Downtown Toronto Podiatrist and Chiropodist Tips on Foot Pain

Laura Desjardins, a Downtown Toronto Chiropodist, is passionate about foot rehabilitation, treatment and injury prevention.  Here at downtown Toronto chiropodist and downtown Toronto podiatrist, Laura takes deep motivation in helping people get back their foot health. Being an elite runner / athlete, she understands injuries and has had her share of her own experience managing foot and lower limb pain.

Laura realized most of her own injuries were foot and lower limb related, so she chose a field that would help her manage foot and lower limb pain.  This has given her first hand experience with foot pain. 

Here are a  couple tips from Laura , a downtown Toronto chiropodist, who works with an experienced downtown Toronto podiatrist. 

Common foot conditions and what to do about them.

It is recommend that if any of these issues still persist to come on in and see Laura Desjardins at our foot clinic downtown Toronto.

Bunions 

Footwear 

The initial treatment is footwear modification. While you wait to see a chiropodist or podiatrist, it is best to avoid any shoes that makes the pain worse. Simple, it may seem. You may not be aware that most of your footwear could be a source of your pain. In fact changing footwear is the number one treatment people do for their foot pain. Chose a wide toe box and forgiving material without seams across the big toe joint.

Home Treatment

Toe spacers, a certain type, can offer hassle free management to keep the toe aligned. Laura Desjardins also recommends particular splints to help the joint capsule and the muscular imbalance around the big toe. It is hog wash to think a splint will reduce the bunion, it may help improve the space between the big toe and the second and pain, but the bunion will not go away. 

Icing and anti inflammatories, oral or topical. These types of medications are to help wth joint irritation and inflammation, as long as no contraindications exist for these medications. 

Bunions can arise from other issues other than just the foot. That means there is a more complex issue requiring the help of an experienced foot practitioner, like Laura Desjardins to help you find that missing link . 

Plantar Fasciitis 

This one is a very painful and stubborn condition once it starts. Laura has personal experience with plantar fasciitis and understands what works and what does not. She also has great insight to guide you through this condition in stages through to recovery. Laura also offers Shockwave therapy along with exercises and treatment for this condition. She also has extra training from Harvard Sports Medicine for rebuilding foot strength. 

Footwear

Avoid anything that lacks support and flat. A good test is to attempt to bend the twist the shoe as if you were to twist out a dish rag. If you can completely twist the shoe, it is not good for you! This means you want a stiff sole for plantar fasciiits. 

Wide toe box, this is important to allow the foot muscles in the toes to move and strengthen while you walk and move. 

Home Treatment

Rest is always best. Laura’s rule of thumb is do not do anything that causes pain. Pain is your best navigation tool in this injury. Towel scrunches, stretching and working on rolling the foot out as well as ice is good in an acute phase. If not contraindicated, anti inflammatories can help. 

Plantar fasciitis is one of the foot injuries that can take a long time to heal because of the location on bottom of the foot. If you do not see improvements in a timely fashion, it is recommended to seek help as this condition can become chronic plantar fasciitis and even debilitating. 

Laura’s approach to plantar fasciitis includes gauging your individual phase of the condition and your individual biomechanical assessment. There are certain exercises and activities that should be or shouldn’t be done based on where your injury is in the healing phase. 

Keep in mind it is not abnormal for this injury to take months to heal. UNFORTUNATELY, the located is right under the foot in a large weight bearing area so it is bound to undergo repetitive stress. However, the chiropodist and podiatrist at our foot clinic downtown can help reduce the healing time and help give you the tools to help manage it. 

Our chiropodist, Laura Desjardins, is very keen on foot conditions and being a runner, she understands the value in getting your health back as soon as possible. Her approach is holistic in nature where she really wants to determine your underlying issue and uses Podiatric skills as well as her sports medicine knowledge to help teat those with foot pain. 

