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.

What You Need to Know About an Ankle Sprain

As an experienced Toronto foot doctor and chiropodist, we are able to treat and educate our patients at the same time. Our attitude is simple. If something is bothering you, we want to find out why. Educating our patients is just as important to us as fixing their foot issues.

An ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments. More often than not, it affects the outside of the ankle itself. Ligaments are like rubber bands joining the bones together. In your ankle, these allow for side to side movement.

Like anything else, some ankle sprains are much worse than others. How bad one is depends on the ligaments and whether they are stretched or torn. There’s more than one of these. The severity of an ankle sprain also depends on how many ligaments are involved.

Remember there’s a difference between a strain and sprain. A strain affects the different muscles rather than the ligaments in your ankle.

Why Sprains Happen

A quick or sudden movement can jerk your ankle and cause one of these sprains. Athletes are particularly susceptible. During any kind of physical activity, you can injure your ankle when you twist it inward. Any kind jerky or quick movement can cause a tear or stretch.

Ankle sprains can happen to you at any age. If you play sports or spend a lot of time walking on uneven surfaces, you might get one of these injuries. One of the other big causes is wearing shoes that don’t fit properly.

The Symptoms

If you’ve ever had an ankle sprain, you know there’s no mistaking what it feels like. The symptoms include tenderness and swelling as well as pain and bruising. Many of our patients tell us they can’t put any weight on the ankle that’s been affected.

This skin might bruise and there is usually some stiffness.

What Needs to Be Done

When you have an ankle sprain, it’s important to come and see us. As your Toronto foot doctor, we will be able to evaluate the injury. There are many different treatment options. Here are just a few of the more common ones.

  • Taking some time off the injured ankle always helps. Walking on it or playing sports can make the situation worse. That’s why we usually recommend getting some rest.
  • It’s a good idea to raise your ankle just above your heart to reduce swelling.

If you’ve sprained your ankle, we’re the Toronto foot doctor who can help. If you cannot weight bear at all at time of injury or time of coming into the clinic, you may need an xray. Sometimes a foot bone fracture can happen at the time of a severe sprain. Our Podiatrist and Chiropodist are trained in knowing the signs of a fracture.

When You Need to See a Toronto Podiatrist / Chiropodist

People have bumps and bruises on their feet all the time. This blog will tell you when you need to see a Toronto Podiatrist/ Chiropodist

Heel Pain

Achilles /tendinitis and Plantar Fasciitis are two big reasons for heel pain, especially in the morning. Plantar Fasciitis is characterized by a sharp pain directly underneath your heal. It may feel like a big bruise or a burning sensation. Many patients report it is the worst in the morning or when they are sitting down.

Tendon Disorders

One of the most common areas to have a problem is with the Achilles/tendon. This tissue connects the ball to the muscle at the back of your foot. When this particular tendon gets inflamed, the result is called Achilles Tendinitis. For many patients, it’s just a short-lived experience.

However, there is always the possibility of a small tear in the tendon. These can degenerate into a more serious issue if they don’t get looked at by a qualified Toronto podiatrist or chiropodist.

If you have a concern with your feet, it’s a concern for us. We offer a variety of different services. They are designed to make your life pleasant and comfortable. These include surgical correction of deformed joints as well as treatments for foot pain and sports injuries. A lot of foot pain can be resolved without a surgical intervention!

Bunions

This is another common foot problem that can become serious if you don’t treat it properly. It happens when the big toe’s joint moves out of place. You might think that it’s just a bump and nothing to worry about. However, it needs to be treated by a Toronto podiatrist. Think of it this way, the big toe carries a lot of your weight when you are walking.

The corrective services we offer can give you pain relief, which include a rehabilitative program, corrective orthotics, modalities and corrective toe spacers / splints.

There’s no need to wait until one of these issues affects your mobility. If you have any of the above conditions, you can book an appointment to see us!

Booking your consultation if you think there’s a problem is the first step. Chris Hastings has years of experience. Not only does he have a private practice, he also works as a consultant. Chris has also been a community leader in several different organizations. Our recent Chiropodist, Laura Desjardins has extra training from Harvard Sports Medical school in Foot and ankle rehabilitation and is passionate about treating foot pain!

If you take a look at the services offered, you’ll see they are comprehensive and thorough. When you need to see our Toronto podiatrist or chiropodist Chris Hastings and Laura Desjardins should be at the top of your list.

Treating Plantar Fasciitis with Shockwave and Orthotics Downtown Toronto

The Nature of Plantar Fasciits

If you are one of those many people who suffer from foot pain, we have solutions for you! I try my best to stay current in the recent advances in academic literature. I want to share some recent findings with you! One of the most common conditions I find in practice, is plantar fasciitis. It can be characterized as a pain in the heel or pain along the arch of the foot. Increased pain in this condition may arise from prolonged standing or activity on the feet. People tend to feel it after a period sitting or when waking up in the morning. Stretching out the band does offer some instant, temporary pain relief. Sometimes, the fascia band has been injured for some time that the healthy tissues are no longer working properly and become known as degenerative. What does that mean? It means the tissues no longer lay down healthy tissue in the manner it used to. The injury to the tissue changes the ability to repair and heal.  

My Approach to Treating Plantar Fasciitis – Extracorporeal Shockwave

How I typically treat plantar fasciitis is by the same principles of rest, support, strengthen and treating the tissue. Treating the injured area will have best benefits when one corrects the underlying issue causing the strain on the foot. This means restoring the strength and flexibility to the areas needed so that the strain on the band no longer happens. The problem about this injury is that the bottom of the foot is difficult to rest. That is why the use of an orthotic will help to lessen the strain on the tissue and offer support while standing on it. My preferred method of treatment for this is extracorporeal shockwave therapy.  

