Excellent Tips on Preventing Foot Problems

Chris Hastings is a Doctor of Podiatry and an active community volunteer. He brings both of those passions together at his Toronto podiatry clinic. His unique ability to listen to the individual needs of each patient set him apart.

He cares about your quality of life and how keeping your feet healthy is an important aspect of that. That said, he’s put together some excellent tips on preventing foot problems.

Stay Trim

Simply put, the more weight you carry the harder your feet need to work. If you keep your weight down, you’ll be able to keep them in excellent shape for as long as possible. Doctors are very clear that an extra 20 pounds can trigger unnecessary foot pain.

Become More Flexible

Exercise is another one of the cornerstones of having healthy feet. There are several stretching exercises that can help your cause and each of these go a long way toward preventing foot pain.

Choose Better Shoes

One of the other things that you can do to keep your feet healthy for as long as possible is get rid of those high heels. They may look great for a night out on the town, but they don’t do your feet any good. All the experts preventing foot problems point to high heels causing a variety of different problems like bunions and ingrown toenails.

Get Your Feet Measured

One of the other things you’ll need to do to keep your feet in good shape is get them measured. If you haven’t had that done in several years, it’s time. The wrong sized shoes can create a whole host of difficulties.

Chris Hastings is always available to help you find solutions to existing foot problems and avoid emerging ones. He makes a point of addressing each individual concern his patients bring to him. Establishing a great relationship while he puts his best foot forward is just part of the experience you’ll find at his Toronto podiatry clinic.

He has an attitude that any concern his patients have is also a concern for him. He has a variety of different services that include diabetic foot care supervision, the smoothing of corns and calluses, and even gait correction where necessary.

If you take just a minute or two to look at his website, you’ll see his credentials. They include the past president of the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association.

How Your Feet Affect Hip and Knee Pain

Toronto Podiatrist Chris Hastings and Chiropodist Laura Desjardins are experts when it comes to treating hip and knee pain. That’s at least partially because they know how the feet can affect other areas of the body. First and foremost, it’s important to understand your hips and knees are some of the biggest joints you have.

They are responsible for making sure that your weight is evenly distributed and supported as you walk. Some of the most common types of lower back and hip pain as well as sore knees can be attributed to your feet.

Here’s how:

  • If your feet aren’t in exact alignment with your knees, you could be looking at trouble. A condition called over pronation occurs when your leg rotates out of alignment because of a problem with your feet. That’s why it’s important to consider getting gait correction treatment from a qualified professional before this becomes an issue.
  • There’s another common condition called runners knee which is actually more of a pain in your kneecap area. Flat feet can make this issue worse and more painful than it would be otherwise.

Chris Hastings understands that some of the hip and knee pain that you can go through is the result of sports injuries. That’s why he has a team of his own that includes Laura Desjardins. She brings a bevy of experience to his Toronto podiatry clinic and has a background in athletics that suits many of their combined patients. She understands pathology connections and assesses if muscle weaknesses are also contributing to this condition.

Most knee pain can be alleviated with conservative care and proper foot support. More severe cases should be ruled out by diagnostic imaging. Making sure that any corrections including orthotics are properly fitted to best advantage is one of the cornerstones of Chris Hasting’s Toronto podiatry practice.

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on any poor posture that you might be experiencing since this can lead to hip and knee problems. There are a variety of different foot problems that can lead to irregularity in the way you walk and cause these issues.

In some cases, even bunions can be a problem if they aren’t properly looked after. Keeping on top of any issues that can cause bigger cascading problems is a priority. Proper footwear is one of the ways to be proactive and even orthotic insoles can make a big difference where hip and knee pain is concerned.

The Big Causes of Heel Pain

Considering it’s the biggest bone in your foot, it’s no wonder that many people suffer from heel pain that cramps their lifestyle. Injury and overuse are two of the most common reasons. Here’s some of the big things that you need to know about the causes of this common ailment.
Like most of the things that can bother your tootsies and feet, heel pain can be traced to some pretty common reasons like:

Sprains

As we get more and more physical in our daily routines, the chances of spraining your heel, tendons and bone associated with it rise. Specifically, the plantar fascia ligament can be damaged through physical activity that causes these kinds of sprains.

It’s important to remember that you stand a good chance of suffering through heel pain if you’re carrying some extra weight or are even obese. Pregnant women often suffer through the discomfort of heel pain in the later stages of their pregnancy.

