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8 Common Running Injuries

8 Common Running Injuries

Running is a great form of exercise that helps burn calories, strengthen muscles and bones, and improve cardiovascular fitness. Being that you only need a pair of running shoes and an open path, makes it very accessible, which is an added bonus. On the other hand, running also generates a lot of biomechanical stresses on the lower limb and that can potentially combine to result in injuries. Here are 8 common injuries that may occur with running. 

IT Band Syndrome

Also known as Runner’s Knee or Cyclist’s Knee, IT Band Syndrome is the most common cause of lateral (outer) knee pain in runners. It is caused by excessive friction between the iliotibial band and the end of the femoral bone where the knee is located, resulting in tightness, irritation, and inflammation when the knee is bent. Pain usually occurs a few kilometers into the run and is typically worse with downhill running. 

You are more likely to develop IT band syndrome if you have bowed legs, your foot overpronates, you have a tight IT band, or you have changed the intensity or frequency of your training.

Shin Splints

Shin splints, medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is described as pain at the inner portion of the shin bone. It is caused by repetitive microtrauma to the bone and/or surrounding soft tissues.

Athletes who do not build up their mileage gradually or abruptly change their workout regime by increasing intensity or changing from a flat road to hills are more likely to experience shin splints. It is also associated with weak muscles, improper footwear, and a hypermobile, pronated foot type.

shin splintsPlantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain and it is caused by inflammation of the fibrous band that runs from the heel bone to the ball of the foot. The tell-tale sign of plantar fasciitis is heel pain that is worst with the first steps in the morning out of bed. Pain also occurs with initial steps after sitting or rest.

Running puts a great deal of stress on the heel bone and strain on the plantar fascia as the arch of the foot depresses 50% more relative to walking. Overpronators, as well as increased body weight, puts you at higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

 Achilles Tendinopathies

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, which is a tendon that connects the calf muscle to the back of the heel bone. Repetitive strain and stress to the tendon or tissue encapsulating the tendon can result in irritation and therefore, inflammation. Pain may be along the tendon or closer to the heel bone and worsens with increased activity (ie after a run). Pain or stiffness may also be experienced in the mornings. Chronic inflammation may lead to thickening of the tendon and decreased flexibility of the ankle. Tight calf muscles, a sudden increase in running mileage, overpronation, and having bone spurs can all cause Achilles tendonitis.    

Ankle Sprains

The most common ankle sprain is an inversion ankle sprain, specifically at the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL). It occurs when you “roll” your ankle inwards and the ligament is stretched or torn causing pain and swelling. The more severe the sprain, the longer the recovery.

Ankle sprain treatment requires PRICE (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) for the first three days. Minor ankle sprains will then move onto range of motion exercises and then strengthening exercises. For more severe injuries, splints or immobilization is necessary before rehabilitation commences. You may be more likely to sprain your ankle if you have a varus deformity of the lower limb and foot, you have a hypermobile foot, you train on uneven terrain, or you have a history of ankle sprains. Improper footwear, as well as participation in sports that require dynamic foot movements, can also predispose you to ankle sprains.

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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as Runner’s knee results from overuse and overload of the patellofemoral joint resulting in an “achy” pain at the front of the knee and around the knee cap. Pain is worse with activity and worsens with downhill running, running on an uneven surface, or prolonged sitting. 

Having a high arched foot, knock-knees, muscular imbalance such as weak quads and tight hamstrings, or an overpronated foot, all predisposes you to developing patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Anterior Compartment Syndrome

Compartment syndrome, specifically chronic or exertional compartment syndrome occurs when pressure builds up at the front of the lower leg as the muscle expands in volume during exercise but the tissue encasing the muscle does not. This results in a deep aching pain, tightness, and swelling. It can also lead to reduced circulation and sensation resulting in numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and in severe cases, foot drop. Exertional compartment syndrome is caused by regular vigorous exercise and overtraining. It is initiated by activity and ceases with rest.

