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A Quick Guide For Addressing Cracked Heels

If you have hard, thickened, painful skin on the bottom of your heels, you may have what is called cracked heels.

Cracked heels, also known as heel fissures, is a common foot condition in which the skin on the bottom of the heels becomes excessively dry causing the skin to split and crack. Fissures are usually accompanied by thickened yellow or brown callus. These fissures can be painful and bleed and if persistent, can lead to infection.

To help avoid and manage cracked heels, follow the steps below:

Moisturize daily

This is probably the easiest thing you can do to help treat cracked heels. Applying moisturizer twice daily can really make a difference in your skin. Look for moisturizers that contain a handful percentage of urea. Urea helps to bring moisture into the skin as well as acts as a chemical exfoliant. For best results, apply right after washing your feet.

feet first clinic dermal therapy
  Dermal Therapy


While in the shower or after a foot bath, use a pumice stone or file to gently exfoliate the heels of any dead skin cells and keep them smooth.

Feet First Clinic file and foot bath photo

Avoid harsh conditions

In general, avoid all harsh conditions such as excessively hot baths, exposure to very cold weather, or use of harsh soaps. Instead, opt for warm showers, wearing proper protective shoes and socks in the winter, and washing your feet using a gentle, scent free, moisturizing soap.

Visit your local Chiropodist

A Chiropodist is a primary health care provider who will be able to directly treat your heel fissures. This means, at your appointment, a Chiropodist will mechanically debride (removal of damaged tissue) or remove all calluses down to normal tissue to encourage closure of any cracks in the skin. If your cracked heels are accompanied with redness, swelling, pain, and you suspect infection, book an appointment with a Chiropodist for proper treatment.


Whether over the counter or custom made, insoles with extra cushioning around the heels can also work to prevent cracked heels. In cases where you have an occupation which requires you to be on your feet all day or work on hard surfaces, insoles may be a great option to look into.

If you have a medical condition such as Diabetes associated with cracked heels, do not try to treat them yourself. Rather, book an appointment with a Registered Chiropodist at Feet First Clinic who will assess your feet and provide the necessary treatments. Careful debridement as well as the appropriate wound dressings may be required to encourage healing and prevent infection.

Call Feet First Clinic today!

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.


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.

4 Tips To Protect Your Feet As Temperatures Rise

Summer is a wonderful time of year for outdoor enthusiasts!

Any reason you can head outdoors when it’s warm is a good one. But with warmer temperatures and more sun exposure, it’s important to take certain precautions because it’s not only nice to have your feet looking their best, but it’s important to keep them in good health.

Use sunscreen

With rising temperatures and the change in seasons comes higher UV indexes. In all likelihood, you’ll be going barefoot, or wearing open-toed footwear, more often in the summer months. When being outside for prolonged periods of time, applying sunscreen is essential. Being exposed to UV ratings of 10-15 means you could sunburn in as few as 10 minutes.

When applying sunscreen, you often remember the usual spots: face, ears, arms, and legs. But don’t forget the tops of your feet. Note that your feet may not be exposed to the sun as often as the rest of your body so protection against UVA and UVB rays – the two most damaging to our skin – is particularly important. UVB rays can cause sunburns as they tend to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers while UVA rays can penetrate to the deeper skin levels.

According to Health Canada, look for sunscreens with SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or more that have “broad-spectrum” on the label to screen out most of the UVA and UVB rays.

Wear proper socks

Your socks are the last line of defense when it comes to foot protection. In the summer, your feet can perspire. Keeping your feet dry can help prevent athlete’s foot, fungus, and blisters. So, moisture-wicking socks can come in handy. Further, use household items like baking soda to put into your shoes to absorb moisture and use cornstarch on your feet for the same effect.

Leading brands and industry favourites include Stance, Darn Tough, Balega, Drymax, and Smartwool.

Don’t skip on arch support

Convenience is the goal in the summer. Slipping in and out of flip-flops and sandals is easy when lounging around the pool, at the beach, or hanging out on your deck and patio. They’re great for short-term usage, but be careful when wearing them for hours on end. Their lack of support under your arch can make your feet ache and cause painful injuries including plantar fasciitis and to your metatarsal bones.

Though some sandals and flip-flops lack adequate arch support, some brands do. Birkenstocks, for example, mold over time to the shape of your foot, equalizing pressure and weight across the foot instead of putting pressure on the balls of your foot and heel. We offer an excellent selection of Birkenstock products in-store at Feet First Clinic. Check us out at 2481 Bloor Street West.

Even popular sports brands like Hoka One One now offer supportive flip flops called the Ora Recovery Slide. Of course, everyone reacts differently to footwear so experiment until you find products that work best for you.

Treat your feet

Protect your feet in the summer by addressing issues including discoloured or black toenails, callouses, dried skin, fungus, and blisters.

