Charcot Foot

Charcot’s foot is a bony deformity that can lead to serious disability and damage.  This usually occurs in people who have neuropathy, where they have diminished or no sensation in their feet that is usually the result of diabetes.  This can lead to deformity in the bones of the foot.

Imbalance can cause a person with neuropathy to have an abnormal gait.  This can cause the joints in the foot to eventually collapse causing a deformity such as a complete collapse of the arch and flattening of the foot.  Since there is no feeling in the feet because of the neuropathy, if one continues to walk on the affected foot it can cause further injury such as diabetic/pressure ulcers.

Symptoms

  • Early onset includes swelling of the foot.  This can occur without an obvious injury.
  • Redness
  • Heat
  • Instability of the joint
  • Misalignment of the bones that form a joint (subluxation).
  • Strong pulse
  • Dislocation of the joint.

Those with Charcot do not usually feel any pain as they have no sensation in their feet.

Treatment

The main goal of treatment is to heal the broken bones and prevent further damage.

  • A cast to protect the foot and ankle. It reduces swelling and protects the bones.  The patient must be non-weight bearing and it can take up to 3 months for the injured foot to heal.
  • A specialized custom boot or diabetic shoe.  This decreases the risk of ulcers and is recommended once the swelling has gone down and the bones have begun to fuse.
  • Various surgical procedures for advanced cases where a cast or specialized shoe will not work.

The sooner Charcot foot is diagnosed the better the outcome for the patient.  X-rays are usually done to diagnose Charcot along with the accompanying symptoms. Patients should check their feet on a daily basis and control blood sugar levels.

For more information on Charcot’s foot, or to book an assessment, please call Ontario Foot & Orthotics at (905)878-6479 or visit us at www.ontariofoot.ca.

 

Neuromas

A neuroma is a pinched nerve, or a nerve tumor that can be very painful. It is a benign growth of nerve tissue that is usually found between the third and fourth toes.

The neuroma is usually painful while walking. The pain is usually isolated to the third and fourth toes but can occur between other toes as well. An individual suffering from a neuroma can find relief once they remove their shoes and massage the area. Women usually develop neuromas more often then men due to ill fitted shoes.

Causes

  • Biomechanical issues such as a flat foot or a very high arch. These foot types cause instability around the joints that can lead to a neuroma.
  • Trauma that damages the nerve causing swelling and inflammation of the nerve.
  • Ill fitting shoes such as high heels that squeeze the toes together and put pressure on the forefoot.

Symptoms

  • Numbness and tingling in the balls of the feet.
  • Pain and swelling in the forefoot and between the toes.
  • Pain in the ball of the foot when weight is placed on the area.

Treatment

For more information on neuromas, or to book an assessment, please call Ontario Foot & Orthotics at (905)878-6479 or visit us at www.ontariofoot.ca.

Shin Splints

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), is a pain that occurs in the lower leg below the knee on the front outside part of the leg or the inside of the leg. They usually occur in runners, dancers, tennis players, etc due to overuse.

Causes

  • Overuse of muscles of the lower leg causing irritation and swelling.
  • Flat feet, or overpronation that causes the arch of the foot to collapse increasing stress on the muscles of the lower leg.
  • Stress fractures that are tiny breaks in the lower leg bones.
  • When the muscles of the hips and core are unstable and weak.
  • Poor lumbar spine function.

Treatment

  • Giving your body time to rest.
  • Stretching and icing the area daily until the pain subsides.
  • Using custom made orthotics to decrease overpronation and reduce stress on the anterior leg muscles.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication such as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen to help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Using a sleeve, brace, or taping to help reduce inflammation.
  • In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

Shin splints can usually heal on their own. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on the severity of the injury.  It is important not to rush back to any sport until the area is fully healed. If you rush back before the injury is healed it can lead to a permanent issue.

