What’s Behind the Aches and Pains foot-xray

Like a rusty hinge that makes opening and closing a door difficult, the joint pain and stiffness of arthritis can make it hard to bend or move. While there is no cure, there are plenty of things you can do to slow the progression and relieve symptoms. That’s good news for those who suffer from this condition in their feet and ankles, since there are more than 30 joints in the foot allowing for a wide range of movements. If pain or joint stiffness sets in here, it can make even standing or simply walking difficult.

Although there are many types of arthritis, the most common that affect the feet and ankles include:

Osteoarthritis – this is what is known as degenerative, meaning it is caused by wear and tear over time and the natural aging process. A breakdown of the cartilage that cushions the joints leads to inflammation, pain, and sometimes even deformity. This usually occurs slowly over many years.

Rheumatoid arthritis – a chronic, autoimmune disease, this type is the result of your body producing substances that attack your joints, damaging the bones, cartilage, and connective tissues. The exact cause is unknown, although it is believed that some people carry the gene which can be triggered by infection or environmental factors.

Posttraumatic arthritis – dislocations and fractures from the past can come back to haunt you! This type of the condition can set in and damage the affected joint’s cartilage even years after the initial injury.

What You Can Do to Ease Discomfort

Symptoms of arthritis include swelling, tenderness, redness, warmth to the touch, pain with motion or activity, and joint stiffness. That’s a long list, but believe it or not, with just a few changes, you can not only manage these symptoms, but live a full and active life.

Pain Laser treatments, anti-inflammatory medications or injections, synovial fluid replacement using  Hyaluronate Acid (HA) solutions as Synvisc or Neovisc, compressive socks, ankle and foot supports and orthotics are all ways that can provide relief. A switch to a pair of shoes that offer support, flexibility, and are shaped like your foot can make a difference too. Stretching exercises are also beneficial, and although you may experience joint pain with movement, a great way to manage the pain, ironically, is to do just that— move! Exercising can do wonders to minimize joint stiffness and pain. Low-impact options are best since they do not put excess stress on your joints. Try swimming or biking, for example.

Of course, if arthritis pain is too much and affecting your quality of life, surgery is also an option. Procedures range from removing osteophytes, replacing damaged cartilage and joints with the newest alternatives to fusion of the bones. Our foot specialists can assess your situation and help you decide the best course of action. If you are suffering from painful joints, call Ottawa Foot Clinic at (613) 595-9700 today. We can help you return to a full and active life, and close the door on joint pain. Come see us at our Ottawa, ON, Canada location, or visit us online.

What Is A Podiatrist?

What Is A Podiatrist?

The Ontario Podiatric Medical Association (OPMA) defines a Podiatrist as:

A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.) is a highly trained specialist in care of the feet. Podiatrists are one of six primary care professions, authorized by Ontario law to communicate their diagnosis to patients. Podiatrists are concerned with the examination, diagnosis and prevention of foot disorders by mechanical, surgical and other means of treatment.

Podiatrists are often called upon by physicians and other healthcare professionals for consultation and treatment of foot problems which can be experienced by everyone from children to seniors. A referral from your family physician, however, is not required to see a Podiatrist.

Examination of children’s feet is an integral part of podiatry

Frequently, children have structural imbalances of the feet that may go unrecognized and can lead to other deformities and imbalances within the skeletal system. When detected early, these imbalances of the feet, some of which are related to the bone structure, are treated so that a sturdier foundation can be provided for the later years.

At the opposite end of the scale, care is required for many foot problems commonly seen in seniors. This can include anything from routine palliative care of unmanageable toenails and calluses to diabetic ulcerations and infections. At this time in life, circulatory impairment, as well as degenerative joint and skin conditions are common findings. With proper care and attention to their feet, seniors may enjoy many years of pain-free foot function.

Medical Pedicure Treatment is Available

Are you suffering from pain or discomfort in your feet? Our team will provide effective treatment for your heel and foot pain.

