Toronto Orthotics and Exercising Outdoors During The Pandemic

If you’re confused about getting outside for some exercise and how Toronto orthotics fit into that picture to keep your feet healthy, you are not alone. There’s lots of advice about getting exercise outside right now. A lot of it can be confusing.

Here’s a few things we know that can help alleviate your stress.

The virus that causes COVID19 is caused by droplets that get released when people sneeze or cough. In enclosed spaces like your local gym, these droplets can actually hang in the air. Open spaces lower the risk but you still need to keep a social distance to be safe. Wearing a mask is also a good idea since it minimizes your risk.

Custom-Made

If you’re going to add Toronto orthotics into the mix, there’s a few things you should know. First off, here’s a quick definition. The kind of orthotics that we provide are custom-made. They can do a variety of things including keeping the foot and lower leg aligned consistently.

Our foot clinic in downtown Toronto supplies products that line up the ankle and foot too so they are in the correct position.

Many of our patients have been active for a long time and are starting to suffer from foot pain that needs gait correction. We’ve also seen quite a few patients that need orthotics because they suffer from arthritis.

As far as exercising outside during the pandemic goes, here’s a few more takeaways that should help.

  • Pick Your Times. It’s best to head outside for a run or brisk walk during slower times. Depending on where you live that could mean the early morning or in the middle of the day. Some active people find the evening or dinner hour is best.
  • Be Aware of Distances. Even with Toronto orthotics to keep your feet healthy, you’ll need to make sure you’re distancing yourself properly. Be especially vigilant when you are cycling or climbing stairs. Keep in mind that not everyone who’s out walking or running will be aware of social distancing rules.

There is no doubt that exercising outside in these times carries a certain amount of risk. However, if you pre plan and exercise caution, these can be minimized. We can help look after some of the other issues that can affect the way you enjoy your outside exercise with Toronto orthotics. Another tip, when our Chiropodist Laura Desjardins runs outside, she pulls her shirt over her face when crowds are in the way.

Neuromas: Here’s What You Need to Know from Your Toronto Chiropodist and Podiatrist

Any type of running related injury is important to a Toronto chiropodist and Podiatrist. We’ve put together some information for runners on common types of foot issues. Running is a good way to stay in shape and get out of the house during the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing what to look for when it comes to neuromas helps to keep you active.

A neuroma occurs when the tissue between the third and fourth toes hardens and thickens. The thickened tissue puts pressure on the nerve and causes pain.

At first, you might feel like there’s a little pebble on the inside of your shoe. You could also experience a tingling sensation between the third and fourth toe. A neuroma does not appear in an obvious way like a lump between your toes. The main symptom of this condition is pain.

Shooting Pains in The Ball of Your Foot

If the situation worsens, you might feel shooting pains in the ball of your foot or base of your toe. Female runners are at a higher risk for developing this problem. Women who enjoy running and have flat feet are also prone to developing these neuromas.

It’s time to call your Toronto chiropodist and book an appointment if the pain lasts longer than a few days. If you’re suffering, it’s a good idea to back off on running for other types of exercise. Swimming is a good way to stay active because it doesn’t put much pressure on your feet while you heal.

There are different treatment options available. They depend on how far the situation has progressed. Early on, icing can reduce the swelling and over-the-counter medications can take care of any discomfort.

Treating a Neuroma

There are a few things to avoid if you think you suffer from a neuroma. Some runners misinterpret the pain they’re feeling and treat this condition like a stress fracture. However, the treatment for a stress fracture is different from what’s best for treating a neuroma.

Ignoring the early symptoms is another mistake. Runners with this condition often complain of feeling like there’s a wrinkle in their sock. If you exhibit the early signs and symptoms of neuroma, book an appointment with your Toronto chiropodist. Our foot clinic in downtown Toronto stays up-to-date on the latest treatments so you can continue to exercise outside.

Toronto chiropodist Tips for Introducing Your Dog to Running

Any Toronto chiropodist will encourage you to exercise by running. It’s a great way to spend some time outside and stay in shape. Nothing makes this activity more enjoyable than taking your dog for a run at the same time. They provide companionship and protection.

Here’s a few tips we’ve put together to train your furry best friend to run along with you.

  • Make sure to start out slow. If you’ve got a new dog or a rescue, you’ll need to work on leash manners first. This means getting your new dog comfortable walking beside you and speeding up slowly. Start inside your home and then move outside while you progress to a slow jog.
  • Dogs can get distracted once you start running with them. Carry some healthy dog treats and reward your pup when they stay focused on you. No matter how much training your dog goes through, there will be mishaps. A cat running in front of you on the sidewalk is a big one. It’s a good idea to carry your pooch’s favourite squeaky toy in your pocket. You can use it to try and focus their attention.