For more information on shin splints, or to book an assessment, contact Ontario Foot & Orthotics at (905)878-6479 or visit us online at http://www.ontariofoot.ca

Haglund’s deformity

Haglund’s deformity is a bony growth/enlargement of the back of the heel bone.  It can be painful and cause swelling and inflammation of the back of the heel.  This is also known as “pump bump” as it is common in women who wear pumps.

There are various causes of Haglund’s deformity.  These include a high arch, tight Achilles tendon, and walking on the outside of your feet.  Wearing shoes with a firm rigid back can also contribute to a Haglund’s deformity.  The most common types of footwear include pumps and hockey/figure skates.

The most common symptom of Haglund’s deformity is the enlarged bone growth on the back of the heel.  It can also cause blistering of the heels from the shoes rubbing against the bump.  In cases of extreme rubbing against the bump, the back of the heel can become red, inflamed, and tender to touch.

There are multiple treatment options for Haglund’s deformity.  These include:

  • Orthotics– Custom made orthotics can be prescribed to change the position of the foot that will help reduce the amount of rubbing of the shoes against the back of the heel.
  • Footwear– Footwear that does not have a rigid back can help reduce the amount of friction on the back of the heel.  Also, shoes that have a wider heel counter to accommodate the enlarged bone.
  • Immobilization-If the area is really inflamed, a walking boot or soft cast can be used to immobilize the area until it heals.
  • Surgery-If no conservative treatments are effective then surgical options are available.

Prevention of Haglund’s deformity includes wearing shoes that have a soft heel counter, wearing custom-made orthotics to correct foot type that could lead to a Haglund’s deformity, and stretching of the Achilles tendon.

For more information on Haglund’s deformity, or to book an assessment, contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at (905)878-6479 or visit us online at www.ontariofoot.ca.

 

Keeping your feet safe for the winter

As the weather starts to get colder, it is important to make sure you are keeping your feet warm and dry. Along with winter come winter activities such as skiing, skating, snowboarding, etc. All of these activities require the right footwear in order to keep the feet warm and prevent injury. Here are some tips for making sure you keep your feet healthy for the winter months:

  • When participating in winter activities, it is important to wear the right footwear intended for that sport. You should not wear anything other then the right boots for skiing or snowboarding. The boots should fit you properly, stabilize the heel and forefoot, and have enough room in the toe box for you to wiggle your toes.
  • You can wear custom made orthotics in your boots to ensure better stability and to offload painful areas of the feet.
  • For runners who continue to run in the winter months, make sure you wear warm clothing that helps to wick moisture away. This will help you stay warm in colder temperatures. Make sure to wear proper running shoes and run in areas that are not too icy to help prevent falls and injuries.
  • Stretching is important to keep the muscles warm. Make sure you stretch before you start your activity to warm the muscles up and increase flexibility.
  • Make sure you are wearing the right winter boots. Find boots that are water proof/resistant and that have a warm lining inside. Sometimes warm boots can cause the feet to sweat more making the feet moist. This can actually cause the feet to chill easily and make them more prone to bacterial skin infections. You can put foot powder in your socks to help absorb excess moisture.
  • When buying boots for kids, make sure you buy the right size. Buying boots that are too big can cause blistering, shearing of the skin and also cause injuries. Also make sure socks are not too small as they can cause the toes to bunch together creating extra friction.  Winter boots should fit to size every season.
  • Lastly, do not wear summer shoes in the winter. Wearing sandals or open toe shoes in the cold weather can increase your chances of getting frostbite, and other foot and ankle injuries.

For more information, or to book an assessment, contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 905-878-6479 (Milton). Or visit us online at www.ontariofoot.ca.

Hyperhidrosis

Many people suffer from excessive sweating of the feet. This condition is known as hyperhidrosis. Usually people who suffer from excessive sweating of the feet also have excessive sweating in the palms of their hands as well. This is more common in men then in women and also more common among young adults.

There is no exact known cause of hyperhidrosis but it is said to be inherited. Individuals suffering from this condition usually have excessive sweating at all times. It does not just occur in hot or warm weather or when they are nervous etc.