Contact our office at 613-627-2707 to schedule an appointment. Free parking is available at our state of the art Ottawa foot clinic.

arthritic condition onset by diet

Hallux Varus

Hallux Varus: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Hallux varus is a type of foot deformity that causes the tip of the big toe to point inward, away from the other toes on the feet.

People with hallux varus may have difficulty walking and wearing shoes. When the condition is mild it can be treated with stretching or splints, but if the condition progresses and causes serious pain, surgical intervention is often necessary.

Causes of Hallux Varus

Hallux varus is caused by trauma or congenital factors. Some people are born with a foot structure that predisposes them to a hallux varus foot deformity. Loss of the sesamoid bone can also cause a muscular imbalance in the foot that leads to drifting of the toe.

One of the primary causes of hallux varus is rupture of the ligament at the metatarsophalangeal (MTP or toe) joint. The condition often occurs as a complication from bunion surgery or occurs from trauma.

Hallux Varus Symptoms

The drifting of the big toe is the most obvious sign of hallux varus deformity. Other symptoms of hallux varus can include:  arthritic condition onset by diet

  • Chronic soreness.
  • Difficulty walking or standing.
  • Difficulty wearing close-toed shoes.
  • Foot weakness.
  • Ingrown toenails.
  • Limited range of motion.
  • Swelling and pain in the foot and ankle (caused by pressure on the toe).

Symptoms of hallux varus are aggravated when you wear shoes that crowd the toes. The condition does not cause joint pain. In fact, most of the discomfort associated with hallux varus is caused by friction between the toe and poorly fitting shoes.

Hallux Varus Treatment

Mild hallux varus deformities can be treated with non-surgical methods. The goal of treatment is to reduce discomfort and symptoms associated with the deformity.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Non-surgical hallux varus treatment options include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Custom orthotics.
  • Physical therapy (stretching the tendons in the toe).
  • Steroid injections.
  • Toe splints.

Surgical Treatment

When a hallux varus deformity progresses, your physician may recommend surgery to correct the structural problem in your foot. Surgical treatments of hallux varus include:

  • Osteotomy.
  • Sesamoidectomy.
  • Tendon transfers.

Talk to our team at Ottawa Foot Practice to learn more about the surgical treatment of hallux varus.

The Many Sources Of Heel And Foot Pain

Treatments for Heel Pain

Painful Plantar Fasciitis: Causes and Treatments

Following a comprehensive examination to ascertain how your feet align and function, Ottawa Foot Clinic then determines where and how much foot support or foot alignment correction is required to reduce or normalize unwanted tension stressing the ailing plantar ligament.

Depending on your specific needs, corrective treatment options can then be proposed.

Podiatric Orthotic Devices

Podiatric orthotic devices are a common and effective treatment option that, when constructed and used with expert guidance, can effectively help restore proper foot alignment and reduce tension within the plantar fascia.

After your foot is placed in an optimal stress-neutral position, a 3D scan is taken of the supportive surface area and a prescription created for the fabrication of properly moulded orthotics that will provide proper support and foot alignment when inserted in footwear.

The 3D scan and instructions are then sent electronically to a specialized laboratory where the corrective orthotics are custom-fabricated to the highest standard then returned for inspection by the Doctor of Podiatry at Ottawa Foot Clinic.

The fit of your new corrective orthotics are then assessed in a follow-up appointment to ensure the proper force transfer has been achieved that will allow your plantar ligaments relax, heal and grow out of pain.

Laser Therapy

If a heel pain condition is severe enough to limit activities or in a state of chronic discomfort for more than 6 weeks, the cells in the ailing plantar fascia are fatigued and have diminished healing energy and capacity.

To remedy this, Ottawa Foot Clinic offers a high-power laser treatment regime that introduces light photon energy at a cellular level to reduce or eliminate pain and facilitate healing.

The advanced laser used in this procedure delivers noticeable results in a much shorter time than less powerful lasers. Typical treatment is completed in just 4 sessions (2 per week over a 2 week period); noticeable pain reduction can be achieved right after the first or second session.