Here is a link from the Globe and Mail advocating the important of foot health and the body. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/fitness/how-the-feet-run-the-show-in-a-healthy-body/article23790241/

Orthotics Downtown Toronto Podiatrist and Chiropodist

Orthotics

The season is here to be changing into boots and enclosed shoes. The correlation of injuries and poorly supportive footwear is known. Speaking from experience, each time I would train in a lighter supportive shoe for an extended period of time, I ended up with an injury. This was even after taking precaution to strengthen the foot and slowly adapt to lower supportive footwear. According to a study of Sports Medicine , running in minimal footwear lead to the  increase in the likelihood of injury risk.
This brings me to my next point. I have learned the hard way . I hate foot injuries and orthotics did help in preventing my injuries along with proper footwear. This also goes for those who are walking around on their feet in Downtown Toronto. Repetitive strain is strain and certain types of footwear can predispose the likelihood of these injuries to arise.

What do orthotics do ?

They help to control abnormal forces, support the injured foot and help to prevent injuries of the foot. The nice thing about them is that you can add support to an array of your shoes. Now I understand most of the fashionable shoes do not give the most support, so it is nice you can have a custom foot orthotic with your individual prescription needs to add extra support to your footwear for your foot pain. Orthotics can also be practical , sleek and easy to move from shoe to shoe.
According to Rehabilitation Sports Medicine , orthotics are seen as a very important and useful tool in the rehabilitation process for injuries.

When would an Orthoic be needed?

Pain is a good indication that you may be a candidate to be fitted for custom foot orthotics at our Podiatry and Chiropody office Downtown Toronto. Not all orthotics are built the same and that is why they are custom. Your foot is casted and then placed into a corrected position. From there further corrections can be made. Depending on your foot pain and condition, the orthotics will be made based of that as well. It is very important to see the correct professional for your custom orthotics that your insurance recommends as they know they will do the best job at accurately prescribing the device for you.
I had great success to ward off an achilles issue with a pair designed for and achilles issues. Bunions , plantar fasciitis , metatarsalgia, hallux limitis , turf toe are all things that can be adequately treated with custom foot orthotics to help the foot heal.

What to expect?

Custom foot orthotics do take some time expect anywhere from 2- 4 weeks. I always follow up to ensure patient satisfaction. There is also a break in period to help start firing other muscles that may not have been firing before. I know I experiences this in the top of my foot and shin when I had worn an orthotic with a more control . That just felt like the soreness you get when you workout.
My approach not only includes orthotics, but I do believe in a well rounded approach which addresses strengthening and stretching as well as a biomechanical evaluation. As with any injury , time and patience as well as rest and treatment is your best approach to a speedy recovery !

Do the Outsides of Your Feet Hurt? Your Downtown Toronto Podiatrist Knows Why

We know feet. It’s what we do as a downtown Toronto Podiatrist and Chiropodist. That’s why when our patients come to us complaining about the outside of their feet hurting, we generally look to these places first. After all, pain in that part of your foot is common.

Ligaments

Play sports? Got a job that requires a lot of physical activity? Rolling over on your ankle happens all the time to cause torn ligaments. Symptoms include pain on the outside of the foot as well as instability and bruising.

Twist an ankle and you can tear a ligament. Then you’ve got what’s commonly called an ankle sprain. Damaging a ligament at the side of your foot accounts for over 80% of all the ankle injuries we see.

Fractures

We’ve been in business for years as a downtown Toronto podiatrist and chiropodist. In that time, we’ve seen little fractures that are left untreated become big problems in the long run. It’s one of the reasons we tell our patients to ease into strenuous exercise.

Sports are the number one offender. Sometimes a fracture can be only the width of a human hair. But ask anyone who has one and they’ll tell you how painful that can be.
When we treat stress fractures they heal quickly. Break into a new training level slowly. That will help you avoid this issue. Taking up a new sport is always a good idea but you will need to take the same cautious approach at first.

Bunions

When your big toe starts to rotate inward, painful bunions follow. You can’t leave the situation alone for too long. There’s a lot of pain involved and your toes can even cross over each other. Tight fitting shoes are quite often the culprit.

However, those stylish loafers aren’t the only reason that you can get a bunion. Genetics play a big role. If someone in your family has this issue, your chances go up of getting it yourself.

Research has shown that bunions are rare in cultures where people don’t wear any shoes. We’re not advocating for that given the Toronto winters, but getting the right shoe size is important. Truth be told, both genetics and footwear play a role.

There is another factor. As you get older, the risk for getting bunions increases. Getting them treated by a downtown Toronto podiatrist stops the symptoms from getting worse.

