My Body Changed When I was Pregnant, Especially my Feet!

During pregnancy, there are many changes that occur in the body. The one change that most women don’t realize is the change that occurs in their feet. Some of the main changes you may notice are swelling of the feet, flat feet, and pain in the arch and heel.

During my pregnancy I noticed that my feet started to look like they were getting flatter and I started to develop pain in my heels. This pain started to occur in my second trimester when most of the weight gain tends to happen. I had a hard time fitting in to some of my shoes and it felt like my feet had gotten bigger. Let’s discuss why these changes occur and ways we can manage the pain and discomfort.

Swelling (Edema)

We will start with swelling of the feet. Swelling, also known as edema, occurs when excess fluid collects in your tissues. A certain amount of swelling during pregnancy is normal because you are retaining more water. During pregnancy there is an increase in blood volume that helps you to carry extra oxygen and nutrients to your baby. Pregnancy hormones cause changes in blood vessels that can result in swelling. Gravity pulls all of the extra fluid down to your feet and ankles, causing the swelling.

Here are some tips that can help reduce swelling. Many of them worked for me!

  • Keep your feet elevated as much as possible. If you are working, place a stool under your desk to help elevate the feet.
  • Stretch your legs frequently if you are sitting for long periods of time. Make sure you stretch before walking or participating in any form of exercise.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that allow for stretching.
  • Do not wear socks or stockings that have a tight ring around the calves or ankles.
  • Wear compressing socks or stockings to help keep the circulation going and to prevent pooling of blood.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Exercise regularly.

Flat feet and plantar fasciitis

Flat feet occur because during pregnancy there is an increase in hormones in your body. One of these hormones is called relaxin and it does just that, relaxes the ligaments in the body including the feet. Relaxation of the ligaments plus weight gain contributes to collapse of the arches causing flat feet. When this occurs you may end up having to go up half a shoe size and unfortunately this does not change post pregnancy.

When I noticed my arches starting to collapse, I made sure that I wore good supportive footwear. I also tried to avoid walking barefoot to help reduce pressure on the joints of my feet. I have hard wood floors and ceramic tile throughout my house so I always made sure I was wearing supportive sandals in the house, which helped prevent foot pain. This also helps prevent plantar fasciitis, or heel pain. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia is overstretched causing pain at the insertion point in the heel. When the arches collapse, they put a lot of strain on the plantar fascia, which can lead to inflammation of the fascia causing heel pain. Stretching and icing exercises can also help reduce heel pain.

These are the main changes that occur in the feet during pregnancy. Not all pregnant women experience these changes, however most will experience at least on of these changes. The changes can be mild or can be severe causing an increased amount of pain and discomfort. By following these tips on prevention and treatment of these symptoms, you can manage your pain level and still enjoy a happy and healthy pregnancy!

As the owner of, and a chiropodist (foot specialist) at, Ontario Foot and Orthotics, I welcome any of your questions or concerns. For more information, or to book an assessment, please contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at one of our two locations: 519-623-3000 (Cambridge), 905-878-6479 (Milton). Or visit us online at

Running The Distances

Do you like to run? Run for stress relief, health benefits, or the challenge? Signed up for a race?

Running is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise, but it can put a great deal of repetitive stress on your body; on your bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments; on your knees, hips, lower back, and of course, your feet!

Whether you are new to running, returning from injury, making a long awaited comeback, or a seasoned runner, there are a number of things to keep in mind when it comes to your training and keeping yourself on the road:

Training errors (eg: too much too soon)

It is very easy to increase the mileage too much in a short period of time. Or to run all your training runs at the same or a high intensity. Remember the 10% rule when it comes to building up the mileage (increase training by no more than 10% each week), mix up you training runs throughout the week (you don’t have to run them all at the same pace), and alternate the routes so they are not all up hills or on the same pavements each time.

