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June 2019

Monthly Archives

Seniors’ Month: A Recap

In case you missed it, June was Seniors’ Month here at the Pedorthic Association of Canada! This month we shared information on the topic of aging and footcare. Here’s a recap of the what we shared this month:


Pilates is an excellent activity for most seniors. If you’ve never tried Pilates this article will help you get started


Here are 8 reasons why you need to pay more attention to your feet as you age #aging #footcare


You’ve earned your retirement. Don’t let a fall ruin your plans


If your back hurts, the cause may be your feet


While issues with our feet do not discriminate against age, there are a few conditions that become more common among older adults. Read on to learn more…/
#PACSeniors #CPedC #Pedorthist


If you’re a senior, spending 30 minutes a day walking briskly on a treadmill will help maintain your mobility, balance and fitness. Try this treadmill workout plan


Most falls are preventable. These tips will reduce your risk #seniors #fallprevention


Foot pain can be treated. Don’t let sore feet slow down your retirement plans


Wondering how a pedorthist can help you?


Custom foot orthotics can help alleviate foot, knee and back pain. Here’s Lori’s story


Even though June is coming to a close, it is important to consider why your feet need special attention as you age. If you’re a senior, or if you have seniors in your life, encourage them to make a Pedorthist part of their foot health care plan—find a local Pedorthist here.

4 Common Conditions Associated with Aging Feet (and How a Canadian Certified Pedorthist Can Help)

Estimates suggest that, on average, if you live to the age of 80 years old you will have taken enough steps to walk the Trans-Canada Highway between Victoria, British Columbia and St. John’s, Newfoundland over 20 times! That is a lot of ground covered on a pair of feet that must get us through a lifetime.

If you knew how many steps you would be taking in your life, would you care for your feet a little better than you are now? Maybe you already have a concern about your feet? While issues with our feet do not discriminate against age, there are a few conditions that become more common among older adults. Read on to learn more about them and how Canadian Certified Pedorthists – C. Ped (C)- can help.

Fat Pad Atrophy

We are all born with large fat pads in our feet. It is why babies’ feet are so cute and plump. When we learn to walk, these fat pads serve the purpose of cushion and shock absorption, reducing the amount of stress on the other soft tissues and bones of the feet. Unfortunately, as we get older, the fat pads begin to break down, thin out, and stop doing their job so well, otherwise known as atrophy. When this atrophy occurs, clients will often describe it as the sensation like they are walking directly on the bones of their feet, most commonly at the heel or ball of the foot. Not only is the sensation unnerving, it can also lead to other complications such as ulceration.

Treatment: To treat fat pad atrophy, a Canadian Certified Pedorthist may recommend supportive footwear with cushion in the areas where thinning has occurred. They may also design custom foot orthotics with extra padding applied to the areas that feel most like they are lacking natural cushion. The foot orthotic may also include features such as a deep heel cup to contain the fat pad under the heel or a metatarsal pad to take some pressure away from the ball of the foot.

Corns & Calluses

Corns and calluses are regularly grouped together; however, they are two unique changes that can happen to the skin of our feet. A corn is a dry thickening on the outer layers of skin with a hard, central core, about 1cm or less in diameter, and commonly found on the side of the 5th (baby) toe, on top of or between the other small toes, and on the bottom of the foot. The most common cause of corns is ill-fitting footwear. Similarly, calluses are formed by a thickening of the skin. However, calluses often appear in areas of high friction and pressure. They can range in size, even covering the entire bottom of the ball of the foot.

Treatment: To treat corns or calluses, a Canadian Certified Pedorthist may recommend better fitting footwear and can help you to choose shoes with a toe box that matches the shape (including depth and width) of the foot. If footwear isn’t the cause they may introduce pre-made or custom spacers to keep the areas separated. Custom foot orthotics can help to positively alter the mechanics of the feet such that pressure and friction can be reduced. Your C. Ped (C) can excavate or dig material out of the shoe or foot orthotic to accommodate a corn or thick callus.

Hammer, Claw & Mallet Toes

Hammer, claw, and mallet toe deformities each refer to a different orientation of the small joints in the lesser toes (toes two through five). They are often the result of an imbalance between the muscles that point the toes down and those that pull the toes up. They are exacerbated by footwear that is too tight and there is a higher occurrence of lesser toe deformities in women than men. Our small toes are meant to help stabilize the foot, and when this function is compromised it increases the risk of falling. This is especially the case among older adults, who have other risk factors for falls as well. Toe deformities are best treated early on when range of motion is still available in the joint.

