May 11, 2021
When it comes to healthcare, sometimes there can be some confusion about what type of specialist you need to see. For instance, “chiropodist” and “podiatrist” are two terms that refer to regulated foot specialists in Ontario. Rest assured, there is no need to worry about potentially booking an appointment with the wrong specialist. Chances are that will not happen. With this in mind, you may have several questions, and we’re here to answer those for you! They may include:
- What type of foot specialist should I book an appointment with?
- Are there differences between a Chiropodist and a podiatrist?
- If I book an appointment with one or the other, will I be making a mistake?
What Is The Difference Between A Chiropodist And A Podiatrist?
First, the information provided in this article will reflect Ontario healthcare standards and definitions. Other countries or provinces may have different definitions for the terms. Furthermore, one may think that a podiatrist can offer more than a chiropodist in terms of foot care, however, this is not true.
Licensed chiropodists in Ontario are trained to assess and treat all dermatological and structural Foot conditions. Furthermore, they’re equipped to prescribe medicinal ointments, topical creams,Custom orthotics and more. Chiropodists are also able to perform most minor Foot surgeries on the toenails, skin and tissue.
There are four differences between a chiropodist and a podiatrist worth noting:
- Chiropodists obtain post-secondary certification in chiropody. Before that two year program, many chiropodists study science during their undergraduate studies. Afterwards, they register with theCollege of Chiropodists of Ontario. Podiatrists obtain a Doctor of Podiatric degree and thenRegister with the same college.
- There are a lot more licensed chiropodists practicing in Ontario than podiatrists. Ontario chiropodistnotes over600 practicingchiropodists, and 60 podiatrists. As a result, you could argue that it is easier to find a qualified chiropodist. Likewise, you can be seen for an assessment quickly.
- Podiatry services are partially covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). While chiropody services are not covered under OHIP, most private insurers and extended health care plans offer chiropody coverage. If you do not have coverage, you can speak with your chiropodist about adjusting your treatment plan. You can also deduct your chiropody services when filing your taxes.
- Podiatrists can perform surgeries on the bones in your feet, whereas chiropodists cannot; however chiropodistscan perform minor foot surgeries on the toenails, skin and tissue.
Who Should I Schedule An Appointment With?
Chiropodists can treat your foot conditions and can provide you with the appropriate care. You may need podiatry services in some cases, such as if your doctor suspects you will need a bone surgery, such as Bunion correction. Even if you do have bunions and require treatment, you should seek a surgical fix as a last resort. Bunions can also be treated using other methods by a chiropodist.
If you’re still feeling unsure, you can talk to your family doctor. They will help you make sure you book an appointment with the right healthcare professional. Podiatrists can sometimes be more suitable if you need urgent foot surgery. Chiropodists are ideal if you would like to form a relationship with a specialist and build a long term foot care plan, as well as for:
- Comprehensive treatment plans for foot conditions causing foot pain, skin conditions, structural abnormalities, and more
- Custom orthotic fitting
- Shoe fittings
- Orthopaedic footwear
- Compression stocking fittings
- Video gait analysis
- Sports injuries
- Minor surgeries of the nails, skin, and foot tissues
Please note, you do not need a referral to book an appointment with a foot specialist.
Are You In Need Of Foot Care?
Our Bloor West foot clinic is here to help! Call us even to ask a quick question. We’d be happy to point you in the right direction! Our Toronto foot specialists are eager to help you achieve your goal of happy and healthy feet.
Call us at 416-769-FEET (3338)or Book Your Assessment Today!
Here’s to Many More Years of Foot Care!
At Feet First Clinic, we’re always excited to welcome new clients! After a successful 12 years of treating our amazing patients, we’re ready to continue offering only the best foot care services and products. Give us a call to ask our friendly staff any questions you may have! Our Toronto foot specialists are ready to help!
Call us at416-769-3338orBook Your Assessment Today!