Poor fitting or worn running shoes

There’s great debate on how often you should replace your running shoes (or after X amount of kilometres), and lot of it comes down to how often and far you are running. Remember that with regular use, all those miles you are pounding the pavement with, will slowly wear out and break down the materials in the running shoes, that give you all that great support and cushioning.
Have a look at what you are wearing at the moment. Check to see how worn the soles are, how much of the tread has been worn away?
Are your feet starting to feel less comfortable in the shoes or have any new aches or pains started to develop?
Maybe it’s time to head down to your local specialised running store for a proper fitting and a fresh pair of shoes! One piece of advice I give all my patients is that you want to be walking out of that store with the most comfortable pair of shoes, even if that means trying on half a dozen pairs to get it right!

Biomechanical stresses / imbalances

When external factors such as training errors and footwear have been addressed, and there’s still a problem, then maybe it’s your biomechanics (how your body is structured and functions).
Excessive pronation (rolling in), pesplanus (flat feet), pescavus (high arches) and ligamentous laxity (hypermobile or flexible ligaments) are just some biomechanical factors that can create imbalances or extra stresses on our feet and lower limbs. And when you run, you put up to 4 times the stress through your body and joints, so it’s understandable that sometimes it can become too much!
Common running injuries that can occur include: achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis / heel pain, patellofemoralpain syndrome “runner’s knee”, iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome, stress fractures, bursitis, sesamoiditis, medial tibial stress syndrome “shin splits”, just to name a few.
In my personal experience, I have been running on and off for many years, but in the past 7 years I have increased my running from 5km races up to now training for my 2nd full marathon (42.2km) this October! I developed knee pain (patellofemoral pain syndrome) whilst training many years ago and it was my biomechanics that were a major contributor to the injury. I had Custom Foot Orthotics made for me to wear both day to day, and when exercising, to help improve my alignment, as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
Orthotics are certainly something that have helped me, but every foot is different, so not everyone requires them, and having an assessment done by a qualified health professional is by far the best way to establish what is going wrong, what may be causing the issue (quite often multiple factors) and the best path of treatment.

If you do require Custom Foot Orthotics to help treat a sports injury, here are a few of tips I recommend:

  • Gradual wear in period – get used to wearing them in your day to day shoes (adding an extra hour each day over a 1-2 week period), before even considering wearing them running/exercising;
  • When buying new shoes (regular or running shoes) always bring your orthotics with you for the fitting, and mention to the staff member assisting with your shoe fitting that you wear them, as this can alter the amount of support/correction you will need from the shoes;
  • If you notice any squeaking of the orthotics when walking/running, I have found Body Glide to work well at eliminating this!

If you are experiencing any lingering aches and pains, or injuries that just won’t resolve, it may be worth a visit to your local Chiropodist/Foot Specialist. At Ontario Foot and Orthotics we provide lower limb biomechanical assessments to ensure the right path of treatment is established.
Treatment options available at Ontario Foot and Orthotics for lower limb sports injuries include but are not limited to; Custom Foot Orthotics (to help correct alignment issues and redistribute plantar pressures), MedXLaser Therapy (to promote healing, and reduce inflammation/pain), plus footwear and training advice.

For more information, or to book an assessment, contact us at one of our two locations: 519-623-3000 (Cambridge), 905-878-6479 (Milton). Or visit us at

Written By Kirsty Millwood B.Pod
Chiropodist/Foot Specialist

Ball of the Foot Pain – Metatarsalgia

One of the most common complaints people have with their feet is Metatarsalgia, or “Ball of the Foot Pain”.

Metatarsalgia is an umbrella term for a range of conditions that affect the ball of the foot and cause some kind of discomfort and pain. There are many anatomical structures that make up the ball of the foot including: bones, muscles, tendons, fat pad, ligaments, joint capsules, bursa, nerves and blood vessels. As you can see, there’s quite a bit going on, and from time to time, these structures can get stressed or injured!

Symptoms that can be experienced include: sharp shooting pain, dull aches, numbness, cramping, and burning sensations.

These symptoms can be linked to a number of factors such as:foot structure and biomechanics (eg: cavus foot, flat foot, or hypermobile joints), systemic disease (eg. Diabetes Mellitus or Rheumatoid Arthritis), or degenerative joint disease (eg. Osteoarthritis).

