Simcoe Foot Clinic
May 16, 2017
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Don't overlook your feet!
Top tips to keep your feet healthy during pregnancy.

Ahhh,  the joys of pregnancy - nausea, fatigue, stretch marks – oh, and don’t forget the often overlooked changes to your feet. Due to the natural weight gain during pregnancy, a woman's center of gravity is completely altered. This causes a new weight-bearing stance and added pressure to the knees and feet. Two of the most common foot problems experienced by pregnant woman are over- pronation and edema.


Over-pronation, also referred to as flat feet, is caused when a person's arch flattens out upon weight bearing and their feet roll inward when walking. This can lead to pain at the heel, arch, or the ball-of-foot and to inflammation on the plantar fascia, the fibrous band of tissue that runs from the heel to the forefoot.
The reason many pregnant women suffer from over-pronation is the added pressure on the body as a result of weight gain. Over-pronation can be treated with proper fitting footwear and the appropriate orthotics.
It is important to treat over-pronation for pain relief but also to prevent other foot conditions from developing such as Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spurs, Metatarsalgia, Post-Tib Tendonitis and/or Bunions.

Swelling and Edema

Raised hormone levels cause you to retain fluid during pregnancy. Typically, fluid retention is particularly pronounced in your feet, ankles, and calves because your growing uterus puts pressure on the veins that carry blood back from your lower body. This partially blocks blood flow, keeping fluid in your legs and feet and leaving you feeling swollen and bloated.
The amount of swelling varies from person to person and even fluctuates throughout the day, often becoming more prominent in the evening as well as in warmer months or climates.
All that swelling may mean a trip to the shoe store as it’s not unusual to go up a full shoe size during pregnancy.  Investing in footwear with extra support, shock absorption and comfort will benefit you throughout your pregnancy as your center of gravity continuously changes as you gain weight.
Keep in mind that while mild swelling is normal, if you hands or face become puffy , swelling lasts more than a day or experience rapid weight gain, call your doctor as these can be signs of preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition.  
Many women may also experience leg cramping and varicose veins as another side effect of pregnancy.

Leg Cramps

Leg cramping in the calf can be a sign of a calcium or potassium deficiency. Eating more dairy products or snacking on potassium-rich foods like bananas can help eliminate these painful muscle contractions. If you experience leg cramps, check with your doctor before taking any supplements.
Cramps are most common at night when your feet and legs are resting. You can relieve the pain by resting your calf on a hot water bottle and flexing your foot to stretch your calf. Of course the best way to relieve the pain is to walk it off. Walking each night 15-20 minutes will help to keep your circulation moving.

Vericose Veins

Pregnant women have up to 40% more blood in the circulatory systems, increasing the amount of pressure on vein walls.  The veins can stretch so much that the valves become faulty, allowing blood to pool in the veins and allowing them to become varicose.
Increasing circulation with walking and mild exercise can relieve discomfort and even prevent varicose veins from occurring. Gaining too much weight and/or standing for long periods at a time can increase your risks, as can your genetics (they’re hereditary).

10 Tips for healthy feet during pregnancy

  • Sleep on your side, not your back. This relieves pressure on the vena cava, the largest vein leading to the heart. Otherwise, the pressure slows the blood returning from your lower body.
  • Consume a lot of fluids. Dehydration worsens swelling.
  • Elevate your feet as often as you can. Try to raise your legs 6 to 12 inches above your heart for 15 to 20 minutes to help the blood flow back to your heart and lungs.
  • Monitor your weight. Women of normal weight should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Excessive weight gain exacerbates swelling and can lead to other problems.
  • Improve the circulation in your ankles with rotation exercises. Try sitting, with one leg raised. Rotate your ankle 10 times to the right, then to the left. Switch legs. Repeat 10 times.
  • Ice your ankles. With your feet up, apply ice to the inside of your ankles for 15 to 20 minutes every half hour to an hour.
  • Take regular breaks from sitting or standing. A short walk every so often will help keep your blood from pooling in your lower extremities.
  • Don't wear socks or stockings that have tight bands around the ankles or calves.
  • Eat well, and avoid junk food and excess salt
  • Exercise regularly, especially by walking, swimming, or riding an exercise bike. Or try a water aerobics class – immersion in water may temporarily help reduce swelling.
May 16, 2017
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Do you really know what your nail polish is doing to your nails?
It’s nothing new to learn that nail polishes contain chemicals. Over the last couple of years, most big brands have gone “3-free” – meaning they are free of Dibutyl Phthalate (DBT), toluene and formaldehyde, 3 of the most toxic ingredients often found in nail polish.

But chemicals aside, what happens to our nails when we’re constantly rotating through a rainbow of our favourite polishes? Our nails may appear solid but they are actually relatively permeable and soak up substances that are applied to them.  Applying a base coat beforehand can prevent polish from soaking into your nails and help keep nails from yellowing, staining or drying up.

What may actually be worse than the nail polish itself, is the acetone used in nail polish remover. Acetone is very dehydrating to the nail plate, causing flaking and weakness. Picking off chipped polish might seem like a safer alternative but by doing this you’re also removing the top layer of your nail, weakening them further. So when it comes time to remove your polish, be sure you’re using a non-acetone remover or a natural alternative.

Though it may seem like good value when a pedicure lasts all summer, it’s important to take a break from nail polish every few weeks and let our nails breathe for at least a week.  With our nails constantly covered, not only are they more susceptible to cracking and breakage, but we can’t see any problems that may have arisen. With any nail damage, bacteria and fungus can develop under the nail plate, conditions that can be treated successfully when recognised early.

Toenails can take 9 months to grow so it can take a long time to recover from any significant damage. Try using polishes and basecoats with natural oils and vitamins and moisturize daily to keep nails hydrated.

