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Don’t Let Pain Ruin Your New Year’s Resolutions!

It’s a new year, and you are motivated to start a new exercise routine! Don’t forget about your feet; proper shoes and support can be beneficial to prevent pain from developing.

Why Pain Develops When Starting a New Exercise Routine

When starting a new exercise routine, the body may not be prepared to handle the stress. Exercise increases force to the feet, and exaggerates any foot motions already present. These exaggerated motions create more work for the muscles and other structures around the feet. Because the structures in our body are connected, movements of the feet can also affect other structures higher up.

The Importance of Proper Shoes

Why are your shoes important while exercising? They provide support, cushioning and protection for your feet. If you are running, jumping, or even walking for exercise, your shoes can be the difference between pain and comfort.

Support becomes especially important when flat feet or high arches are present. Supportive shoes can limit any excessive foot motions to reduce the stress on the muscles and other structures. Cushioning also becomes important to reduce shock, especially for those with high arches or less flexible feet. Exercise increases the force through the feet, while cushioned shoes help to reduce this.

This support and cushioning can be compromised when shoes become worn out. The support may worsen if the shoe does not wear evenly throughout. Shoes tend to wear out where the most stress is, which may increase abnormal foot movements and increase stress and strain.

The Importance of Proper Support

Support from a custom orthotic or an over the counter insert is different than support from your shoes. Orthotics provide support to hold the foot in a neutral position, while a supportive shoe provides a proper base for stability and prevents the whole foot from shifting from side to side.

Flat feet, high arches, and feet with other alignment issues may need this additional support from an orthotic, especially when pain develops from conditions originating from the mechanics of the feet. Some of these common conditions are plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma and bunions.

Pedorthic tips

Proper Shoes

There are different types of athletic shoes made for specific activities and for the way your feet move. Examples of different athletic shoes are walking shoes, running shoes and sport specific shoes.  Footwear can be further categorized as stability, neutral or motion control. These different shoes are best for the specific foot types that they’re designed for, as flat feet and high arched feet have different footwear requirements.

In addition to finding the correct style of shoe, the fit is also important. Signs of a poor fitting shoe could be redness, calluses/corns, pain and bruising. Finding the right fit in your exercise shoes is very important, as walking around in the store is different than exercising. Once you start exercising, pressure areas may become evident that were not noticeable when trying in the store.

Find your local Pedorthist to determine the best type, style and fit to suit your needs!

Proper Support (orthotics)

When additional support is recommended, wearing custom orthotics or over the counter inserts inside the shoes can be beneficial. They complement the shoe to alleviate pain and reduce excessive foot motions. When pain develops in the feet or other parts of the lower body, the feet may be the cause. To help prevent this pain from developing, a pedorthic assessment can help to determine if you would benefit from custom orthotics or off the shelf inserts.

Add your local pedorthist to the list of professionals to consult before starting a new exercise routine!

By: Julia Hayman, C. Ped (C)


Meet a Pedorthist – Kevin Carrington

Kevin Carrington was always an active child – a regular runner, and someone who played a lot of sports. But he was flat-footed, and relied on a pedorthist to help him participate in sports at a higher level.

“As a kid, I suffered injuries, so I kept this business in mind,” he says. “I thought it would be interesting.”

He received his undergraduate degree with a Bachelor of Science in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa. He then received his Diploma in Pedorthics with distinction from the University of Western Ontario in 2009 and became certified as a C. Ped (C) later that same year.

“My pedorthist (as a child) was the same person I did my placement with while at the University of Western Ontario,” he remembers. “It’s a small world.”

His favourite part of being a pedorthist is the daily interactions he has with people. “I’m a talker, so I enjoy speaking with people,” Kevin laughs, adding that the job also has significant rewards.

“I also enjoy being able to help people. There’s a gratification you get from having helped someone. Even if it’s something minor, allowing people to walk or run gives me a good feeling.”

Kevin is so passionate about helping others that he often returns to his former employer – The Running Room – to help with the company’s running clinics. Being active with The Running Room also ties into his passion for running and the outdoors. As someone who has always been active, he has no plans of stopping now. His enjoys remaining active in his spare time.