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January 23, 2023
Beau’s Lines on Nails: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Have you ever noticed horizontal lines or grooves lengthwise across your nails? The nail abnormality is called Beau's lines. You may develop Beau's lines after trauma to the nail, or it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.Today's blog article explores Beau's lines, potential causes, and treatment methods. Keep read to learn more aboutBeau's lines and how to keep your nails healthy and strong.What are Beau's lines?Beau's lines are a type of nail abnormality. They are indentations, grooves, or lines that run horizontally across the nails. The condition can affect any number of fingernails or toenails. Amongst your toenails, the big toe is the most common culprit. Curious as to why they're referred to as Beau's lines? French physician Joseph Honoré Simon Beau first discovered the condition, hence the name.What causes Beau's lines on nails?A temporary disruption in the growth of the nail matrixcauses Beau's lines. They are symptoms of an underlying illness, medical, or skin condition. They appear when average nail growth is interrupted, and the blemishes appear due to irregular keratin (skin cells) development. Once you can identify and treat the underlying cause, normal nail growth may resume.Identifying Beau's lines can be delayed because of the nail growth rate. Toenails grow at~1.60 mm per month, so nail growth delays Beau's lines' arrival. The lines appear roughly 2-3 weeks after damage or cause sets in.The number and distinctiveness of Beau's lines can provide insights and clues into possible causes. For instance: One Beau's line on a single toenail may indicate a less severe injury. Beau's lines on multiple nails may indicate higher stress levels or a more severe injury/illness. Several rows of Beau's lines on each toenail with a gap in between may indicate multiple traumas over time, but not at once. FewerbutthickerBeau's lines may signify a chronic injury or illness.Beau's lines may occur for several reasons. Possible causes include: Illness or severe stress. Being ill or stressed can divert your body's resources and nutrients away from nail growth. Blood flow interference due to an illness or infection is the culprit. Certain illnesses or infections can cause Beau's lines, including: Viral infections Heart attack High fever Measles Mumps Pneumonia Strep infections Raynaud's disease COVID-19.Astudy published in the National Library of Medicine noted that COVID-19 might cause Beau's lines. The coronavirus is by no means the sole cause of Beau's lines but can be a trigger. As such, Beau's lines are sometimes known as "COVID nails." Nail trauma.Acute or chronic trauma to your toenails can interrupt nail growth and cause Beau's lines. For example, you may stub your toe, drop an item on your foot, or wear ill-fitting shoes that add undue pressure to your toes and toenails. Damage to the nail matrix—the part of the nail where growth starts—is notably correlated with Beau's lines as growth is interrupted at the root. Skin conditions.Skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis, can damage your nail matrix. Vitamin or nutrient deficiencies.Particular vitamin and nutrient deficiencies can interrupt nail growth. For instance, biotin deficiencyis known to cause brittle nails and affect nail growth. Zinc deficiency is also linked to the nail condition. Chemotherapy side effects. Approximately23% of anti-cancer therapy patientsreport nail changes. Changes to the nail may include Beau's lines. Paronychia.Inflammation of the skin around the nails (known as paronychia) can cause Beau's lines.How do I treat Beau's lines?[caption id="attachment_28118" align="alignnone" width="1920"] Moisturizing dry, itchy skin, both the byproducts of skin conditions, can help reduce the damage to the nail fold.[/caption]There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for Beau's lines, nor is there a specific treatment for the condition per se. The key is to address the underlying cause - whether it be a medical condition or acute trauma - rather than the symptom (i.e.: what you see on your nails).Below are several possible treatment methods you can try, depending on the underlying condition: Allow the nail to grow out. Nail growth is approximately 1 mm every 6-10 days. Letting the nail grow and slowly trimming the tips reduce the appearance of lines on the toenail. The entire toenail should grow out within 6-8 months. Apply creams or moisturizers for eczema or psoriasis. Moisturizing dry, itchy skin, both the byproducts of skin conditions, can help reduce the damage to the nail fold. Avoid salon manicures, artificial nails or harsh nail products. Avoiding harsh chemicals and products can help reduce the trauma of the nail matrix. Mask the ridges with nail polish. Nail polish is a cosmetic treatment to hide the grooves from Beau's lines. However, some nail polishes can weaken the nail, so be cautious about your product. Geta medical pedicurefrom a licensed chiropodist to encourage proper nail growth, perform a thorough examination, and eliminate onychophosis (the buildup of skin cells in the nail folds, nail plate and cuticles). Take biotin supplements. Some studies suggest that taking biotin can increase nail plate thicknessby 25%. Generally, adults 19+ should be consuming30-35 mgof biotin per day.[caption id="attachment_28619" align="alignnone" width="960"] Biotin and Zinc supplements are believed to help nail growth.[/caption]If you find Beau's lines persisting, or worsening, it's recommended to contact a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
January 19, 2023
Restless Leg Syndrome: Everything You Need to Know
