Urban Soles specializes in helping Toronto professionals and micromobility users to relieve lower extremity and spinal pain, improve your posture, and prevent overuse injuries related to dysfunction in the feet. Orthotic therapy is our preferred therapy to treat and prevent common musculoskeletal conditions that affect urban professionals and the micromobility community.
Orthotic therapy is the therapeutic use of custom orthotics (i.e. prescription shoe inserts) for the purpose of correcting biomechanical dysfunction in the feet and providing a balanced foundation for the body. Since the feet are the foundation of the body, correction of foot alignment also influences an individual’s posture and function of other joints in the body, such as the knees, hips, and spine. Orthotic therapy can therefore relieve not just foot pain but also knee pain, low back pain, and even neck pain.
By focusing on the feet as the body’s foundation, we can optimize postural alignment from the ground up and not just relieve but also prevent common overuse injuries, such as plantar fasciitis (foot pain), shin splints, patello-femoral pain syndrome (knee pain), and low back pain.
Urban Soles supports Toronto’s urban professionals and microcommuters every step of the way, so that you can continue to pursue your passion and fulfill your purpose, pain- and injury free. From the daily commute, through a busy work day, to after-work relaxation, we got your back. Our premium orthotics are clinician-designed to meet the daily demands of urban professionals and custom-made according to the individual’s orthotic prescription.
Pain relief and injury prevention for urban professionals has never looked better!
Urban Soles is not just for individuals. We use orthotic therapy to help socially-responsible small to medium-sized Toronto businesses to optimize the productivity, satisfaction, and retention of their employees; increased employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention positively impact a company’s bottom line.
Dr. Nicole Hess
DOCTOR OF CHIROPRACTIC
As the founder and clinician of Urban Soles, I help Toronto professionals and micromobility users to overcome strain and pain from prolonged standing, walking, and riding their bicycle or personal electric vehicle (PEV).
My therapy of choice is orthotic therapy, since it can both treat and prevent common musculoskeletal conditions and does not require a change in daily habits. I also use ergonomic and postural correction strategies to help Torontonians to feel, move, and perform better.
As a lifelong cyclist and avid PEV rider, I am also an advocate for the safety of vulnerable road users and for micromobility solutions in Toronto.
My mission is to get Torontonians to feel better, move better, and perform better
Ease of application is a huge factor when it comes to patient compliance, and compliance with the proposed treatment plan is paramount for achieving the desired treatment outcomes.
Research demonstrates that only 25-30 percent of patients are willing to commit to lifestyle changes.
If you are one of them, the good news is, you can optimize your musculoskeletal health without changing your lifestyle habits.
Many physical problems that affect the joints and muscles in the body can effectively be mitigated through the use of custom foot orthotics.
Custom orthotics are prescription shoe inserts (insoles) that can be worn in any type of shoe and serve to correct the structural alignment and dynamic function of the feet, in order to reduce pain, prevent injuries, and improve work or athletic performance.
I have personally always had problems with my feet but did not realize that the debilitating blisters, shin splints, and ankle sprains, were the result of abnormal foot function and gait patterns that could be corrected with the right kind of orthotics.
Instead, I grew accustomed to buying new shoes that caused me blisters, took forever to be broken in, or turned out to be intolerable. I also got used to replacing my shoes frequently because of irregular wear patterns and to quitting activities that caused me repetitive strain injuries.
People around me just thought I loved buying shoes and could not stick with any activity for long.
During the time that I spent working on my dream practice, and especially during the pandemic, my lifestyle became more sedentary and shifted towards working from home.
Prolonged sitting, lack of movement, and weight gain, in addition to chronic stress drastically intensified my low back pain. Long hours hunched over my laptop at the dining table contributed to developing an overuse injury in my shoulder.
Overuse injuries from repetitive movements with poor posture and little ergonomic consideration is how most of us commonly hurt ourselves. We tend to look for an incident, like that one crossfit class or snow shoveling, or moving heavy furniture, but the boring truth is, more often than not, repetitive strain is to blame.
Already stressed with launching a new business in midst of a pandemic, I did not have time to spare to actively rehabilitate my shoulder in addition to treating my low back.
Nagging low back and shoulder pain, chronic stress, and little time for the things I used to enjoy in life, I knew it was time for an intervention.
After some time of contemplation, I converted the dining table into a stand-capable desk and transformed my make-shift home office into an ergonomic work space. Now that I was alternating between sitting and standing while working on my laptop, I needed to make sure that my feet were well supported, so that standing on hardwood floor would not aggravate my low back or give me foot pain.
I traded my well-loved Birkenstock’s for custom-made orthotic sandals to wear at home, and fitted my shoes with custom orthotics in order to be comfortable and well supported throughout the day. I later switched my shoes to Apex orthopaedic footwear, which added an additional layer of comfort and performance to my set up.
These simple interventions, which did neither require any regular doctor visits nor burden my busy schedule with additional tasks, made a significant difference in my pain levels, my productivity, and my quality of life.
Having custom orthotics in my shoes and sandals, I also noticed that my footwear lasts longer and is more comfortable overall. I do not recall the last time I had blisters on my feet.
There has also been a noticeable increase in comfort and reduction in pain when riding my personal electric vehicles and bicycle; I am no longer experiencing low back and knee pain associated with riding.
Many physical problems that affect the joints and muscles in the body can effectively be mitigated and prevented through the use of custom foot orthotics. This is what we do at Urban Soles, and pain relief and injury prevention for urban professionals and micromobility users has never looked or felt better.
As a member of the Annex and the Centre for Social Innovation, where my practice is located, I am proud to be part of a community that is dedicated to serving the community.
My own contributions to the community include fall prevention initiatives for older adults and advocacy for micromobility users.
As part of a national effort to reduce the incidence and prevalence of falls among older adults, I offer an annual fall prevention self-management program. This program opens up every November (during fall prevention month) and is recommended for Canadians aged 65 and older (or younger with known fall risk factors). You can learn more here.
My own experiences as a lifelong cyclist and avid PEV rider, have led me to become an advocate for micromobility and the safety of vulnerable road users. I support organizations and community members who are working towards our common goal of making Toronto a city that embraces all forms of micromobility and that ensures adequate protection and safety for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and PEV riders.