Got Big Toe Issues? This Toronto Chiropodist Can Help

We like to think of ourselves as the Toronto Chiropodist team that has every part of your feet covered. Of course, that includes all of your toes generally and your big toe specifically for the purposes of this blog.

That said, here’s a brief rundown on some of the big toe issues our Toronto Chiropodist team has handled.

One of the more common problems we see is osteoarthritis that starts in the big toe joint. If you’ve ever suffered a fracture or dislocated the big toe, you can be in a higher risk category. There are a few symptoms that tell our foot clinic downtown specialists you’ve got a problem.

Osteoarthritis in your big toe is most noticeable when you are walking and/or standing. There are other red flags like stiffness that you need to watch out for.

Issues with your big toe can include problems with the nail. We are the Toronto Chiropodist team that’s able to diagnose and treat any of these issues. Even when the problem is not so much with the toe but with what’s called Fungal Nail.

A Break or Crack

This problem starts when fungi sneak through a break or crack in your toenail and there’s a resulting infection. This situation can make your toenail brittle and discoloured. Without the proper treatment, the infection can spread and cause quite a bit of discomfort.

Some of the other reasons that your big toe can give you problems are ones that you’ve heard about before but might not know much about. Like gout. There is an involved medical explanation we can skip here. Most people reading this will only want to know the symptoms of gout include a painful big toe joint.

Overweight?

If you are overweight, consider going on a diet. Making sure that you eat a good portion of vegetables and low-fat dairy as well as other high-grade foods is good. Taking a few measures like this can help prevent a future gout attack.

Regardless of the issues you’re having with your big toe, we are here to help. We have a variety of services including surgical correction of deformed joints and toes. If you’re feeling uncomfortable or even having a problem walking, you might have a bunion which is a bony bump in that area.

We’re the Toronto Chiropodist and Toronto Podiatrist dedicated to keeping you moving ahead on healthy feet.

What Our Foot Clinic Downtown Can Tell You About Ankle Arthritis

A big part of our population is getting older and we see more cases of ankle arthritis at our foot clinic downtown. When people think about arthritis, they don’t necessarily focus on their foot and ankle. However, this disease is an inflammation in any one of your joints. It causes stiffness and pain and is quite common for middle age and older patients.

In fact, there are over 100 types of this disease that we see at our foot clinic in downtown Toronto. The more common ones include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and what’s called post traumatic arthritis.

Diagnosis is important and that’s where we come in. Your concerns are looked at individually. We start the process by listening to your story and then reviewing your medical history. An examination follows.

Here’s a few symptoms of ankle arthritis that can tell you if you need to book an appointment.

Swelling

Osteoarthritis is the most common type. The swelling that you might suffer from around your ankles is due to the breakdown of the cartilage that acts as a cushion. It’s this cartilage that provides a buffer at the very end of your bones where they join the joints of your foot.

Osteoarthritis can cause the bones to rub against each other. This in turn causes swelling, pain and stiffness as well as loss of movement.

Investing in foot friendly shoes that have a proper fit is one solution. The custom orthotics that we supply include thick soles and arch support.

Pain

There could be other reasons why you experience pain while you are exercising. However, one of the most common is ankle arthritis. Both feet are usually affected by rheumatoid arthritis. This is different from osteoarthritis that usually only affects one specific joint.

The first line of defense is a proper diagnosis from our foot clinic downtown. Once we’ve pinpointed the issue, will be able to prescribe the proper treatment. That could include gate correction with orthotics or a variety of other treatments that deal with foot pain and injuries.

There are some things that you can do. If you’re suffering from this type of arthritis, setting a weight loss goal is often a good course of action. We are interested in taking an active role in any treatment plan.

Adopting an exercise program also works together with professional solutions from our foot clinic in downtown Toronto.

Your Toronto Chiropodist Lists Some Children’s Foot Issues

As your Toronto chiropodist who cares, Laura Desjardins and Chris Hastings, want to treat every member of the family. That’s why he put together a list of some children’s foot issues. It’s always a good idea to recognize these and treat them so they don’t become larger problems in adulthood.

Flat Feet

For example, a fair number of toddlers suffer from flat feet. It’s important for parents to know what to look for and usually children who suffer with this problem get easily fatigued. More often than not they have a hard time keeping up with the other kids in the playground.

Quite often this problem will disappear by the time your child is six. However, a few children out of every 10 will continue to have this issue past that age. Parents might think Toronto orthotics or shoe inserts are the answer, but that’s not usually the case.

As your Toronto chiropodist, we have found that a different approach might be necessary. For example, if your child suffers from a tightness of the Achilles tendon, the motion of their foot might be limited. This can actually be the reason for persisting flatfoot.

Sometimes the remedy is a series of stretching exercises that can lengthen the Achilles’ tendon.

Injuries

Most children are generally pretty active. If they injure their feet, they don’t always tell Mom and Dad. Keep in mind that if your child complains of foot pain, you should be checking their feet over. Look for any small injuries before they become a bigger problem.

