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

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Posts for tag: Orthotics

    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!


    Happy Friday Everyone! In keeping with our theme of “Footwear Friday” we thought we would discuss an area of our practice that does not often generate enough discussion.  You guessed it- footwear!  Let’s state the obvious: whether you have foot problems or not, footwear matters.  Wearing the wrong shoe can lead to multiple issues, if not now, down the road. For example, in women especially, wearing heels on a regular basis can lead to shortening of the Achilles tendon, Morton’s neuroma, and callous.  In diabetic or high-risk patients who are in the wrong footwear, the result can be devastating because ulceration, infection or amputation can ensue. Fortunately, there are some basic footwear tips that can help to make shopping for the right shoe easier, and can also help to prevent mobility problems later in life.

Some basic footwear tips include:

  • If wearing heels regularly, wear shoes with variable heel height, and try to wear shoes which accommodate all the toes (aka no pointy shoes)!
  • Wear footwear indoors as much as possible and avoid walking outdoors barefoot
  • Slippers should have a back to them. This means no flip-flop style slippers. Your foot works too hard in this kind of shoe!
  • Wash shoes regularly. If you can’t throw them in the washing machine, purchase a spray disinfectant. This will help to prevent infection
  • If swelling of feet is an issue, then purchase footwear at the end of the day
  • Bring new footwear to your chiropodist prior to wearing them! We know what to look for!

Diabetics need to take extra care when purchasing footwear. Some tips include:

  • Shoes should have extra depth and extra width to accommodate deformities, and provide maximal comfort
  • Shoes should have functional fastening, a firm heel counter and should not be too loose or too tight
  • Buy a shoe with a firm, breathable upper
  • Look for cushioning properties. Materials to look for include: foams, poron, and ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA)
  • A stabilizing heel that is low and wide can provide stability
  • Footwear should be worn at all times
  • Seamless white socks are also recommended

While these lists may seem long and intimidating, lots of brands provide many of these features in many of their shoes. Brands we love include: Birkenstock, Finn Comfort, Clarks, Brooks, and Ecco. And lucky for you, we sell all of these brands in our office!   Come on in for a professional fitting by Karen, our in-house expert!  For more info call us at 519-624-4122.

Happy “Footwear Friday!”

    You may roll your eyes when you read the title of this post because if you are athletic or simply struggle with tight muscles, you know that you need to stretch before and/or after exercise. You may even feel like you are a very diligent stretcher. However, if you are like many people out there, you probably rarely stretch the small muscles and tendons of the foot.  This week we will try to provide some insight into why stretching is important and how your tight foot muscles could be causing pain elsewhere in the body.

Let's talk about the hip!

    We hear time and time again in our office from patients with "bad hips". Many of these patients come in with foot pain that they believe is completely unrelated to their hips. However, the reality  is, more often than not, their foot pain is in fact connected to their hip pain. In fact, we often find that treatment of the identified foot problem often results in the added benefit of hip pain relief. Why might foot pain cause hip pain you ask? Well, the simplest answer is that often, when we have a sore foot, we end up subconsciously altering our gait for pain relief, which may inadvertently place added pressure on the other joints of the body, which are forced to compensate for the changes to our gait.  The foot problem itself can originate from a variety of sources such as overuse of muscles, plantar fasciitis, or underlying systemic conditions such as arthritis.

How to Prevent Hip Problems Through Foot Stretching

    A major source of foot pain is overuse injuries, and these often affect soft tissues (muscles and ligaments). The benefit of this is that one effective approach to protecting the muscles of the foot is very simple: stretch the feet on a regular basis. This can aid in both injury prevention, and this may result in prevention of compensation by other parts of the body. Overall, some simple foot stretching can end up saving you from quite a lot of pain! Of course, if your foot problem is biomechanical, stretches will only be beneficial in the short term and orthotics are your best bet!

Now you know why to stretch the muscles in your foot- visit our website to learn the stretches. And if you think you may need orthotics or more footcare or athletic foot advice, give us a call at 519-624-4122!

Happy Stretching!

    According to Statistics Canada, there are millions of Canadians living in pain. In these individuals, mobility can be an issue and can lead to missed work, school and a general inability to carry out the necessary tasks of daily living.  Indeed, patients experiencing foot pain are probably the number one kind of patient we see in our office.  And for these patients, sometimes providing pain relief is not as simple as it should be. We do have a variety of options in our toolbox, and in general, we try to act conservatively first and then move on to more extreme measures once those conservative options have not worked. For example, in the case of plantar fasciitis, one of the more common conditions we encounter, we often encourage the patient to start stretching their fascia, conduct laser therapy, and prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen. However, should all of these options be ineffective, we begin to consider injection therapy.

    Injection therapy involves the treatment of painful conditions with injectibles- usually corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are potent steroid medications that block the inflammatory pathways in the body. In general, they are used as a last resort, because while they can be effective in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, they are associated with lots of side effects (particularly systemic corticosteorids), and are often seen as a quick fix without addressing the long term problem. However, sometimes the injection of a steroid into a painful area can provide enough relief to enable the patient to start healing patient needs.  Of course, without correcting underlying biomechanical problems with orthotics, pain is likely to come back. Therefore, that is generally our best long-term treatment options for patients in pain.

To learn more, or to order our free booklet on heel pain, give us a call (519-624-4122) or go online to book an appointment! 

Bunions getting you down? 

It is sad to say, but these are the final days of summer. And with September comes back-to-school, settling into old routines, and colder weather.  Around this time, most of us switch out our summer sandals, fancy pedicures and toenail polish for closed-toed footwear- and this transition can lead to a spike in foot problems.

In particular, statistics show that complaints of bunion pain increase dramatically in the fall. A bunion is a bone deformity caused by an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the big toe. About 1 in 3 individuals have bunions and they often a present within families. Most of the time, bunions are painless.  But when a patient does experience bunion pain, it is usually due to abnormal friction and rubbing with footwear.  Therefore it is no surprise that the switch from accommodative sandals to more occlusive fall footwear leads to an increase in bunion-related office visits!

 So what can be done about your bunions? One aspect of bunion care is prevention of further deformity. This can be achieved through a variety of facets, some of which include: protective padding applied by a chiropodist, callus/corn removal or use of a splint. A bunion splint is a corrective device that is usually worn at night that works to pull the big toe outward in order to prevent further inward deviation of the digit, along with preventing outward deviation of the joint. These are available at chiropody offices.

 Finally, one of the most effective options for bunions is to have a full biomechanical assessment to determine faulty foot mechanics followed by development of custom orthotics. Orthotics will help to correct the underlying biomechanical issues that could be causing your bunions.For later stage bunion deformity, surgery may be effective. Surgery in Ontario is conducted by an orthopedic surgeon and has variable long-term results. 

If fall footwear has resulted in increased pain to your bunions, or for a biomechanical assessment, call our office today at 519-624-4122! We can help. 

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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