“I try to get outside, and I love being outside,” Kevin says. “I’m an avid runner – not at the competitive level, but just to get out there. I also play hockey and try to get on my bike once in a while.”

Kevin says he highly respected his mentors along the way, and thinks very highly of the pedorthic profession as a whole. He hopes that in the future, people will become more aware of the importance of pedorthists’ work.

“To this day, people often say, ‘what’s a pedorthist?’” Kevin says. “I want people to become more aware of what we do – which is help, and coincide with doctors to help better people’s lives.”


Meet a Pedorthist – Katia Langton

Katia Langton started her career as a Chiropractor, and practiced for 20 years.

While treating patients, she noticed they often had painful foot conditions, pronation and alignment issues – which caused them back problems.

To better understand the base of her patients’ issues, Katia, a Vancouver, British Columbia native discovered the Pedorthic field and became a Certified Pedorthist in the United States, and later, Canada.

She received her education at Simon Fraser University, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, International School of Pedorthics, and Western States Pedorthic program.

“In the U.S. there is a lot of focus on the diabetic foot since they have ten times the diabetic population we have,” says Katia, adding that her late mentor Bill Meanwell piqued her interest in the diabetic foot care area. “Prior to this, I did not know anything about diabetes affecting the feet and I started researching, learning, and going to conferences with a focus on Diabetic Foot Disease.”

She also received her C Ped (C) designation and opened a clinic with a wound care physician to help patients from all risk categories of the diabetic foot.

What she loves most about her work – and what she finds most rewarding – is catching the Charcot foot early in her patients.

“When we catch the Charcot foot early, and prevent the patient from progressing down that very deleterious pathway of diabetic foot complications, that is a true reward,” she says. “When the active Charcot phase becomes inactive, we know we have done our job well if we have met two goals; that the foot still looks like a foot and it is a shoe-able foot. Patients often return many months later to thank us.”

On April 27, 2016, Katia was honored to be appointed onto the Diabetic Foot Stream Committee of the International Diabetes Federation. In this role, she helps prevent diabetic foot complications on a global level by creating international guidelines to protect the diabetic foot that all health care practitioners can use. These Diabetic Foot Guidelines were published June 2017.  She also leads presentations on diabetic foot ulcers and amputations for health care professionals, and attends multiple conferences internationally to spread the word.

Katia works with a Diabetic Foot Care Nurse and runs multiple mobile Diabetic Foot Clinics, throughout BC. Her focus is seeing patients with Diabetes and with painful foot conditions that will eventually stop them walking due to pain.  A sedentary lifestyle will make patients susceptible to lifestyle related chronic diseases; the largest being Diabetes. 


Reduce Your Winter Woes and Get the Most Out of the Canadian Winter

Weather. It’s everyone’s favourite topic of conversation in Canada and, while winter doesn’t officially join us until December 21, there have already been traces of winter across the country. As Canadians, we often joke, “Don’t like the weather? Wait 10 minutes and it’ll change.” However true or false that may be, and however much or little you love winter, you always want to be prepared. During the winter season, there are challenges to navigating the ever-changing winter conditions, the demand of holiday parties, and seasonal physical activities that you haven’t done since, well, last winter. All this amounts to one question that Canadian Certified Pedorthists hear a lot, “What do I wear on my feet?”

Get an Assessment

Canadian Certified Pedorthists (C. Ped (C)s) are foot orthotic and footwear experts trained to assess the function of lower limb (feet and legs) anatomy and biomechanics. As C. Ped (C)s, we work with our clients to determine the best solutions for their needs. The first step in the assessment is always to take a thorough history; this includes determining your seasonal needs. Maybe you’re retired and spend the winter months in Arizona. Perhaps you spend every weekend on the black diamond slopes, are a regular at the local outdoor ice rink or can’t wait to try snowshoeing for the first time. Or, are you like many of my clients, friends, and family who want to enjoy winter but have a fear of falling and breaking something? That fear alone is warranted; thousands of Canadians visit the ER every winter due to slipping on ice. The initial assessment will help your C. Ped (C) gauge your winter footwear needs.

