Foot Doctor : Where does this pain come from? It starts with the feet.

Ouch! Lots of people experience seemingly inexplicable body pain, especially in cold weather. Aches in your lower body and neck can be a result of situational strain but if you are beginning to notice that it is happening frequently then perhaps the answer you are looking for isn’t under your nose, it starts with your toes.

Everything from the back of the heel, knee, calf, hips, lower back and neck can experience muscle pain as a result of problems with the anatomy of your feet and the way you carry weight when you move. These types of dysfunctions are called biomechanical issues and treating such afflictions is the specialty of a little place in Milton and Cambridge called Ontario Foot and Orthotics.

One example of problems many people have with their feet and simply ignore for most of their life is over or under pronation. Pronation is the way the ankle rolls and rotates naturally during a step and it is something everyone does. The heel comes down first and the ankle rolls a few degrees to evenly distribute the weight of your body across your foot. Problems begin to occur when either the shape of your foot or the way you naturally walk cause you to roll your foot either too much or too little during pronation. This causes too much weight to be disproportionally distributed to certain parts of the foot, depending on how you are pronating.

It seems like a simple fix but these things take an expert to diagnose. The staff at Ontario Foot and Orthotics will schedule an appointment and analyze the shape of your feet and the way you walk. Muscles in your feet span across joints and connect to a whole set of muscles which are connected all the way up your legs, back and neck. Through custom orthotic inserts and preventative strategies to fight pain, Ontario Foot and Orthotics can provide solutions to the mysterious muscle pain you thought would never go away.

Call Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton or visit for more info.

What is Plantar Fasciitis and how can it be treated?

Plantar Fasciitis is a result of inflammation of the plantar fascia.  The plantar fascia is a thick, non-elastic band of fibrous tissue that runs from the balls of your feet (metatarsal heads) and attaches to your heel.  It is an overuse injury that is usually characterized by acute heel pain first thing in the morning or after rest.

Plantar fasciitis occurs when stress is applied to the plantar fascia causing it to pull away from the insertion point (the heel).  This can cause small tears to the fascia resulting in inflammation and pain.  There are a variety of factors that can cause stress to the fascia such as flat arches (overpronation), tight calf muscles, poor footwear, overuse, and sudden increase in weight.

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include a sharp pain in the heel that can travel towards the arch of the foot.  Pain persists with every step of the foot.   As the fascia is pulled away from the heel bone, the body reacts by filling in the space with new bone, which can lead to a heel spur.  A heel spur can be detected via x-ray and can be treated in the same way as plantar fasciitis.

Treatment options:

Many of the treatment options for plantar fasciitis consist of conservative therapy.  Short-term treatment includes stretching and icing of the fascia, proper footwear, padding and strapping, and oral ibuprofen or any other anti-inflammatory.  If none of these treatment options are working, physical therapy can be implemented.  Finally for a long-term treatment and preventative solution, orthotics can be prescribed.  Orthotics will help to re-create the arch and reduce stress on the fascia.  Surgical options are available, however not very common.

For more information or to arrange an assessment, contact Ontario Foot & Orthotics at 905-878-6479 in Milton. You can also visit us at

How can diabetes affect the feet?

With diabetes, the whole body is affected, including the feet. As diabetes affects blood circulation and increases nerve sensitivity, feet are particularly prone to problems. It is very important for diabetics to clean their feet daily, to do a daily foot check and to have them checked regularly by a chiropodist, even though there may not be any problems obvious to you. For example, some signs to watch out for and to act upon are itchiness, redness, bruising, burning, blisters, coolness, roughened areas, lack of sensitivity to temperature and of course any pain in the feet.

There are many complications that can arise due to diabetes.  One of the complications that can lead to foot problems for people with diabetes is peripheral or diabetic neuropathy.  This type of neuropathy causes nerve damage in the feet causing you to lose feeling in your feet or may cause a burning or tingling sensation.  When this occurs, you start to lose sensation and you are not able to feel things like a pebble in your shoes or socks, a blister caused by poor fitting shoes, changes in temperature, etc.   These injuries can lead to ulcers that can eventually lead to amputation.