Foot Friendly Tips for Picking Healthy Shoes from Your Downtown Toronto Foot Doctor

Working with you to keep your feet in great shape is what we do. Finding the right shoes that fit is a big part of good foot health. Here’s a few great tips from your downtown Toronto foot doctor that will steer you in the right direction.

Find the Right Fasteners

Style is the first box most of us check off when we’re looking for the right footwear. We want new shoes to look good. That doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice shoes that are good for you.
Start with the fasteners. Laces and buckles add a touch of elegance. But at the same time, they allow for adjustment. Even Velcro straps do their part to keep your tootsies comfortable.

Heed the Heel

Make sure the heel doesn’t slip back and forth. Try to slide it with your hands when you try the shoes on in the store. It’s a simple test that can prevent issues down the road. They should be snug.

Timing Is Everything.

The chances are you’ve heard that phrase before but never expected it to relate to your feet. We are the downtown Toronto foot doctor team that knows how important the right shoes are. Shop for them in the afternoon. Your feet expand during the day and this is the best time to get a fit that works for you.

Don’t Tinker with the Tread

Everything about picking healthy shoes is important. Make sure the tread extends from the toe all the way back to the heel. It’ll give you a good grip on slippery surfaces. You might not go out hiking in your new shoes, but a good tread can come in handy on a wet city street.

Stand in Them

Standing up in your new shoes is about more than checking them out for comfort. Your longest toe needs to have about 6 mm of space. Anything less can cause problems down the road like bunions or hammertoe.

Walk around in them to get a real feel for the fit. Don’t lie to yourself. If they don’t fit well don’t tell yourself they just need to be broken in.

Stick your fingers inside the shoe. It’s the best way to check for tags or seams that can cause problems like blisters.

The socks you wear matter. When you’re shopping, make sure you bring along the kind you’ll be wearing in the shoe. Got questions? Your downtown Toronto foot doctor is always ready to help.

Orthotics Toronto and Support

Who Can Get Foot Pain?

Being a distance runner, I have had my fair share of experience with overuse conditions. It does not matter whether you are a runner or someone who walks everywhere for transportation, or even an office worker, repetitive movements over time can result in overuse injuries. There has been many trends in the minimal footwear approach. I have also had my fair share of personal experience in trying to adapt to minimal footwear. Each time I did try to transition into this type of footwear, I did encounter more aches and pains and even injuries. I seemed to always stay healthy longer in supportive footwear, orthotics and staying on top of injury prevention drills.

My Approach

My approach to care emphasizes a well rounded approach that addresses foot injury as well as the mechanism of action which causes fatigue to the foot as well. A foot injury requires treating and rehabilitating the foot in a progressive manner that also encompasses restoring other imbalances above the foot. The underlying mechanism of action of injury should be addressed or else the foot injury may return if the original reason why it happened was not corrected.

How Orthotics Help

Orthotics, with proper footwear can also help deflect forces on the foot and provide support for injury prevention. Orthotics helped me keep injuries at bay. Each time I slowly tried to ween into a less supportive footwear, I would be on the brink of injury, notice more tissue strain or even injury. I liked the feeling of fast but I ended up feeling beat up.

Bottom of the foot pain and general foot pain is sometimes stubborn to treat as the foot takes the load of the body. It is very difficult to rest the tissues . Supporting an injured foot helps to let the injured area rest and reduce load to heal. I always promote a well rounded strengthening and stretching program combined with support and to encourage people to solely not rely on support .

For my assessments I like to perform a full lower extremity biomechanical to locate individual weaknesses. Foot pain can result from weakness above the foot which can result in adding more stresses placed upon the foot. When the foot  is injured I approach treating the area by a progressive treatment plan as well as addressing the other imbalances that may have lead to more foot strain. I do find the use of orthotics to help reduce these forces placed upon the foot and provide support.

 

 

A Downtown Toronto Foot Doctor Supplies Some Advice for Golfers

We’re one Downtown Toronto foot doctor that confesses to loving the links. One of the best times to go golfing is when the leaves start to fall. And that’s soon. Having a good swing is about more than how you connect with the ball. The ball of your foot, heel and toe are all important too.

Here’s a few ideas on how looking after your feet can increase your handicap.