Fractures

There’s no mistaking the pain if you’ve fractured a bone in your heel. Keep in mind this is considered a medical emergency and you need to have it treated right away. There is usually a grinding or snapping sound when you’ve fractured something in your foot so it’s hard to mistake for just a simple sprain.

It’s going to be hard to put any weight on a fractured heel, and you’ll notice some redness and stiffness as well.

Bursitis

This is another one of the common ailments associated with heel pain. Although it’s a problem with the sacs that are fluid-filled around the joints in your foot, this issue can cause some discomfort in your heel of the same time.

It’s important to have the contact information for Chris Hastings at the ready if you’re suffering through this kind of discomfort. In fact, you should get in touch with us immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden pain. Because a serious injury is often the result of a strike or blow to the heel, it’s important to contact us if you feel any sudden pain.
  • A red heel. If that part of your foot is inflamed and red, it’s a good idea to contact our Toronto podiatrist offices as soon as you can. The quicker we start the right course of treatment the better you’ll be able to get back up on your feet again.

Chris Hastings is an industry leader in treating all kinds of heel pain.

5 Things About Fungal Nails You Need to Know

No one wants to suffer with fungal nails, but you need to remember that having the condition isn’t a slight on your personal hygiene. Understanding the issue is half the battle so here’s five facts you need to know.

It’s Common

You might be a little embarrassed about having fungal nails, but there’s really no reason to be. Research shows that approximately 5% of the population suffer from some kind of nail fungus infection. Other data shows that a lot of people get the infection as they age.

Over the Counter Medications Don’t Always Work

If you’re looking for a quick fix, you might have to rethink your approach. Not all of the over-the-counter medicines that are designed to work for nail fungus are effective. In fact, it’s a good idea to turn to your Toronto area podiatrist to get the kind of professional treatment that will stop the issue.

Chris Hastings has the kind of experience in a variety of different podiatry areas that you need. Not only has he served as a consultant in several different provincial hospitals, he’s also proud of the fact that he’s a community leader.

There Could Be Other Issues

The Mayo Clinic warns that there could be other underlying health reasons that manifest themselves in Fungal nails. For example, people with diabetes or weakened immune systems might be more susceptible to this kind of infection. People who are older also have a higher incidence of fungal nails.

Even walking barefoot in certain public areas can make you more prone to this issue.

Fungal Nails Can Be Avoided

Prevention is one of the goals. Although it’s not always going to be easy to prevent this kind of problem, there are a few things you can do to be proactive. First and foremost, it’s important to keep your toenails trimmed.

There are other personal hygiene tips like not letting your feet stay damp for too long.

It’s Contagious

If you’ve got this condition, it’s important to remember that you can pass it along to others. That’s why it’s a good idea to never share shoes with anyone. Not only can you give it to other people, but this infection can actually travel past the toenail onto the skin of your feet.
We have the right kind of treatment solutions for fungal nails. We’d be happy to share them with you today.

What You Need to Know About Pronation

Pronation is a situation where the weight moves from your heel to the front of your foot. It’s commonly called flat foot and it usually occurs when the arch collapses both inward and downward at the same time.

Here’s what you need to know about this common ailment.

First off, people who have pronation are more susceptible to a variety of different kinds of injuries. One of the reasons for this is your body’s natural alignment is thrown out by this particular situation. There are a variety of common problems that go hand-in-hand with pronation including heel pain and chronic lower back pain to name just a few.

Although many people are born with flat feet, there are some other situations that can cause pronation and these include:

  • Being overweight. There are a variety of different negative consequences to being obese and over pronation is one of them.
  • Activities that involve using your feet in a repetitive manner. Runners often suffer from pronation after years of striking their feet on hard surfaces like concrete.
  • Women who are pregnant often have flat feet from the extra weight they carry during their pregnancy.

There are a few do-it-yourself ways you can use to check for this issue. If you don’t see a space between the heel and front of your foot when you’re standing, the chances are your arches have fallen and your suffering from over pronation.

Try taking a few steps on a wet surface. If you see a print that shows your heels and the front of your foot with your toes and nothing in between, you don’t have an issue. However, if your print shows one continuous mark from your heel to the front of your feet you’re likely suffered from over pronation.

Choosing the right kind of foot wear can make a big difference. For example, if you fall into this category, you should be looking for a pair of shoes that have the kind of extra stability that you’ll need.