Do you have an irresistible urge to move your legs while trying to relax? If this sounds like you, you may suffer from restless leg syndrome.There are countless leg conditions out there, some directly related to the vast array offoot conditionswe treat atFeet First Clinic. However, many people do not even recognize restless leg syndrome as an issue. For instance, if you're someone with a lot of natural energy and pep, you may think your jittery legs are normal. But unbeknownst to you, your restless legs result from a neurological disorder affectingroughly 5% of the general populationand 10% of people over 65 years old.Today's article will address everything you need to know about restless leg syndrome, including: What is restless leg syndrome? Symptoms of restless leg syndrome Causes of restless leg syndrome Restless leg syndrome treatment Home remedies for restless leg syndromeWhat is Restless Leg Syndrome?Restless leg syndrome(RLS) is a neurological sleep disorder that causes an unpleasant sensation in the legs and an uncontrollable desire to move them. Symptoms typically arise when people are at rest, such as while watching a movie,sitting at a deskor trying to fall asleep at night. Furthermore, moving the legs can provide temporary relief, but RLS symptoms will appear again when you fall back into a sedentary position.RLS is also calledWillis-Ekbom Disease.Symptoms of Restless Leg SyndromeThe primary symptom of RLS is, of course,a nagging desire to move your legs.Usually, we encourage high energy levels and love when people want to move their limbs and be active. However, whileexercisingis excellent for fightingfoot pain and getting into shape, this fidgety, uncontrollable feeling can be distressing when trying to relax. In other words, it's important to understand that RLS is a serious problem that shouldn't be diminished, and it's critical to differentiate between RLS and being physically energetic.To gain a better understanding of whether or not you may have RLS, you can look out for the following symptoms: An unpleasant feeling in the legs. RLS patients have described the feeling in numerous ways, from a "crawling" sensation to electric pulsing. Other ways to describe the sensation include aching, itching, throbbing, pulling and "creeping." An inability to settle into a sedentary position.RLS sensations kick in when you're trying to relax or are in a place where you can't move for a while. You may be seated on an airplane for hours or simply trying to fall asleep in bed after a long day. Moreover, you'll notice the symptoms subside when you start to move again. Daytime drowsiness and a lack of sleep. RLS can be a significant contributor to insomnia and is technically a sleep disorder, so it's essential to seek medical attention when you notice an impact on your sleep schedule.Causes of Restless Leg SyndromeThere areno known causes of most cases of RLS. That said, scientific evidence suggests the following risk factors may play a role in RLS development: RLS is slightly more common inseniors,likely becausediabetic neuropathy, end-stage renal disease and hemodialysis are known risk factors. Specific medicationscan make RLS symptoms worse. Some examples include antihistamines, anti-nausea and anti-emetic drugs, antidepressant medications and antipsychotic medications. Aniron deficiency can contribute to RLS. Genetics can play a role in RLS development. Between 40-90 percent of affected individuals have at least one first-degree relative with RLS, like a parent or sibling. For unknown reasons,women are more likelyto experience RLS than men.Restless Leg Syndrome TreatmentIt may seem like nothing will help your restless legs. Since the symptoms are quite strange, it may feel like you simply have to put up with them. But rest assured, there are ways you can make your life much more comfortable while dealing with RLS: Compression stockings: Compression wear is known to help with aches and alleviate sedentary symptoms, so it may be beneficial for those with RLS. More specifically, the National Library of Medicinenotes that when light pressure is applied to the limbs, it can act as a counter-stimuli to the uncomfortable feeling RLS causes. The feeling of pressure essentially overpowers the other sensations. Massage therapy: Registered massage therapy may prompt dopamine release in the body. It can also alleviate tension in the skin and muscles. Medications: Dopamine-related medications, iron supplements, benzodiazepines (and other sleep-inducing drugs), and alpha-2 delta drugs (calcium channel blockers) may be prescribed by your family doctor.[caption id="attachment_28668" align="alignnone" width="960"] Benefits of Compression Stockings from Sigvaris Group[/caption]Home Remedies for Restless Leg SyndromeSometimes, your RLS symptoms will bother you before you can see your family doctor or get a compression stocking fitting with a chiropodist. If you're waiting around for treatment and becoming progressively more uncomfortable, these at-home remedies may help: Hot baths:The warm temperature of bath water can"distract" your muscles when RLS sensations arise. Restricting caffeine and alcohol:Stimulants and depressants can hurt your sleep. However, if you suffer from severe RLS, restricting caffeine may not do much, but it can be helpful in mild cases. Likewise, alcohol can make you sleepy, but it also tends to wake people up in the middle of the night. Ice packs:Cold compresses can "distract" your muscles like hot water can. Exercises:Foot and leg stretches, specifically flexing the ankles and performing toe circles, can help provide relief. That said, sudden vigorous exercise isn't always recommended for people with RLS. Instead, you should ease into moderate routines. Magnesium and Calcium:These supplements may decrease muscle spasms. For the best results, take them before bed. Valerian and Passionflower: These herbs may relax your muscles and trigger sleep.
