Smart Choices Help Prevent Achilles Pain

When you run your hand up the back of your ankle, you’ll notice your Achilles tendon, a tough, rope-like band of tissue that runs up the back of your leg and connects your calf muscle (gastrocnemius) to your heel bone.

Low Impact Activity - Swimming
Give your Achilles tendon a rest by alternating high-impact activities like running with low-impact exercise like swimming.
When healthy, this important tendon helps you walk, run and jump. However, when it’s damaged through overuse it can cause pain and tenderness after exercise.

Known as Achilles tendonitis, this condition can affect anyone, but there are several factors that can put you at risk. These may include, but are not limited to factors such as, being male or middle aged or having flat feet, diabetes or high blood pressure.

However, there are several things you can do to help prevent this painful foot condition from recurring or occurring, including:

  • Listen to your body. Remember: Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury, so take it easy, avoid activities that can put undue stress on the tendon and if you do experience pain, take a break.
  • Slow down. Increase your activity level gradually. Achilles tendonitis is most common in runners who quickly increase their speed or distance and “weekend warriors” who are only active on the weekends.
  • Choose the right footwear. Look for shoes that provide good shock absorption through extra cushioning for your heels and a firm arch support. Consider adding inserts for added protection. Let our experts at Foot Solutions help you find the right footwear or arch support for your needs.
  • Work on strengthening your calf muscles through heel drops to help your legs handle the demands of your favourite activity.


To learn more about how to prevent Achilles tendonitis, visit us at

Keep Shoes Looking Great

When you spend good money on a beautiful, well-made pair of shoes, you want to be sure that you can enjoy them Woly Combi Proper Cleaning Productsseason after season. To prevent early retirement to the footwear graveyard our experts recommend the following steps to keep all of your favourite shoes looking their best.

  • Give your shoes a rest. Allowing them a day off now and then lets them dry out naturally (preventing odour build-up, as a moist footwear environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria) and helps protect the leather.
  • Use unvarnished shoe trees, such as those made of cedar. Varnished shoe trees are better looking but the unvarnished type does a better job of absorbing moisture and helps shoes return to their proper shape.
  • Never put a pair of wet shoes near a heat source like a radiator or heat vent. Heat may dry the leather too quickly and leave it brittle, causing it to crack.
  • Use a shoe horn to help protect the heel counter of your shoes as you slide your feet in. However, be sure to check that you can slide into the shoe easily without the aid of a shoe horn prior to purchasing them at the store. This ensures that the footwear provides ample of room for your feet.
  • Find the best shoe repair shop in the area and have any repairs done as soon as you notice a problem. Repairs may include, resoling, stitching or simply the replacement of a broken lace (also available at your local Foot Solutions location).

For Shoe Repair in Vancouver, may we recommend:

Tony’s Shoe Repair (Kerrisdale)woly-marke-uebersicht-motiv
6041 W Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6M 3X2
(604) 263-0699

Elan Shoe
2572 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3G8
(604) 677-5013

Your Feet Deserve Respect

Not only are your feet two of the hardest working parts of your body, they are also two of the most complex.

Teacher - On Your Feet All DayPicture this. Each foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, over 100 different ligaments and scores of muscles and tendons. When all these elements work together smoothly your feet will form a stable base for your body and let you move more comfortably and easily.

However, when something goes wrong, every step can be painful. Which is why we recommend you treat your feet with the care and respect they deserve.

To keep your feet looking and feeling their best, keep this in mind:

  • Give your toes ample of space inside your footwear. Trying to cram them into narrow, pointy shoes is a recipe for foot pain, bunions and hammer toes.
  • Stay away from high heels. If you must wear them, make sure your feet are well supported through the arch and offer additional padding at the ball of the foot. For every inch of heel height, you raise the pressure on the balls of your feet. For example, a 1″ heel increases pressure by 22%. Wearing a 2″ heel will increase pressure by 57% and a 3″ heel will increase it by 76%. (HINT: If you absolutely must wear high heels somewhere, wear comfortable shoes to and from the event and change into heels at the last possible moment.)
  • Remember that size counts, and that not all footwear fits the same. You may encounter large variations in size across brands. Have your feet measured as they often get a bit larger as years go by.
  • Replace when needed. Even shoes that fit perfectly will wear out eventually. Once that happens you can’t count on them to provide your feet with the cushioning and support they require, and it’s time to say good-bye.
  • Give your feet a break. Reducing your weight will help lessen stress on your feet – one more good reason to do your whole body a favor by staying (or getting) slim.
  • Want to learn more about getting your feet in tip-top shape? Seek out the advice from a Foot Solutions pedorthist to prevent future foot and footwear challenges.

