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Chiropodic Treatments for London, Ontario Patients

At Westmount Foot and Orthotic Clinic in London, Ontario, we provide patients with surgical alternatives to foot, ankle, knee, and back pain. The use of orthotics has also shown useful in retraining muscles towards a proper gait and alignment.


Our clinic helps treat many issues related to the feet and ankles, including:


Over the years, I have improved my assessment of the foot problems and the effectiveness of foot devices to resolve numerous foot problems. I also specialize in foot care for diabetics, wound care management, treatment of corns, callouses, fungal nails, ingrown toenails, and plantars wart.

Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis causes inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the large tendon that runs down the back of your calf and attaches to your heel. The pain from Achilles tendonitis can be extreme; ranging from a shooting, burning, or piercing sensation. Although it may be momentary, it should not be ignored as it can lead to an injury, such as a tear or rupture.

Those who are athletic or spend a lot of time on their feet are more prone to Achilles tendonitis. It is caused by “overpronation”, or the flattening of the foot which causes stress along the Achilles tendon. Typically the pain is lessened by working out the affected area.

If you are prone to Achilles tendonitis, it is advised to engage in a proper stretching regiment prior to any rigorous activities. Depending on the severity of your pain, you may seek to lessen your degree of physical activity, as well as apply an ice pack following intense exercises. Uphill climbs should also be avoided.

Our clinic can create a custom orthotic device, such as a heel cup or heel cradle. This device uses lightweight, shock-absorbing materials to control flat-footedness, support the arch, and reduce stress along the Achilles tendon. A custom-fitted insole will solve and prevent the problem.

Arch & Ball of Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia)
Metatarsalgia is a general term used to describe a painful foot condition in the metatarsal (arch and ball region) of the foot. This is a common foot disorder that can affect the bones and joints of the metatarsal region. Metatarsalgia (ball-of-foot-pain) is often located under the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsal heads, or in some cases at the first metatarsal head near the big toe.

What causes pain in the ball of the foot?
With this common foot condition, one or more of the metatarsal heads become painful and/or inflamed, usually due to excessive pressure over a long period of time. Patients usually experience acute, recurrent, or chronic pain. Pain is often caused from improperly fitting footwear. Footwear with a narrow toe box forces the ball-of-foot area to be forced into a minimal amount of space. This can hamper the walking process and lead to extreme discomfort in the forefoot.

Other factors of pain are due to excessive pressure in the ball-of-foot area, such as high heels or high-impact activities without proper footwear or orthotics. As we age, the fat pads in our feet tend to thin out, making us much more susceptible to pain in the ball-of-the-foot.

How is metatarsalgia treated?
The first step in treating metatarsalgia is to determine the cause of the pain. This can be as simple as a change of footwear to one with a high, wide toe box (toe area) and a rocker sole. The high, wide toe box allows the foot to spread out while the rocker sole reduces stress on the ball-of-the-foot. Orthotics and foot care products may also be used, including orthotics designed to relieve ball-of-foot pain. This type of orthotic is constructed with the pad placed behind the ball-of-the-foot to relieve pressure and redistribute weight from the painful area to more tolerant areas. Other products often recommended include specialized metatarsal cushions and metatarsal bandages. When these products are used with proper footwear, you should experience significant relief.

A custom-fitted insole can also solve and prevent future recurrences.

Athlete's Foot
Athlete's foot and fungal nails are the most common types of foot fungi. Athlete's foot is a skin disease caused by a fungus, usually occurring between the toes. The fungus usually attacks the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, and humid environment which encourages fungus growth.

Symptoms of athlete's foot include a noticeable smell, dry, itchy skin, as well as inflammation and blisters. Athlete's foot may spread to the soles of the feet, the toenails, as well as other parts of the body, including the groin and underarms.

