About Our Services
Conditions We Treat:
What is it?Athlete’s foot is a common infection of the skin with symptoms that include itching, scaling, redness and small blisters. In most cases it begins between the toes, but can extend outwards to the sides and bottom of the foot, and even to the nails. Despite being called athlete’s foot, it is a very common infection affecting athletes and non-athletes alike.
What can cause it?The warm, dark and humid environment that our feet endure from our footwear actually encourages fungal growth. Athlete’s foot can also be contracted in areas that may already have traces of the fungus, some of these include:
- Dressing rooms
- Locker room showers
- Public swimming areas
What can I do to alleviate it?Athlete’s foot is an irritable condition, that if untreated can lead to more serious issues. The main issue being onychomycosis, or in easier terms, the fungus spreading and infecting the nail. To prevent this, make an appointment with us at Clarke Ventresca Foot & Orthotic Centres at the onset of symptoms, you don’t need to live with this discomfort.
What is it?Blisters are painful, fluid-filled lesions that are often caused by friction and pressure. They usually have a bubble like appearance, though continued friction can force them to burst.
What can cause it?
- Ill-fitting or new footwear
- Wrinkled socks rubbing across the skin
- Excessive moisture
- Foot deformities
What can I do to alleviate it?Blisters can often burst on their own increasing the risk of infection. One of our chiropodists at Clarke Ventresca Foot & Orthotic Centres may remove the surface of the blister and dress it to prevent infection and further irritation. Topical or oral antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent and treat infection.
What are they?A bunion occurs in your big toe joint and has the appearance of a growth on the side of the toe. A bunion is caused by a genetic weakness in your foot that allows the long metatarsal bone to slowly drift out of position. The bump is a result of the head of the bone protruding out. It then rubs on your shoes and creates pain. The area may become quite swollen and tender. In severe cases, the first toe may even overlap the second toe.
What causes it?An inherited weakness and an abnormal gait are the primary cause of a bunion. Tight shoes can also be a cause, or can simply make the problem worse.
How do I treat it?Custom foot orthotics can assist in the early stages to slow down or stop the progression of the bunion. Wearing shoes that fit properly around your bunion is also important. Alternative treatment options include anti-inflammatory or injection therapy to decrease the inflammation. If in the advanced stages, surgery may be required to realign the toe and help restore normal function. The metatarsal bone is surgically fractured, allowing it to be placed in a corrected position.
BunionettesA bunionette (also known as Tailor’s bunion) is similar to a bunion but occurs on the outside of the foot near the small toe. Bunionettes can be caused by abnormal foot mechanics or trauma.
Corns and Callous
What is it?Corns and callous are thick, hard layers of skin that develop from pressure and friction and can form anywhere on the foot. Callous develops as a result of diffuse pressure or friction, where as a corn develops form direct, localized pressure. A corn forms inwards like a cone of callous, and does not have a root.
What can cause it?Common causes of corns and callous are:
- Poor fitting footwear
- Hammer/Claw toes
- Flat feet
- High arched feet
How can they be treated?Your chiropodist can remove the corn and callous quite easily with no pain. The chiropodist will make recommendations to prevent the corn and callous from returning. These recommendations may include a change in footwear or custom made orthotics.
What is it?
Cracked heels are also known as heel fissures. They generally occur on the back of one or both heels. They can be very painful, and can be more dangerous for those with diabetes, poor circulation or immune suppressant diseases.
What can cause it?
Some causes include disruption in the barrier or protective function of the skin, leading to increased water loss from the epidermis (outer skin layer), low humidity as seen in winter, genetics, diuretic use, decreased sweat gland activity and skin changes due to aging. There are also some medical conditions which can result in heel fissures such as venous stasis dermatitis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, Down syndrome, kidney disease, malnutrition and lymphoma. The pressure that is put on your heels when walking can also cause cracks.
What can I do to treat it?
Applying a good moisturizing lotion to feet daily is essential. At Clarke Ventresca Foot & Orthotic Centres our chiropodists will assess the underlying condition. Treat may include debridement of callous on heels and orthotics to address the pressures on the heels.