January 16, 2023
Toenail Pitting: What is it?
Fact:Your toenails can give you clues about your overall health. That's right, the state of your nails, including toenails, can indicate an underlying health condition. Conversely, healthy nails can be a sign of a healthy lifestyle.The state of our toenails can differ in a lot of ways. Toenails can splinter, thicken, thin, peel, dry out, break, and pit.Toenail pittingis the focus of this article.Below, you'll learn about toenail anatomy, the basics of pitting, signs, treatment methods, and preventative measures to keep your nails in good shape.Toenail anatomyBefore we delve into the details of toenails and pitting, we must understand their anatomy and the part it plays for our feet.Toenails are the plate-like covers on our toes. Alpha-keratin, a type of protein, comprises toenails. Alpha-keratin is the same protein building block for hair and the outermost layer of our skin (the epidermis). Generally, the toenail is about 0.5 mm thick and slightlycurved.The toenail consists of several distinct components. The toenail includes the nail plate, the cuticle, and the nail folds surrounding the nail's perimeter. The part referred to as the toenail colloquially is the "nail plate."What's toenail pitting?Pitting, by definition, is an indentation. Toenail pitting follows the same logic. Pitting of the nail occurs when tiny dents or "pits" form in the nail plate. Toenail pitting is a type of nail abnormality.Toenail indents can be shallow and only recognizable by touch. Deep toenail pits may be visible due to their concave nature. Within the grooves, some parts of the pitting may be deeper than others, just as there are deeper and shallow parts of a pit.Nail pitting is generally more common for fingernails, but toenails are also affected.What causes toenail pitting?There are several causes for toenail pitting. Toenail pitting reasons range from external trauma to an underlying medical condition. Learn about the various causes of toenail pitting below.Nail psoriasisPsoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that can cause toenail pitting. Those with nail psoriasis producetoo many skin cells, causing nail irregularities. According toHealthline.com, approximately 80% of those with psoriatic arthritis experience nail irregularities or changes.You may be able to recognize nail psoriasis because oftwo related symptoms: discolouration and nail bed separation. There area few groups more likely to develop nail psoriasis. At-risk factors include: People who are over 40 (though psoriasis may occur at any age) Males Genetics Psoriatic arthritisAccording toa studypublished in the National Library of Medicine, psoriasis can cause toenail pits "remarkably even in size and depth. Their distribution may be haphazard or sometimes arranged in parallel transverse or short longitudinal lines."Though psoriasis is not curable, you can mask the effects of toenail pitting. You can buff or apply nail polish to hide the indents and improve the aesthetic.Nail eczemaEczemais a condition that causes itchy and red skin. The disease can cause nail thickening or pitting when eczema targets the feet.Habit-tic deformity[caption id="attachment_28461" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Habit-tic deformity on the fingernail.[/caption]The habit-tic deformityis a nail conditionsimilarto toenail pitting with several differences. When you constantly pick at your nails, external trauma can create pits in your nail. The habit-tic deformity is most common on the fingernails, specifically the thumbs, but it can also happen on your toenails. For instance, if you sit cross-legged or have your feet at arm's reach, you may develop a habit of picking at your toenails.The defining features of habit-tic deformity are horizontal ridges across the nail and a slight depression in the middle of the nail plate. The habit-tic deformity is not severe andtypically healsif left alone. The condition is known as "washboard nails" because of the horizontal nail ridges.Reiter's syndrome/reactive arthritisThose with reactive arthritis may experience toenail pitting. An infection or bacterial infection elsewhere in the body can cause reactive arthritis, also known as Reiter's syndrome. People with a specific type of gene are more likely to develop the condition, as it's believedto be genetic.How do you fix nail pitting?Toenail pitting fixes vary. In some cases, like psoriasis, there is no cure. Cosmetic procedures are an option to mask the effects. Removing external trauma can help reverse toenail pitting in cases like a habit-tic deformity.Additional treatment options include medication applied to the nail itself. Options include steroids, salicylic acid, calcipotriol, cyanoacrylate adhesive (for the habit-tic deformity) and tazarotene.Is nail pitting serious?In most cases, nail pitting as a symptom isn't severe. Nail pitting is more often a cosmetic issue than a medical issue. However, the underlying conditions that cause toenail pitting can vary in severity.
