Have a foot-related complaint? A chiropodist is the best person to help. On our multi-disciplinary team, we treat the body literally head-to-toe: we have psychotherapists to take care of your head and chiropodists to take care of your feet!
A chiropodist is a health care provider who specializes exclusively in the treatment of feet. For most people, your feet are your connection to the earth; they are in contact with the ground for thousands of steps per day. Feet are the foundation for walking. Our feet are not very big, but they’re impactful. If there is a problem with your feet, even if it doesn’t immediately affect you, it can have upstream effects on your knees, hips, back, and other areas of the body. Chiropodists at our clinic work in collaboration with the team, so if you’re seeing our naturopath to help you with your diabetes, it is a good idea to have our chiropodist help you deal with the foot ulcers that often come at advanced stages of this disease.
What is the difference between chiropodist and podiatrist?
In Ontario, this situation is more complicated than it may seem. A podiatrist is a foot doctor that can diagnose foot disorders and surgically repair the foot. A chiropodist specializes in caring for the foot, but is not a doctor and may neither diagnose nor operate.
While some podiatrists may exist in Ontario, they are difficult to find. There is no training for podiatry in Ontario, and there were no new registered podiatrists as of 1993. Therefore, the only way to receive surgical foot care in our province is through an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the foot. For all other matters for foot health, patients go to their chiropodist.
Since the 1990s, Ontario has adopted the UK-based model of chiropody. While every other region of the world calls their foot specialists podiatrists, Ontario has stayed with the chiropody term. Chiropodists are a health profession regulated by the College of Chiropodists of Ontario, and are trained at the only institution in Canada that offers a chiropody program: The Michener Institute. Like all professionals at our clinic, you do not need a doctor’s referral to see a chiropodist, and many private health insurance plans cover their services.
Chiropodists Treat the Following, and More:
Thickened or ingrown toenails are not only cosmetically unpleasant, but they can be very painful and become infected if not properly treated. A chiropodist can treat your toenails with special tools and techniques in order to get you literally back on your feet again…comfortably. The chiropodist can also make recommendations to avoid these inconvenient and uncomfortable toenail issues.
Warts and Fungal conditions of the nail and skin
It can be very frustrating and embarrassing to have an infection such as athlete’s foot, which was picked up innocently enough at a public pool, for example. Or, you may have had a pedicure in a salon that did not sterilize their tools enough, which is a surprisingly common issue. One wrong clip or putting your feet in an unclean tub can lead to an infection. While fungal conditions can reflect an immune system issue and fungal overgrowth in an internal area of the body such as the stomach, the foot needs to be treated as well.
Pediatric Foot Conditions
Many foot issues begin in childhood, and since children are very active, their foot issues can be exacerbated by their high level of activity. Children are adventurous and may also injure their feet jumping from a height or stepping on something sharp that they did not see, so they may need acute care for problems as they arise. For the chronic care of children’s foot issues, chiropodists are also a smart choice.
You should consult a chiropodist if you notice your child has any of the following:
- Persisting foot or leg pain
- Frequent tripping over their own feet, or awkward walking with feet turned in or outward
- Excessive or uneven shoe wear
- If their toes misalign, such as turning under or overlapping
- If you notice your child has flat feet, or if arches don’t form when on tip-toe
- If you child walks on their toes to avoid pain
- Complaints of pain, soreness, cramps in the feet and legs
- Warts, ingrown toenails, or athletes foot
While children sometimes grow out of certain health issues, they should always be evaluated by a medical professional such as a chiropodist if there is an issue walking or if they have foot, leg or back pain. Some conditions require treatment so that the issue does not become worse and affect their developing skeleton permanently.
Healthy, pain-free feet are often critical to sports performance. A case of plantar fascitis can leave you sidelined for an entire season. A chiropodist can outfit patients with sports-specific orthotics to improve performance and prevent injury. Proper arch support can improve movement mechanics and even improve strength. Your chiropodist can also advise you on the right type of sports-specific footwear for your personal needs.