The Diabetic FootIt is estimated that 2,000,000 Canadians are affected by diabetes and many more are not even aware of it. This disease requires proper management to prevent serious problems. Not taking care of blood sugar levels can lead to impaired circulation and peripheral neuropathy (loss of feeling to the feet). Over many years, this can lead to decreased healing time, ulceration and sometimes amputation. Diabetes can cause many changes within your body. The main effect to the feet and lower legs is diabetic peripheral neuropathy which often includes symptoms such as pain, burning, tingling, pins and needles and even complete numbness. It is estimated that over 50% of diabetics have some form of peripheral neuropathy but many do not have any symptoms. Poor glucose levels will affect the onset and severity of neuropathy, which ultimately will make walking difficult as it will affect balance. Sleeping is often an issue for diabetics as tingling may keep them awake. It is important to maintain a proper glucose level as this will allow your body to function more efficiently and will decrease the chance of your developing problems throughout your entire body. Your eyes, cardiovascular system, kidneys and feet will all benefit from proper glucose control. Diabetics should inspect their feet daily. An annual Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam should also be completed. At Clarke Ventresca Foot & Orthotic Centres we will help to determine your risk level and will guide you with the future management of your foot care. A diabetic that is well controlled with no symptoms of nerve damage or diminished circulation is considered low risk. The next risk level is moderate, where there are some early nerve and circulation concerns thus increasing the risk of infection and complications. At this level it is recommended that diabetics should have a Diabetic Foot Check every 4-6 months. Foot care should also be performed every 6-8 weeks to minimize the chance of any foot problems. High risk is if you have considerable loss of feeling or no feeling in your feet. You may have already experienced a foot or lower leg ulcer and your circulation is usually poor. High risk diabetic foot care should be performed by a Chiropodist every 4-6 weeks in order to minimize the chance of infection, ulceration or other foot problems. Below is a list of things that may be checked in your feet during your Diabetic Foot Exam at Clarke Ventresca Foot & Orthotic Centres:
- Pulses in your feet
- Capillary refill time
- Absence of hair growth
- Light touch sensation (using a small monofilament)
- Footwear and inserts or orthotics
- Type of socks you wear
What is it?Fungal nail infection, or onychomycosis, is an infection primarily caused by organisms called dermatophytes that reside on the nail bed and plate underlying the surface of the nail. It has little to do with personal cleanliness and is an extremely common condition, yet many people have not seen a chiropodist to address it.
What might it look like?Once infected, you may notice discolouration to the nail; it may change to a yellow/brown or darker colour. The nail may thicken and become flaky and debris may get caught underneath the nail causing a foul odor.
What can cause it?The formula to getting fungal nails is based on two things: the condition of the toe nail paired with exposure to the fungus that causes the infection. Something that weakens the nail, such as banging it, trimming it too closely, or wearing ill-fitting footwear, can make it the ideal location for the infection to reside. Ideally we want to prevent any nail bed exposure or else the following locations become prime places to pick up the fungus that causes the infection:
- Locker rooms
- Swimming pools
- Pedicure/Manicure salons
What can I do to alleviate it?Unfortunately, the nail provides the perfect protective environment for the infection to thrive, making it more probable to spread to your other toes and potentially other people. At Clarke Ventresca Foot and Orthotic Centres we have many treatment options available to you. Remember, fungal nail infections will not go away on their own, and there is no reason for you to have to suffer through them or keep them hidden away.
Ganglion CystA ganglion cyst is a tumor or swelling on top of a joint or the covering of a tendon. It appears as a sac of liquid, and the inside is a thick, sticky, clear, colourless, jelly-like material. The cysts may feel firm or spongy. One large cyst or many smaller ones may develop. Multiple small cysts can give the appearance of more than one cyst, but a common stalk within the deeper tissue usually connects them. This type of cyst is not harmful and accounts for about half of all soft tissue tumors of the hand and foot. Ganglion cysts, also known as Bible cysts, are more common in women. Approximately 70% occur in people between 20-40 years of age. Rarely do we see them in children younger than 10 years of age. 60-70% of Ganglion cysts are seen on the back of the hand, at the wrist joint and top of the foot.
GoutGout is a complex disorder. It is more prevalent among men, and afflicts women more commonly after menopause. Gout most commonly affects the big toe joint. Signs and symptoms of gout are generally acute. They can come on suddenly without warning. Many patients experience them at night.
- Severe pain in the joints
- Pain that goes away gradually
- Itchy and peeling skin at a later point
- Redness and inflammation
- Red/purplish skin
- Elevated temperature
- Decreased flexibility
- May appear as nodules in the elbows, hands or ears
- No symptoms
What is it?
“Hallux” is the big toe, and “rigidus” shows that the toe is rigid and hard to move. It is is a disorder of the joint located at the base of the big toe and is a type of degenerative arthritis.
