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Small Skin Problems Can Be a Big Issue When you Have Diabetes

One of the symptoms that comes from long-standing and untreated diabetes is peripheral neuropathy, which means nerve damage experienced in the feet and legs. Peripheral neuropathy causes numbness, making it difficult to feel minor injuries. A cut, blister or wart could go completely unnoticed for a long time.

What’s worse is that diabetes can affect your ability to heal from an injury, which can lead to a serious infection. If you are living with diabetes, here are three small skin problems that you should respond to right away for the sake of your health.

Ingrown Nails

An ingrown toenail is a toenail that breaks into the border of the nailbed instead of straight-ahead, causing pain and swelling. An ingrown toenail is often caused by footwear that is too small, poor trimming or injuries. Sadly, the problem can also be hereditary.

Clipping the nail further down could make the situation much worse and expose the toe to greater infection. One of our chiropodists can help you tackle the problem. If you haven’t come into the clinic before, you can meet our Toronto foot specialists today online or meet them at your first appointment.

Plantar Wart

A plantar wart is a form of the Human Papillomavirus that grows on the bottoms of your feet. The virus enters through a crack in the skin, causing a wart that looks similar to a corn or foot callus. Putting pressure on the wart can be painful and make walking difficult.

To ensure safe removal and prevent further infection, you should avoid DIY wart removal. Book an appointment with a chiropodist at the clinic if you need a foot wart removed — they will figure out what medicinal or surgical treatment plan works for you.

Blisters

The blister begins as a fluid-filled pocket covering the injured area. Your first instinct may be to lance it at home, but you should fight the temptation. The pocket guards the vulnerable area against infections from fungus, viruses and bacteria. Signs of infection are inflammation and unusual colouring like yellow or purple.

If you have a foot blister, you should gently clean it and dry it without bursting the fluid pocket. Cover it with a gauze bandage and avoid putting pressure on it. Then, you can see our podiatry clinic today to get a chiropodist to safely remove it and treat the damage left behind.

 

toronto foot clinic

 

Diabetes Canada recommends that people living with the condition practice daily foot care so that they can take stock of injuries and skin problems. Look at the bottoms of your feet, your nails, your heels and even between your toes for any red flags. If you have difficulty seeing the bottoms of your feet, you can use a mirror or ask for a confidante to do the investigation for you.

These problems start out small, but they can spiral out of control when you don’t have a strong enough immune system to combat them. This doesn’t mean you should panic every time you spot a wart or a blister forming. It just means you should make note of the change and head on over to the clinic to sort it out as quickly as possible.

 

Effective Ways That you Can Treat Your Bunion Pain

Bunions are enlargements and misalignments of the joints at the base of the big toes. The bad news is that bunions will not go away — they are permanent. The good news is that you can stop the discomfort and pain with certain forms of treatment.

One way to treat your bunions is to take anti-inflammatory medication and place ice packs on them to ease any swelling. This is only necessary when they are irritated, inflamed or painful to the touch. While icing your bunions, take a moment to put up your feet and rest.

Another good way to treat your bunions is to ditch the uncomfortable shoes. Many people believe that the foot condition is caused by high heels or pointed-toed shoes, but this hasn’t been proven. However, these types of shoes will exacerbate the problem and make your bunions more prominent and painful. The notoriously tight and narrow shoe styles can also disturb tailor’s bunions or “bunionettes” — these are the bunions sitting on the joints of your smallest toes.

Comfortable shoes with deep toe-beds are excellent treatment options and preventative measures. Visit the clinic to buy the best custom orthotics Toronto has to offer in a variety of styles and brands that will rival your most fashionable high heels. There are plenty of dress shoes available that will look chic and feel comfortable at the same time.

The shoe options will also be helpful for anyone whose bunion has affected their foot shape. If that’s the case, let one of the clinic representatives know and we’ll work hard to get you the right shoe fit.

toronto foot clinic

Another great way to reduce bunion progression is to use custom foot orthotics. Custom foot orthotics can be made to your specific arch profile to reduce excessively high pressures at the forefoot, which can, in turn, aggravate and accelerate bunion formation. Orthotics can also be made to control any biomechanical abnormalities that contribute to higher pressures through the 1st metatarsal head; most commonly overpronation and underpronation.

If you are looking to get a pair of custom orthotics, you should set up an appointment and meet our Toronto team of orthopedic doctors as soon as possible. Our chiropodists will work with you to get the perfect orthotics for your footwear.