Csyndrome (1)Subungual Hematoma

A subungual hematoma is the medical term for bruising and bleeding under the toenail caused by trauma. With running, bruising usually occurs from the toe repetitively hitting the end of the shoe. Wearing properly fitted footwear will decrease your chances of developing a subungual hematoma. Silicone toe caps may also help.

 

If you are experiencing one or all of the injuries discussed above, incorporating a chiropodist in your circle of care may be of great benefit. Have your feet assessed today to determine if they may be a contributing factor to your pain.

 

For All Your Foot Concerns, We Can Help!

We have all your solution under one roof. Call or Book Today and we’ll have you in asap! Open 6 days a week, we’ll be happy to help inform you and solve all your concerns any day at your convenience! 

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

Are Sports Shoes Worth It?

We all know regular exercise is good for our health. It has many benefits such as helping with weight loss, reducing risk of chronic diseases, and improving overall mental health.

Exercise or sport activity also builds your bones and muscles and makes them strong. On the other hand, it also puts a tremendous amount of stress and pressure on them. The feet, ankle, and legs in particular, undergo high levels of biomechanical stress during various kinds of rigorous weight-bearing activity. On top of this, each sport activity requires specific movements and are played on different surfaces. Fortunately, we live in a time when shoes are designed with all these factors in mind. Wearing activity-specific shoes will not only help to improve performance and comfort but prevent commonly associated lower extremity injuries.  

Types of Activity Specific Footwear

 

runners

Running  

Running generates a large impact on the lower limb. Forces acting on the body can reach up to ten times a person’s body weight. In addition, the arch of the foot tends to depress 50% more than in walking and the rate of pronation is generally increased. As such, running shoes are built with increased support, cushioning, and shock absorption properties. This is done in varying degrees to accommodate different foot types. The more pronation your foot exhibits, the greater amount of control and stability you should look for in a running shoe.

bballBasketball/Tennis

Basketball and tennis are sports that require a bit more dynamic movement across the court relative to running. Basketball in general, involves a lot of jumping, landing, starting, and stopping motions. As such, basketball shoes tend to have a higher upper to increase support around the ankle to increase stability and prevent ankle sprains. Court shoes tend to also have a thicker and wider outer sole that features a herringbone pattern for better grip, balance, and stability in all directions.

Baseball/Soccer

Baseball and soccer are both sports that require cleat shoes. Cleats are protrusions on the sole of the shoe that provide adequate traction on soft or slippery surfaces, such as a grass or dirt field. The shorter cleats found on soccer shoes as well as their low-cut uppers and lightweight design provide ankle manoeuvrability and better agility. A baseball cleat has an additional toe cleat in front to dig into the dirt to increase stability during sudden moments of acceleration such as running from base to base.

running

Hiking

Hiking is a long vigorous walk on trails and paths of uneven, rough terrain. You may walk through a forest, cross a river, pass a waterfall, and even climb a cliff. Wearing the proper shoes will ensure your feet are protected and able to withstand various impacts. Good hiking shoes have a wide and thick rubber lug sole to provide stability and good traction. They also have sufficient cushion and shock absorption properties as well as a waterproof membrane to keep the feet dry. 

All in all, are sports shoes worth it? Absolutely! 

Sports Foot Injury? We’re Here To Help!

If you have acquired a sport-related injury, book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists for a thorough assessment to determine an appropriate treatment plan.

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

Top 5 Common Toe Conditions

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

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

Athlete’s Foot

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

Additional symptoms of athlete’s foot include:

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

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

Hallux Rigidus/Hallux Limitus

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

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

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

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

Bone Spur

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

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

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

Ingrown Toenails

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

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

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

Prevention includes:

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

Blisters

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

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

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

Bunions

Toe Conditions

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

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

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

Measures to help slow a bunion’s progression include:

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

A bunion’s sibling: A bunionette

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

Causes include:

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

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

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

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

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

Is Work Causing Your Foot Pain?