If you notice anything that looks serious, Chris Hastings and Laura Desjardins are the Toronto chiropodists who can make an accurate diagnosis. They have seen many different types of foot complaints ranging from ankle and heel pain to toe injuries. The approach is always the same.

Whether he’s treating your child or you, the aim is to reduce the pain so that you can function in a healthy way again.

There are some other children’s foot injuries that parents need to be on the lookout for. If you have a very active youngster, the chances are they might suffer from a foot or ankle sprain at some time. Ankle sprains can be a big problem when they affect your children’s cartilage.

Come in to see Chris or Laura if your child has one of these injuries.

Keeping every member of your family mobile on healthy feet is what this Toronto chiropodist does best.

Common Causes of Foot Pain from Your Toronto Chiropodist

Chris Hastings is a Toronto chiropodist with years of experience.He has added an associate to his team, Laura Desjardins, whom he shares his wisdom to. He currently runs a foot clinic downtown in the city with his associate, Laura Desjardins, but his other ventures have taken him to places like the Muskoka’s.

Here’s a list from him on the common causes of foot pain he has seen over the years.

Heavy Drinking

Everything in moderation. That’s one of the standard phrases you’ll hear from experts like Chris Hastings and Laura Desjardins. Over the years he’s been in practice, he’s seen his fair share of people who abuse alcohol and have corresponding foot issues.

In fact, excessive drinking can lead to a type of nerve damage called alcoholic neuropathy. One of the early symptoms is a burning sensation in your feet.

Claw Toe

This is another cause of foot pain that Chris Hastings and Laura Desjardins sees quite often. The condition is also called clawfoot since the second toe joint points one way and the first toe joint points another. It’s important to know this issue can be a sign of a more serious problem like arthritis.

Chris Hastings and Laura Desjardins have the experience as a noted Toronto chiropodist to diagnose the issue and prescribed the right orthotics. Laura Desjardins also have extra training in sports medicine and rehabilitation and can show you some exercises for this condition.

Other Neuropathies

Some of the reasons for excessive foot pain and burning in the feet need to be diagnosed properly so they can be treated. For example, small fiber sensory neuropathy is characterized by short severe bursts of pain. It occurs when a sheath protecting the nerves on the underside of your feet gets damaged.

Diabetes is quite often the reason for this affliction.

Some of the other issues patients have with their feet occur after surgery. Nerve damage that causes a burning sensation and swelling is often what’s called complex regional pain syndrome. This issue can be severe. In some cases, it can even affect your immune system.

All the more reason to get a proper diagnosis from a professional Toronto chiropodist like Chris Hastings. He has the experience to be able to pinpoint any and all of your issues accurately. What’s more, Chris has compassion for each and every one of his patients. His priority is to make sure your feet are in good shape so they can get you from point A to point B for years to come.

If you’re suffering from foot pain, relief can be found at this foot clinic in downtown Toronto. Chris Hastings and Laura Desjardins are Toronto chiropodists and a professional you can count on.

Your Toronto Chiropodist Talks Diabetic Foot Issues

As your Toronto Chiropodist and Podiatrist who cares, we want you to have all the information you need. Having certain foot issues is common for people with diabetes. Two of the most common diseases we see are diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease.

The first involves nerve damage in your feet and legs. If this type of neuropathy advances enough, you won’t be able to feel heat or cold or any kind of pain there.

Diabetics can have sores or cuts on their feet that take a long time to heal. This happens when diabetes affects the blood flow. In extreme cases, you can run the risk of getting something irreversible like gangrene.

Toronto Chiropodist Tips to Keep Those Feet Healthy

We can help you put together a foot care plan that takes into account your diabetes. Including some of these tips is an important part of avoiding the ravages of this disease. The first tip is probably the most obvious. Diabetics should check their feet once daily.

It’s possible to have a problem without any pain. Look between your toes for any red spots, sores or cuts. Check your feet all over for fluid filled blisters or swelling.

Ingrown toenails can cause damage. Keep your eye out for these.

It’s important to wash your feet in lukewarm to warm water everyday. Make sure it’s not hot enough to burn or scald them.

Proper Fitting Shoes

It’s critical to wear proper fitting shoes when you’re a diabetic. Shoes that don’t fit properly can rub against the sides of your feet and cause diabetic ulcers. Research tells us that up to 10% of diabetics suffer from these.

As your Toronto Chiropodist and Podiatrist, we want to help with all of the details that will help keep your feet in good shape. There’s even a certain way to trim your toenails when you’re a diabetic. Don’t cut into the corners. Rather, it’s best to go in a straight line. Use an emery board to file the edges.

Finally, you should wear socks and shoes at all times. Walking barefoot on the beach is the luxury of someone who doesn’t suffer from diabetes. Athletic shoes are good for diabetics because they support your feet to allow them to breathe at the same time. They also prevent sharp objects from entering the sole of your foot. W

hen you buy new shoes, only wear them for a few hours at a time at first. That way you’ll be able to check for any swelling or soreness. We’re the Toronto Chiropodist who can answer all your questions about diabetic foot care.

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.

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!

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.