat Blisters

What are blisters and what causes them?

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

Treatment

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

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

Prevention

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Minute Summer Foot Checklist

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

 

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

  1. Shoes

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

 

  1. Cream

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

 

  1. Bath salts

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Smelly feet? Don’t fret!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

foot and shoe deodorizing spray

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

 

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

 

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

3 Types Of Footwear

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

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

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

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

Arch Types

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

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

Motion Control

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

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

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

Stability

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

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

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

Neutral

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

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

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

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

 

Do You have a Corn or a Plantar wart?

You have an odd lesion on your foot: its circular, painful at times, hard, and yellowish in colour. Is it a corn or a wart? Continue reading to find out more on both and how to differentiate the two skin lesions that are commonly confused with one another.

A corn is a build up of hardened tissue with a central and deep core at a localized area of pressure. It is generally found on the toes or on weight bearing areas on the bottom of the foot. People usually complain of a sensation similar to walking on a pebble when they have a corn. The reason why it is so painful is because they tend to run deep and press on nerves.

Corn between fingers on the foot. Rubbing on the second toe. Corns on the foot.

A plantar wart on the other hand is a noncancerous skin growth caused by the Human Papilloma Virus which has made its home on the top layer of the skin. Warts can occur at the toes and the bottom of the foot, but not always at pressure points per se. Warts are sometimes asymptomatic and may resolve on their own with time; however, are also contagious and can spread to other parts of the foot when left untreated.

The three tell tale signs of a wart are:

  • disturbed skin lines
  • small black dots
  • pain with pinching as opposed to direct pressure.

PLANTAR WART

For either case, it is best to see a Licensed Chiropodist for effective treatment.

Treatment for both are as different as their origins. Through a painless procedure, a corn will be reduced, and the core removed to provide pain relief. Offloading pads may be recommended as well as an assessment for custom foot orthotics. Don’t leave a corn for too long; when exposed to prolonged and extensive pressure, the skin underneath the corn may break, which can lead to a wound and possible infection.

corn protector

There are several different treatment options for warts, including but not limited to cryotherapy, blistering agents, salicylic acid, and excisions.

 

To help avoid getting a wart, always wear shoes when using public showers, gyms, and swimming pools, try to prevent injury or breaks in the skin on the foot, and make sure your immune system is in check (eat a well balanced diet and go for annual check ups!).

Make an appointment with a Chiropodist, who will assess the wart OR corn and determine the right treatment path for you.

Is There Any Hope for Bunions?

A bunion is the misalignment of the two bones that make up the joint at the base of the 1st toe (1st metatarsal phalangeal joint). It is characterized by a bony prominence at the side of the base of the big toe and can present with pain, redness, and sometimes even swelling. With time, the big toe may also start to turn towards the toe beside it.

 

Unfortunately, a bunion is irreversible and progressive once it starts. This means you can’t reverse what has already happened and with time, the bunion will slowly get worse. Even with surgery, there is no guarantee the joint won’t start to be misaligned again.

 

However, you can drastically SLOW DOWN this progressive deformity and manage the pain that is associated with it. And like with most things in life, the sooner you address the issue, the better the outcome. Follow the recommendations below to help your bunions while you can!

Wear better shoes

Your footwear is extremely important in the management of bunions. Limit (and completely eliminate if possible) the use of high heels and narrow, pointed shoes. They are a bunion’s worst nightmare. The constant friction between the bunion and the shoe will only irritate the area causing inflammation and further damage. Try to opt for shoes that have a wider toe box, one that will accommodate the natural shape of your foot. If your foot is wide, don’t fret! There are brands that provide additional width to their shoes. Ara, Saucony, Clarks, Naot, Birkenstocks, and Mephisto are great examples.

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Clarks – Bay Rosa

Have your foot assessed for custom foot orthotics

6_ORTHOTICS FOR HIGH IMPACT_DISTANCE RUNNING

Foot function and foot mechanics can also contribute to the formation of bunions. For instance, overpronation, which is the turning in of your foot towards your arches as you are walking, can lead to bunions. With overpronation, the ground pushes up on the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint leading to unfavourable positions of the surrounding tendons and ultimately, an imbalance in the muscular pull that keeps the joint in place. This imbalance leads to the misalignment of the joint. Therefore, correcting poor foot mechanics with custom foot orthotics can help manage the bunions and prevent them from getting worse.

