Ache & Pain Solutions

What Ails You?

There are many aches and pains in various parts of the body that can be attributed to improper foot alignment and gait, as well as a number of foot ailments that are caused, at least partially, by ill-fitting shoes. If you know of a specific ailment that you suffer from, check out our solutions to help you manage it, but we also recommend that you come in and talk to one of our Align Certified Clinicians to determine whether or not our custom-fitted footwear is the solution you’ve been looking for.

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is one of the largest tendons in the entire body. The Achilles attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone (calcaneus), and is critically important in standing, walking, running, and jumping. While the tendon is relatively resilient, overuse can contribute to inflammation and pain; known as Achilles tendonitis.

Symptoms:

Pain can be felt in the calf, the Achilles tendon itself, or lower down in the calcaneus.

Causes:

A rapid increase in activity, lack of flexibility, poorly structured footwear or incorrect biomechanics can all contribute to the development of Achilles tendonitis. Determining the root cause of the problem will help you to recover faster – for example, if biomechanics are the issue, the underlying problem must be addressed before rehabilitation begins.

Rehabilitation:

Finding out your biomechanic inefficiency is the first step, followed by correcting it through strengthening, foot posture and body alignment, likely with Align OrthoticsTM. A Rehab and therapy program encompassing a comprehensive stretching regimen, massage, ICE and strengthening can be extremely beneficial, but without addressing the underlying cause, the tendonitis can rapidly return as soon as the individual starts walking again.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a disabling disease that affects millions of Canadians. It is characterized by inflammation of the body’s joints. Common forms of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gouty arthritis. Because of the number of joints and weight/pressure on them, feet can be more susceptible to arthritis than other body parts.

Symptoms:

One or more joints may become swollen, or experience recurring pain or tenderness, redness or heat, and have limited motion. Joints may also be stiff first thing in the morning, and you may experience rashes or growths in the affected area.

Causes:

Arthritis can be hereditary in nature, and can become worse or appear with age. Viral and bacterial infections can bring it on, as well as systemic disease or trauma. Obesity can cause arthritis in load-bearing joints, and either prescription or illegal drugs can contribute to its onset and severity. Lastly, ill-fitting shoes can lead to problems with arthritis.

Rehabilitation:

Those affected by arthritis in the lower body joints should begin a program of physical therapy, exercise, or massage. Ice packs or hot packs can provide relief and reduce swelling, as can soaking the feet in lukewarm water. If the problem persists, it may require surgery. Use of an orthotic device and supportive shoes can address the underlying issues that cause Arthritis.

Bunions

Bunions are characterized as an enlargement of the big toe joint in which the big toe itself takes up the space and presses into the second toe.

Symptoms:

The joint may be red and inflamed, or asymptomatic (no symptoms) with only visual evidence.

Causes:

Bunions can be genetic in nature, biomechanical in nature, or both. Years of improper footwear use can also contribute to the development of a bunion.

Rehabilitation:

There are many different treatment approaches depending on the individual. Having your footwear custom fit can provide tremendous relief, and even prevent the bunion from further development. Different footwear features can benefit different types of bunions, so it is important to know what kind you have and what footwear features will be most beneficial.

Claw / Hammer / Mallet Toes

Claw, hammer and mallet toes all relate to a contracture deformity of the toes.

Symptoms:

The toes may appear crooked or bent, and can be associated with pain, tenderness and redness.

Causes:

These structural deformities can occur from poor biomechanics, improperly structured footwear, improperly fitted footwear, and/or are hereditary in nature. They can also come about as a secondary complication to bunions.

Rehabilitation:

Treatment is most commonly and effectively treated with custom Align OrthoticsTM and professionally fitted footwear. In extremely rare cases, surgery may be required. Through a careful assessment, one can be pre-screened prior to the development of these unattractive deformities to see if one is at risk due to footwear or gait biomechanics. Having your heels customized to the way you walk can have tremendous benefits

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are the development of additional skin that is laid down in areas of high friction and/or pressure.

Symptoms:

Typically, the body is building up skin at a particular location to protect itself from friction, but often these areas can become hypersensitive as the friction increases and the corn gets larger. Calluses are typically found on the bottom of the foot, while corns are located on the toes.

Causes:

Issues may arise due to improperly fitted footwear, abnormal gait biomechanics and/or foot shape.

Rehabilitation:

Calluses or corns are often removed easily, but if the source of the problem is not corrected, then the callus or corn will return. Consult an expert to determine the source of the problem.

Flat Feet

Pes planus (flat feet) is described as a foot deformity where the arch (medial longitudinal arch of the foot) is underdeveloped.

