pin Our Location 2481 Bloor St. W, Toronto 416.769.3338(FEET)

clock Mon 10am-6pm Tues 9am-6pm Wed-Fri 10am-6pm Sat 10am-3pm calendar Book Appointment

See A Licensed Chiropodist

416-769-FEET(3338)

Ankle Popping And Cracking—Causes And Remedies

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

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

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

an

Why Does My Ankle Crack Every Time I Rotate It?

Ankle cracking or ankle popping can occur for two primary reasons

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

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

Peroneal Subluxation / Dislocation

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

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

Is It Bad That My Ankles Crack?

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

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

crackedheels

How Do You Get Rid of Cracks In Your Ankles?

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

Ankle Exercises

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

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

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

Custom Foot Orthotics

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

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

Is it OK to Crack Your Toes?

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

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

Your Leg Solutions Live Here!

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

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

What Ageing Does To Our Feet

Ageing Feet: Common Conditions

Ageing is inevitable. Foot problems aren’t. Understandably, as we age, our bodies are no longer what they once were. This includes ageing feet. After all, we put our bodies under immense wear and tear over the years. Ageing feet are prone to a number of conditions. In fact, many older adults are prone to certain foot conditions they’ve never experienced before. As we age, prevention is key. Treatment and recovery can be more difficult as the body ages. Learn about the various foot conditions that may affect the older population.

Fat Pad Atrophy

Fat Pad Atrophy is the thinning of the pad that protects the underlying structures of your feet, such as neurovascular tissues, ligaments and tendons. This is the “cushioning” of your feet. The fat pad protects your feet in everyday activity. Over time, this 1-2 cm pad begins to wear down as you age. According to the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association, by the age of 50, people lose half of the fat pad. Treatment includes custom foot orthotics, and orthopaedic footwear, both of which are sold in-store at Feet First Clinic.

Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s Neuroma is foot condition in the ball of your foot. It occurs most commonly in the area between your third and fourth toes. Morton’s neuroma can feel like you’re walking on a pebble and worsens with tight footwear and high heels. Neuroma is more common in females and inactive individuals, usually aged 15-50.

Cracked Heels

When the skin on the bottom of your heels becomes overly dry, it can split and crack. This condition is known as Cracked Heels. These fissures can be painful and bleed. If they persist, your heels can become infected.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the tissue (plantar fascia) along the bottom of your foot between your heel bone and toes. This condition of the arch is most commonly associated with overuse. Pain is gradual, but can be sharp upon first steps after prolonged rest—like when waking up.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a common condition for adults over 70. This  degenerative joint disease is the most common form of arthritis. Breakdown of cartilage and formation of osteophyte (bony outgrowth) are common symptoms.

Risk factors include:

  • Gender: women are more likely than men to suffer from OA, especially in the hands and knees.
  • Joint injury: prior trauma can alter joint alignment and cause more overuse in certain areas.
  • Obesity: increased weight will increase load on the joints, causing earlier onset of osteoarthritis.
  • Biomechanics: deviations in foot and knee joints can cause excess wear on certain joint areas.

Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are bone outgrowths caused by osteoarthritis. Often, bone spurs develop at joints, and where bones meet. The most common place for bone spurs is in the foot. Conditions include hallux rigidus and heel spurs.

Hallux Rigidus

Ageing Feet
Osteophyte on top of the left metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) due to hallux rigidus.

Hallux rigidus is the medical term for stiff big toe. Hallux rigidus is a stiff first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) characterized by a bone spur on the big toe. This condition develops over time due to osteoarthritis and progressively worsens. Since it’s a wear-and-tear condition, ageing feet are particularly prone. Custom foot orthotics and stiff shoes with a rocker midsole can help prevent and limit the onset of hallux rigidus. Otherwise, surgery may be your best option.

Heel Spurs are a bony growth from the underside of the heel bone that forms due to repetitive muscular and ligament strain. Common activities include: walking, running, and jumping. Heel spurs are managed by rest, exercise, custom foot orthotics, supportive footwear, a night splint, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, and cortisone injections.