It’s best to check with your veterinarian before you start running with your dog. Younger puppies can damage their joints if they run too far, too fast. Of course, your pooch isn’t the only one who can experience a running injury. Statistics tell us up to 20% of runners are affected by Achilles tendonitis.

If you suffer from a dull pain in the back of your heel after a run, get in touch with your Toronto chiropodist and Toronto Podiatrist. Hamstring issues are another common injury. It makes sense when you consider these muscles in the back of your thighs help move you forward.

Symptoms include a constant ache or a tightness in your legs when you run.

Avoiding injuries for both you and your dog means setting aside a few minutes to warm-up before a run. For you, this can involve some stretching exercises or walking. For your four-legged friend, a good warm-up might include a chance for a quick pee and poop break before starting out.

You’re bound to love running with your dog. Here’s a final tip to make it enjoyable for both of you. Dirt trails are better for your puppy’s paws and joints than asphalt. If you run into any trouble with your human feet, a Toronto chiropodist can treat you quickly. This ensures you and your dog will enjoy years of exercise together.

The Right Toronto Orthotics Help You to Avoid Summer Running Injuries. These Exercises Work Too!

Summer is here and there’s no reason why foot pain should keep you from leading an active lifestyle. We offer gait correction with Toronto orthotics to deal with alignment issues causing foot pain.

Being proactive before you go out for a summer run can alleviate injuries and foot pain. Here are a few exercises to help prevent problems.

The Toe Fan

This one is simple. All you need to do is lift and lower all of your toes at once. Make sure to raise your smallest toe to the same level as the big one. Do this 4 times and then spread them as wide as possible for another set.

This exercise is not only good for the toes, but helps strengthen your shin muscles as well. This is important for balance and push off when you’re running.

How We Help

The Toronto orthotics we prescribe for our patients helps to offset the wear and tear on your feet that’s a normal part of aging. Arthritis is a common problem Chris Hastings deals with on a regular basis. The devices he fits align the foot and ankle back to the correct position. Laura has experience in prescribing orthotics for runners and has knowledge on the footwear that best suits your needs!

These orthotics can help you to find a new level of physical activity suited to your age or condition. Running might not be an option, but a more pain-free and confident stride is possible.

Some of the exercises described here are perfect regardless of whether you’re a runner or someone wanting more flexibility.

Step Ups

This exercise works all the muscle groups in your legs. It’s a great way to improve your running power or get some exercise in a stationary position. You need a bench or box strong enough to hold your weight.

Put one foot up on it and step up with your other leg. The idea is to bring your trailing leg up to a high knee type position without touching the box or bench.

The Floor Grab

This last exercise is good for your feet regardless of the physical shape you’re in. This is another simple one because all you need to do is grab the ground with your toes and then release your grip. The trick is not to curl your toes under.

This is a great way to build up the strength in your arches.

Laura Desjardins is an avid elite runner who runs in orthotics herself and has first hand experience of injury management and drills to prevent such injuries.

Chris Hastings offers several other services above and beyond Toronto orthotics. These include diabetic foot care supervision, because people who suffer from this disease are not aware of their sports-related injuries.

Our Foot Clinic in Downtown Toronto Lists the Best Places to Run

Chris Hastings has years of experience as a Toronto Podiatrist. He offers a variety of services to his clients at his foot clinic in downtown Toronto. Laura Desjardins, a Toronto Chiropodist, focuses on the treatment of foot pain in runners. She has worked with Olympic runners and spent many years dealing with sports medicine foot injuries, particularly when it comes to running. These services include everything from gait correction with orthotics to surgical correction of joints and deformed toes.

Now that the warm weather is here, his team is ready to help you with any injuries you might suffer running outside. Part of being proactive is listing some excellent places to run in Toronto. These are just a few of the locations where you will be less likely to hurt yourself.

For a Run in the Core

There are quite a few places in Toronto that don’t involve streetcars, traffic and onlookers. The Beltline Trail is a perfect place because it is located right in the core. It spans from Danforth and Bayview and goes all the way up to Eglinton and Allen Road.

The path is level so there’s less chance for you to injure yourself. What’s more, you’ll get to commune with nature and do your spirit some good at the same time!

Chris Hastings is a private practitioner and community leader. He balances his foot clinic in downtown Toronto responsibilities with a strong sense of civic pride. Chris is a Toronto chiropodist and an executive with Crime Stoppers and the Canadian Cancer Society.