Symptoms:

If left untreated, flat feet can result in foot, ankle, knee, hip and back pain.

Causes:

The pathology for why the arch profile has not developed or has diminished over time is debatable. There are a variety of different anatomical deficiencies that can lead to a pes planus foot type. The degree of the flat foot deformity also varies. Often, an individual may present signs of flat feet but may be asymptomatic for years. Many individuals go their entire life without any intervention. Young toddlers often have flat feet that will develop as the intrinsic muscles, bones and ligaments further develop. By 7-8 years old, the foot typically will start to take on a more normal shape.

Rehabilitation:

Treatment includes a close evaluation of the foot and entire kinetic chain. Correction can often be achieved with exercise, footwear and appropriately constructed orthotics. Refer to our “What Foot Type Are You” section to determine if you have a flat foot.

Foot & Ankle Injury

Foot and ankle injuries are extremely common emergencies. Broken bones, dislocations, sprains, contusions, infections and other serious injuries to the lower legs and feet occur every single day.

Symptoms:

There are many different types of foot and ankle injuries. Symptoms of a sprain or strain include pain and swelling on the outside of the ankle, shin splints present as pain down the front of the lower leg, and symptoms of a fracture or break include pain, redness, bruising, and swelling.

Causes:

Sprains and strains typically happen when something causes the foot to turn inward violently, shin splints result from repetitive overuse of the leg muscles, and fractures or breaks can be cause by overuse, sudden increased activity level, or a violent trauma to the lower leg/foot.

Rehabilitation:

Seek early attention if you sustain a foot or ankle injury. Rest, ice, compression and elevation are early steps you can take to limit the damage done, but you will want to get to a specialist sooner than later. Clean cuts, and leave blisters unopened if they are not painful or swollen. Remove any foreign materials in the skin (slivers, splinters, sand, glass), but seek medical attention for anything deeply embedded. For breaks, you may need to realign bones, immobilization (cast), or possibly surgery. Most moderate to severe ankle or foot injuries will require physiotherapy, and possibly orthotics for long-term control and prevention of further damage.

Heel Spurs / Plantar Fasciitis / Heel & Arch Pain

Heel pain or arch pain is a very common injury to occur in adults. Often the pain is a result of plantar fasciitis or a heel spur.

Symptoms:

Sharp or shooting pain along the bottom of the foot, often most painful first thing in the morning, when the affected person first gets out of bed.

Causes:

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia that runs along the bottom of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. A heel spur can develop when the plantar fascia pulls on the calcaneus (heel bone) causing a spur to develop. It typically occurs as a result of repetitive trauma or improper biomechanics.

Rehabilitation:

Stretching and proper warmup before and after exercise can help, as can rest, ice, compression and elevation. Taping can help to support the arch, and medication can help manage pain. In rare cases surgery may be required. Align OrthoticsTM have tremendous success in supporting the arch as a longer-term and more effective solution

Morton’s Syndrome

Morton’s Syndrome happens when the bone in the big toe (1st metatarsal bone) is too short and does not provide proper stability for the foot. The second toe (2nd metatarsal) bone is then forced to handle the additional pressure. The arch and ankle often roll down and inward until the 1st metatarsal makes contact with the ground.

Symptoms:

The most common symptoms associated with Morton’s syndrome include recurrent callousing and constant tenderness under the ball of the foot, also called metatarsalgia. You might also feel significant pain in the 2nd ball joint and mid-arch. Heel pain (plantar fasciitis), aching calves (shin splints), and ankle, knee, and hip pain may occur as joint alignment in these areas depends on the foot for stability.

Causes:

Morton’s Syndrome is most often a congenital condition that exists in 18% to 28% of people. It can also be caused by a shortened 1st metatarsal after bunion surgery.

Rehabilitation:

Custom orthotics and <custom-fit footwear are both integral to the effective treatment of Morton’s Syndrome.

Patellofemoral Pain

This is a gradual onset of pain in the kneecap, towards the front.

Symptoms:

If you experience pain in the kneecap area walking up or down stairs or when you sit for a long time, it may be Patellofemoral pain.

Causes:

Patellfemoral pain is typically caused by improper tracking of the kneecap and abnormal movement over top of the bone below. It is occasionally cause by flat feet or high foot arches. Muscle imbalances or weak muscles can also be a contributing factor.

Rehabilitation:

A knee brace that has an opening over the kneecap adds compression to properly align the kneecap. Appropriate and specific exercises can also provide relief and correction to the root cause of the problem. For those cases that are caused by arch issues, Align OrthoticsTM can provide the best solution to correct the imbalance.

Ache & Pain Solutions

What Ails You?