Bunions

Hallux valgus, bunion in woman foot on white background
Hallux valgus, bunion in foot on white background

One in three people older than 18 have bunions making it one of the most common foot conditions. Bunions are bony protrusions along the edge of the big toe. At the site of the MTPJ, which bears up to 60% of our body weight, bones are particularly susceptible to shifting. Herein lies the start of a bunion. The bones of the big toe and foot can deviate from proper alignment and create the angular protrusion that juts out from the base of the big toe. Studies show that bunion deformity occurs more frequently in women and older individuals.

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. Older adults are prone to ingrown toenails because of curved or thick nails. Thick and curved nails make ingrown toenails more prevalent.

Causes include:

  • Cutting your toenail too short or rounding the edge of the nail
  • Wearing shoes or socks that don’t fit well can also cause an ingrown toenail
  • Tight shoes

Have an ingrown toenail? Visit Feet First Clinic for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Flat Feet

Flat feet occur when your arch collapses, and can be a sign of ageing feet. Adults may get flat feet because of an injury, obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure. Over time, the tendons supporting your arch weaken, and your feet flatten. Orthotics, physical therapy, braces, and surgery help.

Gout

Middle-aged men’s ageing feet are most susceptible to gout, a common and complex form of arthritis. Gout is due to a condition known as hyperuricemia, which occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body. Red meat, shellfish, alcohol, and sugary foods all contribute to the build of uric acid. As you age, avoid the aforementioned to limit your chance of gout.

Bursitis

According to Harvard Medical School, bursitis is most common in people who are overweight, elderly or diabetic. Bursitis is an inflammation of a bursa, and often occurs in the foot. Bursae, which are small sacs of fluid that protect your tendons, bones, and joints, can swell and become painful due to repetitive impact. Fortunately, ice, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can help.

Hammertoe

 

hammertoe 2

Hammertoes look like curled toes. (Read: I Have Curled Toes — Is There Something Wrong?) Hammertoe is a toe deformity in which the middle toe joint is abnormally contracted a bent causing the toe to curl downward. This can typically affect one or more toes and can either be fixed or mobile, and the second toe is most often affected.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are a small crack in a bone. Repetitive use, or trauma can cause the bone to break. According to one study, “the incidence of stress injuries in older athletes is noticeably increasing, associated with a more active, older population.” Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do with a stress fracture other than to rest, or stay off your feet. However, non-impact exercise like swimming is a way to stay active, but be careful of aggravating the bone.

Ageing Feet? We’re Here To Help!

As we age, regular foot health check-ups are essential. Be proactive, not reactive. Book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists for a thorough assessment to determine an appropriate preventative plan, or for treatment.

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

Top 5 Foot Conditions to Self Assess At Home

For most people, feet are unknown territory. Being that they are the farthest body part from our eyes, they don’t get as much attention as they should. Feet should be cleaned thoroughly once a day and assessed for changes to the skin and or structure. Pain is another sign that you should not ignore. If you happen to notice changes to your feet, to help you decipher what it may be, we have come up with the following list. Continue reading to discover common foot problems and the signs to look out for if you have them.

Plantar Warts

Plantar-Wart-4-1800×1200

A plantar wart is a small growth that appears in weight-bearing areas of the foot. They are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus and are relatively harmless. At times, warts do resolve spontaneously on their own; however, some do require treatment from a medical professional.

What to look for:

  • Small, fleshy, round, rough growth usually with overlying callus
  • Tiny black dots in the lesion
  • A lesion that disturbs the normal skin lines
  • Pain with standing or pinching of the lesion 

Athlete’s Foot 

 

Athletes-Foot2-1800×1013

Athlete’s Foot is known as tinea pedis in the medical world. It an infection of the skin, the culprit being a fungus. As the name suggests, Athlete’s Foot is common in athletes or people who have sweaty feet.