Fall Prevention Through Better Shoes

Footwear can play an imperative role in fall prevention through the improvement of balance and foot comfort. Read on to learn more about shoes and their inherent abilities in pain reduction and balance.

Pain Reduction

As we age our feet change. Not only do they get longer, wider and often flatter, but many of us will also suffer Xsensible Allure Velcrofrom toe deformities, such as hammer toes, mallet toes, bunions, hallux valgus and more. These deformities can make it challenging to find the proper fit and often will require modifications to footwear, such as stretching, cutouts and heating, to name but a few.

Other alternatives, such as extra depth footwear, are designed to increase space around the forefoot and thus help prevent friction and pressure that may result in blisters, sores or in the case of the diabetic foot, ulcerations (open wounds). With the introduction of nylon fabrics and the invention of the stretchable shoe, many shoes can now also be heat molded to reduce pressure where needed.

Better Stability

There are several options to help improve balance and stability through footwear. We recommend you choose low EtonicMinado heeled footwear with outflares (soles that flare outwards), to decrease lateral (sideways) movement, and a base wide enough to accommodate your feet. With most shoes offering removable insoles, the best way to check that you are choosing the right width and length is to remove the insole and stand on it whilst in the shop. Your toes and feet should not overlap the edges of the insole and you should have at least a finger width of space at the end of the insole.

If dress shoes are needed for everyday use, choose shoes with a wedge, as opposed to an offset heel. If an offset heel is a must, be sure to select a heel with a wider base as opposed to a stiletto heel. This will ensure better support and prevent nasty ankle sprains. Also, stick to heels that aren’t higher than an inch, in order to prevent excessive pressures on the forefoot.

Arch Supports & Orthotics

Custom Foot OrthoticsIn certain cases shoes may require custom-made or off-the-shelf inserts to reduce pressure on the plantar (bottom) aspect of the foot. They help prevent excessive inward or outward rolling of the foot and improve toe function that may be impeded by a collapsed arch. Preventing the foot from excessive side to side movements through the use of supports can also improve balance in individuals suffering from instability, Parkinsons, Charcot Marie Tooth disease or foot pain.


Arthritis can occur in any of our 300+ joints and feet are very often affected. Most often our clients will experience pain in their big toe joint, as well as the midfoot, ankle and toes. Much of the pain can be remedied through better footwear that helps prevent joint motion and thus reduces pressure on the area of discomfort. To prevent pressure on the big toe joint, in case of limited range of motion, we often recommend rocker soled footwear to help prevent flexion of the painful joint, thus preventing missteps that may lead to falls. Midfoot pain is usually best addressed through arch support.

In general we recommend that if the shoe feels comfortable on the first try, wear it.

About the Author

Christian Johannsen is a Certified Pedorthist at Foot Solutions in Ambleside (West Vancouver) and Kitsilano (Vancouver). For additional information or to schedule an appointment or home visit, please contact him at (604) 925-2282 or (604) 267-7463.

Feature Product: Correct Toes

CorrectToesCorrect toes are designed to improve foot function and as a result help to correct a myriad of foot and ankle problems, removing the need for expensive surgery or pharmaceutical drugs. They may reduce your chance of developing osteoarthritis and are a cost-effective approach to better foot health.

What are Correct Toes?

FootShape-NaturalinShoesA long-held conventional podiatric view is that the feet are inherently misshapen, and they need to be corrected through the use of orthotics or foot surgery. Where these methods fail, pain is to be managed by anti-inflammatory drugs.

Dr. Ray McClanahan, inventor of Correct Toes, is a podiatric physician and avid athlete who challenges this viewpoint. He discovered, through extensive literature research and years of clinical practice, that the best way to treat most foot problems is by allowing the foot to function exactly as nature intended. He teaches his patients about the foot’s innate ability to walk and run with a perfect gait and demonstrates to them how most shoes on the market damage the foot shape, thereby compromising gait. In turn he shows them how returning the feet to their natural shape eliminates existing foot problems and prevents new ones from arising.