The main symptom of hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating of the feet. It can cause the feet to have a whitish, wet appearance. It can also lead to other conditions such as athlete’s foot, fungal nail infections, warts, etc. When the feet are constantly wet the skin breaks down more easily allowing for infection to set in. Sweaty feet can also lead to foot odour.

When it comes to hyperhidrosis, proper care is very essential. It is important to wash your feet regularly with anti-bacterial soap and dry them well, especially between the toes. One can apply anti-fungal powder or baby powder to the feet to help absorb some of the moisture. It is also recommended to wear socks that are made out of natural or acrylic fiber materials. These help to wick moisture away from the feet instead of absorbing them.  Bamboo socks are also good for wicking away moisture and keeping the feet dry. Cotton socks are good for absorbing moisture but it does not wick moisture away from the skin not making it an ideal choice for those with hyperhidrosis. Changing socks regularly is also important as well as wearing shoes made of breathable materials. This will help in minimizing foot infections that can be caused by excessive sweating of the feet.

Treatment options are different for every individual. There are certain over-the-counter antiperspirants that can be recommended. Botox injections and oral prescription medication can also be used.

For more information, or to book an assessment, contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 905-878-6479 (Milton). Or visit us online at www.ontariofoot.ca.

Qualities of a good sandal

Summer is almost here which means sandal season is here! We can finally get rid of those winter boots and bring out our sandals. Although sandals can be comfortable, there are certain qualities you should look for when selecting the right sandal.

  • Try to avoid wearing flip flops for long periods of time. They do not provide proper support to the foot and can cause heel pain and other foot ailments if worn for long periods of time. Flip flops are good for wearing around the pool, beach, or for short periods of time.
  • Wear a full open-toe sandal as opposed to a peep toe sandal. Peep toe sandals can put increased pressure on your bunions and can irritate hammer toes or claw toes. A foot open toe shoe will minimize pressure on these areas and won’t cause the toes to compress together allowing them to move around better.
  • Try not to wear sandals that have a very high heel. This can put pressure on the balls of the foot causing pain. Find sandals that have a wedge heel or a small platform to evenly distribute the pressure along the foot and avoid increased pressure in one area.
  • Avoid wearing sandals that have a lot of straps around the toes. This can cause irritation to the toes from all the rubbing and shearing from the straps. The rubbing can lead to blisters, corns and calluses around the toes.
  • Find sandals that have a good rubber sole with traction. This will help prevent slips and falls and is good for long distance walking.

For more information on good qualities of a sandal or any other footwear, contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at our Milton office (905)878-6479. We look forward to hearing from you!

How to look after your feet in the heat!

Summer is here which means walking around barefoot or in sandals. Those of us who like to spend our days at the beach or just walking around on the grass have to be extra careful. Whether it’s walking on the sand or running on the grass our feet are even more vulnerable in the heat. Here are some tips on how to keep your feet safe in the heat.

  • Try to minimize walking around barefoot. This can limit sunburn as well as athlete’s foot, plantar warts, and other bacterial infections.
  • Make sure to wear shoes or sandals around the pool, the beach, gym locker room, and other such areas to avoid injury and to prevent contracting bacterial, fungal, or viral infections.
  • Make sure to apply sunscreen all over your feet and ankles when you are outdoors. Make sure to reapply the sunscreen after you have been in the water.
  • Make sure to wear the appropriate shoes for the type of activity you participating in. This will help prevent injury.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated at all times. Drink lots of water to keep the body hydrated and to help reduce swelling in the legs and feet.
  • If going on vacation to a warm climate, make sure to take an emergency kit with you that includes band aids, antibacterial ointment, aloe vera, pumice stone, flip flops, and an emollient to keep the skin hydrated.

If you would like more information on how to protect your feet in the heat please contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at our Milton office (905)878-6479. Remember happy feet are healthy feet!

Tips on Getting a Pedicure at a Spa

Most people love getting pedicures. You get to sit on a nice massage chair while someone else pampers your feet. You get to soak your feet in nice warm water, get your nails cut, get nail polish put on (if you choose), and at times even get a foot/leg massage! You don’t ever think that getting a pedicure can lead to an infection, but it can!