Corns and calluses, dry and cracked skin
The skin on our feet takes a lot of abuses. We cram our feet into socks and shoes (many of which don’t fit properly) and walk long distances in ill-fitting footwear. The skin on the feet can become damaged and form corns and calluses in order to protect the feet from worse damage. While this protective mechanism was helpful before shoes, now it is inconvenient and painful. A chiropodist is skilled in helping you take care of the skin on your feet, treating corns and calluses, and advising you on how to care for your feet so that they do not return.
Diabetic Foot Conditions
If you’re having trouble controlling your blood sugar for long enough, it can manifest in your feel. Poor circulation and accumulation of sugar in the blood can make wounds difficult to heal, and the result is diabetic ulcers. Ulcers are wounds in the skin that don’t heal, and arise due to a number of factors related to diabetes: namely, changes in circulation and changes in nerve feeling. These ulcers can easily become infected and, if left untreated, can require amputation. A chiropodist can help with properly treating foot ulcers and protect the foot against infection and damage.
If you have arthritis, you protect your joints as best you can. However, every time you’re on your feet, you’re putting pressure on inflamed joints. Whether you have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, painful inflammation can make each step horrible. While they can’t address the root cause of the issue, a chiropodist can help you find solutions to help manage this pain.
There are many nerves in the feet, and sometimes nerves can be the source of your pain. Sometimes, for various medical reasons, the nerves of the foot can become inflamed and require special care. Morton’s neuroma, for example, is a swelling of the nerve tissue in your big toe, which can be extremely painful and require special footwear considerations. You may also need a steroid injection into that section of the toe to temporarily reduce the swelling. If you have any burning, tingling, numbness, or sharp pain in your feet, a chiropodist can help you find the source of the problem and fix it.
Yes, your chiropractor can fit orthotics, but it makes sense to have a foot expert deal with this matter. Orthotics are shoe inserts that correct the positioning of your foot to alleviate foot, back, knee, or hip pain that may result from muscle imbalances. Our reliance on hard-soled shoes has created many weaknesses in the muscles of our feet, and as a result, many people are flat-footed. Since the feet are our contact with the ground, any issue in the structure of the foot will lead to a chain-reaction of pain over time as we walk. By causing issues in the way we walk, flat-footedness often leads to pain in other areas of the body. A chiropodist will address this problem by fitting their patient with a set of orthotics. Corrective footwear does not You will likely need to wear orthotics for the rest of your life, the same way you wear eyeglasses for your lifetime once you get your first prescription.
What is Included in a Visit With My Chiropodist?
A comprehensive assessment of your foot health, and any other factors that may be contributing to your foot health, such as any diseases, conditions, or illnesses you may also have.
Once your chiropodist has completed your assessment and determined your foot care needs, he or she may do some or all of the following to help you take the best care of your feet:
- Footwear advice, consultation, or customization – you may need to change your shoes, or you may need custom ones. Your chiropodist will help.
- Custom orthotics and ankle braces – ankles are also within the chiropodist’s scope. To keep your gait steady and keep you out of pain, your chiropodist may have to create a custom solution for you.
- Anti-inflammatory injections or medications – sometimes, you can’t avoid the inevitable, and an injection or medication is what’s needed to keep the swelling down or to completely get rid of a toenail fungus. Chiropodists can prescribe and inject certain substances so that the foot can fully heal.
- Therapies, such as: stretching and physical medicine, ultrasound, electric stimulation – sometimes, the muscles of the foot need care as well, and many of these techniques help the foot rehabilitate.
- Minor surgery – sometimes, you just need to remove or repair something. A chiropodist is trained in minor surgeries to help fix an ingrown nail, for example.
- Nail and skin care – removal of corns and calluses would be messy if you had to do it yourself. Trust the experts in keeping your feet in excellent shape.
If you need foot care, let us know. You can book with us online here.