Other Options

Other available treatment options include:

  • Resting and icing the affected foot
  • Daily stretching in conjunction with night splints
  • High energy shock-wave treatment performed under local anaesthetic
  • Prolotherapy or local injections to activate a stronger healing phase

Book An Appointment Today

If plantar fasciitis or some other foot issue is causing pain or discomfort in your heel, arch or other foot area, our team provides effective treatment options for heel and foot pain.

Contact our office at 613-595-9700 to schedule an appointment.

Defining A Chiropodist

Defining A Chiropodist

What Is Chiropody?

Chiropody is the assessment, treatment and prevention of diseases or disorders of the foot by therapeutic, surgical, orthotic and palliative means.  It is practiced by qualified, regulated practitioners who have undergone government regulated and recognized programs and examinations.

Only those who are registered by the Ontario College Of Chiropodists are licensed to practice as Chiropodists or Podiatrists.

Some differences and similarities between a Podiatrist and a Chiropodist:

  • Education
    Podiatrists are required to have a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine/DPM degree, which is a post baccalaureate, four-year degree. The majority of chiropodists currently practising in Ontario hold a post-secondary diploma in chiropody, although some Chiropodists hold a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine/DPM degree.

  • Insurance Coverage
    Services rendered by a Podiatrist or Chiropodist may be covered by health insurance plans.

  • X-Rays
    Doctors of Podiatric Medicine registered as Chiropodists or Podiatrists may own and operate x-ray devices.

Treatment is Available

Are you suffering from pain or discomfort in your feet? Ottawa Foot Practice will provide effective treatment for your heel and foot pain.

Contact our office at (613) 595-9700 to schedule an appointment. Free parking is available at our state of the art Ottawa foot clinic.

podiatric medical foot care

Podiatric Medical Foot Care

Podiatric Medical Foot Care: What Is It Exactly?

podiatric medical foot care A podiatric medical foot care and/or pedicure includes a more comprehensive foot care service than a regular salon pedicure. First, our podiatric medical foot care and/or pedicure specialty service goes far beyond the basic foot care essentials as it is provided under hospital-grade infection control and safe practices for sterilizing instruments and decontaminating treatment areas so our healthy patients, including our medically compromised, senior and diabetic patients, will not get or transmit any bacterial, viral, or fungal infection.

Specific Conditions

Second, our comprehensive podiatric medical foot care is geared towards patients with specific nail, foot and medical conditions. Unattractive toenails due to discoloration, abnormal shape or stubborn fungal infection can now be instantly restored to natural colour and contour. Men and women will enjoy the natural end-result of our new nail restoration service; although no nail polish is needed, women can still cover their nails the usual way. Excessively incurvated nails can now be straightened up in a few days thanks to our transparent nail braces! Fungal skin (athlete’s foot) and nail (onychomycosis) infections can be zapped away by our laser and our comprehensive nail, skin & shoe anti-fungal topical approach. Cracked heels, rough plantar skin, corns and calluses will be thinned down and kept under control.

Our staff at Ottawa Foot Clinic have had specific training on not only how to efficiently treat foot skin and nail conditions, but also on infection control and safe practices for sterilizing instruments and decontaminating treatment areas.


Hallux Limitus

Hallux Limitus: Painful but Treatable

Hallux limitus is a term that describes early-stage stiffness and loss of motion in the joint at the base of the big toe. In hallux limitus patients, the toe cannot bend upward. Eventually this limited movement causes jamming of the toe joint. Repetitive jamming can lead to arthritis and extra bone growth over the top of the joint (this is known as a dorsal bunion).

Hallux limitus is a progressive condition; eventually the toe joint can become rigid or frozen. This later stage is referred to as hallux rigidus.

Causes of Hallux Limitus

Some people are genetically predisposed to develop hallux limitus; others develop the condition from trauma or overuse.

The following factors can lead to hallux limitus:

  • Excessive pronation (inward roll of the foot).
  • Gout.
  • High arches.
  • Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease).
  • Overly long metatarsal bone.
  • Overly short metatarsal bone.
  • Repetitive injuries (particularly jamming the toe).