Athlete’s foot can be prevented by:

  • Using shower shoes
  • Wearing shoes in common areas
  • Use of talcum powder to reduce perspiration
  • Wearing light, breathable shoes
  • Wearing socks that keep your feet dry
  • Changing socks frequently (especially during times of heavy perspiration)
  • Topical or oral antifungal drugs

Bunions
Bunions are caused by excessive forces pushing against the bones of the foot. They are enlarged bumps on either side of the foot, making it hard to find comfortable fitting shoes. The bunion can cause pain in the big and little toe joints, create calluses on the big and little toes, and make walking difficult and uncomfortable.

A custom-made orthotic will remove a lot of the pressure that causes bunions, and thus alleviate and prevent pain.

Corns & Calluses
Corns and calluses are thickened layers of compacted dead skin cells which act to protect tissue and bones. They are caused by excessive pressure and friction. Corns usually occur on the toes and calluses on the soles of the feet. Due to persistent friction, corns and calluses can become painful and ulcerated.

Never cut corns or calluses with any instrument or use other remedies; seek the services of a chiropodist.

Flat Feet
Flat feet is a condition in which the foot lacks a proper arch. Most people have a gap between the inner side of the foot and the ground when they are standing. This is referred to as an "arch". Feet that have a low arch or no arch are commonly referred to as “flat feet”. On standing, the patient will have a flat arch and the foot may roll over to the inner aspect.

Although symptoms vary, individuals may experience corns and hard skin under the sole of the foot. The arch area may also be tender and shoes may wear out more quickly. In severe cases the patient may experience calf, knee, hip, and back pain.

An orthotic with rear foot posting and longitudinal arch support is an effective device to reduce overpronation and allow the condition to heal.

Fungal Nail Infections

Often seen as a change in a toenail’s colouration, fungal toenail infections are common and can persist for years without ever causing pain. Although, the disease can present serious problems if left untreated.


Fungal nail infections, known as onychomycosis, occur underneath the surface of the nail and can also penetrate the nail. If left unattended, the nail can become host to a bacterial and/or yeast infection. A group of fungi called dermatophytes easily attack the nail. When they multiply, the nail may become thicker, yellowish-brown or darker in colour, and foul smelling. The infection can spread to other toenails, the skin, or even the fingernails.

Nail bed injury may make the nail more susceptible to all types of infection, including fungal infection. Those who suffer from diabetes, circulatory problems, or immune deficiency conditions, are susceptible to fungal nails.

You can prevent fungal nail infections by taking these simple precautions:
  • Exercise proper hygiene
  • Regularly inspect your feet and toes
  • Keep your feet clean and dry
  • Wear shower shoes in public facilities whenever possible
  • Cut your nails straight across so that the nail does not extend beyond the tip of the toe
  • Use a good quality talcum foot powder to keep your feet dry when wearing shoes
  • Buy well-fitting, breathable shoes

Westmount Foot and Orthotic typically prescribes topical or oral medication to help with removal of the diseased nail matter and debris (debridement). In some cases, surgical treatment is prescribed, during which the infected nail is removed. Permanent removal prevents the return of a deformed nail.

Hammer Toes
A hammer toe is a toe that is contracted at the middle joint in the toe. Ligaments and tendons that have tightened cause the toe's joints to curl downwards. Hammer toes may occur in any toe except the big toe. There is often discomfort at the top part of the toe due to rubbing against the shoe.

Hammer toes are classified based on the mobility of the toe joints. There are two types - flexible and rigid. In a flexible hammer toe, the joint has the ability to move. This type of hammer toe can be straightened manually. A rigid hammer toe does not have that same ability to move. Movement is very limited and can be extremely painful. This sometimes causes foot movement to become restricted leading to extra stress at the ball-of-the-foot, possibly causing pain and the development of corns and calluses.

What causes hammer toes?
Hammer toes result from a muscle imbalance which causes the ligaments and tendons to become unnaturally tight. This results in the joint curling downward. Arthritis can also lead to many different forefoot deformities, including hammer toes.