The only way to get rid of bunions is to get them surgically removed. You shouldn’t consider bunion surgery unless the condition is impacting your everyday life:

1. Other treatments are not reducing swelling or pain

2. The pain affects your walking

3. You circumvent your usual routine to avoid walking, standing or exercise

You can visit our Toronto podiatry clinic any time you are suffering from foot pain or discomfort. We will work tirelessly to get to the root of your foot problems and find the treatment options that make your life easier.

Bunions shouldn’t dictate your daily life. They shouldn’t stop you from running errands or going for walks. They shouldn’t cause you discomfort the minute you slip on a shoe. Try simple solutions like anti-inflammatories, orthopaedic shoes or orthotics to deal with your bunions. If those don’t cut it, then you can start looking into surgery.

Custom Orthotics Relieves Pain and Fixes Foot Issues

There is an argument to be made for the feet being the ultimate support workers of your body. They keep you upright but they also grant you mobility — to walk, run, jump, or to dance!

Your feet not only support your body and keep you moving, but they also balance your body weight. If we don’t take care of our feet, we can develop serious biomechanical foot problems including supination, over-pronation, or fallen arches — all of which can cause additional strain on your feet and lead to pain elsewhere in the body such as the knees or lower back.

Custom orthotics help to correct foot abnormalities

When some people feel foot pain, they think of it as a comfort issue rather than a medical issue, and many sufferers think that simple drug store insoles will fix the problem. But generic shoes cannot help correct foot abnormalities, and if you suffer from chronic foot pain, custom orthotics from a reputable clinic like Feet First is exactly what you need.

Because custom foot orthotics are designed specifically for you and your unique feet, they provide support where it’s needed and can alleviate or even eliminate pain and correct abnormalities.

Below, our experts have compiled a list of common foot abnormalities and explain how custom orthotics can help fix the issue.

Metatarsalgia

People who suffer from Metatarsalgia complain of pain at the balls of their feet. This condition is seen under the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsal bones. Abnormal pronation or a general collapse of the arch can cause excessive bone rotation which leads to foot pain.

To start your journey toward recovery, drop into our Toronto foot care clinic to learn how custom orthotics can help reduce the pronation and put a stop to the friction caused by the metatarsal bone rotation — relieving pain and increasing your well-being.

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is named for the Greek warrior whose only weakness was the exposed heel of his foot which his mother Thetis held when she dipped him into the river Styx. She believed this would make Achilles impervious to any pain — but clearly, she had not tried to walk to the town of Marathon in flat sandals!

Achilles Tendonitis develops over time after the tendon becomes inflamed and swollen — which can be further agitated by improperly-fitted orthotics, bad form when exercising, overuse, or the onset of arthritis.

toronto foot clinic

You should book an appointment with our chiropodists if you’re experiencing:

1. Stabbing pain or stiffness along the tendon when you wake up in the morning

2. Pain along the back of the heel that usually worsens with activity

3. Extreme pain the day after you exercise

4. A thickening of the tendon

Custom orthotics can relieve and even reverse the pain caused by Achilles Tendonitis, as heel lifts and custom shoes with a softer backing can help reduce pain and irritation of the tendon.

Plantar Fasciitis

People suffering from this condition complain of pain in and around their heel bones. Plantar Fasciitis is caused by the breakdown and tearing of the fascial soft tissue — which is generally caused by a constant tug of the heel bone at the attachment site. The issue is often exacerbated by walking for long stretches in unsupportive footwear.

Custom foot orthotics can reduce and even stop the stretching of the lower arch, allowing the soft tissue damage to heal over time. If you’d like to learn more about how custom orthotics for plantar fasciitis can help you, stop by Feet First for more information.

Find relief for the above issues at our foot clinic in downtown Toronto where we offer interim treatment and schedule a follow-up issue-specific session so that you get the care you need. We also offer video gait analysis that uses 3D cameras to see the issues in slow motion, allowing us to better find a solution tailored to your needs and wants.

At Feet First, we care about your feet. Come in for an assessment today.

Why Are you in Pain after your Workout?

“No pain, no gain” is not the best message to follow when you’re hitting the gym. Pushing yourself too far, using the wrong equipment and ignoring your body’s need for recovery can lead to injuries. If you’re not careful, you could give yourself some long-term damage.

Here are three common exercise-related pains and the solutions that can fix them:

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome:

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is one of the most common running injuries out there — it’s often called “runner’s knee” because of this. Stress from repetitive running on hard terrain irritates the kneecap. It can be painful during the workout or long after you’ve finished.

The Solution:

You could be in pain because you’re pushing yourself too far with your runs. Try to cut back on the distance and stick to easier terrains. Flat and soft surfaces won’t impact your knees as much as pavement.