He cares about people and that’s why he put together this list.

Chiropodist, Laura Desjardins, has extra training in sports medicine from Harvard in Running from the Spaulding Running center. She can help you with your form, running mechanics to be more efficient and can give tips for injury prevention.

More Toronto Running Hotspots

For A Short Run

If you’re looking for a short burst of exercise, Queens Park has a 1 km running loop. It’s a great downtown location to do some power running at lunch or before or after work.

For the Views

You can find some scenic exercise by heading over to the Toronto Island. The running trail there is approximately 7 km and forms a loop providing excellent views of the city.

For A Run by The Water

The Martin Goodman Trail is the place to go if you’re looking for a waterfront running experience that goes from east to west. This smooth 35-mile path winds its way through some city parks.

Staying safe is an important part of enjoying a summer run. A good rule is to make sure you don’t increase your training mileage by more than 10% each week.

If you injure yourself while running, our foot clinic in downtown Toronto can look after foot pain and injuries for you. Laura offers shockwave, an individualized exercise program after she performs a biomechanical and gait assessment on you.

Running in the Heat

Hydration and Exercising on Hot days 

It is hot these days and that means we need to make sure we stay hydrated. Simply drinking water is not enough. When we sweat we lose a lot of electrolytes (minerals). If you don’t ever get cramps and then all the sudden on a hot day, you find yourself experiencing one, be careful, it could be the early signs of heat illness. I was on a run and felt a stitch coming on. I did not care, I had to stop and get water and since then I have been more mindful of my fluid intake and ways to prevent heat illness on hot days. 

Dehydration increases fatigue and impacts your form, thus making you susceptible to injury. Being dehydrated also increases DOMS (muscle soreness), so hydrating after helps facilitate in a speedier recovery.

Why Hydrating is important. 

Lack of proper hydration can lead to serious problems that can cause heat stroke or heat exhaustion.  This happens when the body’s cooling system shuts down and body temperatures rise above normal . Here is a table that breaks down the difference between the two. 

 

Heat exhaustion symptoms Heat stroke symptoms
general weakness elevated body temperature above 103F (39.4C)
increased heavy sweating rapid and strong pulse or heart rate
a weak but faster pulse or heart rate loss or change of consciousness
nausea or vomiting hot, red, dry, or moist skin
possible fainting
pale, cold, clammy skin

How much water should you drink ?

Everyone sweats at a different rate. Weighing yourself before and after exercise can help indicate how much water you have lost. According to Burke., L.M. et al and Sawka et al it is recommended to drink 1.5 L of water for each Kg of fluid lost. 

It is recommended to drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water. So a 100 lb person would drink 50 oz. 

The main electrolytes lost are sodium and chloride. These minerals are important for the regulation of nerve function, muscle contraction (hence why you camp up when dehydrated), absorption of nutrients, blood pressure regulation and the balance of fluids in our body. 

Dehydration also results in fatigue in workouts. So if you train in the morning and went all night without fluids, hydrating in the morning is important. If you slurp down water in a short period of time, that invokes diuretic response ( you excrete it). Simply adding electrolytes to that water will help you retain your fluids.

Other Tips That I Practice

Running during the coolest times of the day are best, but life demands may not always allows for this and sometimes it is still hot even when you wait. 

Wear a white hat training that is thin and made of a synthetic material that allows for evaporation of heat. Bring water on your workouts and drop bottles and go out and back on intervals so you can ingest water. Even having two so one you can pour on your head can really help.

Try to stick to the shade, and adjusting for paces can help. Jack Daniel’s table for pace adjustment is beneficial so you are not too hard on yourself for running a bit slower in heat!

Stress Fractures and Toronto orthotics: Here’s What You Need to Know

Here’s a few words on Toronto orthotics and stress fractures.

Our foot clinic in downtown Toronto knows that your foot has many bones. We also understand that a stress fracture might take a while to become apparent. Now that people are out running in the summer months, they need to be aware of what to look for.

These are usually caused by ramping up your training or the intensity of your run. Some of our patients are unlucky enough to trip on a pothole or rock. You’re even more likely to experience a stress fracture if you suffer from arthritis or take certain medications.

Too Much Too Quickly

For most of our patients, these happen when they do too much too quickly. If you are a runner who hasn’t trained over the colder months, it’s not a good idea to pick up where you left off.
Watch out for tendinitis, bunions or blisters. These can increase the risk for one of these fractures.

If the problem with foot pain is an alignment issue, we have Toronto orthotics treatments that can help. Fitting the device so that it aligns properly with the foot and ankle is what this service is all about.