January 9, 2023
Red Toes: Should You Worry?
There can be a range of discolouration in your toes. The most common is a pinkish/red hue - a sign of red toes.Red toes may result from cold temperatures, toe injury, infection, or potential medical conditions. Red toe onset may be immediate, or red toe onset may be progressive. The redness often resolves itself, but it may sometimes present symptoms of underlying medical conditions.Learn more about red toes and potential risks in our article below!Why are my toes red and itchy?Several causes result in redness in your toes. Red toes result from inflammation, injury, temperature,skin irritation, andinfection. Varying degrees of redness may indicate the severity of damage to the toes. In some cases, redness may subside independently, while others may require medical attention.What medical conditions cause red toes?There are a variety of medical conditions that induce red toes. Red toe causes range from skin conditions to musculoskeletal damage to infection. Below, we've categorized medical conditions that cause red toes by severity. Note that all medical conditions can have varying degrees of severity, so use this list as a reference, not a diagnosis.Lower severityLow-severity medical conditions that cause red toes are short-term causes and often subside independently. Proper attention and care are required to prevent additional damage. However, low-severity medical conditions that cause red toes are more surface-level and less cause for concern.BlistersAblister is a small fluid-filled bubble that forms just under the outer layer of the skin. The fluid (usually a serum, rarely blood) is a natural cushion to protect the tissue underneath from friction and irritation. Fortunately, blisters often heal on their own once the source of friction is eliminated. As tempting as it may be, avoid popping the blister and allow it to heal naturally.FrostnipFrostnip is a mild, non-severe cold injury to the skin and tissue. As such, frostnip doesn't cause permanent damage. You can treat frostnip with basic first aid. Above all else, you should try to escape the cold as quickly as possible. Possible complications include infection and temporary nerve damage, which are rare if caught at the frostnip stage.Stubbed toeAstubbed toeoccurs any time you jam your toe against another object. A stubbed toe is a trauma injury. The injury results from a one-time accident. Depending on the severity, damage to the toe may cause swelling and inflammation, muscle injury, and even bone fractures.Contact dermatitisContact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash triggered by an allergic reaction. The skin's response to an irritant causes inflammation, followed by a rash. Contact dermatitis isn't contagious nor life-threatening, but it can be very uncomfortable. Soaps, plants, detergents, or jewelry have the potential to cause an allergic reaction.One can treat and prevent contact dermatitis by identifying and removing environmental allergens. A doctor can also prescribe topical medications to help treat flare-ups.Athlete's footFungal skin infections are a common culprit of red toes. Athlete's foot is one such common fungal skin.Athlete's foot is a prevalent cause of the redness. The toe fungus is not life-threatening, but it is contagious and may spread elsewhere on your body or even to other people. It can also cause foot pain and difficulty walking if left untreated.Nail infectionParonychia is an infection of your nail folds typically caused by bacteria or a fungus and can cause toe pain and swelling, which causes redness and the appearance of red toes.Ingrown toenailAn ingrown toenail is a nail condition that targets the toes, mainly the big toe. As the name applies, it occurs when the sides or edges of the toenail grow into the skin. As the nail pierces the skin, it can cause bleeding, redness and pain. If left untreated, the ingrown toenail can get infected.Moderate severityModerate-severity causes of red toes are more severe and may be longer-lasting. Symptoms and recovery time may vary, and pain and discomfort may be more intense and significant. You may require medical assistance to determine the diagnosis and treatment method(s).GoutGout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by