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

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

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

 

Athlete

Toenail Trauma

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

Athlete’s Foot

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

Solution:

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

 

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Working With Safety Shoes

Hyperhidrosis

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

Solution:

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

 

Desk Jobs

Swollen legs and feet

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

Shortened calf muscle

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

Ingrown toenails

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

Solution:

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

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Hospital Staff / Health Care Workers / Restaurant / Food Industry

Heel pain/ball of foot pain/arch pain  

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

Solution:

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

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

 

Your Solutions Live Here!

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

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

5 Foot Care Tips Everyone Needs to Know About

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

 

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Proper Toenail Cutting/Toenail Care 

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

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

 

Moisturize 

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

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

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

 

Wash Your Feet 

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

 

Effective Shoes 

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

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

 

A good shoe will have the following features: 

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

 

Don’t Wait to See Attention

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

 

Have No Fear!

We have all your solution under one roof. Call or Book Today and we’ll have you in asap! Open 6 days a week, we’ll be happy to help inform you and solve all your concerns any day at your convenience! 

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

Everything About Your Gait

What is Gait?

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

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

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

What is a “Normal” Walking Gait? 

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

Gait Cycle

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

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

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

Foot-Illustration-1

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

Overpronation?

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

Other foot manifestations/symptoms associated with overpronation include:

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

Oversupination?

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

People with high arches are at particular risk of oversupination.  

Other foot manifestations/symptoms associated with oversupination include:

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

How Does Gait Change With Running?

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

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

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

Your Solutions Live Here!


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

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

Cosmetic vs Medical Pedicure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, 

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

How Does My Gait Affect My Life?

How Gait Affects Your Life

The human gait is a fascinating component of the body. Factors including nervous, musculoskeletal, and cardiorespiratory systems all play a role. Specifically, age, personality, footwear, mood, and sociocultural factors all affect the way we move. For these reasons, everyone’s gait is unique in their own way.

According to one study, the prevalence of gait disorders increases to 60% in people over 80 years compared to 10% in people aged 60–69 years. Gait doesn’t just affect the older population. Due to the time spent on our feet, gait affects our every step. Think about how many steps you take a day. It may be 5,000. It may be 10,000. Or even 25,000. Whatever it is, multiply that by your entire lifespan and you have an inconceivable number. That’s the magnificence and resilience of the human body.

What Is Gait?

In scientific terms, human gait refers to locomotion achieved through the movement of human limbs. In simple terms, gait is a person’s manner of walking (or running). One can have a narrow gait or a wide gait. One may overpronate, or supinate. One may have high arches versus fallen arches. As simple as walking or running sound, gait is the result of many complex systems.

To move forward there are several stages of movement: walk, jog, skip, run, and sprint. Foot strike is one variable. These include:

  • Forefoot Strike – toe-heel: ball of foot lands first
  • Midfoot Strike – heel and ball land simultaneously
  • Heel Strike – heel-toe: heel of foot lands, then plantar flexes to ball

The foot strike on the surface is simple. However, again there are external forces including your footwear that may affect how your foot hits the ground. Compare yourself running barefoot versus with shoes. The differences are likely stark.

Another variable is sex. According to a 2013 study, females tend to walk with smaller step width and more pelvic movement.

Gait Analysis

Gait analysis is a tool used to identify biomechanical trends and abnormalities in your foot cycle. Here at Feet First Clinic, we employ 3D video in order to further analyze gait. Video analysis involves being recorded while walking on a treadmill. The video software allows us to slow and stop and zoom in on specific areas during your gait in order to educate you about your foot type and pattern.

Gait Concerns? We Can Help!

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

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

Do You Need Insoles or Orthopaedic Shoes? 

Do You Need Insoles or Orthopaedic Shoes? 

If you have been experiencing foot pain, discomfort, or have been diagnosed with a disease that put your feet at risk, you have probably heard of orthotics and orthopaedic shoes and may be left with the following questions: 

  • What is the difference between the two? 
  • Which one is better for me and my foot concerns?
  • What properties should I look for to accommodate my lifestyle?