Other factors that can affect your feet include: lack of cushioning in footwear, wearing high heels, prolonged standing (particularly on hardwood and concrete floors), or sudden increase in activity or exercise.

There are a number of options for treatment that are offered at Ontario Foot and Orthotics for Metatarsalgia. A full biomechanical assessment will help to establish the cause of the pain, and some treatment options include: Custom Foot Orthotics to help stabilize the foot, correct abnormal joint movements and redistribute excessive pressures; MedXLaser Therapy to reduce inflammation and pain, and promote healing; and footwear advice and recommendations.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or would like further professional advice on your feet, contact us at 905-878-6479 in Milton or visit us at

Written By Kirsty Millwood B.Pod
Chiropodist/Foot Specialist

Benefits of MedX Laser Therapy in Foot Pain

Every decade or two, a new therapy comes to light that has a profound impact on treatment success.  In today’s health care setting, one of the most challenging and increasing components of treatment is pain management.  Pain can have a debilitating effect on the enjoyment of your day-to-day activities, your mood and energy overall.  Pain management has mostly been the realm of medications which often lead to undesired side effects.  However, there are new and effective options to not just reduce pain, but also to promote actual healing of damaged tissues in a way that does not carry unwanted side effects.

The MedX laser therapy device is the culmination of decades of medical research and certainly falls into the category of treatments that can have a transformative effect on improving patient care.  Studies by NASA researchers found that human tissues repair themselves up to 40% faster with the use of laser phototherapy.

Benefits of the MedX Laser:

  • Safe to use with no burning or unpleasant sensations
  • Reduces pain
  • Activates the healing process in your tissues
  • Penetrates your skin as deep as four inches to promote healing and pain relief
  • Decreases inflammation and swelling (edema)
  • Treatments take only 10-15 minutes

In the area of foot care, the MedX laser is appropriate to help in the treatment of many foot ailments: arthritis, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, bursitis, sports injuries, wounds and ulcers, diabetic feet, bunions and many other acute and chronic conditions of the foot.

MedX Laser Therapy is a featured treatment option at Ontario Foot & Orthotics.  For more information, or to book an assessment, contact us at 905-878-6479 (Milton) Or visit us at

Milton Orthotics – Qualities Of A Good Shoe

There are many shoe manufacturers and many stores, particularly discount stores.  This has led to a large variety of shoes and also a large variety in the quality of the shoes.  Since the feet serve as the foundation of the structural support of your body, it is important to select quality shoes.  Below are some tips in selecting a good shoe.

What makes a good shoe?

  • Flexible in the right places – the front end of the sole must be soft and should flex to correspond to how your toes flex.  Two tips in selecting a good shoe is to make sure the front third of the shoe bends easily (not the rear two-thirds), and secondly, try to twist the shoe (holding the front and back parts of the shoe) by rotating your hands in opposite directions – a good shoe should not twist very much or very easily.
  • Room for the toes – in regular walking your toes naturally spread out.  Make sure when you try on a shoe, it has some ‘wiggle room’ for your toes.  This will prevent hard calluses from forming and reducing the chance of developing bunions and foot discomforts and pain overall.
  • Mind your arches – the shoe you purchase should either have an interchangeable inner sole, or you should purchase the shoe according to the type of arch you have.  There are three main categories of the arch:
  1. Neutral arch – these require firm midsoles and straight to semi-curved ‘lasts’ (‘last’ is the shape of the sole).
  2. Low-arch or ‘flat feet’ – select a shoe with a straight last and motion control to help stabilize your feet.
  3. High arch – get a shoe that provides cushioning to assist with shock absorption; a curved last also can help.

If you are still not sure and want professional advice on your feet and shoe selection, visit a chiropodist, your foot care specialist.

To arrange an assessment, contact us at one of our two locations: 519-623-3000 (Cambridge), 905-878-6479 (Milton).  Or visit us at

Chiropodist Milton – Why Flip Flops are Bad for your Feet

One of the sounds of summer is the sound of flip-flops. However warm that makes you feel, it can eventually lead to pain and discomfort in your feet. Most flip-flop style sandals are poorly designed and can lead to chronic problems. Read on for the top four reasons why flip-flops are bad for your feet.

