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366 Hespeler Road Unit #12
Cambridge, Ontario N1R 6J6

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Barefoot Running, Hype or Healthy? - Part II



This week we will conclude our discussion of running barefoot.. Last week, we investigated the potential advantages of running barefoot so this week we will discuss the cons.

Cons of Barefoot Running

-          In “forefoot strikers,” i.e. those runners who land on their forefoot while running, barefoot Rrunning can increase the load on the forefoot. This predisposes to injury of this area, particularly metatarsal stress fractures.

-          The muscles of the back of the leg work much harder while running barefoot and this predisposes to posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis and other sprains and strains

-          The fat pad of the foot is subjected to 150% more pressure while running barefoot than in shoes, leading to concerns of fat pad atrophy which can lead to callus buildup or wounds in high risk individuals

-          The risk  abrasion, scratches, splinters and wounds is significantly higher in  barefoot running. In high risk individual such as diabetics, barefoot running can quickly lead to infection

After consulting the science and our conclusion is that there really is no concrete answer or solution to whether barefoot running can be beneficial! Therefore, every runner will have to make that decision individually. But having a foot exam can tell you if you have conditions or injuries which will make barefoot running harder on your feet. So, give us a call to learn more! 

Happy Sunday! 

    Did you know that our ancestors were actually very strong runners? This is because homo sapiens, prior to the advent of weapons, had to chase their prey until the animal was too exhausted to continue running. And because the first running shoe did not come about until about 1890, we know that homo sapiens were definitely running barefoot. Because of this, many runners believe running is simply in our genes. This information has made runners ask the question, “why wear running shoes?” Just Google the subject of barefoot running and you will find thousands of accounts of runners whose knee hip and foot injuries were “cured” by switching out of shoe gear toward barefoot running.  However, studies also have shown that the biggest deterrent to trying barefoot running is fear of injury. So which is it? This week we will examine the science behind why barefoot running can be beneficial. Next week we will look at its cons!

The Benefits of Running Barefoot

  • Studies show runners land softer and more gently when running barefoot. This is because barefoot running is asscoatied with a shorter stride length, meaning the distance between two heel strikes of the same foot is shorter. This shorter stride length alters the impact of running and leads to reduced stress on the foot
  • Running barefoot seems to increase input to the neuromuscular system of the body. This ultimately means that runners who are running barefoot report more balance and less falls
  • Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown that barefoot running does not result in fallen arches. In fact one study found that there was an increased arch height in subjects who had been running  barefoot for 3+ months
  • Hip and knee joints experience less abnormal rotation and motion when running barefoot, and this can reduce the risk of injury to these joints
  • There is less stress on the metatarsal bones of the feet when barefoot running, suggesting reduced forefoot pain  in runners who have had previous injury

So there you have it- the potential benefits of running barefoot. Don’t make your decision just yet though- stay tuned until next week when we discuss the cons of running without shoes. Questions? Give us a call at 519-624-4122.

Happy Spring!


Lets talk Sports Medicine!

We have heard a lot about stretching and its importance both before and after exercise.  But have you ever been at the gym and noticed that most people walk for five to ten minutes on the treadmill before doing anything else?  This five minute warm up is actually very important for injury prevention- even in the feet!  Here are some reasons why:

A warm up:

Increases oxygen delivery to the tissues, even those far-away toes!

Getting the body into warm-up mode helps to increase heart rate, which in turn increases blood flow to the distal extremities- i.e. the toes! Blood carries oxygen and oxygen is necessary for normal functioning, healing and tissue regeneration, so increasing activity slowly to get that heart rate up before intense activity will help prevent injury in the long run.

Increases the elasticity of muscles

Muscles subjected to warm-up prior to vigorous exercise are pre-lengthened and are subjected to less damage and injury than those that are not warmed-up. Bottom line? Warm-up prevents over-stretch and tear of muscles.

Increases joint range of motion

This ultimately prevents injury by reminding the joints that they can move further than they are normally required to do during normal gait. By doing this slowly and gently prior to intense activity, joints are protected from overexertion.

Increases cardiovascular activity

As we mentioned earlier, increase CVS activity increases heart rate and circulation, which ultimately increases performance and aids injury prevention. But remember the heart is also a muscle and warming it up helps it to be better prepared for an intense workout. Increased blood flow also helps to clear metabolites. Metabolites buildup in muscles and cause cramps during activity if they aren’t adequately cleared.

We hope that this brief outline will convince you to warm up prior to your next hard workout! If you have any questions, or think your problems are more significant than warming up- call us at 519-624-4122! We can likely help! 


