How to Prevent and Treat Foot Blisters

With the winter quickly coming to an end (this year we didn’t have much of a winter to begin with!), you’re probably eager to put away your winter boots so you can dust off your rubber boots (for all the sloppy rain we’re getting) and spring shoes. You might even be tempted to do a little shoe shopping so you’re on-trend for the new season.

 

Changing footwear or buying new shoes means that your feet will need to get accustomed to the new and different shoes you choose to put on your feet. If you don’t give your shoes a chance to mould to the current shape of your feet, you might be in for a painful awakening: blisters.

 

Everyone, we’re certain, has experienced blisters on the back of their heels, side of their big or little toes, or bottom of their feet at some point in their lives. Blisters can develop quickly and last for a few days to a week depending on their severity, but they can also be easily prevented.

 

Blisters are small bubbles of fluid (serum or plasma) that develop in the top layers of the skin. They’re usually caused by friction, burning or freezing. The fluid build-up is there to protect deeper levels of the skin, but with excessive friction, blisters can burst and the raw skin underneath can become infected.

 

So how can you ensure you stay blister-free this spring? Toronto podiatrist Chris Hastings shares these top 5 tips for preventing foot blisters:

 

  1. Wear shoes that fit well. Anything too tight or too loose will cause excessive friction, which will lead to a blister. Shoes that squeeze your feet or taper at the toes, such as many high heels and dress shoes, will be more likely to cause a blister. Try to choose something with a rounded or square toe to avoid pinching and squeezing.
  2. Proper socks are important too. Cotton absorbs moisture best and will reduce friction. If you’re hiking or walking or running long distances, you might want to consider wearing two pairs of socks — a very thin wicking sock first, with a thicker cotton sock over top. Wear shoes that provide decent ventilation, made from canvas, leather, mesh or other breathable materials.
  3. It might be tempting to wear your new shoes for long periods of time (for example, to work, a night out, or walking or running long distances), but at our Toronto foot clinic, we recommend that you break in new shoes. Wear them for 1-2 hours at a time so that the shoes can gradually mould to the shape of your feet. After a few wears they will be good to go for longer periods.
  4. Insoles and custom orthotics will certainly help prevent blisters if you have a job that puts you on your feet all day. At our downtown Toronto podiatry clinic, Chris Hastings, DMP, can assess your feet and create custom orthotics specific to your feet.
  5. If you know you are prone to foot blisters, apply a lubricant such as Vaseline to your known problem areas. This will lessen friction. You can also tape the sensitive areas of your feet using Moleskin or Band-Aids to protect your feet from any chafing.

 

If you are unsure of the fit of your shoes, or have recurring blisters, contact Chris Hastings at his Toronto podiatry clinic today.

Footcare

Athlete’s Foot isn’t just for athletes: symptoms and prevention

Tinea Pedis — aka athlete’s foot — is a very common fungal infection that can affect anyone. Although it’s named after more active folks — athletes — as they are often more likely to contract the fungus, anyone who frequents public places, such as locker rooms, gyms, swimming pools and shared showers, can find themselves with the fungus.

 

Athlete’s foot can also be caused by sweaty feet, wearing wet shoes or socks for long periods of time, wearing tight, closed toe shoes, or sharing towels or socks with an infected person.

 

If you have itching, stinging or burning anywhere on your feet, particularly in between your toes or on the bottoms of your feet, you might have athlete’s foot. Other symptoms that might indicate you have the fungus include dry, cracked or peeling skin; discoloured toenails or toenails that pull away easily from the nail bed; or itchy blisters or rasa skin on the feet. At our Toronto podiatry clinic, we can help fix toenails that are particularly damaged by athlete’s foot.

 

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your podiatrist for a confirmed diagnosis. Although athlete’s foot isn’t serious, you might need a prescription medication such as an anti fungal to get rid of the fungus entirely.

 

In the meantime, if you do suspect you have athlete’s foot, avoid sharing towels, socks and nail clippers and if you live with family members, reduce the spread of the fungus by using your own shower mat and cleaning the shower stall or bathtub after each use.

 

To prevent further cases of athlete’s foot, our downtown Toronto foot clinic recommends the following:

 

  • Wash and dry your feet thoroughly after bathing
  • Use an antifungal powder on your feet if you’re prone to athlete’s foot
  • Wear sandals or flip flops at public pools, locker rooms and public showers
  • Wear breathable socks, made from cotton or wicking material, and change your socks if you have sweaty feet
  • Alternate between two pairs of shoes so that you’re not wearing the same shoes everyday, giving your footwear a chance to breathe and dry out
  • Never share towels, socks, toenail clippers or pedicure tools

 

If you’d like more information about what you can do to treat or prevent athlete’s foot, contact our podiatry clinic  today.

What’s Causing My Foot Pain?

Do you easily get tired, achy feet, but you’re not sure why? If you’re otherwise healthy but often have pain in your feet, particularly in your heels and inner foot, you may have flat feet, otherwise known as fallen arches.