In today’s blog, we will tackle these questions to help provide a better understanding of these devices, and ultimately help you make the right, healthy choices for your feet.

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What is an Orthotic Insole?

An orthotic insole is an insert that is placed inside a shoe to address various foot concerns. There are two major kinds of insoles: custom foot orthotics and over the counter insoles. 

Benefits of Custom Orthotic Insoles

A custom foot orthotic is classified as a medical device made from a three-dimensional mould of an individual’s foot. Therefore, it is unique to one’s specific foot and tailored to meet one’s foot needs. These devices are prescribed by a physician or a foot specialist, such as a Registered Chiropodist or podiatrist and will contain specific prescriptive elements based on the practitioner’s physical assessment. Custom foot orthotics address faulty foot mechanics and other foot ailments that cause pain such as, plantar fasciitis, painful calluses and corns, shin splints, tendonitis, diabetic feet, and ulcers. They are made to mechanically control, support, redistribute pressures, and balance the foot to improve function. They are also made from high-quality materials and will generally last 2-3 years if used properly. 

Look into your insurance plan as some plans cover a percentage of custom foot orthotics when prescribed and assessed by a recognized health care practitioner.

An over the counter insole is a shoe insert that you can find in the shelves of your local pharmacy or retail sports store. Compared to a custom orthotic, these devices are much less costly; however, they will not address or correct improper foot function and more serious foot problems. The purpose of over the counter shoe inserts/insoles/arch supports is to provide additional cushioning, support, and increase general comfort for the foot. 

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What is an Orthopaedic Shoe?

An orthopaedic shoe is a shoe made with properties a normal shoe would not typically have. These types of shoes are made to accommodate foot abnormalities or foot deformities, improve biomechanical foot function, as well as enhance the effectiveness of custom foot orthotics. 

Benefits of Orthopaedic Shoes

Orthopaedic shoes are for those who are suffering from bunions, hammertoes, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, diabetes, arthritis, flat feet, swollen feet caused by venous insufficiency/lymphedema, or recovering from foot surgery. This type of footwear is made with characteristics that a normal shoe would not normally have. These may include but are not limited to:

  • Extra-wide and deep toe box to accommodate and make room for bony toe deformities 
  • Firm heel counter to control and support the heel as well as prevent irritation to the Achilles tendon
  • Deep heel cup to control and stabilize the heel for better alignment 
  • Shock-absorbing sole to dissipate ground reaction forces and reduce stresses on joints and soft tissues of the body 
  • Stability sole and good torsional stability to help control faulty foot mechanics such as overpronation (rolling in of the foot towards its arches) and stabilize the foot
  • Rocker bottom sole to promote a smooth and efficient heel to toe gait by inhibiting painful joint motion such as those seen in conditions like hallux limitus or hallux rigidus 
  • Easy to fasten (eg velcro straps) for those who suffer from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and have difficulty using their hands 
  • Seamless design to prevent irritation and pressure points which may not be detected in an individual with diabetic neuropathy 
  • Removable liner to adequately accommodate a custom foot orthotic

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How to Choose an Orthotic Insole Based on Your Lifestyle

We are fortunate enough to live in a time when orthotic insoles come in a wide array of shapes and sizes to accommodate different lifestyles and footwear. The following are general guidelines to keep in mind when looking for insoles for specific lifestyle choices.*

Athletic 

  • Good shock absorption
  • Good cushioning if the footwear allows room for this
  • Semi-rigid to semi-flexible shell depending on what the individual can tolerate 
  • Top cover (the material that comes in direct contact with the foot) should have low friction and good breathability qualities 

Career-Oriented

  • Dress shoe orthotics
  • Thin and narrow device to fit into a lower volume shoe 
  • 3/4 length  

Retired Life 

  • Good cushioning properties in particular at the ball of the foot and heel
  • Full length 
  • Supportive 
  • Semi-flexible to flexible shell 

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*If you are experiencing foot pain and continuous foot discomfort it is in your best interest to book an appointment for a consultation from a licensed health care practitioner. Chiropodists are foot care specialists who are professionally trained to assess the biomechanics of the lower extremity. At your appointment, a full medical history will be taken and a biomechanical assessment and gait analysis performed to determine the right foot care devices for your needs.