As we use the big toe whenever we walk, stoop down, climb up, or even stand, this disorder can be extremely disabling. It is often confused with a bunion, which affects the same joint, but they are, in fact, very different. It is a progressive condition, and is sometimes called a “frozen joint.”
What can cause it?
Some common causes of hallux rigidus are faulty functioning and structural abnormalities of the foot that can lead to osteoarthritis in the big toe joint. This can develop in people who have changed the way their foot and big toe function. For example, people with fallen arches or over rolling in of the ankles are susceptible to developing hallux rigidus.
It can be hereditary, can be due to overuse, or the result of an injury. Sometimes, it may be caused by inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
Some early signs and symptoms include pain and stiffness in the big toe when in use, or if aggravated by cold and damp weather. In addition, if you are having difficulty with activities such as running or squatting, this may be a sign. You may see swelling and inflammation around the joint.
As the disorder gets more serious, additional symptoms may develop, such as pain during rest, difficulty wearing shoes as bone spurs develop, a duller pain in the hips, knees, or lower back, and limping.
What can I do to alleviate it?
Hallux Rigidus is easier to treat if caught early. Therefore, the best time to see a specialist is when you first notice symptoms.
In diagnosing hallux rigidus, our team will examine your feet and move the toe to determine it's range of motion. X-rays may help determine how much arthritis is present as well as to evaluate any bone spurs or other abnormalities that may have formed.
In many cases, early treatment may prevent or postpone the need for surgery in the future. Some treatments our chiropodists will review include shoe advice or modifications, orthotic devices, medications, injection therapy, and physical therapy.
What is it?A hammertoe (also referred to as claw toes) is a contraction deformity that results in bony prominence’s on the toes. This raised joint often becomes calloused or develops corns from constant friction, leading to pain in the toes and even preventing the ability to wear footwear.
What can cause it?
- Ill-fitting footwear, especially high heeled shoes or shoes with a narrow toe box
- Trauma to the foot and/or toes
- Muscle imbalances that generally assist in keeping the toes straight
What can I do to alleviate it?Although the onset of hammertoes can typically be managed, this is the most urgent time for a chiropodist to intervene. Over time the flexibility will decrease, leaving a rigid bent toe that will most likely require surgery. At Clarke Ventresca Foot & Orthotic Centres we will assess the reasons contributing to your hammertoes and develop a strategy to help rectify them that may include orthotics, stretching and proper footwear.
Hyperhidrosis or Sweaty Feet
What is it?Hyperhydrosis is a medical condition that causes extreme perspiration. It is a condition that can be episodic or continuous, and is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. The main types of hyperhydrosis are: palmer hyperhydrosis, axillary hyperhydrosis and plantar hyperhydrosis. Plantar Hyperhydrosis refers to excessive sweating of the feet. It is a known cause of foot odor and athlete’s feet. Many patients with Hyperhydrosis are self-conscious and may avoid social contact when it involves removing footwear. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.
What is it?
Ingrown toenails are a painful condition where the nail protrudes into the surrounding skin. This can lead to inflammation and consequently infection if not treated properly. The skin can become red and it will be painful to the touch, making footwear and mobility increasingly difficult. For people with impaired circulation or diabetes, this can be a serious issue that needs immediate attention.
What can cause it?
- Improper nail trimming
- Trauma to the area
- Pressure from ill-fitting footwear
What can I do to alleviate it?
Ingrown toenails are a common ailment that we deal with here at Clarke Ventresca Foot and Orthotic Centres. In your assessment with our chiropodists we will determine the proper route for treatment and provide you with information on preventing further ingrown toenails from occurring. Finally, if your ingrown toenails keep persisting, you may want to consider a simple surgery that we perform in our office to remove the portion of the nail causing the discomfort. But the first step is making that initial appointment.
What is it?Morton’s neuroma is is a painful condition that affects the ball of your foot, most commonly the area between your third and fourth toes. Although it is labeled a neuroma, many say it is not a true tumor, but rather a fibrous tissue formation around nerve tissue. Patients can experience numbness and pain in the affected area, which is often relieved by removing footwear and/or massaging the foot.
What can cause it?Morton’s neuroma may be the result of irritation, pressure or injury. In some cases its cause is unknown. In the majority of cases only one nerve is affected. Having both feet affected is rare. A high percentage of patients with Morton’s neuroma are women who wear high-heeled or narrow shoes.
