Walking is a low-impact exercise that is often overlooked and underrated. Physical activity is imperative for our health, and walking is a great way to get your body moving: You can go at your own pace, spend time outdoors, and witness the nature nestled inside the city of Toronto. Walking is also a type of exercise you can enjoy all year round without equipment or a gym membership.
Although it may seem counterintuitive for those with foot pain, staying active is one of the best ways to prevent and manage foot pain and several foot conditions. Getting the blood flow circulating down to your feet is highly beneficial — and that’s just the beginning.
However, there’s no point in ignoring that foot conditions can impact physical activity. Today, we’re acknowledging those limitations while also providing solutions; we believe anyone can conquer their fitness goals and become more active, and our foot clinic is here to help!
How Do Foot Conditions Affect Walking And Exercise?
Calluses: Calluses aren’t usually painful. However, neglecting a bad foot callus can make your walking adventures more difficult. With each step you take, you’re placing pressure on the callus and making it more sensitive.
Corns and warts: Neglecting to treat a wart or corn can seriously impede your fitness goals for 2022. According to Mayo Clinic, plantar warts can bleed and cause discomfort if you continue to place pressure on the area. The tenderness can cut your exercise short or prevent you from taking walks. As for corns, they can thicken and become more painful. They can also rub against your footwear, causing soreness and ruining your walk.
Toenail conditions: Without proper treatment, ingrown toenails, cracked toenails, and black toenails can spark pain while walking. This is especially true if your shoes don’t have enough room in the toe box area, which will squeeze your toes into uncomfortable positions. Psoriasis, toenail fungus and certain injuries can also cause your toenail to fall off, making you wonder, “will my toenail grow back if I start exercising?” With guidance from a professional, you can get your toenail health back on track and enjoy physical activity.
Plantar fasciitis and other musculoskeletal conditions: For those with plantar fasciitis, walking without the right support can worsen the inflammation of the plantar fascia and trigger more heel pain. With similar conditions, you have a disadvantage with an abnormal gait, lack of stability, and localized pain. Conditions that target your muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, and soft tissues usually need attention from a qualified chiropodist.
How Can A Foot Clinic Help?
Enjoying your walks to the fullest means having the perfect footwear that accommodates your the shape of your foot and foot type, supports your gait, and regulates stability (if applicable). Poorly designed and ill-fitting footwear is one of the top contributors to foot conditions. Ensuring your footwear is right for you is the first step towards becoming more active.
Feet First Clinic is special as we offer both chiropodist appointments and a shoe shop where our other staff can help you find the shoes your specialist recommends. We also have a wide selection of other products designed to get your feet ready to push you towards your fitness goals!
Contrary to what you might think, you can wear runners during all seasons. That’s why top foot-friendly brands, like ASICS and Saucony, make running shoes specifically designed for winter. A good winter running shoe will give you the support you need, while giving you grip and keeping your feet dry in wet, snowy conditions. If you don’t have a dedicated pair of winter running shoes, it’s a good idea to ensure that there is minimal snow on the ground so you don’t end up with cold feet, sweat and excessive moisture. You should also check how hardened the snow is and make sure the streets and trails are clear enough to proceed! Luckily, winter is also about to be behind us, so you’ll soon be worrying less about snow.
Offering some of the best runners on the market, the ASICS brand considers what fitness beginners with foot conditions need. They provide stability shoes, which help people who overpronate (when the foot rolls inward and downward toward the arch) while walking.
Accommodating this type of gait can work wonders for people with flat feet, bunions, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Stability shoes help align the foot into a neutral position, making walking more comfortable so you can keep going for longer. People with ankle concerns who experience ankle cracking when rotating or general ankle instability should also invest in stability shoes.
In contrast, ASICS neutral runners support people with a neutral gait, people who supinate (heels lean outward, placing more pressure on outsides of the foot), or people with high arches. While they may not offer the same level of motion control and stability, neutral footwear still offers supreme cushioning, arch support and the shock absorption you need to help with impact and reduce wear and tear in the joints.
The Gel-Keyano is ASICS’ best stability shoe! Likewise, the neutral Gel-Nimbus is known for helping with knee pain and osteoarthritis. You can consult with a specialist and ask Feet First Clinic staff for even more information on what they have to offer.
- This footwear company also focuses on providing stability to those who need it. They also have a wide selection of shoes for people with a neutral walking position who still suffer from foot conditions, and those without foot pain seeking a good high-quality pair of shoes. They have options that will accommodate your gait, your foot shape (how high your arch is), and other needs.Saucony products range in stability levels, so you can opt for the Saucony Omni and Saucony Hurricane if you need the most stability possible. If you’re looking for something more generalized that supports a neutral gait, you can talk to your chiropodist about the Saucony Triumph.ASICS and Saucony are just the tip of the iceberg for high-quality footwear. You can also go for walks in other types of footwear, like boots and sometimes even wedges (although we recommend using the latter in moderation). To dive deeper into the shoe options a foot clinic can offer you, you can check out our product catalogue and the following blog posts:
Additional Foot Clinic Services
Video Gait Analysis
Chiropodists can analyze your gait with state-of-the-art Video Gait Analysis (VGA) equipment. From this analysis, your chiropodist can assess the biomechanics of your body and pinpoint any discrepancies in your stride. Then, they can determine ways to make walking more comfortable for you. This puts you in a much better position to achieve your fitness goals!
Your chiropodist will have extensive knowledge of footwear and what shoe will work best for your needs. After making recommendations, they can point you in the direction of Feet First’s staff, who can perform a shoe fitting with you! They’ll help you find the shoe of your dreams that you can order in or take home that same day.
Orthotics address biomechanical abnormalities, foot deformities (bunions, hammertoes, flat foot, high arches) and a variety of joint and muscle conditions (i.e.: arthritis). The general goal of orthotics is to improve your gait, align your feet into a good position and manage pain. If foot pain is getting in the way of staying active, custom orthotics are a great solution. They give your feet the support they need and help address issues that may be causing your foot pain in the first place.
These are specialized garments that put therapeutic pressure on your legs, increase circulation, and reduce swelling. By improving blood flow, you increase the oxygen delivery to your muscles. Compression stockings are suitable for people of all ages and come in a variety of fashion-forward styles. They’re great for people with varicose veins, swollen ankles, swollen feet and pregnant women. They’re also quite comfortable for post-walks and people who spend a lot of time standing.
These insoles are a wonderful service for people with foot conditions and everyday folks looking to target a new fitness goal. The magic of these insoles is that their multifunctional technology supports everyone. Each colour insole addresses specific needs. The cradled heel cushioning reduces the impact your heels take from pounding the pavement, while the firm arch provides much needed arch support and stability. The green and orange varieties are the best for foot pain!
Gehwol products are the go-to choice for skin conditions. By strengthening your skin’s natural moisture barrier, your feet will be softer and feel more comfortable with every step. This will help with current and potential blisters, calluses, corns and more. Gehwol products are chiropodist approved and often used during treatments!