There are many aches and pains in various parts of the body that can be attributed to improper foot alignment and gait, as well as a number of foot ailments that are caused, at least partially, by ill-fitting shoes. If you know of a specific ailment that you suffer from, check out our solutions to help you manage it, but we also recommend that you come in and talk to one of our Align Certified Clinicians to determine whether or not our custom-fitted footwear is the solution you’ve been looking for.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is one of the largest tendons in the entire body. The Achilles attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone (calcaneus), and is critically important in standing, walking, running, and jumping. While the tendon is relatively resilient, overuse can contribute to inflammation and pain; known as Achilles tendonitis.

Symptoms:

Pain can be felt in the calf, the Achilles tendon itself, or lower down in the calcaneus.

Causes:

A rapid increase in activity, lack of flexibility, poorly structured footwear or incorrect biomechanics can all contribute to the development of Achilles tendonitis. Determining the root cause of the problem will help you to recover faster – for example, if biomechanics are the issue, the underlying problem must be addressed before rehabilitation begins.

Rehabilitation:

Finding out your biomechanic inefficiency is the first step, followed by correcting it through strengthening, foot posture and body alignment, likely with Align OrthoticsTM. A Rehab and therapy program encompassing a comprehensive stretching regimen, massage, ICE and strengthening can be extremely beneficial, but without addressing the underlying cause, the tendonitis can rapidly return as soon as the individual starts walking again.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a disabling disease that affects millions of Canadians. It is characterized by inflammation of the body’s joints. Common forms of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gouty arthritis. Because of the number of joints and weight/pressure on them, feet can be more susceptible to arthritis than other body parts.

Symptoms:

One or more joints may become swollen, or experience recurring pain or tenderness, redness or heat, and have limited motion. Joints may also be stiff first thing in the morning, and you may experience rashes or growths in the affected area.

Causes:

Arthritis can be hereditary in nature, and can become worse or appear with age. Viral and bacterial infections can bring it on, as well as systemic disease or trauma. Obesity can cause arthritis in load-bearing joints, and either prescription or illegal drugs can contribute to its onset and severity. Lastly, ill-fitting shoes can lead to problems with arthritis.

Rehabilitation:

Those affected by arthritis in the lower body joints should begin a program of physical therapy, exercise, or massage. Ice packs or hot packs can provide relief and reduce swelling, as can soaking the feet in lukewarm water. If the problem persists, it may require surgery. Use of an orthotic device and supportive shoes can address the underlying issues that cause Arthritis.

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are the development of additional skin that is laid down in areas of high friction and/or pressure.

Symptoms:

Typically, the body is building up skin at a particular location to protect itself from friction, but often these areas can become hypersensitive as the friction increases and the corn gets larger. Calluses are typically found on the bottom of the foot, while corns are located on the toes.

Causes:

Issues may arise due to improperly fitted footwear, abnormal gait biomechanics and/or foot shape.

Rehabilitation:

Calluses or corns are often removed easily, but if the source of the problem is not corrected, then the callus or corn will return. Consult an expert to determine the source of the problem.

Morton’s Syndrome

Morton’s Syndrome happens when the bone in the big toe (1st metatarsal bone) is too short and does not provide proper stability for the foot. The second toe (2nd metatarsal) bone is then forced to handle the additional pressure. The arch and ankle often roll down and inward until the 1st metatarsal makes contact with the ground.

Symptoms:

The most common symptoms associated with Morton’s syndrome include recurrent callousing and constant tenderness under the ball of the foot, also called metatarsalgia. You might also feel significant pain in the 2nd ball joint and mid-arch. Heel pain (plantar fasciitis), aching calves (shin splints), and ankle, knee, and hip pain may occur as joint alignment in these areas depends on the foot for stability.

Causes:

Morton’s Syndrome is most often a congenital condition that exists in 18% to 28% of people. It can also be caused by a shortened 1st metatarsal after bunion surgery.

Rehabilitation:

Custom orthotics and <custom-fit footwear are both integral to the effective treatment of Morton’s Syndrome.

Claw / Hammer / Mallet Toes

Claw / Hammer / Mallet Toes

Claw, hammer and mallet toes all relate to a contracture deformity of the toes.

Symptoms:

The toes may appear crooked or bent, and can be associated with pain, tenderness and redness.

Causes:

These structural deformities can occur from poor biomechanics, improperly structured footwear, improperly fitted footwear, and/or are hereditary in nature. They can also come about as a secondary complication to bunions.