What to look for:

  • Peeling, scaly skin in between the toes or bottoms of feet
  • Red rash
  • If chronic, can present as very dry, flaky skin
  • Associated itch/burn/sting 

Bunions

Hallux valgus, bunion in woman foot on white background

 What to look for:

  • A bony bump at the side of the base of the big toe
  • Redness, swelling, pain at the 1st MTP joint
  • Big toe may start to turn towards the smaller toes beside it

Plantar Fasciitis

iStock-902595216-1800×1200

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a fibrous band that runs from the heel bone to the ball of the foot. It works to support the arch of your foot and absorb the shock when you walk. When it becomes strained, it can develop small tears, usually near the heel, which cause inflammation and pain.

What to look for:

  • Sharp heel pain, usually at the inner heel
  • Pain is worse with your first steps in the morning out of bed  
  • Pain tends to subside as you go about your day
  • Pain may return with initial steps after sitting or resting

Flat Feet

flatfeet

Flat feet can only be diagnosed with you standing in a weight-bearing position. It is described as a low or nonexistent arch profile. You can check your arch by wetting your feet and standing on a piece of paper or concrete ground. If the imprint of your foot is relatively the same width along the length of your foot, you likely have a flat foot. If you have flat feet, you are also likely to roll your feet towards your arches when you walk (ie you overpronate).

What to look for:

  • Low or nonexistent arch in the foot
  • Widening of the foot when you stand
  • Possible pain at the arch of the foot, ankle, knee, or low back

If you think you have any of the above foot problems, it is of your best interest to see a Licensed Chiropodist for further assessment. A chiropodist is a foot specialist who is trained to assess and treat various diseases and conditions of the foot.

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 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. 

 

_01

 

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!

Is Compression Gear Worth It?

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

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

What’s The Deal With Compression Gear?

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

Motif_Compression_Socks_Site_Graphic

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

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

For The General Population,

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

Compression from apparel can help:

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

Others may enjoy compression gear purely for comfort.

What Does The Science Say?

One study in the National Library of Medicine concluded:

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

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

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

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

Where Can I Buy Compression Gear?

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

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

socksss

Do I Need A Prescription For Compression Stockings?

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

Compression Question? We Can Help!

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

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

How Your Job Affects Your Feet

The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. To put that into perspective, that’s more than 10 cumulative years in equivalent time.

In fact, you may spend more time at work or on the job than at any other aspect of your life (with the exception of sleeping).

With such great time spent working, your job can have a huge impact on your feet, and quality of life. It’s not only the type of work but also the shoes you wear. Whether it’s a formal environment, or whether you wear steel-toed boots in a blue-collar industry, your job affects your feet and can have a major bearing on your body (and vice versa).

Different Careers = Different Foot Needs

Take a moment and think about your situation. Do you stand all day at work? Teachers, cooks, chefs, barbers, hairdressers, cashiers, manufacturing employees, and construction works all spend hours on their feet at a time. Meanwhile, other places of work may have certain dress codes. You may be required to wear formal attire including high heels and dress shoes.

What you wear has a great impact on you.

For example, standing all day in your job can expose you to the following foot conditions:

  • Varicose veins
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Lower back pain
  • Soreness and fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Knee or hip arthritis
  • Bunions
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Neck and shoulder stiffness
  • Chronic heart and circulatory disorders
  • Poor posture (and its effects)
  • Various foot problems and pain
  • Knee problems
  • Swollen or painful feet or legs
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Joint damage
  • Poor circulation and swelling in feet & legs

Healthcare Professionals

Doctors and nurses are always on the go. With the hecticness of medicine, healthcare professionals are always on the go, often logging long and arduous hours. Much of which is on their feet. Because of long shifts, those hours can have effects on the feet including bunions, flat feet, toe deformities, and heel spurs.

For these reasons, it’s advised that healthcare professionals invest in the proper footwear that fit correctly to ensure the time spent on their feet is not damaging. Similarly, this advice can be applied to other industries with similar long hours including cooks, retail workers, and cashiers.

Additionally, investing in compression socks can help reduce swelling and inflammation of your legs.