The Issues

There are three issues that can affect your golf swing. A neuroma is a problem with the nerves in your foot. It can cause a problem when you’re shifting your weight as you swing through.
Arthritis is a more common issue that can show up in your big toe. It can make the follow through extremely difficult. Other golfers can suffer from heel pain. This occurs when the tissue in that part of your foot becomes inflamed. It’s a horrible way to ruin an otherwise good golf stance.

Buying Golf Shoes

There’s another area where a Downtown Toronto foot doctor can help your golf game. And that’s in helping you choose the right golf shoes.

Getting the right sized shoe is critical. Think about it. During any given round of golf, you’ll be walking long distances. You’ll be standing for several hours and shifting your weight as you hit the ball.

Measure both your feet before making any decisions. If they’re different sizes, get the one that fits the larger foot. Wearing shoes that are too small can cause bunions and even hammertoe.

Socks are important too. When you’re on your way to buy golf shoes, take a pair that you’ll be wearing with you.

Once you’ve considered the health of your feet, it’s time to take a look at style. There’s a lot to choose from. But basically, you can divide your choices into either traditional or athletic.

Leather Golf Shoes

The traditional golf shoe is generally made from leather. Not always as breathable as we’d like to see, but usually these are waterproof.

From our standpoint, athletic golf shoes have a lot going for them. They are lightweight, breathable and very flexible. Good for the feet and they come in a wide variety of colors and styles.

Spikes are available in both kinds of golf shoe. They give you a little more grip so you won’t twist your ankle. There’s lots of choice with modern golf shoes. They are a little more comfortable.

As a Downtown Toronto foot doctor, we always suggest you consider the health of your feet and your scorecard at the same time.

Downtown Toronto Podiatrist Tips for Your Fall Athletes

Being a downtown Toronto podiatrist for years means we see different issues as the seasons change. Young athletes suffer a sharp spike in the number of foot and ankle injuries when the leaves start to fall.

Basketball, football and soccer are the sports that cause a lot of broken bones and sprains for your children.

Here are some tips to prevent them from getting seriously injured while they play at Autumn sports.

  • Get any injury looked at right away. A simple sprain might be a lot more serious than it first looks. There might be some cartilage damage and even broken bones that could go undetected otherwise.
  • Match the shoe with the sport. As a downtown Toronto podiatrist that sees lots of ankle injuries, we can’t stress this enough. Many ankle related mishaps happen on uneven turf surfaces like playgrounds. Remember, there are differences between football cleats and baseball shoes.
  • Children should warm up before they play any sport. A quick jog before they begin to stretch is a good idea. Stretching a warm muscle is a much better idea than working with a cold one. A brisk walk or even a quick swim are great ways to limber up.
  • Check the field. Uneven surfaces are the culprits for many sports related injuries. Parents should be on the lookout for any kind of divot that can snag a player’s foot. If you find anything, make sure referees and coaching staff know about it
  • Old injuries need to be checked out before a new season. A quick checkup with a downtown Toronto podiatrist can spot anything that hasn’t healed properly.

Children need new shoes for a new season. The bottoms can become worn and uneven. When that happens, the ankle can tilt and cause an injury.

The Best Fall Sports

Soccer is one of the best fall sports for your child to be involved in. Not only do they get a good workout, they also learn the value of teamwork. Shin guards and cleats are the only gear you’ll need. And this is a relatively safe sport for your children to play.

Football is another big draw in the fall. Hightop cleats are one of the best choices here. They provide extra ankle support. If they have rubber outsouls, all the better. That makes slipping a little less likely.

Even the slightest injuries should be treated. We’re the downtown Toronto podiatrist that’s always ready to help.

Foot Pain Often Requires Glute and Core Strengthening

Foot Pain Often Requires Glute and Core Strengthening 

As a foot specialist I spend a lot of time hearing about people’s foot pain. I also am able to listen to their history and connect the dots to what may have resulted in a foot condition. To be honest, it is rarely just one thing, other than a direct blow or trauma, that results in foot pain conditions. Most of what I see is overuse injuries, and that can even be walking for extended periods of time. Doctors and nurses who spend long shifts on their feet are no stranger to foot pain.