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy sends pulses into the degenerative, injured tissue to help speed up recovery. The pulses promote regeneration of healthy cells to heal the tendons and soft tissue. The treatment results in new blood vessel formation, reversal of chronic inflammation, stimulation of collagen production and loosens tissue. The treatments are usually spaced 1 week apart. I do feel the best results are when this is combined with the proper exercises so the underlying mechanism of injury is addressed. This treatment is really what helped me when I had plantar fasciitis in my earlier running years.  

Footwear and Plantar Fasciitis

Footwear can be a tricky one! Some people respond better to a lower heel drop and some respond better to a higher heel drop. I still have yet to find a holy grail which to advise people on this one. The higher heel in a shoe can alleviate the strain on tissues that don’t have flexibility. However, sometimes a higher heel in footwear can cause more focal compression on the injured tissue of the plantar fascia.  It is a bit of trial an error process. It is okay to gradually go into a little lower of a drop for those whose pain scale is quite reduced. I also implement a lot of stretching, mobility and strength work into my rehabilitation program for plantar fasciitis.  

What The Research Says for Pain Relief :

 In the academic journal Comparison of extracorporeal shock wave therapy with custom foot orthotics in plantar fasciitis treatment, it was found that both options were of benefit for those suffering with plantar fasciitis problems.  The results : Both group I and group II achieved significant improvements in our evaluation parameters (morning and evening pain) at 4, 12 and 24 weeks compared with their baseline values (P<0.001), and significant improvement observed in the group II continued at 48 weeks (P<0.05).

The study demonstrates both groups reported improvement in either scenario. Both are found to have benefit for those suffering from plantar fasciitis. I like to combine both in my practice! Orthotics can get mixed views as the person prescribing must have a sound understanding of the foot and lower limb. I am confident in my experience with my sport medicine background, that I understand the interaction of orthotics with the mechanics of the foot. Orthotics can be of great benefit when injured, to help the tissue rest and alleviate strain when recovering from an injury. 

Toronto Podiatrist/Chiropodist Tips for Keeping Senior Feet Healthy.

As your Toronto podiatrist and chiropodist who cares, we keep on top of all the latest information for seniors. Recently, we found some data from The Centers for Disease and Prevention Control in the United States. It reports slips and falls are the number one reason seniors hurt themselves.

Studies have found those with foot pain and weakness are more likely to fall.  It’s a good idea to make sure your feet are in the best condition. That’s the best way to avoid accidents. Here are some Toronto Podiatrist and Chiropodist tips for keeping senior feet healthy.

  • Pay attention to pain. Some older people think pain is just a natural part of aging. As a Toronto Podiatrist/ Chiropodist with experience, we can tell you differently. A lot of what ails you as you age can be treated. The first step is making sure you get a proper diagnosis from us.
  • Keep those tootsies clean. Good foot hygiene is important as you age. It doesn’t always need to be in the bathtub or shower either. Preventing bacterial infections is as easy as wiping your feet down with warm water before you go to bed, ensure they are dry also. You can use a hair dryer as well!
  • Trim those nails. Long toenails can make it hard for older people to walk. Many senior people have balance problems as they age. Older people with diabetes need to be especially careful to prevent cuts and scrapes from untrimmed nails.
  • Stretch. Simple exercises are a great way to keep senior feet healthy. Stretching is a great way to keep your feet and ankles strong and mobile. Appropriate exercise can even help lessen the pain you’re feeling from arthritis. Talking to our Toronto podiatrist and chiropodist experts can help match you up with the right exercise routine.
  • Fit your footwear properly. Footwear is one of the most important aspects. If your shoes are too small it can cause blisters and other problems for your ability. Here’s a simple rule to follow. Your shoes should support your foot width and ankle as well as your arches.
  • Look your feet over. Self-examination is a great way to find problems before they become bigger issues. Make at-home examinations a routine. Look for lumps, bumps and any strange changes. It is easy to examine your feet during your morning hygiene routine or when you are putting on your socks!

Finally, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any kind of skin irritations on your feet. Seniors who continually rest their tootsies on pillows and mattresses need to keep an eye out for sores.
We are always available to have a look when you find something. It’s important for us to be part of your mobility.

Pain on the Ball of the Feet

Do you suffer from pain located on or near the ball/ balls of the feet? This term is a generic name for metatarsalgia, which has many different forms of manifestation.  It can be localized to the smaller area or it can be located under the big toe. Typically those who use their feet a lot in their jobs, commute often or athletes can be susceptible to this. The balls of the feet are actually the anatomical metatarsal heads. They can have many different symptoms including sensations of bruising, tenderness, aching , burning and even electric sensation .

Common causes for metatarsalgia include improper footwear, overuse , poorly fitting footwear,  or sudden impact injuries . Improper footwear, such as high heels, can cause strain or injury to the ligaments around the joint . This can lead to pain and swelling . Overuse is from repetitive wear and tear can result in the forefoot arch flattening or potentially stress fractures. Sudden impact injuries can lead to sprains around the joint .

Although there are different conditions of metatarsalgia causing this pain, the treatment options are quite similar. Treatment typically is comprised of assessing the nature of the injury, cause and a treatment plan . Initially reduction in overall impact is recommended, although most activities can still be performed with support added to the forefoot in footwear. Padding can be used short term to help support the foot while rehabilitating the foot.

One thing to note is that material comprised of these pads can lead to friction as the material absorbs sweat and may cause chaffing.  That is why an orthotic with a pad embedded into the device is better to prevent blistering, increase compliance and comfort, especially in runners . I highly recommend strengthening the foot and mobility exercises to help restore function. I always advice against flexible footwear that leads to excessive bending on the forefoot in ligament joint injury conditions. I also like to combine treatment with modalities to help speed up the healing process . The modality I like to use is shockwave for foot conditions .