How is hammer toe treated?
Changing the type of footwear is a great first step in the treatment of hammer toes. When choosing a shoe, make sure the toe box (toe area) is high and broad, and can accommodate the hammer toes. A shoe with a high, broad toe box will provide enough room in the forefoot area so that there is less friction against the toes.

Other conservative treatments include using forefoot products designed to relieve hammer toes, such as hammer toe crests and hammer toe splints. These devices will help hold down the hammer toe and provide relief to the forefoot. Specialized toe shields and toe caps are also recommended to eliminate friction between the shoe and the toe, while providing comfort and lubrication.

A custom-fitted insole will help to prevent the deforming forces that cause the problem and keep the problem from worsening.

Heel Spurs

Heel spurs are usually caused by a condition known as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue which runs along the bottom surface of the foot, attaching at the bottom of the heel bone and extending to the forefoot. When the plantar fascia is excessively stretched, this can cause plantar fasciitis, which can also lead to heel pain, arch pain, and heel spurs.


What causes heel spurs?

The excessive stretching of the plantar fascia that leads to the inflammation and discomfort can be caused by the following:
  • Overpronation (flat feet), resulting in the arch collapsing upon weight bearing
  • A foot with an unusually high arch
  • A sudden increase in physical activity
  • Excessive weight on the foot, usually attributed to obesity or pregnancy
  • Improperly fitting footwear

Overpronation (flat feet) is the leading cause of plantar fasciitis. Overpronation occurs in the walking process, when a person's arch collapses upon weight bearing, causing the plantar fascia to be stretched away from the heel bone.


With plantar fasciitis, the bottom of your foot usually hurts near the inside of the foot where the heel and arch meet. The pain is often acute either first thing in the morning or after a long rest, because while resting the plantar fascia contracts back to its original shape. As the day progresses and the plantar fascia continues to be stretched, the pain often subsides.


How do you treat heel spurs?
The key for the proper treatment of plantar fasciitis is determining what is causing the excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. When the cause is overpronation (flat feet), an orthotic with rear foot posting and longitudinal arch support is an effective device to reduce the overpronation and allow the condition to heel.


If you have unusually high arches, this can also lead to plantar fasciitis. Cushioning the heel to absorb shock, and wearing proper footwear can provide comfort to the foot.


Other common treatments include stretching exercises, plantar fasciitis night splints, wearing shoes that have a cushioned heel to absorb shock, and elevating the heel with the use of a heel cradle or heel cup. Heel cradles and heel cups provide extra comfort, cushion the heel, and reduce the amount of shock and shear forces placed during everyday activities.


Every time your foot strikes the ground, the plantar fascia is stretched. You can reduce the strain and stress on the plantar fascia by following these simple instructions: Avoid running on hard or uneven ground, lose excess weight, and wear shoes and orthotics that support your arch to prevent over-stretching of the plantar fascia.


A custom-fitted insole can also solve and prevent the problem!

Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenails are common, painful conditions that occur when the skin on the side of a toenail grows over the edge of the nail, or when the nail grows into the skin. Ingrown toenails often are the result of trimming your toenails too short, particularly on the sides of your big toes.

Ingrown toenails can be very painful. When cutting your nails, avoid tapering the corners so that the nail conforms to the shape of your toe. This will result in your nails curling down and digging into the skin. Tight or short shoes can also cause ingrown toenails.

Ingrown toenails start out hard, swollen and tender, and later become sore, red and infected. Your skin may start to grow over the ingrown toenail.

Soaking your foot in warm, soapy water several times each day is usually a good way to treat an ingrown nail. You can also try inserting some cotton or waxed dental floss between the nail and your skin to prevent further digging into the skin.

Please contact our office to determine the best course of treatment for your condition.

Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed if an infection is present. Part of your ingrown toenail (partial nail plate avulsion) may need to be surgically removed if an acute infection occurs. The procedure involves injecting the toe with an anaesthetic and cutting out the ingrown part of the toenail.

