Wear Sandals This Summer Without Sacrificing Style

Supportive summer footwear isn’t always easy to find. From flip flops to ballet flats to strappy heels, summer shoes generally aren’t made for walking long distances — they lack support and comfort, and are designed with the heat in mind rather than the needs of the foot. Because of this, oftentimes our clients find themselves sacrificing comfort for style.


With that in mind, our downtown Toronto podiatry clinic has developed a way to help you find your footing this summer, without forcing you to choose summer shoes that you don’t like. We’re now offering custom orthotics for sandals with a removable footbed that can be swapped into your other flat pairs of summer shoes as well.


Podiatrist Chris Hastings will ship your sandals and foot cast from our downtown Toronto foot clinic to our custom orthotic specialist. From there, our specialist will match your removable orthotic to the colour of your sandal so that you can still look stylish, but be comfortable at the same time.


So, bring out your best, and most fashionable summer sandals and have them fitted with a custom orthotic that will not only allow you to look great this summer, but also feel comfortable all day long as well.


Contact us for more information or to book your appointment today.

Taking Care of Runner’s Feet

With the warm weather finally here, we’re starting to see more and more runners hitting the pavement on the sidewalks and streets. Some might be getting ready for race season (marathons and half-marathons), while others might try to get in 15-20km per week to stay in shape and keep up their cardiovascular health.


If you’re a runner, you know that taking care of your body — stretching your muscles, keeping your core strong, and staying hydrated — is imperative. But because there are so many parts of the body to focus on as an athlete, whether professional or amateur, many runners tend to ignore the health of their feet, despite the fact that when running, our feet absorb more force than any other part of our body.


So whatever your running speed, style and reasons might be, foot care and foot health should be at the top of your list when it comes to maintaining your overall running health. Foot problems caused by running can also lead to painful or injured shins, knees, hips and lower back.


To help keep your feet fit for running this spring and summer, the podiatrists in our downtown Toronto foot clinic have put together these top three tips for foot health:


  1. Find the right fit. Running shoes come in many shapes, sizes, patterns and colours. It can be tempting to buy the most stylish shoes or ones that you’ve seen advertised. But the prettiest and most popular shoes might not be doing you any favours. Many specialty running shoe stores have professionals on hand who can look at your feet and recommend the best type of shoe for your foot. Working with a professional in this way can help prevent injury and foot pain. If you don’t have a store like this near you, or if you’re still unsure about the shoe that’s best for your foot type, visit us at our Toronto podiatry clinic and we’ll recommend the right shoes for you. We can even fit you with custom orthotics if you need extra support for your runs. 
  2. Choose the right socks. Improper sock choice can be just as pain-inducing as poor running shoe choice, especially if you’re running longer distances. Socks that are the wrong size or that fit poorly are the leading cause of blisters, as are some cotton socks and socks that become wet from sweating. Acrylic, nylon, or merino socks are available for runners, with different thicknesses and weights. If you do have very sweaty feet, you run the risk of developing a fungal infection, making sock choice even more imperative. Ask your podiatrist which socks are best for you. If you do suspect you have athlete’s foot (a foot fungus), contact our podiatry clinic for help.
  3. Keep your feet strong. Just as you do exercises to keep your arms, legs and core strong, your feet can benefit from strength training too. Toe rises (rising up on your toes), heel drops (standing on your toes and dropping your heels), toe grabs (grabbing a piece of paper or pencil with your toes) and towel pulls (putting a towel under your toes and  are all names of various exercises your feet can benefit from.


Keeping your feet fit, comfortable, and injury-free will help you run longer, faster and for the whole summer season, without having to worry about pain.


If you have questions or pain this summer sunning season, contact our downtown Toronto foot clinic for help!

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.


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.

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.

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 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.