Construction

Beyond the fact that construction workers need to wear boots all day, additional potential hazards exist. Traumatic impact like falling objects, accidents, and shock can all impact your feet. Ensure your workspace is safe and invest in proper boots that have adequate cushioning for the career you’re in. Shoes are not an area where you want to be overly frugal. Invest in your feet.

Teachers

Teachers spend most of their days on their feet. This stress can cause lower leg problems including arthritis, joint damage, lower back pain, and knee pain. Try to take regular sitting breaks every hour, even if it’s for a few minutes.

Invest in proper footwear that has the proper support and cushioning to protect your feet. Avoid using the same footwear as you do when exercising as footwear may be worn down in places. Wearing worn down shoes (from running for example) can cause joint soreness and misalignment since standing, walking, and running all have different impacts on shoes depending on your gait.

Outdoor Jobs

If you work outside all year-round, including in the winter, you’ll need winterproof footwear and socks to prevent frostbite. From the temperature to the climate, the elements can have a major impact on your feet. Wet feet mean added risk for blisters, athlete’s foot, and toe fungus. Conversely, cold feet are at an increased risk of frostbite, which causes irreversible damage to your feet.

Office Jobs

Then there are other jobs that don’t require you to stand all day. In fact, many jobs require the opposite – sitting all day. In these cases, you want to make sure you stay hydrated and get up regularly to avoid hip pain and tight muscles.

For example, if you work in marketing, sales, design, web development, data, as a lawyer, or in HR, you’re likely spending hours in front of a computer. Making sure you have a balanced work-life balance that involves adequate exercise is essential. And that may not be enough. Remember, you can’t simply reverse the effects of sitting for 7-8 hours a day with a few thousand steps.

Following a proper stretching routine, and incorporating strength training to avoid muscle imbalances is key for a healthy lifestyle. And to have healthy feet.

Plus, office jobs often have dress codes. If you wear formal footwear including high heels or dress shoes, think about the long-term impact they can have on your feet. Aim to either reduce the frequency of use or invest in comfortable and supportive dress shoes that are a hybrid between fashion and function.

Proper Footwear For The Job

Foot health starts with proper footwear.

Investing in the right shoes for the job is essential for the long-term health of your body. Here at the clinic, we have a select of great orthopaedic shoes available to help heal your foot problems and prevent pain.

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

If you need assistance with shoe fitting or choosing the right shoe for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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.

Are Foot Calluses a Problem?

Ask anyone and they’ve likely had Foot Calluses.

A callus is a common foot condition involving thickening of the skin. Prolonged rubbing causes calluses, in a similar manner as to how a Blister Forms. This is your body’s defence mechanism to prevent any additional damage to the area.

Runners, soccer players, and those who are barefoot may have calluses on the foot. Tennis players, gymnasts, weight lifters, and manual labourers may have calluses on their hands.

Calluses differ from corns since they’re less defined, and are often found in weight-bearing areas of the body including on your feet. Plus, calluses are often larger than corns, and evenly distributed whereas corns have a well-defined core.

Calluses can be yellow, white, or grey and can be accompanied by dry scaling skin and even fissures.

The question remains: are calluses good or bad?

The Good

Calluses are our body’s natural response to repetitive use to an area of the body.

For runners, calluses can be seen as a badge of honour. Like black toenails, they’re a sign that you’ve been training hard, and are a sort of right of passage.

Often, calluses reduce pain in an area. Think of calluses as a piece of cushion on your feet. For this reason, they’re often called nature’s shoes.

Someone with calluses on their feet can walk across rougher land and be without pain. Tennis players with calluses on their hands may not feel the same type of pain as a first-time user. In these cases, the cushion calluses allow people to go past their normal pain threshold since calluses act as a shield.

Foot Callus

Calluses can also reduce sensitivity. If you’re a trail runner, a callus on your foot may be able to withstand a bit more load and pain than without a callus. And since calluses form in areas of friction, a callus in that spot is even more important, since you’re prone there.

In this sense, calluses can be good.

The Bad

Too much of one thing can be bad.

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, painful corns and calluses affect about 5% of people in the United States every year, and many people never seek professional help.