Tips To Protect Feet Summer

Simple tips including keeping your nails short, scrubbing away dead skin, and keeping your feet dry (or moisturizing, if necessary) can help keep your feet healthy throughout the summer. If any foot issues arise or persist, visit the clinic and talk to an expert to discuss the appropriate course of action.

3 Toenail Problems That We Can Help you With

You’ve pulled off your sock and noticed that something is wrong with your big toe. Maybe it’s swollen and sends a sharp twinge up your foot with each step, or maybe the nail has changed from its normal clear shade into a completely different colour. There’s no need to panic. Read this brief list of common toenail problems, and what steps you should take to resolve them.

Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail is when the side of the toenail cuts into the nailbed and causes the area to become swollen and painful. Sometimes the weight of a bedsheet or a sock will be too much to handle. Common causes of ingrown toenails are inadequate footwear, ill-fitting socks and cutting the nails too short.


For an at-home treatment, you can soak your foot in warm water with Epsom salt to reduce inflammation. Keep the affected area clean and place antibiotic cream over it to fight off infection. When appropriate, wear open-toed sandals to avoid putting pressure on the area. These steps could be enough to resolve the issue.


If you have diabetes or circulation problems, you should contact licensed chiropodists in Toronto to take care of your ingrown immediately because the area will be vulnerable to infection. Ignoring the toenail problem or trying to fix it on your own could put your health at risk. At Feet First Clinic, you can get your nail treated safely.


Common signs of this problem are hardened brittle nails, build-up beneath the surface, and discoloration (usually white or yellow). You can catch a toenail fungal infection from walking around barefoot in public areas with lots of moisture like swimming pools, locker rooms and gym showers. People who are elderly, who have diabetes or who have weakened immune systems will be more susceptible to fungal nail infection.   


You should schedule a nail fungus treatment appointment with a chiropodist when you spot any of the symptoms. Since there are different types of fungi, you will want to get a professional opinion before you try to get rid of your own.  


Bruised Toenails

When shoes are too small, the toes hit the edge of the toe box over and over again, resulting in black toenails that never seem to go away. Make sure that there is enough space for your toes to wiggle in the toe box.

If you’re a runner or jogger, you’ll also notice that you get black toenails whenever you’re stepping up your training for endurance goals like half-marathons and full marathons. The repetitive friction from running will hurt your toenails.

When you notice a black toenail, soak your feet in a bath of warm water and Epsom salt. If your shoes don’t fit, get a new pair that offers enough room and support. The best way to heal a bruised toenail is to give it time to recover.

If the nail falls off, try to keep the area clean and see your doctor right away. Whatever you do, do not remove the nail on your own.

Sometimes you can’t fix a toenail problem on your own. Trying to DIY your treatment could accidentally cause more damage and expose yourself to harmful bacteria. When Epsom salt soaks and rest can’t fix the issue, seeking help from a professional is your best bet for a cure.



Foot Pain is Real: Benefits of Visiting a Chiropodist

As silly as it sounds, we don’t tend to think about our feet and their health simply because they are the farthest body part from our eyes. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind”. However, foot pain, whether you are experiencing pain at the nails, skin, heel, or ball of your foot, should not be ignored. Your foot health is an integral determinant of the quality of your life. Just think about how many steps you take in a day and how much your life would change if your feet were compromised. Pain is a good indicator that something is not normal and should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further complications down the road.

A Registered Chiropodist is a primary health care professional who specializes in the assessment, management, and prevention of dysfunctions, disorders, and diseases of the foot. Here are a few benefits of visiting a chiropodist for a foot check.


Checking for nail abnormalities

Your toenails are much more susceptible to changes and infections than your fingernails, mainly due to their vulnerability to damage or trauma. Toenails can become thickened, discoloured, curved, and painful. If you start noticing these changes, book an appointment with your local foot specialist to help safely manage these changes and determine the cause, ruling out fungus or an ingrown toenail.

Checking for skin disorders

For the most part, your feet spend a lot of time in a closed space either in a pair of shoes or a pair of socks. If you exercise regularly or if your feet are naturally sweaty, this introduces another factor: moisture. All these things increase the chance of getting Athlete’s foot or a plantar wart. Hard callus and deep corns can also cause pain and can easily be treated.

Correcting foot function

If you have foot pain, the chances are, the underlying cause is due to how your foot moves through your gait. With time, these abnormal movements can cause strain and sometimes even permanent damages in the soft tissues and joints. Addressing the issue sooner than later through proper footwear advice, stretches, taping, and/or custom foot orthotics, will work out to your benefit.

A foot specialist knows the ins and outs of foot health and is able to treat a very wide spectrum of foot problems with various treatment options. Get your feet on the path of good health today. Call Feet First Clinic to book an appointment with one of our Registered Chiropodists.