Ingrown toenails can be prevented by:

  • Trimming your toenails straight across with no rounded corners
  • Ensuring that your shoes and socks are not too tight
  • Keeping your feet clean at all times

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue which runs along the bottom surface of the foot, attaching at the bottom of the heel bone and extending to the forefoot. When the plantar fascia is excessively stretched, this can cause plantar fasciitis, which can also lead to heel pain, arch pain, and heel spurs.


What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis often leads to heel pain, heel spurs, and/or arch pain. The excessive stretching of the plantar fascia that leads to the inflammation and discomfort can be caused by the following:

  • Overpronation (flat feet) which results in the arch collapsing upon weight bearing
  • A foot with an unusually high arch
  • A sudden increase in physical activity
  • Excessive weight on the foot, usually attributed to obesity or pregnancy
  • Improperly fitting footwear
Overpronation (flat feet) is the leading cause of plantar fasciitis. Overpronation occurs in the walking process, when a person's arch collapses upon weight bearing, causing the plantar fascia to be stretched away from the heel bone.


With plantar fasciitis, the bottom of your foot usually hurts near the inside of the foot where the heel and arch meet. The pain is often noticed first thing in the morning or after a long rest when the plantar fascia contracts back to its original shape. As the day progresses and the plantar fascia continues to be stretched, the pain often subsides.


How do you treat plantar fasciitis?

The key for the proper treatment of plantar fasciitis is determining what is causing the excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. When the cause is overpronation (flat feet), an orthotic with rear foot posting and longitudinal arch support is an effective device to reduce the overpronation and allow the condition to heal.


If you have usually high arches, which can also lead to plantar fasciitis, cushion the heel, absorb shock, and wear proper footwear that will accommodate and comfort the foot. Other common treatments include stretching exercises, plantar fasciitis night splints, wearing shoes that have a cushioned heel to absorb shock, and elevating the heel with the use of a heel cradle or heel cup. Heel cradles and heel cups provide extra comfort, cushion the heel, and reduce the amount of shock and shear forces placed during everyday activities.


Every time your foot strikes the ground, the plantar fascia is stretched. You can reduce the strain and stress on the plantar fascia by following these simple instructions: Avoid running on hard or uneven ground, lose any excess weight, and wear shoes and orthotics that support your arch to prevent over-stretching of the plantar fascia.


A custom-fitted insole can also solve and prevent plantar fasciitis!

Plantar Warts
Plantar warts are a common skin infection occurring on the bottom of the foot. Plantar warts are benign tumours of the epidermis that often spread to other areas of the foot and increase in size.

Plantar warts are very painful and tender. They are usually rough, bumpy, and spongy. Some may be thick and scaly.

Risks?
Activities that can increase your chances of developing plantar warts include the use of public showers without footwear, as well as walking barefoot in public areas (such as locker rooms).

What causes plantar warts?
Plantar warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). This virus enters the body through a break in the skin. The virus thrives in warm, moist environments, such as those created in a locker room, or in your shoes when your feet perspire and the moisture is trapped.

What do plantar warts look like?
Plantar warts are grey or brown and have a centre with one or more dark pinpoints. The dark pinpoints are tiny capillaries that supply blood to the wart. Most times, the portion of the plantar wart under the skin is at least twice as big as the part you can see.


Can plantar warts be treated?
Yes. There are several different treatments for plantar warts. Your doctor can trim the wart and a topical prescription medicine can be used to dissolve the wart, which may take several weeks for it to completely disappear.

Wounds
Foot wounds can be serious, leading to life-threatening infections that may require amputation. This is especially true for those with diabetes. Therefore, it’s important to consistently monitor and care for foot wounds. Some care tips include:

  • Check the condition of your feet and wash with mild soap every day
  • Visit a medical doctor if there is a wound
  • Immediately use a triple antibiotic cream at the wound site
  • Be fitted for an air calf boot or cam walker
  • Keep feet from drying out and cracking
  • Ensure good blood supply to the area
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