When calluses build up significantly, they can become painful. Especially when calluses are big, they can end up rubbing with your shoe and sock, and even detach from the live skin underneath. Then, painful blisters can form on the open patch. That right there is when the pain starts.

If you find your calluses are highly centralized to one location, that may be an indication of biomechanical deficiency. Generally, calluses cover a larger area and are not localized to one area of the foot.

Seeing a podiatrist can also help determine another factor which may cause calluses: your gait pattern. Custom orthotics may help, and reduce pressure to specific parts of your feet. Plus, a proper shoe-fitting helps you choose the right pair of footwear for your needs.

A pumice stone’s sandpaper-like texture can reduce a callus, but it may not provide enough grit to treat painful calluses. Don’t use anything sharp, like a knife to try to cut the callus away. Consult a medical professional in this case and avoid DIY.

Foot Calluses

According to Harvard Health Publishing, follow these procedures to safely scrub away a callus:

  • Soak your feet in warm water first, to soften the callus
  • Dry your feet, then rub the pumice stone gently over the corn or callus
  • Afterwards, moisturize the area with skin lotion.

In fact, removing a portion of the callus can be done safely. Scrubbing away a portion of the callus can be aesthetically satisfying while maintaining the integrity of the callus. Plus, scrubbing down a callus regularly prevents it from getting too large. A callus that cracks, as a result of being enlarged, is prone to infection.

In this case, calluses may be bad.

Continue reading: How to Manage Foot Calluses.

We Can Help!

Whether you’re on the mild or severe side of the callus spectrum, you can rest easy knowing we’re able and happy to solve all your foot care needs.

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

What is a Bunionette?

Bunions are among the most common sources of foot pain. Bunions are particularly prominent among women, especially those older than 60.

A Bunionette, on the other hand, is less common. When you think about it, a bunionette sounds like a bunion’s younger sibling. And it kind of is.

What Is A Bunionette?

While a bunion is a pronounced bump on the outer edge of the big toe, a bunionette is exactly the opposite. A bunionette is a bump on the outer edge of the little toe.

A bunionette is commonly known as a “tailor’s bunion.” Why? Because tailors used to sit cross-legged. All day. (Apparently, this was done to Tighten Back Muscles so they didn’t wear out as quickly.)

As a result, their feets’ outer edge always made contact with the ground. Over time, the rubbing created a bump on the outside of tailors’ little toes, and further aggravated the foot condition.

And that’s a brief history lesson on a bunionette’s backstory.

The bump may also be a bone spur – a bony outgrowth – caused by osteoarthritis in the fifth metatarsophalangeal joint. The metatarsophalangeal joint is the area between your metatarsal bone (the base of your toe) and your proximal bones (smaller bones close to the head of toe).

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.

People who have mild to medium cases of bunionettes may experience little to no pain. In these cases, one should take the proper precautions to keep the case mild, and not progress any worse. A mild case of a bunionette may be a small bump on the outer edge of the little toe. A severe case may be that your little toe is overlapping your fourth toe.

Since bunionettes are a progressive condition, they will only get worse over time. This means you cannot reverse what’s already been done.

But, don’t worry, there’s still plenty you can do. In fact, the worsening can be slowed significantly, and it’s absolutely possible to maintain a high quality of life without pain. However, because it’s a progressive condition, the only corrective measure to remove the bunion is surgery.

Causes

According to Harvard Medical, bunions and bunionettes can be heredity, due to arthritis, or misalignment of the foot.

The causes of a bunionette are classified as either intrinsic or extrinsic.

Extrinsic causes include:

  • External pressure on the forefoot
  • Tight shoes

Intrinsic causes include:

  • Genetics
  • Foot anatomy
  • Faulty mechanics

Foot function and foot mechanics can also contribute to the formation of Bunions and bunionettes. For instance, overpronation, which is the turning in of your foot towards your arches as you are walking, can lead to bunions and bunionettes.

Bunion vs. Bunionette: What’s The Difference?

