Common foot conditions: why you should not rely on Dr Google!

At our three foot clinics here in Ontario, our podiatry team are often rung by potential clients saying “I’ve got this problem with my foot. I’ve Googled it and I think it’s (name of a condition / rare disease). Can you help me please?”

The internet is certainly a great source of information (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this!) but it is NOT a diagnostic tool. If you have a problem with your feet, please make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists here at Hunt Footcare.

Hands-on consultations by our podiatrists

We will make a thorough examination of your feet, including assessing your gait (walking) and how you stand. At your first appointment, our team can usually diagnose your issue, and set you on a course of treatment or for further investigation if required. Booking that single appointment will save you hours of screen time, stress and worry over whether the information is correct. Our team will always give you detailed information on your issues, and advise on appropriate treatments, exercises, diet and other aspects of foot care for your issue.

Top foot conditions searches

So, what are people asking “Dr Google” about in relation to foot health? Out of curiosity, we checked on the number of searches made in Canada each month for the main issues we address here at Hunt Footcare. The top 5 most searched-for foot ailments were:

  1. Plantar fasciitis
  2. Bunions
  3. Corns
  4. Ingrowing toe nails
  5. Shin splints

Plantar fasciitis

First of all, we were impressed how many people typed in the correct name (and spelling) for this common foot issue! Over 77k searches were made for the phrase, in contrast to just 9k for the phrase “heel pain”.

Plantar fasciitis can cause intense pain on the bottom of your heels, caused by the plantar fascia tendon that connects your heel to your toes becoming inflamed. Plantar fasciitis is often painful when you start to walk after sleeping or resting. The pain may ease during exercise, but comes back after a rest. You may also find it difficult to lift your toes off the floor.

For more details, see our article “A pain in the heel: about Plantar Fasciitis


Bunions may sound an old-fashioned kind of foot condition, but they are remarkably common. Bunions are the result of misalignment of your big toe. This causes a sac of fluid at the base of your big toe to swell up and become painful.

For more details on bunions and how we can treat them, see our page.

Foot corns and calluses

Corns and calluses happen when the bones in your foot rub against your shoes or hard surfaces. If you work on a hard warehouse floor all day or stand for long periods in any occupation, you are more at risk of developing calluses. Please do not try and treat or remove any corn or callus yourself using over the counter remedies – come to us for expert treatment that addresses the underlying cause/s of your corns or calluses.

For more details on corns and calluses, see our page.

Ingrowing toe nails

Over 21.5k Canadians search every month for information on ingrown toenails. Most cases we see at our feet clinics are caused by a combination of footwear being too tight (especially sports shoes) and people simply not cutting their toenails correctly. If the nail has grown into the toe, this can cause an infection which may require medication.

For more details on how we at Hunt Footcare can treat ingrowing toenails, including virtually painless and highly effective walk in’ surgery, see our page.

Shin splints (leg pain)

This result surprised us a little with so many searches, but it is a condition that can result from running, walking or participating in active sports, which many of our patients enjoy.

Technically known as Medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), shin splits can cause a dull pain in your leg during the early stages of activity that then eases, only to reoccur again towards the end of your activity. Early treatment is vital to avoid increasing levels of pain which can severely effect your ability to train, let alone participate.

If you have any kind of leg pain, book an appointment as soon as possible at any of our three clinics:


Gout was another foot condition that ranked highly, with 58,800 searches every month. Gout is a common form of arthritis, caused by the build-up of uric acid crystals in your joints. It usually affects the big toe joint, but it can also affect your ankles and knees, with the joint becoming painful and swollen. Gout can affect anyone at any age, but it is four times more common in men than women, and more prevalent in older people. Lifestyle, genetics and diet can also raise your risk of getting gout.

The Arthritis Society estimates that up to 4% of the Canadian population have gout. If you suspect you have it, consult your physician, who may need to do blood tests and take a sample of synovial fluid for check for the presence of crystals. For more information, see this page.

Healthier feet with Hunt Footcare

If you have any concerns about the health of your feet, from athlete’s foot to heel spurs, hammer toes and achilles tendinitis, call us to make an appointment at one of our three friendly foot clinics in Ontario:

Published On: October 31, 2023