Older Runner

If you’re an older runner in the summer months, you’ll need to consider this alignment issue. A stress fracture can be the catalyst for your pain.

Checking for symptoms is the first step to getting the right kind of treatment. Here’s a few red flags that you should be looking for regardless of your age.

Pain that lessens when you stop running and take a rest. Putting pressure on a stress fracture can cause it to act up. That includes any discomfort during daily normal activities. Make sure to look for swelling on the outside of the ankle or the top of the foot.

Keep in mind, it’s not just athletes who suffer from these types of injuries. The routine demands of your work and commuting can add up to a lot of stress on your feet as well.

Downtime Involved

If you wind up fracturing a bone in your foot, you’ll need to take some time away from running. Usually there’s about six weeks of downtime involved so the bone can heal. X-rays are a good way to diagnose any issue that you have with the bones in your foot. These can find something as tiny as a small crack.

Toronto orthotics can help correct your stride to prevent these injuries. Orthotics also help with coming back from a stress fracture.

Running Injuries – A Well Rounded Strength Program Can Ward off Injuries

Pain in the Foot is not fun. Especially when you are trying hard to stay fit during the COVID-19 outbreak. No access to gyms has forced people to be creative and move their exercise routines outdoors. It may even mean taking up new exercise. That may mean new aches and pains, because our body is not used to the form of exercise.

Here are some tips to help keep our body well rounded when taking up running.

First of all. My philosophy has always been that the foot is part of the kinetic chain of the entire leg. Forces acting on the foot can contribute or exacerbate foot pain.

A lot of the time we do not spend enough time focusing on staying strong in a well rounded approach. Weakness is why we get hurt. So lets try our best to avoid weaknesses.

Please note this is me sharing what I do. I have worked together with a physio to ensure I have my proper form so I do not hurt myself.

Exercises to do to help up stay injury free!

Strength training we should aim to do 2-3 times per week.

Lunges or Split Squats

The main point here is that how you position your body can impact where you feel the strengthening. Your back should be straight . Hinging at the hip and sinking backwards when you lower can target the glutes more. While hinging slightly forward can target the quads more. I specifically like to target the glutes. Running and walking already makes you quite quad dominant.

Lunges are also a great warm up to do prior to runs. Simple walking lunges helps to wake those muscles up!

Step Ups

This is where there is a step or a stool in front of you. You place one foot on the step and then press up . You straighten the leg and drive the other leg up. You pause at the top for a couple of seconds and then slowly go back to the ground.

Calf Raises

This is a big one for runners. The calf muscles work hard during runs. Over working can lead to wear and tear and actually weakness. The calf helps to absorb the impact of running as well as drive you forward in toe off phase of gait. Keeping this area strong can help reduce foot and ankle related injuries

To do this exercises you can do on two feet or one. You simply go up on the balls of your feet while attempting to not roll your ankle in or outwards. You want to think of maintaining the even weight distribution on all balls of the feet.

If you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, I can help guide you to build up to this exercise. As doing this when injured can hurt the fascia band more, depending on the severity of the injury.

Hip Abduction

This can be done lying down or standing up . Lying down is a good place to stat initially. To do Stand with band around your shins and then raise the leg outwards. Keep the foot in line with your hip, try to not have it migrate in front of you your behind you . Keep your toes pointed forwards.

Hip Extension

Place a band around your shins and keep both feet facing forwards. Lift one leg back behind you and then return to normal. This works the hamstrings and the glutes.

Hip Flexors

This helps with running and form. You place a loop band around both feet and drive the bent knee up towards your chest.

Core Exercises

I am a big fan of planks for the core. This is done on the floor with your elbows bent. You can squeeze your glutes and ensure your back does not sag . To make this more difficult you can lift one leg up and hold. This is a hip extension variation. The other exercise you can do is side planks. This helps to work the hip abductors. A more difficult variation is to extend your arm and then raise one leg up in the air and hold.

 

Do not forget to also stretch!

 

Your Toronto chiropodist Offers These Shin Splint Tips

We’re the Toronto chiropodist and Toronto Podiatrist that wants you to be well-informed as you head into the warm weather. For many people in the GTA, running outside is a big part of summer. If part of that activity results in a nagging pain in your legs, you might be suffering from shin splints.

Here’s a few things you can do about them.

Get New Shoes

In your excitement to get outside and exercise, you might be wearing the wrong shoes. Our foot clinic in downtown Toronto has seen lots of runners who’ve been wearing old sneakers for too long. Hanging onto those old shoes when they are past their prime is a big reason for shin splints.