All of these factors contribute to excessive wear of the toe joint cartilage, causing limited mobility and deterioration of the joint.

Hallux Limitus Symptoms

Hallux limitus is the first stage of a progressive condition. Initially, patients will experience a deep ache when they try to flex their toe joint upward. Pain and stiffness at the base of the toe will occur when walking. Usually the pain disappears when the joint is at rest.

There may also be swelling and inflammation at the base of the big toe, especially on top of the joint. Eventually damage to the cartilage in the joint will cause an overgrowth of bone. These bone spurs might not be painful, but they can lead to calluses caused by friction between the skin and the shoe.

Hallux Limitus Treatment foot-big-toe

Early treatment of hallux limitus is essential to halt the progression of the condition.

Conservative treatment options include:

When conservative treatment fails, surgical intervention might be necessary. Every case of hallux limitus is unique; surgical treatment will depend on the cause of the condition, the quantity of bony overgrowth, the amount of joint deterioration, and the amount of pain.

Surgical options include:

  • Fusing of the joint.
  • Joint implants.
  • Joint remodeling.
  • Realignment of the bone.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, visit Ottawa Foot Practice, for an examination. Early treatment for this condition is important to halt its degenerative process.

physical exam entails

Foot and Ankle Exam

What a Podiatric Physical Exam Entails

If you come to us for a foot exam, it is probably because you have a symptom you want us to check out; such as pain, numbness, irregular toenails, or skin problems, to name a few. We want to give you an idea of what to expect and what we look for during your visit. physical exam entails

We start by gathering information about your medical history, your symptoms, and what you were doing when the problem began. Then we proceed with the actual exam:

  • Doing a thorough hands-on evaluation of your feet and ankles
  • Observing your movements (range of motion, walking, etc.)
  • Testing your balance and muscle strength
  • Checking for limb length differences or misaligned bones
  • Examining the condition of your skin
  • Checking your toenails as well as the presence or absence of digital hairs
  • Assessing any abnormal wear pattern on your shoes.

Why do we do all this if you just have, for example, a sore toe? Well, your feet are connected to and affected by other parts of your body, and everything must work together for you to function and move efficiently without foot pain. There are four main systems that we evaluate.

Do You Have Good Blood Flow?

Since your feet are the part of you farthest from your heart, their circulation is the first to suffer. Conditions like heart disease and diabetes, and habits like smoking, can lead to loss of blood flow, too. A foot exam can indicate poor blood flow by observing symptoms such as purplish skin color, loss of hair on top of the toes, cold feet, and slow healing, among others.

Do Your Nerves Carry Signals Properly?

Lack of sensation in your feet is a common complication of diabetes, injury, or even back problems. If you complain of numbness, we may use a pin, cotton swab, or nylon monofilament to test your feeling at various spots on your feet. Knowing where nerves are not functioning can help us diagnose foot problems such as peripheral neuropathy and neuromas.

Do Your Bones and Muscles Function As They Should?

We will check for foot and toe deformities where bones do not line up properly, including bunions, hammertoes, and misaligned ankle joints from having flat feet. We will also test the strength of the muscles that move these bones, as many times the deformity occurs from an imbalance between opposing sets of muscles and tendons. For example, with hammertoes, those under the toe are usually stronger and tighter, while those on top are weaker and looser.

Do Your Skin and Toenails Have Problems?

Dry skin, ingrown toenails, fungal infections, and rashes are just a few of the conditions we can identify with a thorough foot exam. Certain symptoms of your skin and nails can indicate underlying problems, as well. For instance, differences in temperature from one foot to another can indicate a vascular problem. Your feet are not immune to cancer, either, so suspicious spots should be checked as soon as possible.

