Physiotherapy Toronto Blog 

My Feet Are Sore - What's The Problem?

By Athlete's Care on September 10, 2019

Treating everyone from professional athletes to office workers, it’s no surprise that many of the patients treated by our Toronto physiotherapists and chiropractors involve the feet in one way or another. The human foot is an incredibly complex structure that is responsible for movement, balance, and so much more.

Toronto Physiotherapist

It’s also an area of the body so many of us neglect, which can lead to its own set of issues, along with exacerbating any other conditions that arise because of an injury, over use, or repeated use over time.

Common complaints

Here are some very common symptoms that manifest themselves in the feet, and which may point to a variety of conditions. The important take-away is that, where there is any discomfort that lasts beyond a few days, you will want to make an appointment to consult with your Toronto physiotherapist or other sports medicine specialist for a thorough examination and proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

1. Foot cramps

Foot cramps can be uncomfortable and downright painful. The muscles contract suddenly, and you can’t relax them. The good news is that they don’ t cause any damage to your muscles or ligaments, but they can also be a sign of other issues.

  • Dehydration and other nutritional deficiencies, such as electrolytes or certain minerals;
  • Nerve damage, or an underlying neurological condition such as MS or Parkinson disease;
  • Circulatory problems, inadequate blood flow.

2. Heel Pain

Heels take a lot of abuse, from fashionable footwear that doesn’t offer adequate support, to taking a lot of the impact when walking, jogging, and running. It’s no wonder they hurt now and then.

  • A sharp pain at the bottom of the heel is a likely sign of plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the ligament that attaches to the heel bone. Pain will get worse when you stand up from a sitting position, and may be worst first thing in the morning. Did you know it can actually be caused by wearing flip flops or tight shoes?
  • Achilles tendonitis, an inflammation of the Achilles tendon that runs along the back of the heel and ankle, is painful, and usually also involves tightness of the calf muscle, and other symptoms.
  • A bone spur, or heel spur, is a deposit of calcium at the back of the heel. It can cause pain and inflammation, and is sometimes connected to plantar fasciitis.

3. Pain with stiffness

Pain and stiffness in the feet, often extending into the ankles, is often the result of osteoarthritis, or OE. It’s very common in older patients, due to the wear and tear to the joints and the tissues around them.

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is less often the cause for pain in the feet, especially at the joints, where the tissues have become inflamed.

4. Stress fractures

A stress fracture is a very small crack in the bone, and it’s common in athletes who participate in high impact sports like football or basketball. You may have cracked the bone while playing, only to feel the full effects later. It typically begins as an ache or burning sensation at the specific area of injury, and gets worse if left untreated.

5. Pain on the ball of the foot

Pain and inflammation on the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia) are usually due to shoes that don’t fit properly, but it may also be the result of intense running or jumping, or other track and field activities.

You feel this pain and inflammation in the ball of your foot. Ill-fitting shoes are the usual cause. But you might get it from strenuous activity, such as running or jumping. It’s sometimes called a stone bruise as well.

Even beyond their biomechanical structure, the feet act as a kind of window into your general health. There are many conditions that may show few concrete symptoms – but the signs will show up in your feet. These are symptoms you shouldn’t ignore.

  • Sores that don’t heal can be caused by a number of serious underlying issues such as diabetes.
  • Pain in the toe, especially the large toe, is often a sign of gout, which is a type of arthritis caused by diet. Too much purine collects in the joint, causing redness and swelling.
  • Uncomfortable burning pain, which is a symptom of a number of conditions including Morton’s neuroma, and diabetes.
  • Any redness or warmth is a sign of infection, and should be treated by an appropriate medical professional as soon as possible.

There are many other symptoms you may be experiencing when it comes to your hard working feet. If you are experiencing any problems with your feet, let our Toronto physiotherapists and other sports medicine specialists help. Call or drop by one of our Toronto clinics to make an appointment today.

 

Salmon Summer Salad

By Athlete's Care on July 26, 2019

Toronto Dietitian

 

Did you know? Eating oily fish twice a week can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

🎣 Oily fish is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which our body cannot synthesize enough of.

🎣 EPA and DHA form the cell membranes of our eyes and our brain. Research shows promise that omega-3’s can reduce the risk of depression, dementia, inflammation, and some cancers.

🎣 Besides salmon, fatty fish includes sardines, tuna, arctic char, and herring.

💊 Does an omega 3 pill yield the same benefits? Maybe! Pregnant women, and those with high triglyceride levels may benefit.

😱 Worried about mercury levels? While mercury poisoning is especially of concern to young children or women who are pregnant, most of the population need not to worry. Limit high mercury fish (large fishes) (white tuna, swordfish, shark) to <150g/week. Ensure you are eating enough selenium (as selenium binds to mercury, preventing toxicity).

