That pesky ingrown toenail is throbbing and not letting you sleep at night. You took those first few steps in the morning only to experience a stabbing pain at your inner heel. The bunion on your left foot is now starting to ache. You have Type II Diabetes and have noticed that your feet are numb and tingling. Now what? Time to book a Chiropody appointment!
Chiropody is a regulated healthcare profession that focusses on the assessment and management of the foot and foot-related conditions. Treatment is often achieved through a medical, surgical or palliative approach.
A Chiropodist, otherwise known as a Foot Specialist, is skilled in the management of acute and chronic foot conditions. Common treatments provided by Chiropodists include:
1. Diabetic Foot Care
A large percentage of a Chiropodist’s patient population is the Diabetic community. When there is too much glucose (sugar) floating around in your blood stream, either because there is not enough insulin being produced, or your body resists the effect of insulin, what happens is the glucose starts to attack the longest nerves in your body – these nerves begin in your toes! When this happens, a person often reports their toes/feet feeling numb, tingly, having a sharp/shooting pain, or even the sensation of having insects crawling all over their feet! These sensations are very typical of what we call Diabetic Sensory Neuropathy. As a result of this neuropathy, a person with diabetes is strongly discouraged from cutting their own toenails or filing their calluses because if they accidentally cut their skin, their ability to heal is compromised and the ability to contract an infection is increased. For these reasons, it is advised that Diabetics are seen by a Chiropodist for nail care and callus and/or corn removal. Diabetics might also require wound care if they step on something sharp without realizing it! Neuropathy can also affect the nerves that control the sweat glands which is why a lot of people with diabetes experience very dry feet. A chiropodist can help to recommend a moisturizer to be used on a daily basis in order to avoid the skin from cracking. Footwear education is also essential when it comes to Diabetic Foot Care.
2. Biomechanical and Orthotic Therapy
Orthotics are custom made devices used to redistribute pressure throughout the foot and the rest of your body. So let’s say you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, the orthotic is used to provide support to your arch, and distribute forces away from the painful area near the heel bone. Orthotics can also help with ankle pain, knee pain, hip discomfort, and lower back pain. Orthotics are not necessitated by everyone and you have to be assessed by a chiropodist prior to being prescribed the custom device. Athletes and those with professions that involve a lot of standing (eg: teachers, waitresses ...etc.) are typically excellent candidates for orthotic therapy. If you are interested in getting custom made orthotics, you will first need to book an initial appointment with a chiropodist who will conduct a biomechanical assessment and gait analysis. A biomechanical assessment examines the range of motion of the joints throughout the foot and lower limb. Both feet will be assessed and compared on weightbearing and non-weightbearing. The gait analysis portion entails having the patient walk and the Chiropodist noting anything unique or abnormal that stands out (ie. Hip tilting to one side, early heel lift..etc.). After this, the Chiropodist explains his/her findings to the patient and if orthotics are necessary, the patient’s feet are then casted with plaster. These plaster casts are then sent off to an orthotic lab where the custom device is manufactured!
3. Pediatric Foot Conditions
Foot pain is experienced by people of all ages – children included! Common pediatric foot conditions include: ingrown toenails, plantar warts, and flat feet – all of which can be treated here at NatCan!
In addition to the above, other Chiropody treatments offered at NatCan include:
- Nail Care
- Callus debridement
- Corn removal
- Footwear education
- Ingrown toenail treatment
- Plantar wart treatment
- Fungal skin and nail treatment
- Wound/ulcer care
If you’re interested in finally getting that ingrown toenail removed, or having your plantar fasciitis treated – let’s connect! After all, your feet are the foundation of your body, and if your feet don’t feel good, odds are your quality of life is impacted as well.
Simone Orlan, BHSc, D.Ch