Posts for: September, 2013



By Marz Hardy
September 28, 2013
Category: Uncategorized
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feeT firsT

A ToronTo orThoTics clinic helps you puT your besT fooT forwArd by VeronicA boodhAn

feet provide your body with the support that

it needs. From your posture to your overall balance, maintaining proper foot health is important for your overall wellbeing.

So when experiencing discomfort in your feet, it is crucial to seek treatment to keep your feet healthy and active.

“A person’s posture can be compared to the foundation in a house. If there is a structural defect or the foundation fails and collapses on one side, then every part of the house above the defect is affected,” says Dr. John Hardy, owner of Academy Foot and Orthotic Clinics. “Your feet form the foundation for your body and posture... [Changes in] the normal mechanics of the ankle, knee, hip and spine [can] cause premature wear and tear of the involved joints and lead to early degenerative changes such as osteoarthritis.”

Founded more than 30 years ago, Academy Foot and Orthotic Clinics in Toronto has been dedicated to treating foot conditions that plague thousands of Canadians, including pain

experienced in the arch and heel (plantar fasciitis), front of the foot (metatarsalgia), toe and Achilles tendon, as well as heel spurs, hammer toes, ingrown nails, bunions, corns and callouses.

Hardy and his wife, Marz, who is a chiropodist and foot specialist, along with the clinic’s team of foot specialists, help to provide their patients with state-of-the-art foot care and custom-made orthotics. “Our clinic has always had a very keen interest in foot mechanics and how that relates to posture and the biomechanics of the spine. Very early in practice we saw that if the postural defects of the foot and ankle were addressed through proper correction with custom-made orthotics, many knee, hip, lower back, neck and even headaches were corrected,” he says.

Orthotics are offered in the form of custom-fitted foot supports, which are inserted into shoes to improve a patient’s balance by addressing his or her individual foot concerns.

“When a person is suffering from a

Fitting orthotics

2informational supplement

particular foot ailment that causes pain such as heel pain, arch pain, bunions, ingrown nails, corns and ulcers, it changes the way that they walk (gait). This eventually leads to problems of the ankle, knee, hip and spine,” says Hardy. “There is a saying, as the twig is bent, so grows the tree. If you change the way that you stand and walk, you affect every joint above the foot.”

Academy Clinics uses state-of-the-art equipment to treat foot conditions, including laser and shockwave therapy, ultrasound, Doppler, interferential therapy, Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) and computerized foot scanning to create orthotics. They also use sports medicine techniques including stretching and exercise to help condition the feet and improve the patient’s overall health.

The team at Academy Clinics also works with other health experts such as medical doctors, orthopedic surgeons, dermatologists, radiologists and chiropractors, and have access to some of the leading forms of surgical equipment and treatments (in addition to ultrasound, MRI and X-ray) including computerized pain-free injections and needle- free injections.

According to Hardy, more than 70 per cent of professional athletes wear custom-made orthotics to help improve their posture and balance when competing in high-energy activities.

People with serious health conditions including diabetes can also find custom orthotics to be beneficial for improving blood circulation and helping to distribute their weight evenly, thus reducing pressure points in the feet.

752 Broadview Ave., Toronto M4K 2P1

“When a patient comes to Academy Foot and Orthotic Clinics, we not only diagnose their condition but follow the treatment through until we are satisfied that we have done everything possible to correct and prevent the condition from occurring again,” explains Hardy. “The emphasis of our treatment at our clinic is not to just address the person’s symptoms, but to find the underlying cause and treat that. We then educate our patients about correct footwear, exercises, posture and what things, for that particular patient, to do or not so the condition doesn’t reoccur or is managed as best as possible.”

Hardy says that one of the most common misconceptions he has heard from his patients is that all orthotics are the same — something that couldn’t be further away from the truth. “[Orthotics] have to be custom-made with a casting from plaster, foam or a computerized 3D laser, as we do in our clinic, in order for the device to be effective and helpful for the patient. Many patients go to trade shows and buy [orthotics that are] one size fits all. They might be less expensive but they are usually not effective and can actually create foot and joint problems,” he says.