Foot injuries can happen from repetitive overuse where some structures become weakened. Sometimes an old injury that was not completely rehabilitated can cause recalcitrant issues later down the road. The foot is directly related to the forces placed upon it. Weaker structures above the foot results in more impact on the foot.

The more and more I see, the more I realize everything in the body is connected. I have always been a practitioner of the philosophy where every body part has a relationship to another. The best way to explain this is if you only treat a painful area, you may not be targeting the original cause of the problem. That is why when I help treat foot pain, I like to encourage a well rounded treatment plan that also includes core and glute strengthening.

I was at Goodlife and it occurred to me the sign on the wall next to the glute machine stated something along the lines of “Glute strength, the most important muscle for athleticism”.  This is so true! Our core and pelvis holds our centre of gravity, much of the pain and ailments related to the foot an ankle also has a relationship to the glutes and core.

Being a person who runs each day, I realized this more and more. Most of all the injuries happening to the feet are directly related ! Do not get me wrong, one still needs to strengthen the feet and rehab that area, however it is of most benefit when we also strengthen above the foot as well. So I wanted to share some tips on keeping your glutes and core strong to help prevent some injuries. Plus, isn’t it a bonus to have a toned booty and core?

Planks

This includes side planks and front planks. The best form is when you squeeze your glutes together and attempt to keep you belly facing the wall, not twist up to the ceiling.

 

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Donkey Kicks

These are great to isolate the glute muscles. Donkey kicks can be done lying flat on the floor or on all fours. This can be done with a theraband around your hips also. The gym does offer a push plate for better glute activation.

 

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Glute Bridges

Again, it is always important to squeeze your glutes at the top. Attempt to hold this for 45 seconds. Marching or transitioning into a single legged glute bridge also makes this one more challenging.

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Standing A

This one is easy to do anywhere! You can stand up in an A stance and squeeze your glute at the top . Holding only in the standing knee up position.

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Single legged Squats

Stand up straight with your back and heels in contact with a wall. Take a small step forward on your leg to be exercised. This step should be around half to one foot distance away from the wall. You can easily incorporate this daily. When you attempt to sit down, slowly lower on one leg or add in a few reps before you sit!

 

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Side steps with therabands

These are great to help activate pelvic stabilization when walking. People with weaker glutes tend to drop their hip when they walk, which can result in knee pain and also subsequent foot pain. Place a band around your ankles and gather some tension. Side-step keeping constant tension on the band. Make sure you do not bring your feet too close together and keep your toes and knees pointing forwards.

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Strengthening should be done at least 2 times a week. You do not need a gym membership in order to do these basic strengthening exercises. You can do 10 minutes twice a week and it will still add up to help keep you healthy.

I encourage that prevention is the medicine .

Plantar Fasciitis – Tips from a Chiropodist and Elite Distance Runner

What is Plantar Fasciits?

The plantar fascia is a deep connective tissue on the bottom of your foot. It helps you walk and aids to stabilize the foot. The cause of this stubborn condition is a combination of tightness and weakness due to overuse.  

Why Does it Happen?

The pain is caused by the plantar fascia band overworking in a compensatory manor, when it attempts to stabilize the foot.  This compensation of the band is due to compounding factors of a tight lower leg, combined with weak muscles specifically the glutes/ core and foot.  Weak glutes/core cause more collapsing down the chain and more pronatory force on the foot. Weak glutes / core can lead to very tight calf muscles and more load placed on the foot than it can handleWeak foot muscles cannot absorb impact properly, thus leading to the fascia band overworking to control the instability. The fascia is not designed to do this and pain occurs as a result. 

Me, being a runner who trains at a high level, has withstood many repetitive overuse injuries in my time. I was told that I should not run as I have a pathological foot type. This means that I am predisposed to a lot of foot injuries. I chose a field which I knew would educate me to help me stay healthy to do what I love to do. Not only do I love to run, but I also love to help people get back to health and continue doing what they love to do.

My entire philosophy has always been rehabilitative in nature as well as promoting adequate support to injured tissues. In fact, in practice I have found that to be the most successful for my patients. A combination of support to the injured tissues, while rehabilitating the imbalances. This is why it is important to have a thorough examination to determine where your individual weaknesses and flexibility errors may be. Not all the time is plantar fasciitis a problem of flexibility. Thus, if one is only given a program of stretches, they may not see the best improvement. Stretching is important but it is only part of the puzzle. I also have experience in plantar fasciiits orthotic prescription for people who wear flats, to those who partake in high impact activity, such as running.