Use over the counter foot care products

 

In addition to orthotics, consider using over the counter foot care products to reinforce the most optimal position of the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint as well as shield it from unwanted pressures. The Ultra Thin Bunion Aligner by Infracare for example, can be worn during the day under your sock and works to gently realign the big toe towards its natural position. Silicone toe spacers, silicone bunion guards, as well as night splints are also good examples of simple foot care supplies that help mitigate pain and protect the joint.

BUNION ALIGNER POSTS

Book an appointment with a Chiropodist at Feet First Clinic today for a professional diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan! A Chiropodist will assess your foot and be able to determine the cause of bunion formation as well as educate you on the best ways to manage them.

Everything you need to know about Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can be very painful and flat out annoying! Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about them including the treatment options available to get rid of them.

An ingrown toenail occurs when your nail grows into the skin fold beside your nail. Your body will treat it like a foreign object and initiate an inflammatory response against it, resulting in a red, swollen, painful toe. In addition, because the skin barrier is now broken, you run the risk of an infection. How can you tell if you have an infection?

Look for:

  • pus (a cloudy yellow-ish white liquid),
  • increased tenderness
  • increased swelling and redness and tendencies for the area to bleed easily.

INGROWN TOENAIL1

To treat an ingrown toenail, start by doing foot soaks in a salt-water bath for approximately 10 minutes every night. Make sure to keep the toe clean, dry and covered with a small amount of Polysporin ointment and a bandage. Avoid trimming the nail yourself, which can lead to more problems. Your best bet is to book an appointment with a Chiropodist who will properly trim the toenail and prescribe an oral or topical antibiotic if needed. Depending on the severity and frequency of the ingrown toenail, either periodic visits for nail care or a minor surgery to permanently remove the offending nail edge may be recommended.

The surgery consists of numbing the toe with a local anesthetic, then removing the portion of the toenail that is growing into the skin, and finally, applying a chemical to the nail root to prevent regrowth. This procedure takes about 30 minutes to an hour. Most people can drive home after, and it is recommended to reduce your activity for a day or so following the surgery.

 

To prevent ingrown toenails from occurring, don’t cut your toenails too short or too deep; rather cut your nails straight across and file the corners smooth. In addition, avoid wearing shoes that are too narrow for your feet. If you’re active, wear proper footwear for the activity and try to avoid injury. If you have trouble seeing or reaching your toenails or have been diagnosed with diabetes, seek a health care professional for all your foot and nail concerns. All in all, when you start to experience pain at your toe and suspect an ingrown toenail, don’t ignore the symptoms. The sooner you address the issue, the easier it is to treat and the better the outcome.

Book an appointment with a Chiropodist today!

What you Need to Know about Black Toenails

You take off your sock and realize that your big toenail has gone from clear to black, and you’re wondering what that means. It’s possible that it could be a subungual hematoma, runner’s toe or fungal infection. Read the list below to find out more about these conditions and how to treat them.

Subungual Hematoma

The first possibility for a black toenail is a subungual hematoma — this is when the blood collects underneath the toenail after it endures trauma. It can happen when you drop something heavy on top of your foot or stub your toe into a hard surface. Think of it like a bruise on the skin. Instead of turning the impacted area purple or blue, it turns black.

Immediately after injuring your toe, you should follow the RICE protocol to reduce the pain and swelling: Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevation. Rest means you should stop doing any physical activity. Wrap a clean bandage around the toe to stem the blood. Put a bag of ice or a cold compress on the covered injury. Then lie down and elevate your foot by resting it on a pillow. This is what you can do right after the moment of “trauma.”

The next step is to be patient and wait for the nail to heal. It will take between 6 to 9 months to go back to normal.

