Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions
Since 1991, Ontario law has prohibited the registration of new podiatrists in the province. New graduates in the field are required to operate under the title “Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM)” and within a more limited scope, though this is under review. Whilst chiropodist is the title used for a 3 year graduate of Michener Institute, DPM are full members of the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association (OPMA).
Doctors of Podiatric Medicine have graduated from a four-year program where the curriculum is similar to other schools of medicine.
The program consists of four years of clinical and didactic study, followed by at least one year’s externship rotations in clinics and a semester in NYC at the Metropolitan hospital and NYCPM.
During the first two years of study, podiatry students focus on anatomy, chemistry, pathology, and pharmacology. Third and fourth-year students have clinical rotations in private practices, hospitals, and clinics. Here they learn how to take general and podiatric histories, perform routine physical examinations, interpret tests and findings, diagnose, and perform therapeutic procedures. Graduates receive the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree.
Choosing the right shoes for a sports activity is critical. Athletic shoes should be stiff and solid at the back of the heel as well as along the arch of the foot. The shoe should only bend in the toe area where your foot naturally bends.
Shoes have a shelf life. Never purchase athletic shoes that are more than a year old. Signs of wear on the outsole of the shoe mean that support for your foot is diminishing.
It’s a good idea to have two pairs of athletic shoes so you can alternate use. Only use your athletic shoes when training – they will last much longer when given a rest between workouts.
The first step is removing the cause of the problem. If your shoes are a factor, they will need to be changed. If a particular activity is responsible, you may need to decrease your activities long enough for the foot to heal.
Depending on the severity, your doctor of podiatric medicine may recommend one or more of the following treatments: physical therapy, cortisone injections (rarely administered), custom-molded orthotics, alcohol sclerosis and in more severe cases a surgery can be recommended.
A biomechanical examination is performed at our clinic in order to evaluate how the bones and joints align in your lower extremities (i.e. legs and feet).
Using expertise and the latest technology, a doctor of podiatric medicine creates a detailed picture of a patient’s joint functioning, analyzing range of motion, strength and flexibility, and identifying areas that may be overcompensating for misalignment elsewhere. Results show how a particular body functions as it stands and walks, revealing tendencies that may be causing pain or other problems.
Conservative treatments help calm the fascia and decrease inflammation. Some basic and effective steps include:
• Stretches - stretching your calf (Achilles) and plantar fascia will relax the tight muscles, reducing heel pain, especially prior to getting out of bed. This can be done several times a day.
• Icing - it reduces swelling and pain, allowing the tissue to heal faster.
• Massaging - massaging will break up scar tissue and increase blood flow to the area to help with healing.
In addition to these basic measures, your doctor of podiatric medicine can prescribe a custom orthotic insole device, which will support the foot and decrease stress on the arch.
Plantar fasciitis is generally a chronic condition. It is rarely caused by a single trauma to the foot. Common causes include:
• Tight calf muscles and/or tight Achilles tendons
• Frequent running or extended periods of time standing
• Shoes with soft soles or poor arch support
Children with flat feet may experience pain that causes them to withdraw from sports and other physical activities. They may choose not to participate, feeling it’s too demanding or they can’t keep up. Other symptoms include leg pain or tiredness at night, sometimes referred to as “growing pains”. You may notice that the child is prone to tripping when walking, or that their shoes are wearing out quickly. Children will often not complain of pain caused by flat feet directly, expressing the symptoms as a general tiredness from physical activity.
There are additional conditions that stem from flat feet, so it’s very important that your child’s flat feet are properly evaluated to avoid further pain and deformities. A collapsed arch causes the leg and knee to turn inward, which can result in foot, back and knees problems. A proper examination is performed by a doctor of podiatric medicine and includes angle measurements by x-ray.