 

Traction for your winter footwear is like that of the tires on your car. Factors that affect traction include weight, coefficient of friction (the amount of friction holding two surfaces together), and slip. When my clients, friends or family ask what they can do to increase traction and decrease the risk of falling there are a couple of things that I recommend.

  1. Work on improving balance, strength, and flexibility in safe environments like the fitness studio, a physiotherapy clinic or your home. These elements of long-term exercise and fitness play a key role in reducing injury or recovering from injury.
  2. Do your research when it comes to winter footwear. Just because it’s labeled a winter boot doesn’t mean it will hold up to environment’s specific conditions. A company based out of Toronto has been working on a protocol for testing and a standardized rating system for slip resistant footwear. You can check out their annual ratings at ratemytreads.com.
  3. Invest in a pair of over-the-shoe cleats for added traction. Be sure to remove them before stepping into a building, as they can be as problematic as walking on ice if you try using them on tile floor.

Do’s and Don’ts of Winter Foot Care

Falls aren’t the only winter woes to avoid when it comes to your feet. Here are some other DO’s and DON’Ts to get you started as you prepare to maximize the benefits of the Canadian winter:

DON’T cram your feet into tight-fitting winter boots.

DO make sure there is space around your toes for air to circulate. Your body heats that air and keeps your toes roasty-toasty warm.

DON’T wear wet or sweaty socks or footwear outside.

DO change to dry socks and shoes if you need to go out again.

DON’T wear your hard-soled shoes in cold, icy conditions.

DO choose footwear with out-soles (the part that comes in contact with the floor) that still have some give or elasticity in icy, cold conditions.

DON’T assume last year’s winter footwear will still fit and do the job this year. This is important for kids and adults alike.

DO check the fit and condition of your boots, skates, and ski boots. Check inside the footwear to make sure nothing accidentally fell inside of them while in storage.

DON’T change your running or walking form too much. Many people get too cautious, stiffen up, and cause overuse injuries.

DO reduce your pace and shorten your stride. Take corners as slowly as necessary and try your best to relax.

DON’T wear your stiletto sandals to the holiday party, unless you can be dropped off at the door.

DO have a change of footwear with you whenever possible. Many event spaces have a cloakroom where you can change and store your shoes.

Whether you live and breathe for Canada’s six months of winter or can’t wait for the tulips to pop up again, stay tuned through the month of December as we’ll be sharing more stories, tips, and articles that will get you through winter with happy feet. Are you interested in finding out more about what Canadian Certified Pedorthists can do for you and your family right now? Visit https://www.pedorthic.ca/ or follow Pedorthic Association of Canada on Facebook.

By Jaime Nickerson C. Ped (C), B.Sc. (Kin), Dip Pedorthics


Tips from a Pedorthist: Fall Prevention

Fall prevention should be a top priority for those prone to injury or for those who have mobility concerns. Falls can cause major disruptions to someone’s life, as it can affect  where a person lives safely to how much they can do for themselves around the house. Falls account for 85% of all injury-related hospitalizations for seniors and can result in serious bodily harm. Over 50% of people incur significant and impactful life changes due to falls. 

Some of those injured may not return home or live independently after a bad fall occurs. Broken and fractured bones may be involved in falls; ankles and hips are areas that are prone to breaking. Follow the fall prevention tips from a Canadian Certified Pedorthist to avoid a major accident occurring to you or to a loved one.

Fall Prevention Tips

With people spending more time at home, it is important that you examine your house and your loved ones’ houses carefully for potential tripping or falling hazards. Since over 50% of falls take place at home, it is important to narrow your chances by taking the time to examine each room with the help of family and friends. Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists can also help with this, but there may be a cost for this service.

Consider the following tripping hazards around you and take the necessary precautions to prevent anyone from falling:

  1. Electrical cords

Electrical cords that are not anchored down in a safe fashion are easy to trip on. Please check that they are necessary and then anchor them down so that they are not a tripping hazard.

  1. Obstructions in high-traffic areas

Obstructions of boxes or piles of clutter in hallways impede traffic and create other safety hazards. Spend some time making the house more organized so that these problems are dealt with and there is more room to move safely.

  1. Floor mats

Small floor mats that are curled up at the edges or have lost the rubber backing are just waiting to take you down! It is time to repair those you choose to keep or replace older mats with newer and safer ones.