Four reasons why flip-flops are bad for your feet:

1. Flip-flops Lead to Excessive Toe-gripping
Since there is only a narrow strip of material holding your foot in place in the flip-flop, with every step, your toes will naturally start to grip on to the sandal to simply keep the flip-flop on your foot, to keep it from falling off.  Repetitively, over weeks and months, this can lead to inflamed tendons, or tendinitis.  Over a few summers, this can eventually lead to a condition called ‘hammer toes, which is associated with pain in the toes and sometimes the balls of the feet.

2.  Flip-flops Provide Little Cushioning and Shock Absorption
Flip-flops are inherently very thin on the bottom, so they provide very little shock absorption as you walk.  By constantly wearing sandals that have such little cushioning, you can develop stress fractures in the bones of the feet.

3. Arch Problems
You could easily call these sandals ‘flat’-flops since they are flat and provide no arch support.  This can promote the actual flattening of your arches, leading to what’s called ‘flat feet’ or pronated feet.  The flimsy flip-flops also can lead to “plantar fasciitis” – an inflammation in the thick band of tissue that runs from your heel to the balls of your feet…so guess where you can get the pain; between the heel and the balls of your feet.

4. Burning Blisters
Flip-flops provide very little material to hold the foot in place while you walk.  This means that the foot moves quite a bit as you walk, rubbing against the base of the flip-flop.  The resulting friction creates a burning feeling or even blisters on the underside of your feet.

For more information, or to book an assessment, contact us at one of our two locations: 519-623-3000 (Cambridge), 905-878-6479 (Milton) or visit us at

Chiropodist Milton – What are bunions and how can they be treated?

A bunion (also know as hallux abducto valgus) is a condition that affects the bones and joints of the great toe. It appears as a bony prominence on the inside margin of your forefoot, which can get red, swollen and painful. There are 4 stages to a bunion; which range from being a mild deviation of the great toe (stage 1) to a complete dislocation of the joint (stage 4). This can also cause overlapping of the second toe on to the first toe.

Bunions are a common problem; roughly thirty percent of the population suffers from bunions. Bunions arise due to abnormal foot function, leading to a gradual dislocation of the joint. They can also relate to heredity, different forms of arthritis, narrow-toed shoes and high heels and other foot-related problems. Bunions can also occur on the small toe side, commonly called a bunionette or a tailor’s bunion. Either way, they often worsen and may require surgery, unless you take action.

Simple ways to reduce the pain is by applying a cold pack to the area a few times a day to help reduce swelling and inflammation. Some people choose to use anti-inflammatory medication to help with the pain. Choosing shoes with heels between 1-2 inches in height helps, as well as wider fitting shoes. Any shoe or slipper lacking proper support can aggravate bunions. The best course of action to resolve the problem that is causing the deformation is to visit your foot care specialist. A qualified chiropodist will assess your particular situation and make corrective suggestions. Some common suggestions from a chiropodist include proper fitting footwear to alleviate pressure, bunion shield pads, bunion night splints or custom made orthotics, which helps stabilize the foot and minimizes stress on the affected joints. To arrange an assessment, contact Ontario Foot & Orthotics at one of our two locations: 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton. You can also visit us at

What is Athlete’s Foot and how can it be treated?

Athlete’s Foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that affects about 12% of the population. Contrary to its name, Athlete’s Foot can strike anyone. It is common in both adults and children.

Athlete’s Foot may appear on any part of the foot but is most common between the toes (especially between the 4th and 5th toes) and on the bottom of the foot.  The skin can appear to look moist or dry with redness, scaling, and blisters.  The skin can also become very itchy and in some cases cause burning.  The skin can also have a shine to it underneath the dryness or moisture.  Athlete’s foot can affect one or both feet.  It can start on one foot and easily spread to the other if not contained.  Those who are susceptible to athlete’s foot often have recurring episodes.