heightened uric acid in the blood. Elevated uric acid levels lead to the formation of crystal deposits in the joint. The joint then becomes red, hot, swollen, and painful. The initial attack of this condition is usually sudden, with symptoms lasting for about a week. The most common joint it affects is the joint that connects your big toe to the rest of the foot. If left untreated, gout attacks may reoccur, increase in severity and lead to enduring joint damage.Frostbite (superficial)Superficialfrostbiteis a stage more severe than frostnip. Cold temperatures damage the skin and the underlying tissues in your toes. Blisters form 24-36 hours after rewarming, and you may experience pain and discomfort for several days.Higher severityMore serious medical conditions that cause red toes may be chronic or permanent. These conditions can be irreversible and limit the motor function of your toes. Surgery may be a last-resort treatment option in severe cases.Rheumatoid ArthritisRheumatoid arthritis ("RA") is an auto-immune disease that causes chronic jointinflammation. RA causes periodic flare-ups of joint pain, stiffness and swelling, eventually making movement difficult. Although there is no cure, you can manage the condition with proactive and diligent treatment focusing on your overall health and well-being.DiabetesDiabetes can cause a chain reaction in your body that hinders circulation to the feet and toes. People with diabetes may experience two conditions that cause red toes: peripheral vascular disease and nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy). Nerve damage and reduced circulation can cause an itchy or numbing pain in the toes. Diabetes can also hinder the body's ability to fight less severe conditions due to reduced immune response and blood circulation.Frostbite (deep)Deep frostbiteis the most severe form of cold damage to the skin. Your skin or tissue may turn red and black and die altogether. You may sometimes lose muscle function and require surgery to remove part of the toe.BunionsAbunionis a foot condition of the first metatarsophalangeal joint. Bunions occur when the big toe misaligns. The shift in bone structure causes what appears to be a bony outgrowth. The outgrowth is simply the angling of your toes. The damage to the joint causes pain and redness, and the increased volume of your toes can make wearing shoes uncomfortable. Without proper footwear or orthotics, you can further aggravate your bunions.Bunions are irreversible and have no "cure" other than surgery. However, physical therapy and accommodations, like orthotics and proper footwear, improve quality of life.How can I prevent my toes from turning red?Treatment and prevention for red toes depend on the severity of the underlying medical condition. Generally, low-severity medical or skin conditions are treated simply through rest and recovery. For low-severity conditions, the goal should be to focus on "How do I prevent this from getting worse?"; whereas for high-severity needs, much of the damage has been done and is irreversible. For more severe red toe conditions, the focus is more geared towards improving quality of life and implementing tools to improve mobility, like custom foot orthotics or orthopedic footwear.We've created a treatment guideline below: Low severity.Low-grade medical or skin red toe conditions are treatable, often at home. Treatment methods include topical creams or prescription medication, rest, recovery, taping, or changing footwear. Further prevention should focus on recognizing signs and symptoms of red toes early and followingproper foot hygiene. Moderate severity.Moderate severity medical or skin red toe conditions are a mix of prevention and treatment. A proper diagnosis is often required, followed by a treatment plan. Rest and recovery may be part of the treatment plan, but the recovery may be longer (weeks, not days). Like low-severity causes, prevention should focus on recognizing signs and symptoms of red toes early and following proper foot hygiene. Higher severity.Severe medical or skin red toe conditions are often irreversible and have no cure. Treatment methods focus on improving motor function, mobility, and well-being through orthopedic tools and physical therapy.