He adds that it is important to find a reputable foot specialist, registered with the College of Chiropodists of Ontario, since custom orthotics are often covered by employers’ extended insurance plans. That was the case for one patient for whom Hardy helped create custom orthotics to improve his severe lower back pain due to fallen arches (bilateral pronation).

“He had just retired from the health benefits department and they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of people claiming for orthotic benefits and [he] was trying to contain costs without really knowing much about them other than their cost. Needless to say that was the end of the discussion about orthotics on that visit. He was treated for eight weeks and was discharged after his low back pain subsided. He had a relapse about a year later when the subject of orthotics was suggested once more and he decided that he would give them a try. I told him the worst thing that can happen is that he will feel better,” recalls Hardy.

“He received his orthotics and came back four weeks later to tell me his back pain was gone, he had no more knee pain and he felt better than he had [in] four years. He told me that if he knew how beneficial they were, he would not have tried to limit them as a benefit on their health plan. That patient never ever had back pain again.”

Orthotics typically last two years for adults before they need to be replaced. For children, the orthotics should be replaced once or twice a

Marz Hardy, D.Ch., B.Sc. (Podiatric Medicine)

Using a computerized laser scanning casting machine

year, or when their shoe size has increased. “Many people who suffer with foot

problems do so because of muscle and bone misalignments of the foot and ankle. Each foot has 26 bones, plus two sesamoid bones. That means that more than 50 per cent of your body’s bones are located within your foot as well as countless ligaments and muscles to form an amazing organ that is responsible for balance, support, propulsion and posture,” says Hardy. “Your feet are with you for life.” Dr. John A. Hardy is the owner and office manager of Academy Foot and Orthotic Clinics, where he also works as a consultant. Marz Hardy, D.Ch., B.Sc. (Podiatric Medicine), is a member of the College of Chiropodists

of Ontario (CCO), Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine (CFPM), Ontario Society of Chiropodists (OSC) and American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). In 2006, she was also the first chiropodist in Canada qualified in Active Release Technique (A.R.T.). » academyclinics.com » 416-465-7837




They’ve been called smelly, dirty and even ugly, yet feet hold up a multi-billion-dollar global indus- try. New shoes are a top impulse buy for Canadians, and an average of 3.2 million pedicures are given in the United States every week. Romance writer Danielle Steel owns 6,000 pairs of Christian Louboutins, according to the designer of the famous red soles. Not everyone can be a bestselling author, but many share Steel’s fetish for footwear: the average North American woman owns 30 pairs, with one-quarter of them finding buying shoes as exciting as sex (uh-oh).

The care we lavish on our feet is a vanity that spans millennia. The



Are high heels ever okay to wear?

Never. They don’t make sense. You’re walking on your toes, jammed into a pointy shoe. It changes your posture and affects your feet, knees, hips and spine.

Do I really need special shoes for each sport? Usually. Every sport places different demands on our feet. Basketball and volleyball require jumping, and the appropriate shoe would decrease injuries and increase comfort.

What’s the best way to walk?

The correct walking gait strikes with the heel, and the foot leaves the ground from the toes.



AIMÉE VAN DRIMMELENpedicure, derived from the Latin words pedis and cura, for “foot” and “care,” is believed to have origin- ated in ancient Egypt, where reflex- ology was de rigueur and nobles painted their nails in colours cor- responding to their rank. Today some doctors offer controversial cosmetic foot procedures in Canada and the United States, including toe-shortening services; surgeries to cure “toe-besity,” a term coined to refer to wide toes; and fat injec- tions to the balls of the feet.