If you notice anything unusual with your toenails, always check with your Chiropodist to assess and treat any issues as soon as possible.
March 20, 2017
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Get active while putting your best foot forward!
With summer (hopefully) just around the corner, many of us are thinking about how to get our exercise routines back on track or maybe thinking about starting a new workout program. While it may seem like a good idea now to jump in feet first, don’t go sign up for your first half-marathon just yet. When starting any rigorous exercise, there are a few things to keep in mind before you begin:

Slow and steady wins the race
Whether it’s been a couple months or 20 years since you were last on a serious exercise program, it’s important to increase intensity gradually in order to progress from one week to the next without the risk of injury. Pushing yourself too fast or training too hard can lead to injuries that may take weeks to recover come, leaving you frustrated and discouraged.
Quality over Quantity 
In order to get the most out of your workouts, learning the proper technique is more important than how much you can bench or how many squats you can do. Using improper technique means you’re not putting enough stress on the intended muscles and inadvertently straining other areas.  
An Ounce of Prevention…
Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis are two of the most common exercise related injuries, particularly for runners. To prevent foot, toe and heel pain, be sure to stretch and strengthen your feet often (daily if possible).

Calf Drops
  • Stand on a step with forefeet on the edge, holding on to a railing if necessary. Push up with both feet into a calf raise. Lift one leg off the step and lower your other leg so that your heel drops below the step. Take up to 10 seconds to lower it. Return to start; repeat 10 times on each foot. Do three times a week.
Toe Spread
  • While seated, place a thick rubber band (or a towel) around your toes and spread them apart. Double the band if it's not tight enough to provide resistance. Hold for five seconds. Do 10 times on both feet. Do three times a week.
Arch Massager
  • Stand with a tennis ball directly under second toe of right foot. Slowly roll ball around sole of foot for 1 to 3 minutes; repeat with left foot. 
“A shoe is not only a design, but it's a part of your body language, the way you walk. The way you're going to move is quite dictated by your shoes”. – Christian Louboutin
While Christian Louboutin may not have been talking about athletic shoes, the message still stands. Choosing the proper style and fit of shoes can dictate how you perform and prevent injuries. Because of the specific needs for individual sports, purchasing shoes from specialty stores from experienced staff will assure you that you are getting the shoe that works best for you and your feet. A few key points to keep in mind are
  • Try on shoes at the end of the day when your feet are the largest
  • Wear the same type of sock that you wear for that sport
  • Shoes should never need to be “broken in”. They should be comfortable as soon as you put them on
As always, it’s recommended that you check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program and remember to listen to your body - it is your best indicator of what works for you, what doesn’t and when you’re able to step it up a notch or need to take a break. Foot pain is never normal and if you’re experiencing any discomfort, call your chiropodist to assess any concerns and keep your feet at their best.
August 05, 2016
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When we consider that one foot is capable of producing over half a cup of sweat per day, it’s no wonder that feet can get pretty stinky. When that sweat is released from the pores, it is broken down by bacteria on the skin, producing an odour as it’s decomposed.

Bacteria thrive in dark, damp environments, making the feet - the most concentrated area of sweat glands in the human body – a kind of bacteria paradise.

Following these 8 simple steps to keep bacteria at bay and reduce moisture will help keep your feet fresh and odour free.

1.  Wash your feet daily with antibacterial soap. The feet tend to be overlooked in the shower, but they need as much attention as the rest of your body.

2.  Dry feet really well, paying particular attention to the space in between your toes.Wiping the skin with rubbing alcohol will also help to dry out the skin.

3. Always wear socks when wearing closed toed shoes. Small no-show socks are great for ballet flats or dress shoes. Wear socks made from breathable fabrics to wick moisture away from the skin and always put on a fresh pair every day.

4. Use an antiperspirant on the soles of the feet and in between the toes.  Spreading it on at night allows enough time for the product to soak into the skin.

5. Don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row.  Alternate shoes to allow at least 24hrs for shoes to completely dry out.

6. Sprinkle baking soda into your shoes before you wear them to absorb moisture and reduce bacteria by neutralizing the PH balance in sweat.

7. Disinfect your shoes with an antifungaal/antibacterial spray.  

8. Wear proper footwear in snow and rain to avoid having wet shoes. If shoes do get wet, dry them as soon as possible with a hair dryer or leave them in the sun to dry.

If your feet are sweating excessively or you aren’t getting any relief from your symptoms, make an appointment with your Chiropodist. There may be an underlying issue (such as athlete’s foot) that may require a prescription.

June 27, 2016
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8 Interesting facts you may not know about your toenails

  • Men’s toenails grow faster than women’s.  An exception to this is during pregnancy when women’s toenails grow at a faster rate.
  • Nails grow faster in summer and warm climates.
  • Toenails are made up of keratin – the same protein as hair.
  • Fingernails grow 4 times faster than toenails. On average, fingernails grow 3.5 mm per month, while toenails grow about 1.6 mm per month.
  • When the sole of a baby's foot is firmly stroked, the big toe bends back toward the top of the foot and the other toes fan out. This is a normal reflex up to about 2 years of age.
  • It is a common myth that white spots on the nail are caused by a calcium deficiency but they are generally just minor nail damage and are nothing to be concerned about.
  • It takes 5-6 months to re-grow a toenail, even longer for a big toe which can take up to 12 months.
  • Primates, including humans, are the only animals with nails rather than harder claws.
  • Why do we have toenails? Toenails are mostly considered to be vestigial which means that they once had a function which has been eliminated – like wisdom teeth or your appendix. They do however provide some protection to the tops of your toes from rubbing on your shoes. 

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