Rehabilitation:

Treatment is most commonly and effectively treated with custom Align OrthoticsTM and professionally fitted footwear. In extremely rare cases, surgery may be required. Through a careful assessment, one can be pre-screened prior to the development of these unattractive deformities to see if one is at risk due to footwear or gait biomechanics. Having your heels customized to the way you walk can have tremendous benefits

Patellofemoral Pain

Patellofemoral Pain

This is a gradual onset of pain in the kneecap, towards the front.

Symptoms:

If you experience pain in the kneecap area walking up or down stairs or when you sit for a long time, it may be Patellofemoral pain.

Causes:

Patellfemoral pain is typically caused by improper tracking of the kneecap and abnormal movement over top of the bone below. It is occasionally cause by flat feet or high foot arches. Muscle imbalances or weak muscles can also be a contributing factor.

Rehabilitation:

A knee brace that has an opening over the kneecap adds compression to properly align the kneecap. Appropriate and specific exercises can also provide relief and correction to the root cause of the problem. For those cases that are caused by arch issues, Align OrthoticsTM can provide the best solution to correct the imbalance.

Bunions

Bunions are characterized as an enlargement of the big toe joint in which the big toe itself takes up the space and presses into the second toe.

Symptoms:

The joint may be red and inflamed, or asymptomatic (no symptoms) with only visual evidence.

Causes:

Bunions can be genetic in nature, biomechanical in nature, or both. Years of improper footwear use can also contribute to the development of a bunion.

Rehabilitation:

There are many different treatment approaches depending on the individual. Having your footwear custom fit can provide tremendous relief, and even prevent the bunion from further development. Different footwear features can benefit different types of bunions, so it is important to know what kind you have and what footwear features will be most beneficial.

Foot & Ankle Injury

Foot & Ankle Injury

Foot and ankle injuries are extremely common emergencies. Broken bones, dislocations, sprains, contusions, infections and other serious injuries to the lower legs and feet occur every single day.

Symptoms:

There are many different types of foot and ankle injuries. Symptoms of a sprain or strain include pain and swelling on the outside of the ankle, shin splints present as pain down the front of the lower leg, and symptoms of a fracture or break include pain, redness, bruising, and swelling.

Causes:

Sprains and strains typically happen when something causes the foot to turn inward violently, shin splints result from repetitive overuse of the leg muscles, and fractures or breaks can be cause by overuse, sudden increased activity level, or a violent trauma to the lower leg/foot.

Rehabilitation:

Seek early attention if you sustain a foot or ankle injury. Rest, ice, compression and elevation are early steps you can take to limit the damage done, but you will want to get to a specialist sooner than later. Clean cuts, and leave blisters unopened if they are not painful or swollen. Remove any foreign materials in the skin (slivers, splinters, sand, glass), but seek medical attention for anything deeply embedded. For breaks, you may need to realign bones, immobilization (cast), or possibly surgery. Most moderate to severe ankle or foot injuries will require physiotherapy, and possibly orthotics for long-term control and prevention of further damage.

Flat Feet

Flat Feet

Pes planus (flat feet) is described as a foot deformity where the arch (medial longitudinal arch of the foot) is underdeveloped.

Symptoms:

If left untreated, flat feet can result in foot, ankle, knee, hip and back pain.

Causes:

The pathology for why the arch profile has not developed or has diminished over time is debatable. There are a variety of different anatomical deficiencies that can lead to a pes planus foot type. The degree of the flat foot deformity also varies. Often, an individual may present signs of flat feet but may be asymptomatic for years. Many individuals go their entire life without any intervention. Young toddlers often have flat feet that will develop as the intrinsic muscles, bones and ligaments further develop. By 7-8 years old, the foot typically will start to take on a more normal shape.

Rehabilitation:

Treatment includes a close evaluation of the foot and entire kinetic chain. Correction can often be achieved with exercise, footwear and appropriately constructed orthotics. Refer to our “What Foot Type Are You” section to determine if you have a flat foot.

Heel Spurs / Plantar Fasciitis / Heel & Arch Pain

Heel pain or arch pain is a very common injury to occur in adults. Often the pain is a result of plantar fasciitis or a heel spur.

Symptoms:

Sharp or shooting pain along the bottom of the foot, often most painful first thing in the morning, when the affected person first gets out of bed.

Causes:

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia that runs along the bottom of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. A heel spur can develop when the plantar fascia pulls on the calcaneus (heel bone) causing a spur to develop. It typically occurs as a result of repetitive trauma or improper biomechanics.

Rehabilitation:

Stretching and proper warmup before and after exercise can help, as can rest, ice, compression and elevation. Taping can help to support the arch, and medication can help manage pain. In rare cases surgery may be required. Align OrthoticsTM have tremendous success in supporting the arch as a longer-term and more effective solution