For the less aesthetically inclined, foot health should still be top of mind. Even minor podiatric ail- ments can be debilitating, espe- cially since doctors recommend we take 10,000 steps a day to stay act- ive. Look no further than your closet to find the culprits; improper shoes are the No. 1 cause of foot problems for women, who are four times more likely than men to suf- fer from ailments such as corns and bunions. Sarah Jessica Parker, who made luxury-shoe designer Manolo Blahnik a household name on Sex and the City, announced in March that she’s shelved her stilettos for good because of foot problems. The flat soles of now-ubiquitous flip- flops are no better—their poor sup- port can result in heel pain, tendinitis and an altered gait.


Focusing more on our feet is never a bad idea. They’re often first to show signs of serious medical conditions such as arthritis and cir- culatory problems. And considering they have the highest concentration of nerve endings in our body, at more than 7,200 per foot, there’s no denying the pleasure to be had in a little pampering.


␣␣␣To prevent ingrown toenails, trim in a straight line using sharp clippers, and not too short.

␣␣␣To find the perfect fit, shop for shoes later in the day when feet are a bit swollen.

␣␣␣Wash and dry digits daily, and wear clean socks made of natural fibres to prevent athlete’s foot.

␣␣␣Use a pumice stone followed by a cream on heels to prevent dryness and cracking.

␣␣␣Rotate between two or three different pairs of shoes to give them time to dry out after each wear, since each foot sweats out about one cup of moisture a day.

␣␣␣Increase zinc intake by eating foods such as nuts, eggs and whole grains to minimize strong foot odour.

rd.ca 07/13


A 2011 survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association found 72 per cent of people avoid exercise because of foot pain. Lack of exercise can lead to weight gain and poor cardiovascular health.

Four out of five Canadians will experience back pain in their lifetime, and 85 per cent won’t know why. Walking on poorly supported feet can cause sciatica and bulging discs.

Gout, caused by high levels of uric acid normally eliminated by the kidneys, is a joint inflammation usually found at the base of the big toe. These acid crystals are linked to kidney stones and can cause joint degeneration.

Poor blood circulation and nerve damage associated with diabetes can cause numbness in feet, an early sign of the disease.



Watch for:

Morton’s neuroma, an enlargement and compression of the plantar nerve; and plantar fasciitis, painful inflammation on the bottom of the foot.


Watch for:

common ailments such as heel pain and metatarsalgia, or bruising on the ball of the foot.


Watch for:

stress fractures and early degeneration of lower extremity joints.


Diabetes and Physical Activity

Your Exercise Prescription

Patient Name: Date:

As your healthcare provider, I recommend that you follow the physical activity prescription ticked below (choose all that apply):

1. Increase physical activity in your day and reduce sedentary time. Limit sedentary recreational time to no more than 2 hours per day.

2. Begin regular aerobic exercise* 4 days per week for 10 minutes per session.

3. Begin resistance exercise** 2 days per week.

4. Continue to do regular aerobic exercise* 5 days per week for a minimum of 30 minutes per session.

5. Continue to do regular resistance exercise** 3 or more days per week. *Aerobic exercise is continuous, whole body exercise that elevates breathing and heart rate.

**Resistance exercise involves doing various body movements with strong contractions to build muscle strength.

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do to manage and live well with your diabetes. Many people, however, need help starting an exercise routine and achieving these goals.

The benefits of physical activity increase the more you do, from whatever your starting point. Refer to the information on the back of this form to help you get started with your physical activity prescription. If you need help, you can ask me or another member of your diabetes healthcare team for support that is right for you.

Physical activity and building strength in your major muscle groups can provide you with these benefits:

Immediately Long-term

• Lower your blood glucose within 1 hour • Improve your mood, sleep patterns and

energy level • Increase the effectiveness of the insulin

your body makes or the insulin your doctor prescribes for you

• Improve your blood glucose control • Reduce your body fat • Help keep your pancreas, kidneys, eyes

and nerves healthy • Reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke

and death

The Canadian Diabetes Association 2008 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada recommends that all people with diabetes:

Get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise each week, and perform resistance training (weight lifting or exercise with weight machines) 3 times per week.You can be physically active. Becoming physically active may seem challenging, but it is easier than you might think. This information will help you get started with your physical activity prescription.