January 3, 2023
The top of your foot is one of the most common areas to experience everyday foot pain. The muscles and tendons within the top side of your foot play a critical part in how you move. The top of the foot can be easily overworked and damaged, leading to various foot conditions.Some symptoms and top-of-foot conditions are short-lived. Other top-of-foot symptoms can signal an underlying condition elsewhere in your foot or leg.This article teaches about five potential causes (and solutions) for top-of-foot pain.Cause 1: Foot SprainA foot sprain occurs when the ligaments in your foot stretch beyond their limit and become damaged. Foot sprains can vary in location. An ankle sprain is likely to be more of a forefoot sprain. A midfoot sprain is more likely to affect the front half of your foot.Cause: Acute trauma causes foot sprain. Acute trauma refers to a one-time impact of an incident where you put your foot in an awkward or uncomfortable position. Your tendons are stretched beyond their limit and lose some elasticity. Your tendons may develop micro tears or more serious strains. More severe forms of acute trauma can result in a stress fracture or a hairline break of the bone.Solution: Foot sprains require rest and recovery to heal. Rest allows your tendons to repair themselves and regain their elasticity. Ice and elevating your legs above your body can help promote healing and may quicken the recovery process. If the injury persists, or you have difficulty moving, you should visit your family doctor.Taping can also act as an additional support system. A chiropodist can skillfully tape your feet.Taping works by providing additional support and "locking" your feet to avoid re-aggravating the injury.Cause 2: TendonitisInflammation of the tendons in the foot can cause top-of-foot pain. Damage to the tendons is known as tendonitis.Cause: Extensor tendonitis can causepain in the top of the foot. The extensor tendons are the tendons that run along the topside of your foot. The tendons help you straighten your feet and lift your toes. The extensor tendons play a critical role when running or walking. Chronic damage through overuse injuries can cause extensor tendonitis. Too much walking or running, or even too much of a weight-intensive activity too soon after any injury can cause extensor tendonitis.Solution:The best course of action for tendonitis is rest. Specifically, you want to avoid the source activity that causes aggravation. If the pain is intense, you can also take over-the-counter medications and visit your family doctor. They may refer you to a massage or physiotherapist. If the tendonitis persists or is disrupting your mobility, you should visit your family doctor.Cause 3: Athlete's FootAthlete's foot is a contagious fungal skin infection that affects the skin on the feet. Although athlete's foot, medically known as tinea pedis, sounds like it only affects sporty folks, it can affect anyone. Although not life-threatening, it's contagious and can be painful if left untreated.Cause:A fungus called dermatophytes causes athlete's foot. The fungus inhabits, grows, and survives off the outer layer of the skin. By extension, the fungus can also spread to other parts of the body and people, either directly or indirectly.You can catchathlete's footanywhere where fungus thrives. Fungi love warm, moist environments, such as communal showers, locker rooms and the decks around public swimming pools.Solution: Over-the-counter topical antifungals are the most common remedy for mild cases of athlete's foot in the early stages. However, fungal infections are notoriously persistent and stubborn. If your Athlete's foot persists, you should see a chiropodist, who can treat the skin on your feet and prescribe prescription anti-fungal creams. Our Toronto foot clinic also sells foot deodorants, including an antifungal foot spray, which are great for prevention and supplementing your athlete's foot treatment.While treating your athlete's foot infection, it's essential to do the following: Clean your socks and linens with bleach or hot water. The fungus can spread from your feet to these surfaces and re-infect you if not cleaned between uses. Clean any surfaces that your bare feet come into contact with Wash your feet once or more a day Ensure your feet are thoroughly dry after bathing or washing. Wear flip-flops or shoes in any place where you think you could catch athlete's footCause 4: Bone bruiseDamage to the bone itself can be painful and cause top-of-foot pain. There are varying degrees of bone damage, ranging from bruises to fractures.Cause: A bone bruise is an acute injury, less severe than a fracture. Bone bruises typically stem from a one-time event that causes damage to the foot. Dropping an object, rolling your ankle, or stubbing your foot on an object can cause damage to the bone itself. You may notice bruising (reddish/blueish) on the skin. When in doubt, an X-ray can determine the severity of a bone bruise.Solution: Treatment for a bone bruise includes the following: Rest Icing Elevating your leg so it's above your heart (to promote blood flow and reduce swelling) Taking anti-inflammatories or over-the-counter medications if the pain is intenseCause 5: Peroneal nerve injuryNerve damage can cause top-of-foot pain. The general term for nerve damage is known as peripheral neuropathy. When nerves are damaged, signals between your muscles and brain are disrupted, causing numbness, pain, and complete loss of sensation.Cause: Injury to the peroneal nerve, known as peroneal nerve dysfunction, can cause top-of-foot pain. Theperoneal nerveis outside our lower leg and just below the knee.For example, you may experience temporary numbness in your feet from peroneal nerve compression. Have your legs crossed, and your feet and toes go numb? Peroneal nerve compression causes the numbing and tingling sensation.There are several symptoms of peroneal nerve dysfunction. Signs can include: Foot drop Pain, weakness, or numbness on the top of the foot Inability to move the toes up and down Reduced mobility in the foot Abnormal knee lift to compensate for reduced motor functionSolution: You should visit your family doctor at the first sign of any nerve-related symptoms. They will conduct the necessary diagnostic investigations and refer you to the appropriate doctors. There are both surgical and nonsurgical treatments for peroneal nerve injury.Non-invasive treatments include orthotics, which can correct your gait and better distribute pressure within your feet. Additionally, physical therapy and foot-strengthening exercises to fortify the muscles in your feet can help improve mobility. If you have foot drop, an ankle-foot orthoticmay be recommended.You may require surgical treatment for more severe cases, including decompression surgery or nerve repair.Other causes of top-of-foot pain Tarsal tunnel syndrome: Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when the nerve inside one of the tunnels within your ankle compresses. Specifically, the posterior tibial nerve (within the tarsal tunnel) is compressed from injury, flat feet, or fallen arches. Bone spurs: Hallux rigidus, or arthritis of the big toe joint can cause bone spurs, which can lead to pain on the top of the foot. The bony outgrowths can put pressure on your foot or toe when wearing shoes and cause pain when lifting your toes due to the deteriorated joint. Ganglions: Ganglion cysts are fluid-filled bumps on the tendons or joints in the feet. The cyst itself doesn't cause pain, but if large enough, it can add pressure to the nerves in the same vicinity.
