At Tread Well, our staff chiropodists can treat a wide range of foot ailments and conditions, such as the ones below including the most common foot and heel pain. Contact us today to book an assessment and find out how we can help you get on the right foot!
Pain and swelling in the joints
Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints. There are over 100 different forms of arthritis. The most common form is osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), which results from trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. The major complaint by individuals who have arthritis is joint pain due to inflammation around the joint, damage from disease, daily wear and tear, muscle strains caused by forceful movements against stiff joints, and fatigue.
A fungal infection causing itchiness, scaling and flaking on the skin
Athlete’s Foot is a common fungal infection on the feet. The fungus is transmitted in communal areas, such as public showers, but grows in environments that are kept hot and moist for long periods of time, such as in a shoe. As the infection grows, the affected skin develops itchiness, scaling and can flake off. In some cases, blisters and cracking can appear, leading to pain, swelling and possibly secondary infections from bacteria.
Since the fungus requires both heat and moisture to establish itself, keeping the feet clean, dry and exposing them to the air is helpful in preventing Athlete’s Foot. In many cases, the condition may resolve itself but it can also be treated with topical and oral medications.
Inflammation of the Achilles tendon
The Achilles tendon essentially attaches your calf muscle to your heel bone on each leg. Tendonitis refers to an inflammation, or swelling, in this tendon. This can be caused by overuse, tight calf muscles, poor footwear, or possibly starting a new activity that works the Achilles in an unfamiliar way.
Some forms of treatment for this condition are Orthopaedic Shoes, Custom Foot Orthotics, ART, Laser Therapy, and Ultrasound Therapy.
Chronic and acute pain due to improper footwear, injuries, and/or gait
The human body is a machine composed of many complex parts. Weaknesses in one area of the body can quickly affect other areas as the body attempts to compensate and adjust. One example would be an injury causing a slight limp, which can lead to pain in the ankles, knees, and back.
As foot specialists, Chiropodists are trained to assess the biomechanical workings of the body in motion. With an analysis of the patients gait and a thorough examination, a treatment plan can be designed to target sources of pain and improve overall health.
A deformity of the hallux
Bunions are a deformity where the “big toe” appears to be permanently bent sideways toward the other toes. It is generally believed to be caused by poor footwear, particularly shoes with pointed toes. Bunions are often found in combination with hammer or claw toes.
In many cases, orthopaedic footwear or custom foot orthotics can help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with bunions.
CORNS & CALLUSES
Thickened, tough areas of skin
Calluses are thick, tough areas of skin that develop due to repeated rubbing or pressure over a long period of time. On the feet, this can occur due to friction with poor-fitting shoes or occupations that require large amounts of walking and running. Corns are a special type of callus that form with a hard “seed” in the centre, due to the rubbing pattern. Even after removal, corns and calluses can re-form if the rubbing and pressure continues.
Common treatments for corns and calluses include removal as part of our routine foot care and custom foot orthotics to redistribute the pressure.
Education and diabetic foot care services
Patients with diabetes face additional challenges to maintaining healthy feet. For instance, diabetics are prone to leg and foot infections and are slower to heal, leading to ulcers and, in extreme cases, gangrene and amputation. Diabetic foot patients can also experience numbness and vascular damage.
These challenges can be met with diligent foot care and proper education. Tread Well provides complete assessments, including checking for wounds and cuts, sources of infection, and blood circulation through the feet. We also teach patients how diabetes specifically affects the feet and how to care for them.
Partial or total collapse of the foot’s natural arch
Flat feet, also known as “fallen arches” or “pes planus”, is a condition wherein the foot has no arch and virtually all of the sole touches the ground while standing. The arches allow the foot to support the weight of the body. They also provide space for elastic soft tissues in the foot that act as springs to protect the body when running, jumping or performing other high-impact activities.
A Chiropodist can assess the arches of the feet as part of routine care. Pain, discomfort, or injuries due to flat feet can be alleviated using orthopaedic shoes, custom orthotics, and other treatments.