1. Increase physical activity in your day and reduce sedentary time. Choose active options when you can, such as taking the stairs. Include more activities that you may already do, such as walking the dog, gardening, curling or playing golf. Limit TV or recreational computer use to no more than 2 hours per day and reduce or break up the time you spend sitting.

2. Begin regular aerobic exercise. At least every second day, do activities like brisk walking, cycling or swimming, for at least 10 minutes at a time. Each week, add 5 minutes to every activity session you do.

3. Begin regular resistance exercise. With the help of a qualified exercise profession- al, diabetes educator or exercise resource (such as a video or brochure) learn how to do a muscle strength building routine using weight machines, free weights (such as lifting a barbell or dumbbell), resistance bands or your own body weight. You will need to work most of the muscles in your body with 8 to 10 different exercises. Do each exercise 10 to 15 times each at a light to moderate intensity. Repeat this routine if you can.

4. Continue to do regular aerobic exercise. Do at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity every week, spread over 3 separate days. Don’t go for more than 2 days in a row without exercise. For example, 30 minutes Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Satur- day and Sunday = 150 minutes total. Gradually increase the time of your activity sessions up to 60 minutes or more. Also, try to increase the intensity or challenge of your activities. More challenging activities could be hiking, sports, jogging or swimming laps.

5. Continue to do regular resistance exercise. Continue using weight machines or free weights (such as lifting a barbell or dumbbell). You will need to work most of the muscles in your body with 8 to 10 different exercises, done 8 to 10 times each at a moderate to hard intensity. Repeat this routine 2 to 3 times.

For more information on physical activity and exercise, go to diabetes.ca/physicalactivityconsumers.

diabetes.ca | 1-800-BANTING (226-8464) 416574 07/11



Brought to you by Canadian Diabetes Association

obesity and your feetIn Arlington, Virginia, Michelle Schneider and Dave Dunn remain fit by working out on a treadmill. Furthermore, they work every day at Evolent, a health-care startup facility. Specialists are carefully detecting the affiliation between work-related labor and physical activity and are trying to increase the knowledge about it. They want to learn if by doing both, people could cut the quantity of glucose that gathers in their bloodstream.

Michael Jensen, a researcher at Mayo Clinic is on the phone and on a treadmill at the same time. Meanwhile, Australian researcher David Dunstan uses a speakerphone so he can walk around in his office. Both are trying to find the link between sitting down and premature death. Based on their findings, these two have remained on their feet for the most part of their day.

Jensen explains that he and his colleagues at Mayo, in Rochester, Minn., were studying weight control when they discovered that some people "spontaneously start moving round and don't gain weight" when they have overeaten. "This really got us thinking about this urge to move," Jensen says, "and how important that might be for maintaining good health."

Your feet are just as important to the rest of your body.  If you think you may have sustained a foot injury or developed a foot illness due to weight you should seek out the care of a chiropodist like Marz Hardy of Academy Foot and Orthotic Clinics. Dr. Hardy can diagnose your condition as well as provide you with treatment options that work for you.

How Obesity Affects Your Feet

Extra weight can sneak up on anyone unprepared. It’s not until your feet begin to hurt at the end of the day when you realize they have been carrying your entire body weight. There are many side effects that occur in the feet as a result of having a few extra pounds.

  • Leaning forward (uneven posture)
  • Extra weight placed in the wrong parts of your feet
  • Development of Type-2 diabetes
  • Loss of sensation in the legs and feet
  • Small sores
  • Plantar Fasciitis

To learn more about obesity and your feet, please follow link below.

If you have any questions, please contact our office in Toronto, ON. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more on Obesity and your Feet.

Academy Clinics has a special interest in high quality custom orthotics.



Toronto, ON Chiropodist
Academy Foot and Orthotic

Toronto, ON M4K 2P1 

Across from the Broadview Subway
Professional  Family  Foot  Care