Treatments

I am firm believer in strengthening the weaknesses and I do believe a strong foot is a healthy foot. When the foot is injured I do find orthotics helpful in pain alleviation as orthotics help to offload the injured area as well as adding support to injured tissues. Orthotics also help to provide stability to the foot to help prevent the fascia band from kicking in to stabilize the foot. Orthotics are of benefit while I train people to begin utilizing their lower chain muscles again. I attempt to promote this on a regular basis as well. When standing in line at the grocery store, brushing  teeth, to even waiting at a pedestrian stop light.

I do find shockwave therapy to be a very effective treatment for plantar fasciits. However, it is only effective if the mechanism of action causing the pain is managed properly and addressed. If the proper mechanics are not restored, the forces leading to strain on the plantar band will return, making the cycle a very frustrating experience. The shockwave is of benefit, it just need to be combined with the proper exercise regimen to yield most benefits. If one is doing the proper exercises and gets the treatment, they will see that shockwave therapy does help. Me, being a distance runner, I am no stranger to this injury. I know first hand the benefits of shockwave therapy when combined with the correct therapy protocols. I also may need to prescribe a strong anti inflammatory in more painful conditions. Clinically, I have found prescription grade to be far better than over the counter anti inflammatory medications in getting the inflammation to calm down. In the beginning , I also like to advice a regular daily icing protocol as well.

Footwear is an important topic. When the foot is injured, it is best to avoid flat shoes or shoes of little support. I usually tell people to avoid shoes which can easily bend . I typically like a wider toe box, so one can activate their foot muscles better. A narrow shoe immobilizes the foot muscles,  leading to further strain on the fascia band. I also like soles with a bit more of a medial flare such as the New Balance 840 or 860. I am a big fan of New Balance. They started off as an insole company and they are pretty bang on with most of their footwear engineering.

If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, I am thrilled to help you! That is my passion and I understand how miserable that condition can be. I have had continuing education training from Harvard Medical School focusing on foot and ankle conditions. I look forward to providing a well rounded approach to help those with plantar fasciitis.

Wishing you the best in your foot health!

Here’s How to Make Hiking Good for Your Feet

Because we are a caring Toronto foot doctor team , we want you to have information on popular activities like hiking. Everyone enjoys the beauty of the great outdoors. There’s a lot of health benefits too.

All that walking can put some strain on your feet. That’s why we put together some ideas on how to make hiking better for them.

Wear the Right Shoes

As your Toronto foot doctor and chiropodist, we’ve given out this advice before under different circumstances. We’ve cautioned women about wearing high heels because they can damage your feet over time. The same goes for hikers. It’s a bad idea to wear street shoes when you’re out on the trail.

Still the advice remains essentially the same for the office and outdoors. You want to pick the right shoes to make sure that your ankles get the right support and your insoles are comfortable when hiking. Although some people prefer to wear cross trainers, we like to suggest hiking boots.

Make sure that you find the ones that fit your feet. They should be breathable lightweight and flexible.

By them one size larger than normal. Your feet have a tendency to swell when you’re out on longer hikes and this will accommodate the difference.

Wear the Right Socks

Choosing the right socks is important to. You want to find a pair that has the combination of breathability and a nice cushion. Selecting a pair that’s too thin will cause your feet to rub against the side of the boot. Socks that are too thick will cause your feet to sweat . It is best to choose a sock that is of synthetic fibres as cotton has the tendency to retain the sweat, leading to more slipping and blister formation.

Take Breaks

if you plan on a hike that’s going to last a few hours or maybe all day, give your feet a break. Taking some time to pull your hiking boots off and airing your feet out helps to prevent blisters. Not only will you give your feet a chance to cool off, your boots and socks will also get a break.

Keep Toenails Trimmed

Finally, a little preventative maintenance will go a long way. Longer toenails will scratch up against your boots and socks. Trimming your toenails every week stops this type of problem before it begins.

Being outdoors is a great way to stay healthy. With just a little preplanning, hikers can make sure that their feet stay in great shape. We’re here to help you as your Toronto foot doctor and chiropodist.