December 29, 2022
Cracked Heels and What to Do
Dry, cracked heels are a burden that several people suffer with. And as winter progresses and summer feels like a faraway dream, many people are on the look out for the perfect cracked heels remedy.But first, it's important to learn why cracked heels occur in the first place. Understanding this skin condition is the first step towards successful treatment and pain-free winter adventures!Today's blog will answer: What are cracked heels? What causes cracked heels? What are some cracked heels remedies?What Are Cracked Heels?Cracked heels, sometimes called heel fissures, develop when the bottom of your heels become hard and dry, splitting open the skin. Cracked heels may also stem from having excessive, thick calluses.As other symptoms progress, like flaking and crusting of the skin, dry cracked heels can become much more than a cosmetic issue. And while they don't often enter serious foot condition territory, deep cracked heels may start bleeding and cause severe pain, making it extremely difficult to move freely.What Causes Cracked Heels?You may assume that because you rarely go barefoot, that your heels shouldn't crack. But a variety of outside elements and risk factors can make your heels more vulnerable.Common Causes of Cracked Heels Cold weather: The cold temperatures and dry air you experience in winter are a recipe for cracked heel development. Removing your socks from the skin on your heels can feel like velcro, and you may find "foot dandruff" residue on your black socks as well. Wearing Ill-fitting footwear: The fat pad, or cushioning, under your heel will take on sufficient damage if you stand on your feet for long periods while wearing shoes with very minimal heel support. Wear flip-flops in the summer: Similarly, this can set you up for a worsening condition when winter rolls around. Using harsh soaps: This can strip away the skin's natural oil barriers, which can lead to dryness and eventually, cracked heels. The winter months can exacerbate this issue since people want to take long, hot baths more often.Cracked Heels: Risk Factors Age: Skin loses natural elasticity with age. Obesity:Holding extra weight can lead to excessive pressure on the heels. Having diabetes or a thyroid disorder:When diabetes damages the nerves in the feet, it can cause your feet to produce insufficient sweat, causing dryness. Hypothyroidism can cause a hormonal imbalance, leading to cracked heels.Cracked Heels RemediesNow that you know how this pesky condition started, it's time to find the cracked heel remedy that works best for you! Your best bet will be utilizing a combination of the following treatments:MoisturizeWithout moisturizing your feet, you won't be able to fully solved your cracked heels issue.Use products (oil-based balms and foot creams) with skin softening agents (urea is one of the most common), as these can boost the skin's natural moisture production and rid your feet of dead skin. For the best results, moisturize your feet twice a day, after showering or bathing.Check out this blog for more details on the best products for moisturizing your heels!Lifestyle ChangesSometimes a little goes a long way, and the perfect cracked heels remedy includes making changes.Try a complete footwear overhaul, which includes ditching shoes with little to no heel support and investing in supportive footwear. You can also try over-the-counter insoles that provide extra heel support.You should also exfoliate your feet and buff them with a foot file. However, make sure you do this as part of a routine and not just to rid yourself of current cracked heels.And lastly, switch from harsh, scented soaps to gentle, relatively scent-free products and assess what products you may be allergic.See Your ChiropodistYour trusted foot specialist can not only remove calluses on the feet, but they have extensive knowledge on foot care products and which ones would be best for you. Your chiropodist can also work to offload pressure on your heels, allowing the cracked to heal and close.