This is done using a Correct Toes spacer, which spreads the toes to their natural and correct position. Using Correct Toes improves proprioception, which then allows the brain to better promote balance and optimal muscle function. Finally, Dr. Ray educates his patients on choosing appropriate shoes that provide a flat surface and sufficient room for the toes to spread, thus allowing the gait to occur as nature intended. His clinical experience has shown again and again that returning the foot to its natural state treats most foot problems, and by extension, many musculoskeletal problems.

Positive outcomes achieved with the use of Correct Toes:

1. Correction of: bunions, hallux limitus and rigidus, tailor’s bunions, corns, ingrown nails, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, neuromas, capsulitis, lower leg pain, and runner’s knee. No surgery or medications required!
2. Better balance in athletes, Parkinson’s patients, and the elderly.
3. Decreased injury rates in athletes, as Correct Toes allow the body to make better use of natural physiological adaptations that are hampered by current footwear available to athletes.
4. Improved performance in athletes (especially walkers and runners) by promoting a foot position that scientific studies have shown to have a 4 to 5% performance edge.
5. Improved strength and flexibility of the toes. This enhances proprioception, and subsequently the brain signals the body to move forward more naturally.
6. Less osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative arthritis), which currently plagues a majority of senior citizens, as well as a high percentage of the younger population.

Stop into your Foot Solutions location today to learn more about Correct Toes.

Feature Product: Sterishoe

Sterishoe SportMeet Sterishoe, the ultimate solution for footwear disinfection. Sterishoe kills 99.9% of microbes living in your shoes through a low-dose, controlled amount of ultraviolet light. This ensures your shoes aren’t causing your feet to develop issues such as Athlete’s foot or toenail fungus.

Product Benefit Summary:
Sterishoe high heels

  • Disinfects interior of shoes without harmful chemicals or irritants. Uses UV light to disinfect.
  • Disinfection of shoe will remove shoe odor, as there are less odour causing bacteria present in your footwear
  • After treatment shoes will be clean and cozy-warm
  • UVC light is a powerful germicide
  • Kills 99.9% of microbes living in your shoes including toenail fungus, athlete’s foot, bacteria and viruses.
  • Device is equipped with an auto shut off. Will turn off after 45 minute shoe treatment. Plug in Sterishoe in the evening and forget about it until the morning
  • 1 year guarantee on product. Bulb life is 2 years of regular usage and replacement bulbs are readily available
  • Check their web site for scientific product and efficacy studies. Click here.
  • Product comes with 3 layers of safety features to prevent any possible personal exposure to UVC light.
  • UVC light is the wavelength of light that gives us suntans and sunburns. This device uses a safe, low-dose, controlled amount of UVC within the shoe only, for the prescribed amount of time it takes to ensure disinfection.

Learn more. Watch the video:

Foot Pain: Don’t Leave it to Luck

Through better weight distribution and better joint and spine alignment, custom inserts can improve your balance, increase your stamina and let you do more of what you want to do.
Through better weight distribution and better joint and spine alignment, custom inserts can improve your balance, increase your stamina and let you do more of what you want to do.
Even though it’s St. Patrick’s Day… and you’re Irish… and you’ve got a pocket full of shamrocks, it would probably be wise to not leave the health and comfort of your feet to luck.

Grabbing a package of inserts off a drugstore rack (or one of those glitzy kiosks) seems simple and in some cases it may help, but too many times we see clients entering our stores discouraged by the results.

It’s not that quality off-the-shelf inserts, like the ones you’ll find at our Foot Solutions locations, aren’t able to provide pain relief; in fact, our thoroughly trained staff may recommend them after a careful foot and gait assessment. However, for select individuals, ready-made inserts simply can’t provide all the customized support you require to ease foot, back and joint pain, improve your posture and reduce fatigue.

We’ve seen many feet in our day; and, from our experience, no two feet are exactly the same. In fact, your left and right foot most often aren’t even the same length or width. This is why we caution you put your trust in insert displays that advertise “custom” inserts (which, amazingly enough, some do!), as they’re making a promise they just can’t keep.

At Foot Solutions we can.

We offer true custom-fitted, custom-crafted inserts (foot orthotics), made for your feet alone. And since we’re in charge of the process from carefully measuring your feet to creating top quality inserts in our own labs, to making sure they fit perfectly, we guarantee your satisfaction on those custom-fitted, custom-crafted inserts 100%*. This means you can stop relying on luck and rely on us to give you all the support you need.