In some cases, you should seek foot care in Toronto from a professional chiropodist so that you can safely treat your injured toenail:

  • If the toenail is falling off
  • If there is a crack that goes down into the nail bed
  • If the toenail shows signs of infection
  • If you have diabetes or a compromised immune system

To avoid subungual hematomas, you should wear protective closed-toed shoes when carrying heavy items, watch where you’re walking and try to be aware of your surroundings. There is no way to guarantee that you’ll avoid the problem completely. You don’t tend to drop things onto your foot or stub your toes on purpose. Accidents happen.

Runner’s Toe

There is a reason why a black toenail is often referred to as “runner’s toe.” When someone regularly runs for long stretches, their toenails can turn black because they hit the toe box of the running shoe over and over again. The repetitive trauma leads to the injury. 

You can treat a black toenail from running in the same way that you would treat it from an accident. You should visit a chiropodist if your toenail is falling off, if it’s showing signs of infection, or if you have diabetes or a compromised immune system. 

One of the best ways to prevent runner’s toe is to get running shoes that are the right size for your feet and have lots of wiggle room for your toes. You don’t want the toenails to press into the top of the toe box. To keep your feet from sliding around in the shoes, you should make sure the laces are tied tight and get custom orthotic inserts to limit any friction. You should also practice proper toenail care by clipping too-long nails straight across, not in a curve.

Avoid wearing coloured nail polish if you’re concerned about runner’s toe. It will be much easier to spot and heal.

Fungal Infection

Normally, a fungal nail infection will change to a shade of white or yellow, but when there is a lot of build-up under the nail, it can also turn black. If you’re dealing with toenail fungus, you should see a chiropodist at Feet First Clinic to get nail debridement, which will make it easier for topical antifungal ointments to penetrate the surface and reach the infection.

If you’re unsure about the cause of your black toenail, go to a chiropodist to inspect it. They will be able to determine if the colour change is caused by trauma, fungal infection or if you need to see a different medical professional. Don’t ignore the problem. Deal with it right away.

Ditch the Flip Flops This Summer

Summer is just around the corner, which means you can finally put your leather boots away and slip on footwear that’s more appropriate for the humid weather. You’ll be tempted to grab a pair of breezy flip flops from the back of your closet.

Flip flops sound like the best choice for summer fashion, but in reality, they’re terrible for your feet. If you want to get ready for hot weather and trips to the beach, you should ditch your flip flops and find replacements that are better for your body.

What’s wrong with flip flops?

Essentially, your average flip flop doesn’t offer any support for the foot. The material is thin, flat and offers very little grip. The only thing holding it together is a thong strap wedged between your big toe and second largest toe.

Another one of the reasons why flip flops are terrible for your feet is that your toes have to clench and grip the sole of the shoe so that it lifts with each step. This design flaw puts a lot of strain on your toes when you’re walking for long distances. It gets worse when the terrain adds more resistance, like sand, or when you’re trying to move at a faster pace.

If you wear flip flops regularly, the toe strain could cause a problem called plantar fasciitis — this is the inflammation of the ligament that connects the heel of the foot with the toes. The pain can be so powerful that it can be hard to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom first thing in the morning.

Here is a short list of health problems other than heel pain that flip flops can cause over time:

  • Ankle sprain
  • Bunions
  • Tendonitis
  • Corns
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Changed gait

What can you do instead?

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Ditching your cheap flip flops doesn’t mean you have to put on heavy boots or running shoes. You should go to a foot clinic to see an orthopaedic footwear specialist to help you find summer-friendly options that won’t leave you rubbing your heels after taking a long walk through the park or icing your arches after a trip to the beach.

There are lots of brands out there that take arch support and comfort in mind when they design summer footwear. Look for sandals from trusted companies like Mephisto, Birkenstock and NAOT.

If you really like the look of flip flops over sandals, the company FitFlop offers options that will be much kinder to your body than any pair that you can pick up at a beach-side kiosk. Their shoes come with ergonomically designed iQushion mid soles, anatomically shaped foot beds, slip-resistant soles and adjustable back straps for additional stability.

BOOGALOO-BACK-STRAP-SANDAL-BLACK_I37-001_1

It’s true that flip flops can be a convenient wardrobe choice. They’re portable, easily replaceable and they’re oh-so-cheap. You could get a pair for under $5. But, the physical problems they cause are not worth their low price.

This summer is your opportunity to take better care of your feet!