Whereas a bunion is a result of a deformity and shift to the first metatarsal, a shift in the fifth metatarsal bone causes a bunionette.

The bump that you see is the metatarsal shifting in alignment as the toe begins to point inwards. As this happens, the base of the metatarsal bone shifts outwards causing the bump that is so often related to foot pain. Because the little toe is smaller than the big toe, a bunionette is considerably smaller than a bunion.

Treatment And Prevention

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 the profile of your feet.

Additionally, stretching your shoe can provide benefits as it artificially provides additional toe room. This allows your bunionette more space in the shoe.

If foot anatomy and pronation appears to be the cause, investing in Custom Foot Orthotics can be beneficial in the long run. If you’re unsure of the root cause, see a foot specialist for a course of action. Additionally, foot specialists can perform a biomechanical assessment to determine whether orthotics are the right approach.

Anti-inflammatories can also help reduce swelling and pain. Furthermore, you can purchase bunionette Splints for relief and to reduce swelling.

As a final resort, and if physical therapy doesn’t work, surgery is an option. Like for a bunion, surgery corrects the joint and bone deformity. This restores the toe to its regular position. Recovery time can be between 6-12 weeks and it’s recommended you explore all other non-invasive options before considering surgery. Note that because the small toe generally absorbs less body weight than your big toe, bunionette surgery recovery time may be less than for a bunion.

Book an appointment with a chiropodist at Feet First Clinic for professional diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

10 Common Foot Conditions And Injuries

Your legs are involved in every aspect of movement. They’re the foundation of your body, and act as shock absorbers. Our reliance on our legs cannot be overstated. It’s crucial we take proper leg and foot pain management to avoid common foot conditions.

Overwhelmingly, there are some common foot conditions that are more prevalent than others. These are either injuries or conditions that a large portion of the population experiences once, or repeatedly. To put you on the right track, we’ve rounded up 10 common foot conditions. Note that these are listed in no particular order.

1.  Bunions

A bunion is perhaps the widest known foot condition. A bunion is an enlargement on the outside of the big toe. The enlargement can be a bony outgrowth, or a shift in your big toe. Often the base of the metatarsal shifts outwards (meaning your toe points inwards), and a bunion results because of the deformity.

You may develop bunions through any of the following reasons:

  • Your foot is shaped in a way that makes you more likely to have bunions
  • Your foot rolls overly inwards when you walk
  • Flat feet
  • Tight footwear

Fortunately, a physical therapy regimen, over-the-counter products, and proper footwear enables you to live with bunions without surgery.

2. Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal skin infection that affects the skin on soles of feet and between toes. The fungi that causes athlete’s foot is commonly found in moist places, like shared showers and locker rooms.

Athlete’s foot typically presents as a translucent white moist skin between the toes on one or both feet. To treat the condition, you can use over-the-counter products including medicated creams, ointments, sprays, and powders.

3. Ingrown Toenails

An Ingrown Toenail occurs when the nail begins to grow into the skin. In many cases, you can treat ingrown toenails yourself. In severe cases, you should consult a doctor.

Typically, wearing tight shoes, cutting your nails too short, or not across, and injuring your toenail can cause an ingrown toenail. Home remedies include soaking your feet in warm water, wearing proper footwear, taking anti-inflammatories, and placing dental floss under the edge of the toenail.

If the ingrown toenail is serious, surgery is performed.

The surgery consists of numbing the toe with a local anaesthetic, 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.

4. Black Toenails

Black toenails may be rare to the majority of the population, but are common among runners. The repeated nature of running puts your toenails at risk due to impact and friction. Typically, black toenails result from a blister underneath the toenail. The most common cause is tight footwear, and from undulating terrain as downhill running adds pressure on your toes.

You might also get a black toenail because of trauma to the toe. Occasionally, a black toenail will fall off.

Here’s everything you need to know about black toenails including treatment and prevention.

5. Plantar Fasciitis

Common Foot ConditionsPlantar fasciitis can be a real pain…in the heel.

This foot condition involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects your heel with your toes – the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis can cause sharp pain in the heel, especially in the morning.