*For guarantee details please ask any Foot Solutions team member.

Choose the Right Shoes for Your Walk or Run

the-right-shoeThe activity of walking and running doesn’t seem all that different. So why are there special shoes for each activity? And does it matter which ones you choose?

The short answer is “yes,” because walking and running do put very different demands on your feet and body.

When you walk your foot will roll gently from your heel to your toes, spreading your weight fairly evenly throughout the walking cycle. Much of the time both of your feet are on the ground, and as you move forward each foot absorbs about one to two times your body weight. To work with this kind of motion, walking shoes are designed to be flexible and provide support for your arches.

When you run, however, your feet absorb two to three times your weight with each stride, with your outer heel taking most of the impact before distributing your weight through the rest of your foot. So the right running shoes have thicker soles to absorb the shock of impact and more cushioning, especially in the heel.

Many experts say that while you should not run in walking shoes, it’s fine to walk in running shoes.

And everyone agrees that fit and comfort are key. So be sure to shop for shoes where you can get expert advice on the kind of shoes that are right for your arch type and walking or running style. (May we suggest Foot Solutions?) The right shoe should have ample room for your toes, fit snug in the heel and not pinch in the width. Finally, be sure any shoe you choose feels truly comfortable as soon as you put it on.

How long do you keep your walking or running shoes? Comment below.

Keeping Your Resolutions Shouldn’t Hurt, Your Feet!

Did you make yourself a promise to exercise more in 2014? If so, congratulations! Done right, exercise can make you Plantar Fasciitis Painfeel good all over. But if you overdo, or forget to give your feet the comfort and support they need, that well-intentioned exercise can lead to some very painful problems.

One painful foot condition, know as plantar fasciitis sneaks up on you over time, then attacks with a sharp, stabbing pain in your arch and heel – particularly when you first get up out of bed. It is often only present in one foot, but may present itself in both feet when left untreated.

As the day wears on, the pain may get better. But it often comes back after you’ve been sitting for a while or in situations where you have to be on your feet for long periods of time.


Plantar Fasciitis is caused by repeated overstretching of the plantar fascia, a tough band of tissue that runs from your heel to your toes and serves as a shock absorber for your feet. This overstretching can lead to inflammation and even small tears in the plantar fascia.

Plantar fasciitis tends to develop gradually but unless you make changes to protect your feet it just keeps on getting worse, causing not only heel pain but arch pain and heel spurs as well.


Women and older people are more likely to experience plantar fasciitis, but there are a number of other things that can put you at risk, including:

  • Overpronation. This basically means your arch drops and rolls inward with every step you take, thus stretching the plantar fascia. Also referred to as flat feet, it’s the most common cause of plantar fasciitis. However, having extremely high arches or faulty walking mechanics can cause problems as well.
  • Shoes that don’t support the feet. Without proper support your feet take a beating whenever you walk. High heels are a problem too, because worn regularly they shorten the Achilles tendon and put added strain on the area around your heel.
  • Certain exercise programs. Exercise is good for you, but activities like long distance running and dance aerobics that put lots of stress on heels can cause plantar fasciitis to flare up.
  • Work that keeps you on your feet. Long hours standing or walking on hard floors mean added stress on your plantar fascia.
  • Overweight. Extra pounds put extra stress on your feet.


Never try to “play through” the pain. Instead, switch to lower stress athletic activities like swimming or cycling.

Without proper care, plantar fasciitis can progress to the point where you are in pain whenever you stand or walk.

Fortunately there are things you can do to help relieve the pain and stress and let your foot start healing, including:

  • Over-the-counter pain medications like Advil, Aleve, Motrin and others. These won’t solve the problem but can give some primary relief.
  • Ice your heel and keep it up when you aren’t standing.
  • Give your feet a rest. As much as possible, avoid activities like running or standing for long periods.
  • Change your footwear. Select shoes that provide support and cushioning.
  • Add a custom arch support to help spread your weight as you walk.
  • Stretch. A physical therapist can show you exercises to stretch your Achilles tendon, plantar fascia and lower leg muscles.
  • Use a night splint to keep your plantar fascia stretched and prevent morning pain.
  • Lose excess weight. Lower weight means less pressure on your feet.

Have you had experiences with plantar fasciitis? How did you relieve the pain? Let us know below.

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