All people with diabetes are at risk for foot problems.  Certain warning signs can put one at a higher risk for developing ulcers (foot sores).  These signs include calluses or corns, numbness or tingling in the feet, loss of feeling in your feet, poor circulation in your legs or feet, foot deformity such as bunions and hammer toes, etc. It is also important to check your blood sugars daily and have your hemoglobin A1c monitored by your physician.  Normal blood sugar values should be between 4-6 mmol/L and hemoglobin A1c should be kept under 7.

If you are diabetic, visit Ontario Foot and Orthoitcs for a full diabetic screen and for any questions you may having regarding diabetes and your feet.  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

How to handle common foot problems – nail fungus, athlete’s foot and heel cracks

At some time in your life, you will likely come across one or more of the foot problems detailed below. Here are some ways of dealing with these issues:

Nail fungus:

These thickened and yellow nails are difficult to treat, mostly because the typical topical treatments do not get to the right depth of the fungal organisms. Oral medications are effective, though they can take many months and lead to side effects and liver problems. A chiropodist will assess the level of damage and recommend options to resolve the problem for good. Nail gels are very effective and topical treatments are most effective when the chiropodist first files the nail down to the right level for the topical agent to work.

Athlete’s foot:

This usually occurs between the toes, but can be found on other parts of the foot as well. It can look like dry skin, but moisturizers do not rid this problem. Signs of fungus include dry, itchy, scaling skin, redness and even blistering. Fungal organisms thrive in dark and moist environments such as between the toes, so ensure the area is kept dry and change your socks regularly as you perspire. It is also important to avoid walking barefoot in public areas, especially showers and locker rooms. If these self-care techniques are not working, visit your chiropodist for further care and guidance.

Heel cracks:

There are many skin creams on the market that are touted to resolve heel cracks and fissures. The reason they do not work is that the dead and calloused skin needs to be removed first and effectively, so the skin can come together to heal. By preparing the skin and utilizing strapping, the skin fissures adhere and heal. Besides dry skin and prolonged standing, many do not realize that foot wear is also a major contributing factor in the development of heel fissures, such as open back and thin-soled foot wear. A chiropodist is your best choice for the best solution.

To arrange an assessment, contact Ontario Foot & Orthotics at 905-878-6479 in Milton. You can also visit us at

Ingrown nails – solutions you need to know

An ingrown nail usually affects the big toe, causing redness, warmth and swelling, although it can also occur in other toes as well. This condition occurs when your nail grows into your skin tissue, irritating and inflaming the skin and possibly opening the door to infection. As the nail cuts into your skin, it can irritate the nerves and can trigger shooting pains. Even though it may seem like a small issue, it can really affect your day-to-day mobility, activities and enjoyment.

Causes and associations:

You may not realize that poor nail trimming technique and tight or narrow-fitting shoes are the most frequent causes of ingrown nails. When caring for your nails, it is important to cut straight across the nail and avoid leaving a curve at the side edges of the nail. Cut your nails frequently and leave some nail to overhang slightly; that is, if they are too short or too long, they can tend to grow inward. When choosing your foot wear, make sure there is enough room in the toe area.

There are many other factors that predispose you to develop an ingrown nail: repeated foot trauma or injuries, excessive foot sweating, fungal nail or other foot problems, diabetes, obesity and arthritis.

Ingrown nail treatment options: 

Surgery can be avoided with proper ongoing care. A chiropodist has the expertise to guide you for the treatment that best suits the situation. If your nail is mildly ingrown, the chiropodist can trim the nail and lift the free edge gently and support it with sterile cotton until the swelling reduces.

Alternatively, for more advanced situations, a minor surgery can be done to remove part of, or the entire nail. Women often appreciate partial nail removal, to allow them to keep the nail. Chiropodists are experts at these procedures and can assure the problem does not recur.

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

Take action against bunions on your feet, avoid future pain

It happened to your mother and now it’s happening to you…bunions. A bunion 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. It stands out in the painful grimace on your face by the end of the work day. Or it stands out in the way you alter your walking style to reduce the discomfort felt in your foot. It also stands out in how you avoid standing for too long, or avoid going to the mall, since there’s so much walking at the mall.