Treatment: Because ill-fitting footwear is associated with toe deformities, a Canadian Certified Pedorthist will first make recommendations on features and fit to look for. In most cases, extra depth will be required in the toe box of the shoe. Neoprene or mesh can allow for more stretch over the toes compared to a leather or vinyl. Something as simple as having your shoes stretched can also be a big help. If you have a hammer, claw or mallet toe that is due to another problem with your foot your C. Ped (C) may modify an off-the-shelf device or make custom foot orthotics for you. An off-the-shelf or custom toe prop or crest can also be used to offload the tips of the toes in question; this is particularly useful if a painful callus has formed. (For more on conditions of the toes read


While changes to the surfaces of our joints, also known as osteoarthritis (OA), can occur as naturally as getting wrinkles on our skin, people over the age of 55 are four times more likely to experience the effects of OA than those in younger age groups. OA can also be brought on by a history of injury and generally poor alignment of the joint. The most common areas of OA in the feet occur at the big toe joint, the ankle, subtalar joint, and midfoot. (For arthritis myths debunked read

Treatment: Those who are living with OA in their feet or other joints are encouraged to remain active with low impact activities. Depending on the affected joint, your Certified Canadian Pedorthist may recommend footwear features such as a stiff rocker to help reduce painful range of motion and quickly propel the foot during the gait cycle. Custom or off-the-shelf foot orthotics are a conservative treatment that can be used to alter motion and loading of the joints. Selection of the materials a C. Ped (C) might use for someone experience pain due to OA in the foot or ankle will be dependent on what is found during the assessment and could be anything from soft foams to rigid plastics.

To learn more about foot conditions that could be affecting you and your mobility, visit our website to find a Canadian Certified Pedorthist near you visit

By Jaime Nickerson, C. Ped (C)

Meet a Pedorthist – Kerrie Boelsterli-Bailey

Kerrie Boelsterli-Bailey, C. Ped (C)

After graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University 2010, Kerrie Boelsterli-Bailey was working as a Kinesiologist, but something was missing. She recalls, “It just wasn’t really stimulating enough—I wasn’t part of treatment as much as I wanted to be. I knew I had to go back to school.”

“One day I was on Facebook and I saw an ad for Pedorthics and I clicked on it,” Kerrie says. This prompted her to begin researching the profession more deeply, speaking with local pedorthists and specialists. Kerrie is a poster child for the impact digital advertising can have on both young professionals looking at career choices online, as well as the profession’s propensity to really grow. She quickly applied to the Pedorthic Program at Western and became enamoured with the practice.

Kerrie joined PAC in July 2012 as a Pedorthics Student and began practicing after the successful completion of the exams that fall.

“My experience in the profession is still very young, so every case is new and different, she explains. “Just seeing patients leave the clinic with less pain than when they came in is so rewarding.” What she enjoys most though is being able to help people—and relatively quickly compared to other similar professions.

As for her role at PAC, Kerrie brings a real, genuine enthusiasm to the profession. Recently she was able to host her first Pedorthics student from Western’s Continuing Study program and hopes to do that more often. Kerrie hopes not only to leave the student with more knowledge and wisdom as when they begin with her, but to equally gain new skills and ideas through the students.

A native of Belmont, Ontario, Kerrie stayed close to home building a life in St. Thomas with her husband and two small children. In the summer you can find them walking the pier in Port Stanley, and in the winter on local tobogganing hills.

June: A Focus on Seniors

June is Seniors’ Month and Canadian Certified Pedorthists – C. Ped (C) – across Canada are ready to deliver top tips and advice on how to help your feet age gracefully. Here are some facts about seniors and footcare to start off the month:

  • According to the 2016 Census the population of seniors now outnumber children in Canada 5.9 million to 5.8 million. It is anticipated that the scale will continue to be tipped for years to come.
  • Though frequency of health problems rises with increase in age, over half of seniors report they are in “good health”, defined by the World Health Organization as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.”
  • As such, seniors are maintaining an active lifestyle for longer and they’re remaining in the workforce longer.
  • Age-related foot problems include fat pad atrophy (breakdown), boney deformities such as hallux valgus and bunions, hammer, claw or mallet toes, neuromas, corns, callouses, nail disorders, arthritis, reduced circulation, and peripheral neuropathy. These problems can lead to discomfort or pain.
  • Canadian Certified Pedorthists – C. Ped (C) – can help to determine helpful approaches to alleviate the discomfort associated with these conditions through assessment and implementing a treatment plan that could involve thorough shoe fitting, off-the-shelf or custom orthopaedic shoes, off-the-shelf or custom foot orthotics, compression socks, bracing, toe props or spacers, and more.

Quick tips for footcare:

  • Develop a habit of checking your feet daily. If you have trouble seeing your feet, it’s important to get someone to look at them for you or use a mirror.
  • When possible, choose footwear that has an adjustable fit instead of slip-ons. Laces, buckles, and Velcro straps can accommodate conditions such as painful boney prominences, swelling, and toe deformities.
  • Consult your health care provider if the texture, colour or temperature of any part of your feet change.

Be sure to check back frequently this month as we share more tips and facts about aging and footcare!