Trust Your Feet to the Experts

When you notice something wrong with your feet or suffer from foot pain, let our foot specialist team at Ottawa Foot Practice in Ontario, do a podiatric foot exam and diagnose any issues. Once we have gotten to the root of your problem, we offer state-of-the-art foot treatments that will get you back on track. Call our office in Ottawa, ON, today at (613) 595-9700 to set up an appointment. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ for the latest in foot care tips and trends.

custom orthotics

Custom Orthotics Devices

Relief that’s Not Just for Your Feet custom orthotics

A foot orthosis (plural: orthoses) is a custom-made, external medical device designed to modify the structural and functional features of the human foot and overall musculoskeletal system. Commonly referred to as “orthotics,” foot orthoses help maintain proper alignment and force transfer within the 26 bones of the human foot structure.

Made full-length for optimal control, custom-made orthotic external devices are to be inserted inside orthotic-friendly shoes or sandals—replacing the removable insole—in order to provide up to a 50% improvement in foot support and alignment. Foot orthoses are to be worn 16 hours each day under the heel, arch, and ball of your foot.

Research shows that the majority of heel problems can be directly connected to skeletal imbalance. More and more people tend to have some amount of either overpronation (flexible/collapsing, flat foot type) or hypersupination (rigid, high-arch foot type). The presence of these conditions adds constant stress and can overload the network of muscles and bones in your lower legs. This can lead to pain in the feet, ankles, legs, knees, hips, and back. Orthotics can improve function by compensating for existing imbalances and, in most cases, can relieve or prevent the associated pains.

Orthotics are designed to realign your ankle and heel bones to promote a better force transfer down to your toes and up to your neck, in order to alleviate pain in your feet, legs, knees, hips, and spine. Added benefits include restoring balance, improving sports performance, and relieving foot fatigue at the end of the day.

Orthotic devices come in many shapes, sizes, and materials. They fall into three main categories:

Functional orthotics are designed to improve foot function and eradicate, alleviate, or outright prevent pain in the foot, knee, hip, and/or back.

Sport orthotics are tailored toward the functions and motions in a particular sport, providing control, protection from injuries, and balance for activities such as jogging, dancing, skiing, skating, etc.

Protective orthotics help guard against further damage from conditions such as fat pad atrophy or unresponsive, diabetic wounds on the feet. They do this by offloading force and weight from the problem area.

How do you know if orthotics are right for you?

If you have an obvious imbalance that causes such symptoms as flat feet or high arches, or if you have external misalignments such as “knock knees,” “bow knees,” in-toeing or out-toeing, then you are likely a good candidate for orthotics. They can also be beneficial if your work or activities place stress on your feet or require you to be on your feet for extended periods of time.

There is also no “right age” to begin using orthotics. They can be used to treat conditions in children as well as adults.

The best way to find out if orthotics can help you or your child is to make an appointment with us for a full clinical and radiological exam. That way, you can gain a clear understanding of your foot alignment and possible conditions that may benefit from the corrective guidance of orthotic devices. Call Ottawa Foot Clinic at (613) 595-9700 and let our team discuss with you your options for pain relief and better mobility.


How We Treat Plantar Fasciitis

It has become a daily dread: that thought of slipping your feet out from beneath the covers and setting them on the floor, knowing you will get a jolt of stabbing or shooting pain under your heel until your feet “limber up.” And those first steps after standing or sitting a while? You can expect them to be awful, too. Heel pain is not something you have to keep in your daily routine, however. There are both conservative and minimally invasive ways to treat plantar fasciitis, and the best option for you may depend on your specific situation. treat-plantar-fasciitis

In some cases, the use of a custom-made orthotic device can relieve the symptoms of plantar fasciitis by properly redistributing weight and realigning the abnormal shifting that can contribute to the problem.

In some cases, we may also recommend pain relief and recovery-assisting techniques such as pain laser therapy or extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT). Each treatment uses different methods to encourage the healing process by increasing blood flow and accelerating the cellular healing process.

Although these and other options are available, no plantar fasciitis treatment begins until we have a full understanding of your condition and its severity. There is no need to endure the pain of this condition anymore. Take the first steps toward comfort and relief by calling Ottawa Foot Practice toll-free at (844) 335-6208. You may also call us directly at (613) 595-9700.