🐠 salmon: season with lemon juice, evoo, salt, pepper, and bake at 400F for 20 minutes

🥗 salad: while the salmon is baking, cut your salad toppings (here we have strawberries, apples and cucumber)

🥣 vinaigrette: 2:2:1 ratio of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and maple syrup 🍁

 

Information provided by Registered Dietitian, Jasmine Kwok. Jasmine has always led an active lifestyle, and when not working, she can be found in the gym, training for her next half-marathon, or testing nutritious and delicious recipes in the kitchen. Jasmine understands the many nutrition misconceptions and challenges that her clients face, and she is determined to help her clients develop the healthy eating lifestyle that works for them. Appointments with Jasmine can be made at Athlete's Care Scarborough and Markham locations.

 

The Truth About A Sedentary Lifestyle

By Athlete's Care on July 22, 2019

Sitting disease – it’s a big concern to health care professionals, including our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine specialists. So many people nowadays make their livings at the computer, or sitting in a car for long periods of time. Active jobs make up only 20 percent of the workforce nowadays, or even less. When you add TV watching, video games, and recreational computer time, it amounts to a lot of sitting.

 

Our common lifestyle has gone from one of constant activity to one of largely sitting still. To put it mildly – it’s killing us.

The inactive lifestyle
An inactive lifestyle is associated with a series of health risks. There are many studies which back up the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, even when it is adjusted for occasional periods of activity. Simply put, sitting still for long periods of time is bad for you, and results in increased risk of,

  • Type 2 diabetes- the body’s metabolism is impaired and the ability to regulate blood sugars and break down fats is compromised;
  • Cancer – some types of cancer seem to be affected;
  • Heart disease – including poor circulation, stroke, and other disorders.

It increases your risk of dying from any cause, especially if you spend more than 10 hours per day seated. An inactive lifestyle can even contribute to mental health issues.

What can you do?

Our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other healthcare professionals are ready to give you advice on adopting an exercise regimen, particularly if you are starting from scratch. They can offer you advice tailored to your physical condition.

If you work in an office setting, there are ways that you can mitigate the amount of time you spend at your chair.

  • Try to stand and walk for 5 minutes for every 20 to 30 minutes you spend sitting down.
  • Use a fitness tracker to count your daily steps – that way you will be aware of how much you are walking.
  • Have meetings walking, and schedule talks along the way.
  • Walk around as you talk on the phone.
  • Bring light hand weights to work and use them during your breaks.

Start somewhere…

If you lead an inactive lifestyle, there is still time to get in shape, no matter what your age. Any activity will help to start with.

  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity per day.
  • You can gradually increase it to a full 60 minutes per day for optimal results.

Whether it’s a sport you enjoy, or an activity like cycling or hiking, you owe it to yourself and your health to stay active.

If you are looking for advice on starting an exercise regimen, or any other aspect of your musculoskeletal health, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics. Call or drop by one of our clinics today to make an appointment.

Our Toronto physiotherapists and chiropractors field a lot of questions about many different aspects of musculoskeletal health, including exercise and workout advice. Stretching is one of the most common subjects that our clients ask about. Everyone from amateur athletes to dedicated pros seems to have some bit of advice to offer on the subject of stretching. Should I stretch before a workout for best results? Or should I stretch after exercise? How much is too much – and how much stretching is just enough?

Here’s a look at the facts.

What type of stretch?

There are different types of stretches.

  • Static – this is the type you are most likely familiar with, where you take a position that pulls a muscle to the point of slight discomfort, and then holding it for a count of 30 or more.
  • Dynamic – repetitive movements, where the range of motion is gradually increased with each repetition. While static stretches are the norm, some studies suggest that dynamic stretching is of just as much benefit.
  • Bouncing – going into a position stretching a muscle, and then bouncing it to increase the range of motion.
  • Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) – a technique where a stretch is held while you also contract and relax the muscle repetitively.

How much stretch do I need?

The answer depends on the activity. Stretching increases flexibility and range of motion. You will need much more flexibility, for example, for dance than you would as a long distance runner.

  • If you are working to build muscle, you don’t want to over-emphasize flexibility before your workout, which can reduce a muscle’s natural spring. This can affect sports like weight training, or those where you need to be able to keep your balance in motion, such as football or soccer.
  • Conversely, too little flexibility can increase the risk of injury as muscles become less able to absorb strain.
  • The research seems to point to the fact that too much static stretching before a workout is detrimental in many cases. It can make muscles weaker and slower to react.

Timing is everything

The nature and timing of stretching is important.

  • Most experts recommend a warm up of at least 10 minutes, with a light aerobic component, and dynamic stretching that involves the muscles and movements you will use in your sport.
  • For runners, for example, dynamic stretches could involve high knees, leg swings, or butt kicks.

Stretching after exercise

When muscles are warm, there is some research that supports the idea that static stretching can be beneficial in a number of ways.

  • It reduces injuries;
  • It helps to increase speed;
  • It helps to increase power.
  • If your activity is yoga or pilates, then you can incorporate stretching right into your workout.
  • If your activity is a sport like tennis, or a workout of some type, then stretch after the activity.
  • Pro Weight Tip: during the workout, stretch the antagonistic muscle to the one you are working on for an extra boost.

Need advice on exercise, or any other aspect of your musculoskeletal health? Our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors, and other sports medicine specialists are waiting with expert advice and information. Call or drop by one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics today.