It’s 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 bunionettes. 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, though many resort to pain medications. Choosing shoes with heels less than two inches high helps, as well as wider fitting shoes, though 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, or prescription orthotics, which stabilizes the foot and minimizes stresses on the affected joints.

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

Understanding and dealing with a hammertoe on your foot

A hammertoe is a foot condition affecting the second, third, or fourth toes. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, causing it to resemble a hammer. The toe buckles due to abnormal contraction, from a partial or complete dislocation of one of the joints of the toe.

It is common that people who suffer from a hammertoe also develop painful corns on the top of the affected toe, where it rubs against the inside of the shoe. This pain may be resolved by adding extra cushioning, regularly trimming down the corn, or by choosing roomier shoes.

A hammertoe is caused by foot imbalances and heredity factors. Certainly wearing high heels aggravates the hammertoe since heels accentuate the contracted position of the hammertoe. Tight-fitting stockings can also aggravate the condition.

Your chiropodist will assess your feet and determine the cause of the hammertoe and make useful suggestions. Some suggestions may include making silicone toe pads which can reduce pressure, or using a custom orthotic to better support your foot, which will also slow down the buckling process in a hammertoe. If the hammertoe is caught early enough, the above conservative chiropody care is sufficient. However, if it is allowed to progress, then there will be more pain, calluses, inflammation, possibly infection and alteration of the bone structure. In these cases, surgery may be required.

For more information, or to arrange an assessment, contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton. Visit us online at

Proper treatment and prevention of corns and calluses on your feet

Many times a day, Chiropodists see patients with very rough and tough skin on their feet. In some cases they have already tried many over-the-counter products to burn or scrape off the dense skin tissue. They end up seeking professional help because their problems reoccur and they want a long-term solution. What they are usually suffering from is the pain from corns and calluses.

So what are corns and calluses? Corns and calluses are both forms of concentrated dead skin that form in areas where there is a lot of pressure or friction on the foot. Corns are denser and are inverted cones which are pushed into the skin, whereas calluses are more spread out and are appear as yellowish plaques. The pressure and skin reaction may be due to many factors such as poor-fitting shoes, high-heel shoe wear, abnormal gait or walking style that affects the pressure to the feet, protruding bones and particular skin conditions.

Chiropodists are the primary health care providers for foot care in Ontario. They are trained to properly assess and treat the feet and find lasting solutions to stop corns and calluses from continuing for once and for all. Some solutions to corns or calluses may be changing your foot wear choices. A Chiropodist may suggest how to resolve any walking abnormalities, also known as ‘biomechanical’ imbalances. They have additional training and expertise in biomechanical analysis and have really helped resolve long-standing foot issues, including corns and calluses and many other foot and movement-related problems.

For more information on relieving foot pain, or any other foot problem, or to book an assessment, contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at one of our two locations: 519-623-3000 (Cambridge), 905-878-6479 (Milton). Or visit us online at

Compression therapy for your aching and swollen legs

If you stand or sit for long periods of time, you can develop aches in your legs, as well as swelling within your veins. Of course, many types of jobs involve standing or sitting and so this is quite a common problem. These situations, as well as extended airtravel, may predispose you to getting more pressure in your veins that can lead to swelling and even varicose veins. A simple solution is getting compression therapy, that is, properly fitted compression socks or hosiery. Compression therapy is the application of external pressure to promote better circulation through the veins, reducing swelling and the tired and achy feelings in your legs.

Compression stockings are not what they used to be. They are much more stylish, softer and more comfortable. Men can get compression dress socks and women can also get compression hosiery to fit casual, dress, or office attire. The most important point is to be properly fitted by a trained professional. Chiropodists are best suited to take accurate measurements and to fit them to match your leg. Many people who simply buy a product off the shelf may end up finding that when they get home, the product is too tight or too loose at different areas of their leg, or may not provide an adequate amount of pressure to resolve the symptoms. A chiropodist will also take the time to show you useful techniques, including care and how to put them on quickly and effectively.

To arrange an assessment, contact Ontario Foot & Orthotics at 905-878-6479 in Milton. You can also visit us at