Orthotics are another route that you should consider taking. Custom orthotics are created by a podiatrist. These are created after carefully measuring a person’s gait to decide on the best fit.
Preventing pronation isn’t always easy. However, if you carry some extra weight losing it can help. If you are suffering with ankle pain or calluses and bunions on the outside of the foot, you should come and see us.

The ABC’s of Smelly Feet

If you’ve got smelly feet you don’t need to go too far to get to the source—100% of the time that bad smell is caused by your sweat breaking down fatty acids and the resulting bacteria. That might sound innocent enough until you take off your shoes after a workout in a room full of friends and family.

Here’s the paradox about stinky feet that confuses a lot of people. The bacteria that causes your feet to smell is exactly the same all over your body. When people find out about that they wonder why a sweaty forearm doesn’t clear a room the way your feet might.

Stinker Makers

The answer lies in sweat glands. In fact, you have a quarter million of these little stinker makers on each foot. That translates into more perspiration that turns into the kind of odours we all try to avoid. What makes matters worse is the fact that your feet are generally enclosed in socks and shoes all day long.
Of course, there are a few exceptions to this natural smelly foot rule. One of the ones everyone is heard about his athlete’s foot. This infection is fungal and can be picked up from swimming pools and other moist warm places like locker rooms.

Athlete’s foot creates its own smell and is best diagnosed by a podiatrist.

Right Kind of Sock

Choosing the right kind of sock goes a long way to reducing the way your feet smell. Some of the more common choices that we think are best for your tootsies aren’t necessarily so. For example, cotton allows the air to circulate and is considered breathable, but it can stay moist and cause odor. The better choice are some synthetic blends or even wool because each draws moisture away from your foot and that way your sock doesn’t stay wet.

The Wrong Shoe

As you might have already imagined, choosing the wrong shoe can make your feet smell too. The bacteria that causes your feet to stink thrives in those kinds of closed environments that are moist and dark. Sometimes the correct choice is all about sacrificing style for ventilation.
In other words, you might really like your leather boots and think they are the height of fashion. However, sneakers are the more reasonable choice if you’re concerned about the way your feet smell. Finally, if you’re an athlete or just someone who likes to stay in shape, make sure you air out your sneakers in the sun.

Preventing Foot Problems

Everyone changes as they grow older and there’s no reason to think your feet don’t do the same. People are often confused about the condition of their feet. They don’t know which foot problems are preventable and which ones need to be seen to by a podiatrist.

Here’s a few different scenarios and the things you can do to prevent the common problems.

 

Why Do My Heels Hurt?

If you ask a Toronto podiatrist like Chris Hastings, he will  more likely tell you that your heel pain is caused by plantar fasciitis. This is the condition that happens when the arch of your foot starts to collapse. Wearing the wrong shoes, gaining too much weight or even just an active lifestyle can cause this condition.

One of the best ways to treat this ailment is with the right kind of shoe. As a past President of the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association, Chris Hastings is available to help you get the right solution.

 

Why are My Toes Getting Crooked?

Bunions and a condition called hammertoe are behind crooked toes. You can get either one of these conditions from wearing shoes that don’t fit properly. They are also genetic.

Many people have a second toe that is longer than the first one. Over time, this longer digit tends to bend inside shoes designed to fit the shorter toe.

Finding shoes that provide excellent arch support is quite often the solution. An orthotic shoe is quite often the first step.  Sometimes, wearing this type of shoe over a period of time can correct the problem.

Chris Hastings can help when you need to have crooked toes and deformed joints repaired surgically. He has experience and understands that arthritis can be another reason for these deformities.

 

Why Do My Feet Itch and Burn?

The culprit here is quite often a fungal infection like athlete’s foot. However, itching and burning can also be the result of something in your socks.

Quite often antifungal cream is all that’s needed to control the burning and itching.

Chris Hastings understands many different kinds of foot problems and has a solution for each. As well as having his own Toronto podiatry clinic, he is served as a consultant in provincial hospitals.

Overuse running injuries

There’s really no way around this paradox—running is good and bad for you. It’s a great way to lose weight and keep the heart healthy. Still, if you do it long enough, you’ll more than likely become one of the 80% of runners that get injured.

Most of the injuries the average runner will suffer come from what’s called overuse, or repeated force being applied over a long period of time.

Here’s a quick list of the most common issues that crop up whether you’re weekend runner or have more lofty ambitions.