A common question we often get regarding our line is work is “why feet?” While, each of us here at Achilles has our own particular reason for choosing the foot health profession, we can all agree on one thing, and that is that feet are a  more important factor in health and well-being than most people think. Here are some things you may not have known about your feet, but shed light on why a visit to a podiatrist/chiropodist may not be a bad idea.

  1. Feet can tell your health story

From blue spots to black nails to swollen toes to itchy feet- we have seen it all, and the list goes on. These small and seemingly benign changes can be indicators of underlying systemic conditions such as malignancy, arthritis, or peripheral arterial disease. Something you barely even noticed could be an indicator of a bigger problem. Your chiropodist will examine your feet on your first visit and make referrals accordingly.

  1. Don’t get a pedicure before you visit us!

Why not? Because we will likely just take it off. We want to see the condition of your nails, especially if we are providing you with nailcare or performing a diabetic assessment. Additionally, just for your information, nail salons are often a breeding ground for fungal infections. Try to be cautious when choosing a salon!

  1. Try to be honest when we ask you what medications you are taking

This is a big one. We often are given an incredulous look when we ask patients for full disclosure on their medications. However, medications can be a huge factor in some of the symptoms patients come in to our office with. For example, diuretics cause itching and cramping in the lower limb. Other antihypertensives cause swelling of the lower limb. Cancer drugs can cause tingling and numbness. There are so many reasons why being as honest as possible is in your best interest when you come visit us!

  1. Footwear can make or break your mobility later in life- seriously.

And pointy pumps are actually terrible for your feet.   Footwear is a major factor in the development of hallux abducto valgus (HAV), otherwise known as bunions. Bunions, in their earliest stages don’t pose much of a problem. But the later stages of bunions involve complete dislocation of the first metatarsalphalangeal joint of the foot. This joint is responsible for producing toe off in gait. Without it, major problems can persist. And with the increased popularity of pointed dress shoes for men, bunions are no longer a problem for just women.

These are just some details that may help prepare you for your first visit to the chiropodist! If you have more questions, call us at 519-624-4122.  Looking forward to seeing you!

January 25, 2016
Category: General Foot Care
Tags: Raynauds   Cold feet   blue feet  

Brr, its cold out there! It looks like after that balmy December, winter has finally arrived! And its a cold one, to say the least. While most of us can beat the cold by dressing as warmly as possible and doubling up on layers, the reality is, some people cannot get warm, particularly in their toes and feet.  Indeed, there are a couple of specific medical conditions which make a person’s feet colder than usual, and on days like today, this coldness can become hard to bear.  The good news? A registered Chiropodist can be there to assist with the problems associated with these conditions, and make the day-to-day better for our patients.

Before we discuss treatment, we need to discuss the conditions:


This condition occurs following exposure to cold in which the affected body part (often toes) becomes itchy, red and swollen for 7-14 days. The condition represents s a form of localized vasculitis, which simply means inflamed blood vessels. The development of a swollen digit often appears suddenly and can be alarming to patients if they haven’t seen it before. Sometimes the entire foot can become swollen.

Reynaud’s Phenomenon

This is a fairly common condition in which there is reduced blood flow to the digits of the feet and hands.  This condition is characterised by attacks which are usually initiated by a rapid change in temperature, causing the affected body part to change colours. First, the body part becomes white, then blue and finally bright red.  When people see blue toes, they generally become very concerned.  The blue occurs due to reduction in blood flow and the red occurs at the end of the attack when blood flow to the digit increases.  This condition can affect anyone but most commonly affects young women.  Reynaud’s attacks can also be precipitated by strong emotions such as stress or anxiety. This condition can happen on its own or in combination with other diseases. When it’s in combination with other diseases, it’s called Secondary Raynauds.


So now that you know what these conditions are, we can discuss treatment. For both conditions, keeping the feet as warm as possible is the only real treatment.  Keeping the home and office warm, regular daily exercise and avoidance of vasoconstrictors such as caffeine may also help. In cases of chilblains, your chiropodist may be able to prescribe a topical corticosteroid which could be helpful for symptom relief.

If you have cold feet and toes that extend beyond that of what you consider to be “normal,” then you should call us at 519-624-4122! We can help!


Stay warm and Happy Monday!

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366 Hespeler Road
Cambridge, Ontario N1R 6J6

Chiropodist - Cambridge, Douglas C. Broad, D.Ch, 366 Hespeler Road, Cambridge Ontario, N1R 6J6 519-624-4122