Another solution that you could try is gait training and rehabilitation. Your running form could be what’s causing your knees so much trouble. You should stop by our homepage to see how we conduct video gait analysis to help people improve their steps.

toronto foot clinic

DOMS

You want to feel the burn while you’re doing a bench press, but you don’t want to deal with that sensation days later. If this scenario is familiar, you are dealing with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) — challenging weightlifting workouts create micro-tears in the muscles, which become inflamed within 24 to 48 hours.

The Solution:

When you’re dealing with DOMS, the main thing you should do is relax. Pushing through the soreness to tackle another heavy workout will make the pain worse and heighten your risk of injury. If you can’t skip a day of exercise, replace some of your high-intensity workout plans with low-intensity exercises like leisurely walks or swimming laps at the pool.

If you don’t want DOMS to come back, you should cut down the difficulty level of your workouts. You can reduce the weight you lift, the reps you make or the amount of time you spend in the gym.

Shin Splints

Another running injury that you might endure is medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) — you will probably know it by its common name “shin splints.” You’ll realize you have the problem when you get a stabbing sensation in your shins as you run. 

The Solution:

When you feel like you have shin splints, don’t keep pursuing the workout. Stop the run, take a rest and put ice packs on your shins for 20 minutes to conquer any swelling.

MTSS is caused by overuse of leg muscles. Controlling footwear or insoles can help prevent overuse of your medial leg muscles. You are probably getting this shooting pain because you are wearing the wrong shoes. You should swap your regular sneakers for a pair of orthopedic running shoes. Additional shock absorption is one of the benefits that custom orthotics provide so that athletes don’t have to worry about injury and discomfort ruining their running progress.

If you’re not sure what orthotics to pick out, come meet the team here at Feet First Clinic to discuss your exercise problems and find options that work for your physical needs. We will do our best to find the best fit for you and your fitness routine.

It’s great that you’re motivated to improve your physical fitness, but it’s important to know when to pull back. When you’re frequently in pain and discomfort, you need to make some changes in your routine, whether it’s with the intensity, the form or the footwear.

The Diabetes Foot Care Connection

As we’ve discussed in separate posts this month, autumn and back to school can be an incredibly busy time of year. If you have a demanding job and kids in school, it’s easy to get completely carried away and throw out any time you might need for self-care. This can be a catastrophic mindset, since preventative care for your mind and body is the best recipe for health – it’s easier to prevent a problem than it is to fix it. This philosophy applies to all forms of healthcare, and foot care is no exception. If you require wart removal treatments or suffer from knee and back pain due to an abnormal gait, it is imperative that you seek the aid of a knowledgeable foot doctor as soon as possible.

Run better with orthotic inserts

In the autumn, we also tend to switch from sandals and deck shoes to socks and closed shoes that hide our feet. If you have warts or athlete’s foot, there’s less motivation to deal with it, since your feet aren’t exposed. If you are a healthy individual and you’re incredibly busy, it’s not the end of the world if you procrastinate for a bit as long as you keep it in mind. If, on the other hand, you suffer from diabetes and develop toenail fungus or sores on your feet, it may actually pose a severe threat to your health if you don’t seek treatment immediately.

The reason that folks with diabetes are at a higher risk for complications is that they have reduced blood circulation in their feet and are prone to skin infection (cellulitis). Nerve disorders can create huge problems, since your pain receptors are not able to alert you to serious damage that has occurred. Whether or not you have diabetes, if you suffer from cellulitis, seek toenail fungus help in Toronto as soon as you can – otherwise your toenails may never recover.

Further advice for those with diabetes is to wear compression socks or stockings to increase blood circulation. Compression socks really work, and they come in a myriad of styles to suit whatever setting you might find yourself in.

If you’re not sure how to tell that you have toenail fungus, here are some clear signs to look for:

  • Thickened
  • Yellow-brown or whitish change in colour
  • crumbly or ragged, possibly brittle
  • Shape is warped
  • Blackish colouration, triggered by debris building up under nail
  • Offensive odour

Treatment

This may sound scary, but the actual process to rectify the situation is not so bad. A combination of oral and topical medication is often prescribed to get at the condition from both angles. If the patient wears nail polish, medicated nail polish (Penlac) is a strategic option to cover up the condition while treating it. In extreme cases, the doctor may remove the offending nail to apply cream directly to the infection.

Preventative

Once you’ve got your foot health back, or if you’re already healthy and want to avoid such infections, wear moisture absorbing/ wicking socks and shoes that breathe. If you shower at the gym, always wear flip flops and keep your nails well-trimmed. Feet First Clinic retails plenty of breathable footwear if you need help.