  1. Footwear

Knitted slippers without a non-slip sole underneath or socks make it easy to “skate” on linoleum or hardwood. Please put a non-slip sole on these slippers or invest in a pair of slippers or shoes that have a non-slip sole on them for ease of safely getting around the house.

Often people with swollen feet are unable to wear shoes so they end up wearing socks, which is an especially dangerous way to get around. Swelling decreases the agility and mobility in the lower limbs so this person has less chance to stop a fall before it happens. It is recommended that people with swollen feet wear a form of non-slip slippers at the very least to avoid major falls. Adjustable sandals, slippers with a closure or even light weight shoes can provide better stability for walking around the house.

When a person goes outside, it is important that they have the appropriate footwear. Shoes and boots that have the appropriate tread pattern is important. In the winter, having a tread pattern that extends to both sides of the sole is important because those edges help to gain a grip on packed snow and ice. Examine the soles for increased wear on either side. Areas on the sole that are very worn down make them unstable to wear and make it easy for the wearer to fall. Ensuring sidewalks and steps are cleared of snow and ice is also an important area for preventing issues.

  1. Home modifications

Many people wake up in the middle of the night to quickly get to the washroom. The person may not be fully awake and thus is prone to problems. In addition to the recommended non-slip footwear, appropriate lighting and furniture placement will help with fall prevention at night. Physiotherapists or Occupational Therapists can work with people to examine other options that would help in terms of arranging furniture or coming up with alternative solutions that may reduce the need to rush in the middle of the night!

Seeking Professional Assistance

Fall prevention is a topic that has multiple aspects; a team approach can be required to come up with a comprehensive plan, depending on a client’s needs. Concerns about eyesight can be addressed by an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist. Concerns about balance and medicine need to be addressed by a doctor and a Pharmacist. Concerns about footwear can be addressed by a Canadian Certified Pedorthist. Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists can give exercises to help people navigate safely without falling. There is a whole lot more that can be done in assessments to evaluate the risks and to put a process in place to help prevent falls.

To find a Canadian Certified Pedorthist in your area visit https://www.pedorthic.ca/find-a-pedorthist/

By Jim Pattison, C. Ped (C)


Meet a Pedorthist – John Does

John Does was immediately inspired to help others in the world of pedorthics when an orthotic provider treated him as a runner. He remembers how this particular provider eliminated his over-use symptoms caused by poor gait mechanics.

“I found the process fascinating and the results amazed me,” says John. “No one in my immediate circle had ever heard of orthotics, and as a business-minded individual, I felt that there might be an opportunity to help others understand the benefits of this non-invasive, life-altering approach to treating causes rather than symptoms.”

The southwestern Ontario native studied business at The University of Windsor, and began his pedorthic career in the 1990s. John later returned to education, when he became certified as a C Ped (C). He has always believed in lifelong learning, and continued going back to school while running his business.

“I believe that in life, and in business, you’re either growing or going because nothing stays the same,” he says. John delivered on this philosophy earning an MBA and then a PhD from 2007 through 2016.

In addition to John’s passion for lifelong learning, he also enjoys helping his patients find comfort and return to their favourite activities. “The structure of the human foot is poorly suited to interact with the flat hard surfaces we pound on daily, and the footwear choices that walk into my clinics seem to be getting worse – not better,” John says. “Further, there seem to be fewer and fewer professionals concentrating on gait mechanics. Combine that with a population that is getting older and heavier, and it isn’t a huge leap to suggest it is a great time to be a pedorthist in North America.”

His advice for new pedorthists is to never stop learning. “Effective people in any field are always learning. As pedorthists, we have an opportunity to learn every single day,” he says. “If new orthotics feel strange, that is to be expected.  However, if you create a new pain, something is wrong.  Listen and clarify . . . try to fix it . . .  and then follow up. This will improve your results, help to build stronger relationships with customers, and if you diligently document the process, it will provide a systematic approach to ongoing learning within your clinic.”

John enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters. He likes to travel, read, and participate in most sports – especially hockey and golf. John is also a published humourist and author, in the final stages of publishing a series of children’s books.


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