 

Other symptoms of flat feet or fallen arches might include pain in your legs and back, swelling in the bottom or sides of your feet, and pain if you stand on your tiptoes.

 

Fallen arches are characterized by very low arches or no arches at all. For some people, flat feet cause no pain, but for others, pain can be amplified just by walking.

 

Fallen arches/flat feet can be caused by stretched tendons, broken bones, nerve problems, and can even be associated with obesity, pregnancy, ageing and diabetes. Some people are born with flat feet.

 

You can do a quick test at home to see if you’ve got flat feet — first, take off your shoes and socks and get your feet wet. Then, stand on a large enough piece of paper to fit your full foot, a thin dark towel or dark floor, and carefully step off so you can see your whole footprint. If you can see only your toe prints, heel print, and a thin strip of the outside of your foot, you probably don’t have flat feet. But, if you’ve left behind a print of your entire foot, then it’s quite possible that you do, especially if your feet often hurt.

 

So what are the next “steps” you can take? Toronto foot care specialist, Chris Hastings, DPM, recommends visiting your podiatrist for treatment. Your podiatrist will assess your feet by looking at your stance, gait, and might even take X-rays of your feet. Once assessed, your DPM might give you specific foot stretches to do, recommend rest or icing procedures to reduce inflammation, prescribe pain relief medication, or even fit you with custom orthotics — all depending on the severity of your fallen arches. If pain is very severe, your podiatrist might even recommend surgical correction.

 

Contact our downtown Toronto foot clinic to have your feet assessed.

Top 3 Signs You Might Have Diabetic Foot Problems

In our downtown Toronto foot clinic, we consult with a lot of diabetic patients. There are certain foot problems that are unique to diabetic patients, due to the high levels of glucose that can occur in the blood. These problems include nerve damage and peripheral vascular disease, a condition that results from poor circulation.

 

So how can you tell if you have foot problems associated with diabetes? Here are some of the top signs to look out for:

 

  1. Change in foot shape, or differing shape between your two feet. Swollen feet or redness can be a sign of ill-fitting shoes or infection.
  2. Tingling, numbness or pain. If you can’t feel your feet properly, or if they feel like heavy bricks, seek a podiatrist’s advice as soon as you can.
  3. Sores or blisters that aren’t healing quickly, or unusually cracked or callused feet. If you do get a sore on your foot, wash it with warm water and try to avoid too much walking. Your podiatrist can help dress your wound as well as recommend the right shoes for you that will reduce pain and friction.

 

If you’re diabetic, it’s very important you check your feet on a regular basis — we know that sometimes the feet are the last parts of your body you’re worried about. Remember that your feet get you from A to B, and there’s no reason for any discomfort or pain.

 

At our foot clinic, we teach our diabetic patients to identify the signs and symptoms to look out for, manage callouses and cracks, and we help keep toe nails neat and trim.

 

If you suspect you might have any foot problems associated with diabetes, contact our Toronto podiatry clinic to speak with podiatrist Chris Hastings, DPM.

The Cold Weather is Here — Cold Feet Socks Available at Podiatry on Yonge @ King

Despite what you might do to keep warm this winter, hands and feet tend to feel the brunt of the extreme cold. Poor circulation to your extremities means that your body can’t always keep your toes and fingers warm while keeping your core nice and toasty.

 

Those with diabetes, circulation problems, or those who just tend to spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter are more likely to experience frostbite (a severe injury of the skin; signs and symptoms include tingling, numbness, changes in the colour and texture of the skin, and loss of feeling altogether, and can result in gangrene if not treated), and other cold-weather ailments, such as chilblains (painful swelling and itching of the skin, usually on the hands and feet when exposed to cold) and frostnip (a milder injury caused by exposing skin to cold weather, characterized by red, numb and tingly skin).

 

There are many things you can do to help avoid these cold weather injuries:

 

  1. Ease up on your caffeine intake — although a hot coffee or tea might seem like the perfect way to keep warm outside, the caffeine constricts blood vessels, leading to a greater chance of experiencing frostnip, chilblains and frostbite on your feet. If you’re craving something warm to keep toasty, have a nice cup of hot soup instead.
  2. Wear proper fitting winter boots (if they’re too tight, they can decrease circulation, leading to cold feet), and wear warm socks. Podiatrist Chris Hastings offers cold feet socks at his downtown Toronto foot clinic to help you keep from suffering these painful cold weather ailments.
  3. Exercise to keep your blood moving. Walking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are all great winter activities that can help increase circulation to your feet.

 

If you do suspect that you’ve come down with frostnip, chilblains or frostbite on your feet or hands, get inside as quickly as possible. Slowly rewarm your extremities by soaking them in warm water only (never hot!), for about 10 to 15 minutes. As you’re warming your feet and hands, you will likely feel a tingling, burning sensation — this just means the blood flow is returning. If you’re experiencing increased pain, call your podiatrist for advice.

 

Contact podiatrist Chris Hastings to learn more about the cold feet socks offered at his Toronto foot clinic.