Runners are especially prone to plantar fasciitis because of the repeated stress to the plantar fascia. Common treatment and preventative measures include self-massage with a golf ball, anti-inflammatories, and if necessary, custom orthotics.

6. Nail Fungus

The toes are particularly susceptible to nail fungus because fungi thrive in dark, moist places. Since many of us wear shoes for hours every day, one can understand how nail fungus comes about.

Common symptoms of nail fungus include yellowing and thickening of the toenail, brittleness, and sometimes an unpleasant odour. For early or mild cases of nail fungus, you can use a topical antifungal cream.

To prevent nail fungus, wash and dry your feet regularly, don’t share nail clippers, avoid being barefoot in public facilities, and keep your toenails short, but not too short.

7. Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are bony outgrowths, typically in areas prone to osteoarthritis. The most common forms of bone spurs in the foot include heel spurs, and a bone spur on top of the first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTJ). The latter is a common spot. Stiffness and arthritis in the big toe leads to a condition known as hallux rigidus.

Bone spurs inherently reduce flexibility and can be quite painful. With treatment including proper footwear, people can live normally with bone spurs without needing surgery. You should note that bone spurs are progressive meaning there’s no reversal of impact and damage done.

8. Corns

Corns are like calluses, except that corns can be painful. A corn is an area of hardened skin that develops on areas of the feet that sustain too much compression.

A corn has a few hot spots: between your toes, the outer edge of your little toe, and on top of the toes.

Corns are removable. One of our Toronto foot clinic specialists or chiropodists can safely remove the build-up of tissue and assess whether Orthopedic Shoes or Custom Orthotics may be indicated to prevent their recurrence.

9. Blisters

Blisters are more of an annoyance than anything. This minor foot condition occurs when the skin is aggravated. Because of this friction, a small fluid-filled bubble on the skin forms.

Fortunately, most blisters heal on their own. To ensure there are no complications, you can cover the blister with an adhesive bandage or blister pad, both of which are available at our Toronto foot clinic. Common tricks to avoid blisters include using baby powder for sweaty feet, proper moisture-wicking socks, and wearing shoes that fit.

10. Gout

Gout affects roughly 3 million Canadians each year.

This condition is a form of arthritis that can develop rapidly. The painful condition involves swelling and tenderness of joints. Gout is most common at the base of the big toe.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “gout occurs when urate crystals accumulate in your joint, causing the inflammation and intense pain of a gout attack. Urate crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood.” Foods that can lead to high levels of urate are red meats, seafood, refined or processed carbohydrates, sugary drinks and alcohol such as beer and hard liquor.

And there you have it: 10 common foot conditions.

This list is by no means an exhaustive list. There are tens, if not hundreds, of different common foot conditions you might develop over the course of your life. To address your foot issues early, see a foot specialist.

If you’re in Toronto, Book An Appointment with a specialist today, or visit the store for everyday items like compression socks, footwear, and for a custom shoe fitting.

Foot Myths, Debunked And Explained

Our legs are a complex and intricate system of bones, joints, and muscles. Everything is interconnected in some way.

Muscles and joints rely on each other to perform properly, and to provide the necessary foundation for our body. Our habits, genetics, and environment all affect our feet. With so many different possibilities for foot conditions to arise, it’s important to remember that correlation is not causation.

Just because we do one thing, does not necessarily mean it causes another. To help clear the air over a sample of common foot myths, we decided to debunk a few of them below.

1. Flat feet are bad

About 30% of the population lives with flat feet.

Flat feet are defined as a postural deformity in which the arches of the foot collapse. As a result, the entire foot makes contact with the ground. The foot is characterized by a very low arch, and can other foot conditions because of the leg’s compensation.

Flat feet can develop in one foot, or both, depending on your body’s development.

