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Need An Answer To Your Foot And Ankle Questions? Read Through Our FAQ

Are you looking for fast information to relieve the pain in your feet? We have collected the most common foot and ankle questions and have posted the answers here, allowing our patients to start their recovery immediately. Browse our FAQ page or use the search bar to find questions about your condition.

Diabetes: Its Effects on Feet

diabetic-wound-careDiabetes can affect the feet in a number of different ways. The first is infection, which is one of the most common complications of the diabetic foot. Because the disease causes a reduction in immune response, a patient’s ability to fight infection is decreased. Another complication is neuropathy, which causes decreased sensitivity to pain and change in temperature. This may cause a patient to underestimate or not even notice a foot problem. It might also cause a shutdown of perspiration, leading to dry, cracked skin that is more prone to infection.

With a diabetic foot, decreased blood flow can cause injuries to heal more slowly. A wound as small as blister can become a big problem if it becomes infected and spreads to other parts of the body. This why daily self-inspections of your feet and regular care from a professional are so important. For more help and answers regarding diabetic feet, call OttawaFootClinic at (613) 595-9700. We’ll be happy to help.

Exercise can be one important element in improving the body’s circulation and fighting the effects of peripheral neuropathy in the feet. However, a program must be carefully planned to ensure someone who suffers from this condition is getting the most benefit from their exercise at the least risk possible of injury to the feet.

A good exercise regimen for a patient with neuropathy will start slowly and gradually build up over time according to the needs and3616655_swimmingsenior

abilities of the patient. Low-impact exercises such as tai chi, yoga, and swimming place little-to-no stress on the feet and can be ideal additions to a program.

Before starting any sort of fitness program, patients with peripheral neuropathy should always speak with a professional to ensure what they’re doing is safest and best for their feet. Our expert team can treat and help patients manage peripheral neuropathy. Contact our Ottawa clinic today by calling (613) 595-9700 or use our convenient online form.

Sesamoiditis: causes

Causes of sesamoiditis are varied but all have to do with the same thing: damage to the sesamoid bones and tendons under your big toe. Some of the most common reasons this happens are:

  • Overuse, sudden increase in physical activity and sport injury. Even young, healthy people can develop this condition. If you increase activity too quickly or sustain a specific activity for too long when your bones and tendons are not in top shape. Activities that put your sesamoid bones more at risk include squash, tennis, running on the ball of your foot, and squatting (such as a baseball catcher or a weight lifter)
  • Foot dysfunction such as overpronation. Excessive pronation may lead to repetitive extra compression onto the tiny sesamoid bones. And one day, inflammation, swelling and pain will slow you down!
  • Aging your bone tissue degenerates over time and becomes weaker, especially the tiny sesamoid bones under your big toe joints.
  • Osteoarthritis – wear and tear on the bones and joints by your big toes
  • Foot structure – having unusually large sesamoids will only increase the load against them.
  • Wearing shoes that put too much pressure on the sesamoid bones (such as high heels, tight shoes compressing the toe joints, dress shoes with thin soft soles with not enough cushioning, not enough support for the collapsing arch increasing friction and compression under the big toe joints)                                                                                                                               Affected with limiting pain under your big toe? Just call Ottawa Foot Clinic at (613) 595-9700 to set up an evaluation. We can diagnose your forefoot pain and design the right treatment plan for you.


Maintaining healthy balance can be crucial for older patients as well as those of any age who have reduced sensation in their feet from conditions such as peripheral neuropathy. With the use of simple exercise, however, balance can be slowly improved or maintained.250236337_mountainclimberbalancing

Exercises that can help with stability include:

Balancing on One Leg – Stand next to a stable object in case you need something to grab onto. Attempt to balance on each leg for 30 seconds.

“Tightrope Walk” – No actual rope involved: simply walk heel-to-toe forwards and backwards, one foot in front of the other.

Tiptoes – Stand beside an object that can be grabbed onto, if needed. Slowly rise up onto your toes and stay in that position as long as possible without holding onto anything. Repeat at least three times per day, trying to increase your time.

Our team can help you organize the best program and treatments for improving your stability and finding relief from pain and discomfort. Reach us at Ottawa Foot Clinic by calling (613) 595-9700 and we will be happy to set up an appointment with you.

Cellular Regenerative Electrical Stimulation Treatment (CREST) is a new technology designed to help relieve pain and numbness in the feet as a result of peripheral neuropathy and other conditions. It delivers gentle electrical impulses through the skin to encourage the restoration of circulation in the smallest blood vessels that nourish the nerves and other tissues in the toes. This increases the amount of oxygen delivered to the nerves, which can help restore normal sensation.

100964278_diabeticfootElectrical impulses are delivered at varying frequencies to different areas of affected feet. The variation will keep the cells stimulated to encourage healing and repair. A mild tingling sensation is usually all that is felt during a treatment, and 10 sessions are usually delivered over a period of 2-3 weeks. A typical goal is to provide 8-12 months of relief following these sessions.