 

Runner’s Knee  

All that repetitious pounding away on the pavement and/or street is bound to take a toll. If you start to feel tenderness behind your kneecap it might be what’s called patellofemoral pain syndrome. Running downhill can make what’s usually called runner’s knee even worse. Cutting back on the amount of running you do this one solution or you can steady your knee using a brace.

 

 

Shin Splints

This nagging injury happens when the tendons and muscles that cover  the shinbone get overused and inflamed. Supporting the arch of your foot goes a long way to preventing shin splints and that means getting the right kind of insoles that are shock absorbing at the same time.

Proactive measures include running on softer surfaces when you can and avoiding steep inclines. Running uphill puts extra stress on the tibialis muscle in the shin.

Chris Hastings Toronto podiatry clinic features orthotic gait correction. This innovation is built on plaster models that are balanced and corrected to suit your individual needs.

All About Achilles Tendon Injuries

Although many people think Achilles tendon injuries only happens to athletes, the truth is quite different. Injuring this tendon can happen to anyone at any time. As the largest tendon in your body, it is prone to accidents and mishaps.

If you have to pivot or do things quickly at a stop and start pace, you could be at risk.

Still, many people who suffer from these injuries are athletes. The sports they play include tennis and basketball as well as football and baseball. The injuries generally occur in any sport or activity where a person has to push off like sprinting.

 

It’s an everyday injury too

However, athletes aren’t the only people who can suffer through an Achilles tendon injury. The tendon can be stressed by wearing high heels. If you’ve got fallen arches or what’s called flat feet you could be susceptible. Certain medicines can even make you more likely to have one of these injuries and sometimes your leg muscles and tendons are just too tightly wound.

 

What to look for

As you might already have suspected, pain is the number one symptom of one of these Achilles tendon injuries. Stretching and standing on your toes aggravates the tendon and causes discomfort in your heel. If you tear your tendon, you’ll more than likely hear a snapping or popping noise.

 

What to do

This type of injury can take some time to heal. It’s best if you come to see us so we can recommend strengthening and stretching exercises as well as the treatments you might need. It’s our priority to be sure each and every one of our patients feels comfortable and gets the care they need.

It’s important our elderly patients know that getting immediate care for Achilles tendon injuries is important so they can maintain their mobility and freedom. If you can’t come and see us right away, there are a few things you can do in the meantime. To help the healing process along you can:

  • Put ice on the injury temporarily. Usually 20 minutes at a time is a good interval to keep the swelling down.
  • An elastic bandage around the tendon and lower leg also helps.
  • Propping your leg up on a pillow is another good idea.

Remember, Orthotics is one of the specialties that we offer our valued clients. The gait corrections that we provide are industry-leading and we also have surgical correction of deformed toes and joints services.

A Plantar Fasciitis Primer

Don’t let the imposing name fool you, Plantar Fasciitis is a common ailment. The Plantar Fascia is an important part of your foot that helps you to walk by connecting the arch.

These ligaments put up with a lot of wear and tear on a daily basis. So, it’s no wonder they cause some issues eventually. If too much pressure gets put on this particular part of your body, it can become inflamed and that’s what the problems start.

There are several common symptoms that tell you there might be a problem. They include:

Pain at the bottom of the heel or in the middle of the foot: If you experience these symptoms, it’s best to check with our Toronto podiatrist clinic. Although this symptom is usually found on one or the other foot, it can act on both at the same time.
Increasing inflammation and pain: As Plantar Fasciitis becomes more advanced, the pain increases. Usually, it’s the worst in the morning after you get out of bed. Because the heels can be stiff, climbing stairs or other kinds of physical activity can be difficult.

 

What are the causes?

People who are carrying extra weight are at higher risk for this ailment. This situation can become worse quickly if there is a sudden weight gain. For example, women often suffer through several bouts during the course of their pregnancy.

There are some sports that are more prone to Plantar Fasciitis like long-distance running. Several types of jobs lend themselves to these swollen and inflamed arches. For example anything where you to stand on your feet for long periods of time like assembly line worker or waiter or waitress make you susceptible.

 

How it is Diagnosed?

If you think you’re suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, you should come and see us. We have a series of professional tests that will check your muscle tone, balance, and reflexes as well as other important areas.

There are a variety of treatment options available including braces and supports. Orthotics are another option since they distribute the pressure. Regardless of the treatment options that are best for you, people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis need to be patient.

While most people don’t need surgery to correct the issue, the treatments prescribed can often take several months. Keep in mind we are always available to treat this ailment or any foot related issues. Our Toronto podiatrist clinic has the options you’re looking for.