6 Simple Foot Care Routines Better Healthier Feet

Feet are probably the most neglected part of the human body. Think about it, how many times have you thought about your feet? Have you really considered how important your feet are when they are working so hard to support your body and take you wherever you need to go? Follow the following simple steps to ensure your feet are in check and given the love they deserve.


Keep your feet clean and dry

Practice good hygiene by washing your feet daily and drying well in between the toes. Increased moisture to the foot can increase the risk of fungal infections. If your feet sweat a lot, wear moisture wicking socks and breathable shoes.


Just as it is not good to have overly moist feet, you don’t want to have overly dry feet as well. Your skin is your body’s first and greatest defence against external aggressors, so you want to make sure you’re keeping it in its optimal condition. Protect the integrity of your skin and reinforce its elasticity to combat the pressures and stresses caused by walking or running by applying moisturizer on at least once every day.

Proper Nail Cutting

Your toenails grow about 1 mm in length per month and should be trimmed every couple of months to reduce the risk of damage and trauma. When cutting your toenails, make sure to cut straight across (you can smooth the corners with a file) and not too short to reduce the risk of ingrown toenails. If you have a difficult time reaching your toenails, have vision problems, or are diabetic, book an appointment with a Registered Chiropodist who can help with regular nail care.

Proper Footwear

Your footwear choices have a huge impact on your overall foot health. When purchasing shoes, always consider the activity which you intend to use them to reduce risk of injury. Shoes are typically made with a certain purpose in mind. In addition, try to limit the use of high heels, ballet flats, flip flops, and other shoes that do not offer any support or cushioning. Finally, always buy your shoes according to your foot shape and size. Don’t try to fit a wide foot into a narrow, pointed shoe.

Regular Self Examination

Examine your feet regularly. Check for any changes in the nail, skin (don’t forget in between the toes!), and overall structure of your foot. Look for things like changes in colour, consistency, shape of the nail; thickened, peeling, irritated, itchy skin; flattened arches, splaying of the toes, bunions, digital deformities, etc. In general, the sooner you address an issue, the better the overall outcome.

Periodic visits to a Chiropodist

A Registered Chiropodist is a primary health care professional who specializes in the assessment, management, and prevention of dysfunctions, disorders, and diseases of the foot. Book an appointment with a Chiropodist if you notice any changes to your feet, want to get a general foot assessment, or wish to maintain optimal foot health.


The Best Ways to Deal with a Stubborn Plantar Wart

You notice that the bottom of your foot hurts. The pain gets worse as you walk or stand for too long. After taking off your shoes, you investigate the sole to check what’s wrong and spot a small rough-looking wart on your skin. This is called a plantar wart.

What are plantar warts?

Plantar warts are a form of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that reveals itself through warts on the bottoms of your feet. While it shares the same virus family as other types of warts, it will not spread to your hands or other body parts.

If you have a fully-functioning immune system, plantar warts will not be a major concern. It can be annoying and painful because of walking, standing and other activities that put pressure on the foot. You should get it removed if it bleeds, changes colour or interferes with your daily activities.

Immuno-compromised people should try to treat their plantar warts immediately. Anyone living with diabetes should see the wart as a risk for a serious foot infection. Ignoring it could send you straight to the hospital.

How do you prevent them from happening?

toronto foot clinic

One of the main reasons you should wear shower shoes in the gym locker room is that your bare feet are at risk of attracting infections like athlete’s foot and plantar warts. The same can be said for public showers, swimming pools and saunas. Anywhere that has a lot of attendees and moisture will have loads of bacteria coating the ground.

As with all forms of HPV, plantar warts are contagious. The virus finds you through small cuts or breaks in the skin on the bottom of your feet. By wearing a pair of shower shoes and keeping your cuts covered with clean bandages, you should be safe.

If you are living with diabetes, you should try hard to avoid foot infections as much as possible. Consider starting a daily footcare routine where you clean your feet carefully and inspect them to catch any catalysts for severe infections like warts and ingrown nails. You should also wear protective footwear in public and private spaces, not just the gym locker room. You can go to Feet First Clinic to find pairs of fantastic indoor and outdoor orthopedic shoes, along with specialized treatments for circulatory and dermatological foot complications.  

How do you get rid of a plantar wart?

When it comes to warts, you will find a lot of questionable advice passed down from generation to generation. Strange wart home remedies will tell you to rub the area with the inside of a banana peel or soak the area in pineapple juice for weeks at a time. None of these seem to have many studies testing efficacy.

Instead of looking for answers in your kitchen fruit bowl, you should come to the Feet First clinic because we can remove those plantars warts as soon as possible. There are several techniques available for treating the infected area, like cryotherapy or wart excision. You should make an appointment today to meet with a chiropodist and see what treatment plan works best for you. 

Ignoring the problem and waiting for it to go away isn’t always an option with plantar warts. You will irritate the infection and put pressure on it every day from standing, walking and exercising. Instead of enduring the discomfort for months on end, get it dealt with straight away.