So whether you need wart removal treatment or help with fungus, or if you’re looking for orthotic inserts and breathable shoes, book and appointment at Feet First Clinic today!

Self Test: Do You Have A Common Foot Condition?

When it comes to common foot problems, it’s not just the classic sources of pain – plantar fasciitis, athlete’s foot or shin splints – that can persist, over and over. Have you ever experienced a black toenail? Or a toenail that fell off? It’s more common than you may have originally thought.

Black toenails especially when exercise-induced are often rooted in the blistering, bleeding or bruising underneath your toenail(s) and can be attributed to a number of factors. Sometimes, the discolouring is localized to one area of the nail, and the bleeding is minor, while other times, the entire toenail is discoloured. In the latter case, it’s not uncommon for the nail, now dead, to fall off, with a new one eventually to take its place, which can take several months.

Yes, black toenails can hurt. Yes, they look rather unsettling. And yes, they can happen. So, here’s what to know about – and what to do when you get – black toenails and how to prevent them from happening again.

Repeated use

First, repetitive trauma can result in black toenails. In other words, repeated friction or rubbing of the area can lead to blisters forming underneath the toenail. Often, ill-fitting shoes are the cause of this, due to either reduced or excess area in the toe box. Alternatively, moisture on your feet and in the shoes can cause excessive movement meaning additional friction is occurring. This can be from running, or even walking, especially if you have a high daily step count. Runners are particularly susceptible to getting black toenails, especially those who run longer distances and train for marathons and ultra marathons due to higher volume and increased intensity, because of the forward pressure applied to the feet on impact and takeoff.

Alternatively, the underlying problem may not be your shoes at all. The fit of the shoe could be fine, but rather the excessive pressure is caused by other variables. What about socks? The thicker the socks, the more moisture they’re going to absorb, and the less room your feet will have in shoes, increasing the likelihood of friction between your toes and the shoe’s outer material and toe box. All major sportswear brands manufacture moisture-wicking socks since the socks are performance-based.

Or, it may be the way you tie your shoelaces, which may cause undue stress on certain parts of your foot. Different lacing techniques include diagonal lacing, loop lacing, cross-over lacing, skip lacing, speed lacing and extra eyelet lacing, all of which serve different purposes and vary in pressure across the foot. In case you’re unsure of the size, or type, of shoe to buy, come visit us in-person.

Keeping your toenails clipped to a safe-but-not-too-short length (which in and of itself can be a problem if your nails are trimmed improperly, or too short), dry and clean can also help reduce the frequency of blisters and ultimately black toenails. For more tips and an in-person consultation, visit a foot specialist at Toronto’s Feet First Clinic.

One-time trauma

Second, there’s one-time impact, which can be from something as simple as dropping an object on your foot. Blood vessels can break, causing bleeding underneath your toe, thus turning your toenail black. This is referred to as subungual hematoma.

Fortunately, if the underlying problem is from one of the above two scenarios, time will allow for the toenail to grow out, and you can clip them every so often and take a fraction off the nail each time. Eventually, the blackened portion of the toenail will be reduced, until the area returns to pre-existing condition. Generally, one-time trauma (if minor) and repetitive use do not require medical attention, unless you want to drain the blood pooled underneath the toenail, then it’s best for a chiropodist to do so. This is to relieve the pressure between the nail and the underlying area. (Some decide to drain the blood at home, but you should proceed with caution when draining blood from beneath the nail. Others recommend using a tiny drill-bit, if you feel so inclined to take matters into your own hands. If you do end up draining the blood yourself, ensure the sharp object is sterile.)

 

Red Nail Polish On Foot

 

In general, it’s recommended that you limit the amount of nail polish you apply to the toenail, even if you want to cover up the discolouring, because it limits the breathing the nail can do. Toenail condition can deteriorate quickly if it’s not given the proper treatment, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re concerned about the aesthetic. (Oddly enough, some runners consider black toenails as a sort of right of passage, given that it may mean they’re training harder than they ever have before.)

However, if the trauma is serious enough, the toenail may fall off entirely. Reminder: toenails take weeks, not days, to grow back. If there’s no bleeding involved, it’s safe to leave it be. If the toenail is only partially off, clip it down so it doesn’t get caught on a sock, and ripped off. Be patient and let your body run its course.

In any case which the pain increases, there is excessive bleeding or signs of infection, seek medical treatment from a professional.

 

Other reasons

If the discolouring of your foot ranges from more than just black, as a result of trauma, then consult a medical professional and head to your doctor for treatment. A black toenail could also be a fungal infection, and can be treated with oral medication over a period of a few months.

 

To prevent exercise-induced black toenails, consider checking out Toronto’s Feet First Clinic.