Don’t forget to look for some wiggle room when you’re buying a new pair. That means about the width of your thumb between your big toe and the front of the running shoe.

Apply Ice

Pain and swelling can be reduced with an ice pack. If you’ve already got a shin splint, apply one of these for 30 minutes every three hours for several days. Stop when the injured leg is every bit as flexible as the other one.

If you could push on the spots that used to hurt, that means the ice packs are working.

Take Smaller Strides

As your Toronto chiropodist, we know how motivated you are to start running in the summer. It’s easy to take a long stride with the sun shining down on you and the birds singing in the trees. However, that’s not always the best bet for your lower legs.

There is research that says longer strides put more pressure on your shin bones. Short quick steps are the better bet. Remember to let your feet touch down quickly and briefly between each one. In fact the best is to aim for 180 strides each minute. You want to feel smooth and limit the amount of bobbing up and down. One way to do this is to imagine your head staying level as you run.

Stretch Before You Run

Stretching before you run helps you to avoid injuries like shin splints. Sit down and extend your left leg out to the side. Lean forward and bend your back and waist towards your left foot. This is a good stretch for your hamstrings. Try and hold it for 30 seconds at a time.

To stretch your calf muscles, stand with one leg behind the other. Bend one leg forward while keeping the other one straight. Press the heel to the floor.

Finally, if you injure yourself running, play it safe and come in and see your Toronto chiropodist or Toronto Podiatrist.

Running Shoes – Footwear Advice !

Foot Pain Running? How and Why Footwear Matters. 

Lets face it, we are trying to make the most of this time of isolation. We want to be healthy and maybe take the opportunity to reach our fitness and health goals.  Without access to the gym or our fitness groups we are forced to get outside and get moving! Running is easy, right? We put on a pair of shoes on, put one foot in front of the other and get our heart rate up. An unexpected pain in your foot has put a road block into your plans. 

What to do if you get foot pain.

The first thing people should do, who experience foot pain, is rest and also take a look at what they have on their feet. I am offering some suggestions for what types of shoes to look for when you are experiencing pain in certain areas of your feet. 

Simple Terminology You Should Know When Buying Shoes 

Heel Drop – this is the difference of the heel height in relation to the forefoot height. A heel drop from 8 mm up to  12mm is seen as a higher heel drop. A lower heel drop is from 6mm down to 0 mm. 

Neutral shoe does not offer any gait correction. Stability offers gait correction for people that have flat feet or their knees and feet collapse inwards. Support is defined as non corrective gait movement guidance, this is seen in Brooks footwear as guiderails.

Foot Pain Symptoms and Shoes to Look For 

A key note – With any foot pain issues, a stiffer sole of some substance is better for foot pain. A soft sole may feel nice, but a stiffer sole adds stability to the foot. Brooks tends to have their shoes on a firmer sole across the board. Other lines may have firmer options. 

Achilles pain. Achilles issues can arise from lack of flexibility, calf weakness and pronation issues. Depending on if your issue is a result of pronation or not you should shop for a shoe at least a 10mm drop. 10 -12 mm heel drop brings the ground up to the foot and helps to alleviate strain off the achilles.

Tibialis Posterior Pain. Pain on the inside of your shins or inside of your arch. A 10 – 12 mm drop.Stability or support shoe will help with this. This problem usually arises from weak hips, calf and feet.

Plantar Fasciitis – 8-10 mm heel drop.  A firmer soled shoe with pronation control and a wide toe box. This problem usually is a complex one! I like a more supportive shoe with pronation control and a wider toe box. Intrinsic weakness is common with this condition. Having a wider toe box allows one to use toe spacers to help work their intrinsics when exercises. I also like a higher drop as calf tightness and weakness is also common with this condition. Bringing the ground up to the foot helps to take off some tension from the foot. 

Pain bending the toes upwards or a toe sprain – Any of the carbon plate shoes will to go well with this . These fancy shoes include the zoomfly, TC New Balance, Saucony Endorphin Pro and Hoka Carbon X shoe. 

Metatarsalgia or pain in the ball of their feet- Now these people would respond well to a lower drop 4-8 mm. I also recommend more cushion in the forefoot and wearin a met pad. Certain met bads are better than others for running. Materials that absorb sweat can lead to hot spots and friction/ blisters. That is no fun!

There you have it ! A few common foot conditions with footwear choices. 

A key note, when going down into a lower drop be careful. It takes time to adapt to that drop to avoid any achilles or ankle issues. 

Happy Running !