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Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some commonly asked questions. Should you have a question not answered here, please give us a call or email us, and we'll be happy to answer your question.
What is Chiropody?
Chiropodists assess and manage foot and lower limb disorders, including various injuries and localized systemic conditions. They are skilled in assessing each patient’s needs, focusing on both chronic and acute foot and lower limb conditions. Chiropodists are primary care providers, and are capable of independent clinical practice.
What's the difference between chiropody and podiatry?
Both podiatrists and chiropodists are included as members of the College of Chiropodists of Ontario. However, the term "podiatrist" is better known, and is used more often outside of the province. "Chiropodist" is more of a local term for this kind of practitioner in Ontario.
A few Ontario practitioners are still classified as podiatrists. These practitioners were educated in the U.S. before practicing in Ontario. Ever since the Chiropody Act was created in 1991, Ontario chiropody program graduates and podiatrists educated elsewhere, but now working in Ontario, have been classified as chiropodists.
Are the services covered by OHIP?
No, chiropody services are not covered by OHIP. However, most extended health plans will cover chiropody services. We will provide you with the proper documentation required to submit your claim. We do not bill your insurance company directly. Your health benefit coverage is your responsibility, but we are more than happy to assist you if necessary. We advise patients to check their coverage before coming into the clinic. We accept cash, debit, Visa, and MasterCard.
Do you submit directly to my extended health benefit plan?
No, our clinic will provide you with detailed invoices for each appointment. In this way, we try to be as transparent as possible, to ensure both you and the insurance company that we are not billing frivolously or fraudulently.
Is a referral necessary?
No. Because chiropodists are primary health care practitioners, you do not need a referral from a doctor.
What is an ankle sprain?
- Caused by an unnatural rotational force of the ankle on the foot, which may result in excessive stretching or tearing of ligaments on either side of your ankle
- A sprain may result in excessive ankle swelling and bruising; the amount of swelling and bruising can impact the degree of damage and duration of treatment
- Treatment may include rest, ice, elevation, therapeutic modalities, and compressive bandaging to help immobilize the joint during healing
What is athlete's foot?
- Also known as tinea pedis, athlete’s foot is a skin disease caused by various types of fungus
- Fungal colonies grow due to warm, dark, and humid environment, which may be provided by wearing shoes and socks
- Symptoms include drying skin, reddening skin, itchiness to feet, scaling, and blisters noted on and between toes
- Left unmanaged, can spread to the toenails and other parts of the body
- Treatment may include education on prevention and the use of prescription topical or oral antifungal drugs
What are bunions?
- Also known as hallux abducto valgus, a bunion is a bone deformity caused by the movement of the joint at the base of the big toe joint, resulting in widening of the foot
- May result in pain due to friction of the bony prominence against footwear, resulting in joint tenderness and redness
- Left untreated, may result in bursitis or degenerative changes, leading to arthritis of the big toe joint (metatarsophalangeal joint), causing pain with day-to-day activities
- Bunions have a strong familial predisposition
- Commonly arises due to biomechanical imbalances that predisposes an individual to excessive foot pronation
- Treatment may include reduction of pressure by use of protective padding, exercises to help maintain joint mobility, splints for night-time wear and use of custom foot orthotics to help stabilize the joint and correctly align the foot
- In some cases, management may require surgical intervention (bunionectomy) to help remove the boney protuberance and realign the big toe joint
What is a callus?
- Also known as a tyloma or hyperkeratosis, a callus is an area of thickened or hard skin that forms due to repeated friction and pressure in a certain region of the foot
- This repeated pressure may be due to improper fitting footwear or misaligned bone structures, resulting in excessive force
- As your skin senses this excess pressure, it thickens protect itself; however, this protective mechanism may start to impinge on nerves deep in the skin, resulting in pain
- Successful management requires removal of the cause followed by treatment aimed at helping to reduce pain
- If there is a biomechanical etiology, this needs assessing and managing with custom foot orthotics and exercises
- If poor-fitting shoes are the cause, then suitable footwear advice is provided to help reduce pressure points and future recurrence
What is a corn?