According to Harvard Medical School, even in adulthood, 15% to 25% of people have flexible flatfeet. Most of these people never develop symptoms. For those with what’s called rigid flat feet, several measures can be taken to reduce pain and live comfortably with flat feet. These include:

  • Custom orthotics that artificially raise the arch and provide support
  • Strengthen and stretch your calf as this reduces the pressure and load on your arches
  • Supplement some high-impact exercise with low-impact activities like swimming, cycling, or spinning
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Wearing slippers or supportive footwear inside instead of walking around barefoot

2. Wearing heels causes all of women’s foot problems

Additionally, a common misconception is that high heels cause bunions. This isn’t true. Heels aggravate bunions but are likely not the cause.

However, excessive heel usage can result in a few common foot conditions: Corns, Hammertoe and Calluses. Additionally, you’re at a greater risk of osteoarthritis since you may lose fat under your foot.

According to WebMD, you can prevent certain foot conditions while continuing to wear heels. Some of these preventative measures include:

  • Get the well-fitted high heel
  • Use silicone metatarsal pads for under your feet
  • Wear a thicker heel for stability
  • Pay attention to the “slope” or “pitch” of the heel
  • Wear open-toe high heels to relieve pressure on corns and calluses

3. A bunion is just a bump

A bunion may look like just a bump. However, that’s another in the list of foot myths. If only it were that simple…

Depending on the cause, your habits may worsen the condition. Maybe you wear shoes with a narrow toebox. Without correction, bunions can get a lot worse over time, turning just a bump into severe pain.

A Bunion, or hallux valgus, is a bony protrusion that forms at the site of the large joint that connects your big toe to your foot.  As you can expect, without addressing the cause of bunions, the toe angle’s alignment can sharpen, causing a larger bump.

It should be noted that bunions can be hereditary, in which case you might be doing everything right. In this instance, continue to practice proper foot habits like:

  • Footwear modification, i.e., avoiding tight shoes with a narrow or stiff toe box.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Bunion splints
  • Bunion aligner
  • Therapeutic taping
  • Supportive insoles or custom orthotics

You should consult a foot specialist to see whether or not action needs to be taken.

4. Foot pain is the result of getting old

Foot conditions like osteoarthritis are common in older people. Osteoarthritis is a generative joint disease characterized by both a breakdown of cartilage and a build-up of osteophytes.

However, young people are not immune to the foot conditions of the elderly. If you train at a high level and participate in high-impact sports, you may experience osteoarthritis earlier in your life, even in your 20s. Common areas for osteoarthritis include the big toe joint, knees, and hips.

Because osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, the damage that’s been done is irreversible. The damage to the cartilage between your joints has been done. If this is, in fact, the case, physical therapy is the best course of action. Common treatments include functional improvements – like stretching for a range of motion – and managing symptoms like with rest and ibuprofen.

5. Surgery will fix foot problems

Surgery can help fix certain foot conditions, but non-invasive options may work equally well, if not be more effective.

There are several factors to consider when deciding on foot surgery:

  1. Necessity
  2. Success rate
  3. Cost
  4. Recovery time
  5. Long-term effectiveness

Certain progressive conditions like hallux rigidus, bunions, and a ruptured Achilles may require surgery to correct the inherent problem. However, physical therapy can also improve quality of life. Proper orthotics, avoiding high-impact exercise, proper footwear, and strengthening can help limit pain associated with certain foot conditions.

However, surgery removes the bone portion of the injury. For those with Hallux Rigidus, the Bone Spur contributes to the toe’s stiffness. The range of motion won’t improve without surgery. Although, the worsening of the condition can be slowed with physical therapy as mentioned above.

For those with a Bunion, you’ll want to explore All Non-Invasive Measures before deciding on surgery. If you have explored all options, surgery may be an option. Typically, those who experience significant pain, have severe toe deformities, and have chronic inflammation are the likely candidates for surgery. Bunion surgery (of which there are a few) can include several correct measures:

  • Realigning the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the big toe.
  • Pain relief.
  • Correcting the deformity of the bones, especially if your big toe is drifting inwards towards your second metatarsal.

If you’re unsure about foot conditions, toenail conditions, or skin conditions, contact us at Feet First Clinic to set up an appointment. You can do that below, or by Contacting Us Here!