We’ve Got You Covered! 

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

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

Featured Birkenstocks For Summer

It’s summer. Or as some people call it, Birkenstocks season.

Birkenstocks are a German shoe manufacturer known for its sandals. Notably, Birkenstocks consist of cork and rubber and conform to the shape of the foot. For this reason, each pair is unique to its owner.

These are fantastic summer shoes for a few reasons:

  1. Birkenstocks’ cork bottoms conform to your feet over time
  2. Birkenstocks are supportive, and include features like:
    • Arch support
    • A deep heel cup
    • Raised toe bar;
    • And ample of toe room
  3. They’re a great alternative to non-supportive flip flops
  4. Birkenstocks are affordable

The footbed – the most important component of the sandal – comprises four parts. The first layer is the shock-absorbing sole. The second is a layer of jute fibres, a firm corked footbed, another layer of jute fibres, and soft suede.

The German brand manufactures several different models. But, all include the same notable Birkenstock features. The differences lie in the material, strap design, and the number of straps.

Arizona

Birkenstocks

The Arizona is Birkenstock’s most iconic look.

The often imitated, never duplicated, category-defining, two-strap wonder from Birkenstock. A comfort legend and a fashion staple. With adjustable straps and a cork footbed that conforms to the shape of your foot, the Arizona is a no-brainer for your collection.

Arizona EVA

Birkenstocks

Like the Arizona, the Arizona EVA is the waterproof, lightweight version of the shoe. Exact same design, but with EVA, a type of very light, elastic material with very good cushioning. This type of cushioning is particularly useful on uneven surfaces, making it a versatile choice for by the water, or at the gym.

Compared to the Arizona, the Arizona EVA is a tad more casual and versatile. Plus, it comes at a lower price point than the Arizona. But, you don’t get the corked footbed. For this reason, having both would mean you’re set for all summer conditions.

Madrid

Birkenstock Madrid

Named after the ancient Spanish city, the Birkenstock Madrid is the brand’s oldest line.

The Madrid was originally launched as a “gymnastics sandal” half a century ago due to its simplistic design. The single strap model is great for casual wear, and for around the house when you’re slipping in and out of your sandals often.

Gizeh

Birkenstocks

The Gizeh is a minimalist approach to a sandal. With a single strap across and a single strap down the centre of the shoe to the toes, the Gizeh is an iconic classic. The Gizeh features classic Birkenstock support and is the original thong sandal, with support between the big toe and the second toe.

Mayari

Birkenstock Mayari

The Birkenstock Mayari is a thong sandal with a toe loop. The Mayari is fashionable and suitable for formal occasions. Plus the two loops both have customizable straps for small tweaks in fit to ensure the Birkenstock fits like a glove.

Boston

Birkenstocks

The Birkenstock Boston is true to its name – a year-round sandal for cold and hot conditions. The unique look includes the same corked footbed, but with a covered toe. The upper is suede and hugs the foot like a second skin providing support across the toe box.

Milano

Summer Birkenstocks

The most supportive Birkenstock – in the sense of straps and heel support – is the Milano.

This three strapped Birkenstock sandal includes two straps over the top of the foot, plus a third around the back of the Achilles heel. The extra strap adds security and improved fit. All around, these features make the shoe a great fit.

In fact, thanks to ample support, the Milano is great for an active lifestyle including longer walks.

Where To Buy Birkenstocks

We have a full selection of the latest Birkenstocks in the clinic. While you’re here, receive a free shoe fitting to find the perfect size footwear.

Don’t spend another day without a pair of Birkenstocks. Treat your feet and visit us in person at 2481 Bloor Street West.