Many spa’s that offer pedicures are very busy and they do not have time to sterilize their equipment. They simply wash the tools they use and the basin where you soak your feet with soap and water. Unfortunately, mild soap and water does not get rid of any bacteria or viruses that might be lingering around. If someone comes in for a pedicure and has a fungal/viral skin or nail infection, it can easily transfer to the next person if the tools being used are not sterilized appropriately.

Here are a few tips on what to look for before getting a pedicure done at a spa:

  • Make sure the tools the spa is using are sterilized. They should be brought out in a sealed package.  Always ask the esthetician if the tools are sterilized before starting the pedicure.
  • Find a spa that does pedicures by appointment only. These spas usually sterilize their tools and wash out their basin using the appropriate cleaning agent. Spas located in malls don’t usually have time to clean their tools efficiently since they have many people walking in and waiting for an available chair.
  • Make sure that the files/buffers that are being used are brand new and are given to you at the end of your treatment. Try to avoid spas where the same file/buffer is used over and over again. This can transfer bacteria/fungi/viruses from one individual to the next.
  • Don’t let the esthetician use a blade on your feet. Most are not trained on how to use the blades and can easily cut you. This can lead it an infection if the cut is not treated properly.
  • Do not soak your feet if you have any open cut or wounds as this can lead to an infection. The cut/wound is a portal of entry for any bacteria to get in.

If you have any health issues (e.g. diabetes), you should get your feet assessed by a foot specialist (Chiropodist/Podiatrist) instead of going to a spa.  The foot specialist can check your feet properly and do the appropriate tests to make sure your feet are ok.  Chiropodists/Podiatrists take infection control very seriously so all of their tools are sterilized and their working environment is usually very clean/sterile. During treatment, if any cuts should occur, they have the right tools to treat the cut in order to avoid any infections.  Chiropodists/Podiatrists are trained in treating the diabetic foot so they know what to look for and how to treat the diabetic foot.  They can also offer you proper diabetic foot care and footwear advice.

At Ontario Foot and Orthotics, we have two Chiropodists who are trained in diabetic foot care and wound care. We can assess your feet and give you more information on whether or not you should be going to a spa for foot care. To book an appointment, you can contact us at our Milton location (905)878-6479. We look forward to hearing from you!

What to Do When You Have Foot Pain

Ontario Foot & Orthotics can help you with all of your orthotic needs including orthotics in Milton.

Your feet are one of the worst parts of your body to experience pain. You can’t walk, run, do housework, go shopping or do anything else without being in a great deal of pain. If your foot pain is chronic, it can be debilitating. Here are some tips to help you minimize or eliminate your foot pain so that you can get back to enjoying your life:

  • Identify the Source. When trying to identify what is causing your foot pain, you can usually find the answer in the details. Foot pain can be caused by injuries, infections, toe nail issues, callouses, bunions, plantar fasciitis, and numerous other sources. To determine where your pain is coming from, write down all of the information you can. Where are you experiencing the pain? What type of pain is it? What were you doing when you experienced the pain? How long did it last? Is your foot swollen? What shoes were you wearing? All of this information will help to identify the source and solve the problem.
  • Stay off it! Pain is your body’s way of telling you to cut it out. At the very least, your feet need a rest from whatever you are doing. Often pushing through pain will lead to more pain or even injuries.
  • Pamper your feet. We expect a lot from our feet, and most of us do very little to take care of them. Set aside some time to give your feet a little tender loving care. Soak your feet and remove any callouses. Always keep your feet clean and dry. Pay special attention to the socks and shoes that you wear, and take any foot pain very seriously.
  • See a professional. If your foot pain is intense or chronic, then you should see a professional. Ontario Foot & Orthotics, which is a foot clinic in Milton is a good place to start. Our staff is comprised of two registered Chiropodists experienced in all aspects of foot care. Call us to book an appointment.