Orthotics for Skates and Ski Boots Now Available

Although this winter has been a bit on the warmer side, we’re finally seeing some colder weather, and yes, snow and ice too. This is exciting for anyone who loves a winter wonderland, but is particularly good news for skiers, snowboarders, and ice skaters.

 

For skiers and snowboarders, there’s no greater feeling than shredding through fresh powder. On the other hand, there can also be a no more painful feeling than cramming your feet into tight, stiff boots. Anyone who has spent a day out on the slopes knows that getting your boots off when you’re done provides some much needed relief.

 

In the past 5 to 10 years, ski and snowboard boots have come a long, long way technically and comfort-wise. Many boot companies have made their boots with the foot’s anatomy in mind, providing greater fit, circulation, and in turn, greater performance on the hill. Some boot companies even offer heat mould technology that enables professional boot fitters to create a fit specific to a skier or snowboarder’s foot. While these technologies can certainly help avert painful feet from ski and snowboard boots, sometimes they aren’t enough for those who already have issues with their feet.

 

The same goes for ice skates. With hockey season in full-swing and with many outdoor rinks now opening, avid skaters are feeling the joy of speeding on the ice — but also the hurt skates can cause when worn for too long.

 

This is where Toronto podiatrist Chris Hastings comes in. His foot clinic is offering custom orthotics for ski and snowboard boots and ice skates. Patients can bring in their boots or skates so the profile can be sent to the lab for  customer orthodics. As such, clients can ski and skate easily and comfortably, knowing their boots are fit to their specific foot structure, and won’t have to rest mid-day in the chalet or on the ice rink sidelines while they give their feet a breather. Custom orthotics can also help improve performance — less pain means more gain! — so that clients can skate and ski faster, turn and stop better, and have a more enjoyable day.

 

Contact Toronto podiatrist Chris Hastings today to get your custom orthotics for your boots or skates.

Foot problems

Top Three Foot Problems

While the feet are the foundation of our bodies (we use them to walk, stand, exercise, and get us from A to B, after all), theyre often overlooked when it comes to pain. Many people say their feet that are killing themafter a long day, but they are unaware that many painful foot problems are treatable and preventable with the right knowledge, and the right podiatrist.

 

A podiatrist, is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) who diagnoses and treats conditions of the foot, ankle and parts of the leg. As a specialist in foot care, a podiatrist not only treats painful foot problems, but also provides advice from how to take care of your feet to what kinds of shoes are best for your foot structure.

 

Experienced Toronto podiatrist, Chris Hastings, treats many clients with foot issues as simple as improper nail care, to conditions that require surgical intervention, such as deformed toes and joints.

 

The most common ailments he sees in his downtown Toronto foot clinic are:

 

Heel Pain/Plantar Faciitis

Plantar Faciitis is the most common source of heel pain, and is caused by inflammation of the bottom of the foot when the Plantar Fasica (the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes) is strained or weakened. Ignoring this pain can lead to chronic foot conditions, but your podiatrist can work with you to develop exercises or a custom orthotic that will alleviate the pain.

 

Corns
Corns form when exposed to pressure and friction, and are characterized by hard, thickened areas on the skin. When they develop on the feet, they can cause pain and discomfort when you walk or wear poor-fitting shoes. Those with bony feet are more likely to develop corns, as the feet lack natural cushioning that would prevent excessive friction. Women tend to develop corns more often than men, as well as people with improper shoe choice, sweaty feet, diabetes, or those with bunions or hammer toes. Corns generally arent serious; your podiatrist may suggest the best shoes for your to wear, corn pads, or in more serious cases, removal.

 

Nail fungus

Toe nail fungus characteristically causes nails to thicken and yellow, and sometimes, become brittle. Nail fungus can be spread in public places, such as gyms or pools, and might even be spread by your pedicurist so be aware of the hygiene practices at your favourite spas. The fungus easily enters damaged nails, so always wear sandals, shoes or flip-flops if youre showering at the gym or using a public pool. Your podiatrist will assess the fungus, and possibly prescribe oral or topical fungus, a washing routine, and in some cases, surgical treatment.

 

If youve ever experienced any of these painful (and sometimes embarrassing) conditions, a podiatrist can help. Contact us now to learn more

 

Is your foot pain not described on this list? To learn more about the conditions we treat, click here to learn more.

Toronto podiatrist

New Downtown Toronto Podiatrist Office

One of Ontarios most experienced podiatrists, Chris Hastings, DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine), is now offering a full-service foot clinic dedicated to providing its clients with the highest quality foot care, no matter how simple or complex the issue. His practice is in the heart of downtown Toronto, at Yonge and King.

 

Chris Hastings and his staff have many yearsexperience in podiatry and the health services field. Chris Hastings has practised podiatry not only in downtown Toronto, but in Barrie and Gravenhurst as well, and has served as a consultant in provincial hospitals and other institutions. Hes served as President of both the Ontario and Canadian Podiatric Medical Associations, and is a member of the Ontario, Canadian, and American Podiatric Medical Associations.

 

We look forward to meeting new clients and helping you heelyour feet!
Contact the clinic to book an appointment.