What you can do:
It is important to wash and dry your feet thoroughly on a daily basis.  Once you have dried your feet you can apply some foot power to help absorb moisture.  There are over-the-counter anti-fungal medications that are effective when used according to the manufactures’ instructions.  If these products fail to work, there are prescription anti-fungal medications that can be prescribed by your foot specialist.

It is important to wear shoes that are made out of natural materials such as leather or canvas.  This allows moisture to escape from the shoes.  Running shoes with a mesh upper also help the foot breath better.  Wearing socks made out of cotton or bamboo also helps to absorb moisture from the feet.

Changing shoes and socks regularly helps to prevent athlete’s foot.   Spraying the inside of the shoes with an anti-fungal spray will help to get rid of fungus inside the shoe and prevent the spread from the shoes on to the skin.  Lastly, avoid walking barefoot in public places.  Keeping your feet protected will reduce the risk of contracting athlete’s foot.

If you have any further questions regarding athlete’s foot or other fungal infections, please contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton. Visit us online at

Are you a Runner? Here are some tips.

As the weather gets better, more people are starting to get active.  One of the most common activities includes jogging or running.  Although jogging and running are great forms of exercise, they can cause certain injuries or problems to the feet.

The most common foot problems associated with jogging or running are blisters, corns, calluses, athlete’s foot, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.  Ankle sprains are also common to runners and joggers, especially if the right footwear is not worn.   Below are some important preventative foot care tips for runners:

  • Make sure to wear the right shoes.  Go to a shoe store that specializes in shoes for running so the right shoe for your foot type can be recommended.
  • Make sure your shoes fit properly. Bring your orthotics (custom insoles) when shopping and make sure they fit the shoes you are considering purchasing.
  • Keep your feet and shoes powdered as this will absorb moisture and reduce friction.
  • Wear clean socks every time you run.
  • Let your body be your guide so you don’t strain your feet or joints; don’t try to run through pain.  Shoes should provide cushioning for shock absorption.
  • Prevent Achilles tendonitis by always stretching your lower leg muscles before and after every workout.
  • Wear shoes made out of breathable materials such as canvas or leather with a mesh toe box.

It is inevitable for runners to get injured, so have your chiropodist assess your feet to guide you to choose the right foot care regimen, give you tips on preventing injuries and guide you to help handle foot-related injuries.

To arrange an assessment, contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 905-878-6479 in Milton. Visit us online at

Corns & Callus Treatment – Lose The Sock Tan

Lots of people love to get out in the warm weather and show off their feet to the world but for many of us, the perennial sock-tan line exists for a reason. Those who have neglected proper care of their feet can benefit from a good pedicure but for many of us the line between a cosmetic problem and a genuine health worry was crossed long ago. Corns, calluses, warts and nail infections are more common than you might think but there is a pretty easy solution. There is no reason to continue hiding your foot’s inner beauty from the world and you can start walking down that path with confidence by taking a trip to Ontario Foot and Orthotics.

Calluses and corns are two related issues. A callus is an accumulation of thickened skin that can develop on pressure point areas of the body. Usually caused by poorly designed shoes or particular foot shapes, a callus is unsightly and can quickly develop into its painful cousin, the corn. Corns usually develop out of calluses and form into a cone shape that feels like a painful pebble in your foot. The corn actually has a root-like structure so it does take professional care to remove them. Ontario Foot and Orthotics can remove the callus and the corn as well as recommend proper footwear to prevent them from developing again.

Warts can look similar to corns in appearance but their causes are quite different. A wart is the result of a viral infection, usually contracted through direct contact with vulnerable skin on your feet. There are over-the-counter treatments available at most pharmacies but if you are looking for a quick solution then Ontario Foot and Orthotics is the place to go. We provide a much more aggressive treatment option that removes the wart quickly and prevents it from spreading. We also offer quick treatments for nail infections and offer follow-up consultations to make sure the infection does not return.

If you want your feet to see the light of day once again, call us at 905-878-6479 in Milton or visit for more info.