CREST is not for everyone and Ottawa Foot Clinic can work with you to determine whether it or another form of treatment for neuropathy would be best for you. Contact us at (613) 595-9700 to schedule an appointment.

Jogger’s Foot

exerciseEntrapment of the medial plantar nerve is seen most commonly in athletes and is called “jogger’s foot”. It is theorized that forceful pronation of the foot during running puts excessive stretch and compression on the medial plantar nerve, resulting in tarsal tunnel syndrome. There may be vague discomfort or pain, with burning, tingling or numbness in the plantar aspect of the affected foot.  How do we address this problem? Treatment is directed towards the underlying causes and aggravating factors of the neural traction and compression. High-precision, custom-made orthotics with a deep heel cup and an extended medial flange may help in providing the necessary foot guidance and support. The bottom line: no one needs to suffer from this sort of pain.

What are Plantar Warts?

shutterstock_182366762 Plantar warts are caused by human papilloma viruses (HPVs) that infect the skin cells. These sneaky viruses generally enter the body through small cuts or abrasions in the skin. They are only known as plantar warts when they appear on the soles of the feet.  Although these kinds of warts can appear at any age, they are most commonly seen in teens between the ages of 12 and 16. The virus that causes these warts is often picked up by walking barefoot on dirty surfaces; most notably in warm, moist environments such as gyms, swimming pools, and public showers.

If you suspect you have warts on your feet, it is best to see a doctor of podiatric medicine for a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. Call (613) 595-9700 to schedule an appointment with Ottawa Foot Clinic. We can offer the safest and most effective treatments for warts.

Achilles tendonitis

achilles-heelThe Achilles tendon (calcaneal tendon) is the largest and strongest tendon in the human body. But, it has one of the lowest healing capacity of the human body due to the reduced density of blood vessels found within and around this crucial structure in human locomotion. Pain at the insertion of the Achilles tendon at the posterior aspect (back) of the heel bone is called Calcaneal tendon enthesopathy.  Its root cause is long-standing traction within the overloaded tendon imposed by putting the calf muscle in repetitive hypercontraction. Aggravating factors are a sedentary lifestyle, obesity and athletic overuse.  To tend this tendonitis, we can do a gait analysis to determine any biomechanical or overpronation factors, and provide effective treatment using orthotics.

Cryoanalgesia for Pain Relief

cryoanalgesia-rf-3rd-im-space-step-3-3717Cryoanalgesia, a form of minor surgery, involves the application of intense cold to an affected nerve in order to provide long-term pain relief for certain foot conditions. A temperature of about -82 degrees Celsius is applied to the spot for about 3 minutes in most cases, creating a “nerve block” that stops the transmission of pain. The procedure involves a very small incision that often requires no sutures. It takes 15-30 minutes, is minimally invasive, and relatively painless. Conditions that frequently benefit from this form of cold therapy include unresponsive plantar fasciitis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, and Morton’s neuroma, among others.

If you are suffering from foot pain, it isn’t something you should just resign yourself to living with. Contact OttawaFootPractice at (613) 595-9700 to schedule an appointment with a foot specialist. We can perform a full evaluation of your condition and offer the best treatments to suit your specific needs.

Imagine your smile, as you put your foot on the ground without pain, right after your first shockwave treatment!

paswt-heel-lat-view-3197When your heel pain is so severe that you are limping into our clinic, we gently initiate your treatment at a very low level of intensity so it comfortable for you. As your nerve endings will progressively get numb, we ask you to confirm when it is time to gradually increase the intensity level up to the therapeutic zone. Shockwave therapy is a clinically-proven form of treatment for unresponsive and stubborn  types of long-standing heel pain from plantar fasciitis orAchilles tendonitis. This treatment involves low-frequency pulse waves delivered locally to the foot surface using a hand-held applicator. It is safe and non-invasive. The use of a shockwave device is gently breaking up the scar tissues that compress your nerve endings; it also restore the natural function, elasticity and flexibility of the affected ligament or tendon. It is what many urologists use with a high success rate towards breaking up kidney stones! This is the exciting thing about this therapy: it ends the pain while promoting faster and stronger tissue repair.  You will need to have three sessions for optimal and sustainable results, depending on your personal medical profile.

Ankle Sprains are not to be taken lightly

Often emergency patients can be seen the same day – that is our goal, so don’t hesitate to contact us immediately if something like this happens to you. 234906937_painfulgout Ankle sprains are not to be taken lightly; if they are severe enough to cause significant pain a foot specialist should be consulted as soon as possible.  Our pain laser protocol is very effective to quickly calm down the swelling and pain inherent to this condition.  The rationale of laser use in most acute ankle sprains is: the faster the swelling and inflammation is eliminated, the faster the return to your preferred physical activities.  Additionally, any history of repetitive ankle sprains should be investigated to rule out the presence of a mechanical foot imbalance…so don’t delay!