- Also known as a heloma or hyperkeratosis, a corn is an area of thickened skin presenting with a root that forms due to repeated friction and pressure in a certain region of the foot
- As this pressure is concentrated at a focal point of the foot, the skin thickens with a root, resulting in excess pressure on nerves, perceived as pain
- Management of corns may include reduction of the thickened skin, use of padding to help deflect pressure away from this particular region, education on footwear choices, or using an orthotic device to further help in pressure reduction
What is custom foot orthotics?
- Also known as custom foot orthosis, this is a custom-made device that is inserted into your shoes to help align your foot and ankle in optimal anatomical position
- In other words, custom foot orthotics can help treat and prevent many common foot, knee, hip, and low back conditions including flat feet, arch pain, heel spurs, Morton’s neuroma, plantar fasciitis, low back pain, bunions, knee pain, shin splints, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and many more
- We use non-weight bearing casting methods, including 3D scans and plaster of Paris to tailor make your functional or accommodative foot orthotics
Why is diabetic foot care so important?
- The leading cause of lower limb amputation is vascular disease, secondary to diabetes and peripheral arterial disease
- Of persons with diabetes who have a lower extremity amputation, up to 55% will require amputation of the second leg within 2-3 years
- The average survival rate of an individual with a lower extremity amputation is 5 years following the first amputation
- 85% of all lower extremity amputations in Canada are preventable
- Individuals diagnosed with diabetes are more prone to various foot problems due to the development of nerve damage, also known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy, most commonly affecting your feet and eyes
- Having a foot specialist care for your feet, upon diagnosis of diabetes is paramount to maintaining healthy feet
- Careful daily inspection of your feet is one of the easiest, most effective, and least expensive habits in preventing foot complications
- A bi-annual examination by your chiropodist or podiatrist is critical for individuals diagnosed with diabetes, which may lead to an early detection of skin or nerve changes due to diabetes
- Your chiropodist will educate you on measures you can take to assess, monitor, and prevent lower extremity complications due to diabetes
What are flat feet?
- Also known as pes planus, it is a foot type where the longitudinal arch in the foot has not developed
- May be inherited or caused by an injury or underlying condition, including but not limited to rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, or diabetes
- Many people with flat feet do not experience pain or other symptoms; however, when pain in the foot, ankle, lower leg, knees, or lower back occur, the feet should be evaluated
- Non-invasive treatment options may range from stretching, use or custom foot orthoses, or footwear recommendations
What is a fungal toenail?
- Also known as onychomycosis, fungal toenails are a common nail infection that begins with fungal species penetrating into your nail bed
- As time progresses, this can lead to discoloured (commonly yellow toenails), thickened, crumbly, and painful toenails
- Fungal toenails can be caused due to excessive foot moisture, untreated Athlete’s Foot, or trauma to your toenails
- Left untreated, toenail fungus can spread and become resistant to treatment
- Receive education on treatment options, including oral and topical pharmaceuticals, and prevention of recurrence
What is heel pain?
- Commonly occurring symptom that presents with a myriad of etiologies, including plantar fasciitis, Baxter’s neuritis, fat pad atrophy, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus, pes planus, pes cavus and many more
- Our feet (particularly our heels) can bear an excess of two times our body weight in ground reaction forces with every step that we take
- When pain is experienced in the heel, a foot assessment is strongly recommended
- Receive education on foot type, footwear, therapeutic modalities, strengthening, and use of orthotic devices
What is an ingrown toenail?
- Also known as onychocryptosis, this is a painful nail condition whereby the end of the nail starts to dig into skin, resulting in swelling which may lead to infection and a great deal of toe pain
- May be caused by trimming nails into corners of your toe, wearing ill-fitting footwear, traumatic toenail injury, fungal toenail infections, inheritance of nail structure
- Treatment may involve conservative soaks in mild cases, packing nail folds with cotton, or surgical removal of part of the ingrown toenail in severe cases