How do you alleviate it?At Clarke Ventresca Foot & Orthotic Centres we will perform a basic examination of the affected foot. We will probably first press on your foot to check for a tender spot and squeeze your foot to feel for a sort of click between the toes. Our chiropodist’s will thoroughly assess your footwear and perform a gait analysis to determine if that is the cause. An ultrasound may be recommended to assist in the diagnosis. Treatment will often include footwear counselling, simple padding, and orthotics. If none of that works a cortisone injection may be indicated. Surgery is recommend in the most severe cases.
What is it?
Bruising under the nail is called a subungual haematoma. Discolored, bleeding, or loose toenails resulting from an injury are painful problems, and should be treated immediately.
If you are a diabetic, have poor circulation, a compromised immune system, are taking blood thinners, or have other systemic diseases, see a chiropodist as soon as possible, to prevent possible serious consequences.
What can cause it?
Any type of trauma to the toe or the nail directly can result in bleeding under the nail. Obvious macro-trauma like kicking a piece of furniture will often create bruising. However, bruising can also be a result of micro-trauma, like wearing shoes that are too short or narrow.
What can I do to treat it?
Depending on when the trauma occurred our chiropodists will ensure the nail and nail bed is healthy. If needed the loose nail will be trimmed away. If the cause is not obvious they will play detective to determine the reason.
What is it?The plantar fascia is a strong, inflexible, fibrous band that starts at the heel and then spreads out to connect at the base of the toes. Its purpose is to support the foot. However, with the constant pulling with each step, it can tear away from the heel bone resulting in inflammation, swelling and pain. Long term inflammation may result in the formation of a heel spur. The spur itself is the result of chronic inflammation in that area but is not the cause of pain. The typical symptoms are pain at the bottom the heel, usually present during the first few steps you take in the morning. It tends to ease until the next time you rest, sit or drive and returns when you try to stand on your feet. It can begin to interrupt daily life and hurt even during rest if left untreated.
What is the Cause?Plantar fasciitis is a condition that occurs from overuse or excessive stress on the plantar fascia. Some contributors are:
- A flattening of the arches over time
- Tightness in the calf muscles
- An increase in activity level, especially if you have not been active for a period of time
- An increase in body weight
- Wearing improper shoes for your foot shape or shoes that are worn out
- Jumping or stepping down onto a hard surface
- Standing in one spot or standing on a ladder for prolonged periods
How Can it be Treated?Don’t wait to seek attention. The pain can progress rapidly so treatment should be started early as possible. The longer this condition is left untreated, the more difficult it is to treat. At Clarke Ventresca Foot & Orthotic Centres our chiropodists will help to eliminate your heel pain. Treatment may include stretching and strengthening exercises, taping, custom made orthotics and Shockwave Therapy . In the mean time it is important to wear supportive shoes at all times to allow the plantar fascia to rest and to provide some cushioning for your heel.
What is it?Plantar warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which causes a hard growth on the bottom of the feet that can be painful to walk on. Plantar warts are often mistaken for corns, but they are quite different. Warts may appear at any age, but are more common in children and young adults. If left untreated, warts often spread and become unsightly and painful to walk on.
What can cause it?The virus that causes Plantar warts is most commonly found in warm, moist environments like pools but can be found in carpets and other hard surfaces. Usually the skin is enough of a barrier to protect you from getting a wart, however some people are just more susceptible to warts. Once the virus invades the skin, you will start to feel a hard lump forming, followed by changes in the skin’s appearance. Warts are contagious and often multiply and spread to the surrounding areas.
What is the treatment?There are many different treatments available to treat warts. At Clarke Ventresca Foot & Orthotics Centre we may use several products that are stronger than over the counter medications. Liquid nitrogen (cryogenic freezing) is also a preferred method for treatment. Needling may be beneficial for patients who have not seen resolution with topical or cryogenic freezing treatments. We are happy to offer the newest treatment for warts, The Swift. The Swift uses microwaves to destroy the virus that causes the wart. Call the clinic today for more information.
What is it?A foot ulcer is an open sore on the foot. A foot ulcer can be shallow and involves only the surface skin. however they can also be very deep. A deep foot ulcer may be a hole that extends through the full thickness of the skin. It may involve tendons, bones and other deep structures. More than any other group, people with diabetes have a particularly high risk of developing foot ulcers. This is because the long-term complications of diabetes often include neuropathy and circulatory problems. Without prompt and proper treatment, a foot ulcer may develop infection. If an infection occurs in an ulcer and is not treated right away, it can develop into:
- An abscess (a pocket of pus)
- A spreading infection of the skin and underlying fat (cellulitis)
- A bone infection (osteomyelitis)
- Gangrene. Gangrene is an area of dead, darkened body tissue caused by poor blood flow.