What is Arthritis?

footxrayThe word arthritis specifically means “joint inflammation,” but it is used for a wide spectrum of condition and symptom variations of this painful disease. It often attacks the feet because there are so many joints in them and they experience a lot of stress throughout years of weight-bearing.

Once you have deterioration in the joints, they usually do not heal (although they can be replaced surgically in some instances). So yes—the disease is permanent in that sense. However, the inflammation and pain can come and go, being worse at some times than others, and symptoms can also be treated with medication to lessen their impact on your life.

At Ottawa Foot Clinic, our team has much experience dealing with complications from arthritis. We can monitor the condition of your feet and help you find a measure of relief from the painful symptoms. We work as a team with your regular physician, and if deterioration becomes extreme, we will work with an orthopedic surgeon to explore surgical options as well.

Concerned about your painful feet? Wondering if you have arthritis? Give us a call at (613) 595-9700 and let us help you find the best treatment.

How do orthotics work?

Like most of our patients, you may elect to use two pairs of orthotics to cover all your needs on a daily basis. Full-length, custom-made orthotic devices are to be inserted inside your orthotic-friendly shoes, running shoes, golf shoes, hiking boots or sandals in replacement of the removable insole. Thin 3/4, custom-made orthotics are meant to fit into tight dress or dancing shoes, dress winter boots, soccer cleats, skates or ski boots. According to the findings a thorough clinical and radiological exam, foot orthoses are specifically designed to improve the overall alignment of the weight-bearing bones and joints within your feet and ankles, thus straightening up your legs, knees, hips and back. Foot orthoses are to be worn 16 hours each day under the heel, arch and ball of your foot.  They are specially and intricately designed to realign your ankle and heel bones to promote a better force transfer down to toes and up to your neck (yes, all that way!) to alleviate pain in your feet, legs, knees, hips and spine, as well as to restore balance, improve sports performance, prevent or alleviate osteoarthritis, and relieve foot fatigue at the end of the day. They work hard for you!

Controlling Gout

If you have had an attack of gout in your big toe, it goes without saying that you would definitely like to avoid another one. Following a gout diet can be a step in that direction. Once you learn which foods to avoid with gout, you can stop them from triggering that severe pain in your toe joints and exercise more control over the disease. Here is a helpful classification of foods from the Arthritis Foundation: 232806628_gout

  • High purine foods include some seafood and certain fish like anchovies and sardines, and meats like bacon, turkey, venison, and liver.
  • Moderate purine foods include beef, chicken, pork and ham, and shellfish like shrimp and oysters, and certain legumes, and some veggies like spinach.
  • Beverages to avoid include all alcoholic beverages and any drinks containing fructose.

Other things such as dehydration, certain medications, and medical stress can also be gout triggers, so you may best be able to manage the disease with prescription medications. If you need help figuring out what is causing big toe pain and how to treat it, call the experts at Ottawa Foot Clinic —at (613) 595-9700 to set up an appointment.

To prevent fungal nails, you need to get rid of all the things fungus loves. They like to feed on dead tissue, so proper hygiene like nail trimming and keeping the skin on your feet clean is a first step.282270143_toenailfungus

They love warm, moist areas, so do what you can to maintain dry feet. That means drying them well after washing, wearing socks and shoes that breathe so sweat doesn’t build up, and airing them out now and then during the day. It may also mean treating hyperhidrosis (excessive perspiration) if that is a problem for you.

You also need to take care not to make contact with these microorganisms or spread them. That means wearing foot protection in showers, pool decks, saunas, and gyms. It also means not sharing socks, shoes, pedicure tools, or bath linens with another person. If you treat or touch a fungal nail, make sure you wash your hands before touching anything else.

You can also treat your shoes with antifungal sprays or powders or discard old ones so you don’t keep re-infecting your feet.

Ottawa Foot Clinic has designed a combinations of fungal nail treatments that is very effective. Call our office in Ottawa, ON today by dialing (613) 595-9700.

Ingrown Toenails

716b8c166b32077a68328f9f0e7d39941 A case of ingrown toenail could be caused by a several different things. In some cases, the curved nail is believed to be a genetic problem where the nail plate may be too wide for the affected toe. It is also possible that an abnormal gait pattern may have created excessive pressure in the tissues surrounding the nail of the big toe. Sometimes other forms of pressure or force, such as from a toe injury or the prolonged wearing of ill-fitting shoes, can cause the nail to grow back with a different shape and an increased curve.

Regardless of the source of your curved and digging nail, we are happy to provide help if it won’t go away, keeps coming back, or shows signs of infection. Don’t try to perform “bathroom surgery” on yourself; you might cause yourself more pain and damage! Call Ottawa Foot Clinic at (613) 595-9700 and schedule an appointment today.