FUNGAL NAILS/THICKENED NAILS
Discoloured/thickened nails due to fungal infection
Fungal nails, also known as onychomycosis, is the most common type of nail disease. Toe nails with this condition appear thickened and/or discoloured in shades of yellow, green, white, or black. Left untreated, the nails can become brittle and crack. As fungus continues to invade, the toe can become inflamed and very painful around the nail.
The fungus can be removed using a variety of methods as part of our routine nail care service. Tread Well also carries Fungal Free Nails (FFN), a topical product for purchase that can be used to treat fungus.
Deformity of the toes, resembling claws or hammers
Hammer toes and claw toes are toes which have become permanently bent due to deformities in their bones and/or tendons. This condition can develop from having the toes in a bent position for long periods of time, such as in poorly-fitting shoes. Hammer and claw toes are often found in conjunction with other conditions such as bunions.
The discomfort associated with this condition can be alleviated with proper-fitting orthopaedic shoes and custom foot orthotics.
HEEL PAIN/PLANTAR FASCIITIS
Painful inflammation of connective tissue in the sole
“Plantar fascia” is the connective tissue along the sole of the foot that supports the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of this connective tissue. It often occurs due to overuse and stress on the plantar fascia. Another name for this condition is “Policeman’s Heel”. Left untreated, this can become very painful and difficult to treat. Heel spurs, which are excess growths of bone on the heel, can also cause many of the same painful symptoms as plantar fasciitis.
Tread Well has a range of services to treat plantar fasciitis and heel pain including orthopedic shoes, custom foot orthotics, ART, acupuncture, laser therapy, and ultrasound therapy.
Abnormally high arches in the foot
High arches (“pes cavus”) is essentially the opposite of flat feet. Feet with this condition have a very pronounced arch in the mid-foot, which may be painful and lead to other conditions like Achilles tendonitis. The causes of high arches can be both hereditary and acquired. As with flat feet, the condition can be managed with care and the use of custom foot orthotics and orthopaedic shoes to provide support for the arch. Surgery may be considered, but only with the most extreme of cases.
Toenails growing abnormally due to infection or poor nail care
Ingrown toenails are toenails that grow in a way that cuts into the toe itself. Left unattended, this condition can become extremely painful. It can happen on one or both of the outside corners of the toenail, or even across the entire leading edge of the nail. Generally, they are caused by incorrect nail care practices (“snip it and rip it”) or poor-fitting shoes that apply downward pressure on the toenail. Toes and toenails can become infected by bacteria, leading to inflammation. This swelling can also lead to ingrown toenails.
Tread Well provides a range of options for treating this condition, from routine nail care to in-office toenail surgeries and antibiotics.
Warts, on the soles of the feet
Plantar warts occur on the soles or toes of the feet. Over time, these warts can become painful, develop into mosaic clusters, and/or spread. Warts appear as a small lesion, often resembling a cauliflower, with tiny black marks in the centre under the surface. The virus that causes plantar warts can spread through contact, either directly or surfaces like public pool decks and shower floors.
Removing warts involves shaving or filing down the wart and chemically destroying the “root” of the wart to prevent recurrence. Depending on the severity of the wart(s), the process can take a few weeks to a few months to complete permanently.
Ligaments and muscles stretched beyond their limits
Sprains and strains are similar injuries that affect ligaments and muscles. Ligaments are fibrous structures that connect bones to other bones within a joint. A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched beyond its capacity and suffers a partial or total tear, often in a wrist or ankle. Similarly, a strain occurs when a muscle is overstretched and tears. Sprains and strains usually result in pain, swelling and possibly bruising. Depending on the severity of the condition, the joint may become unstable and the limb may become difficult to move and use.
The first method of treatment following a sprain or a strain is RICE therapy – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Minor cases should heal on their own with appropriate care and precaution. For chronic sprains, custom foot orthotics can encourage the ankle’s optimal alignment to offload damaged tissues.