Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

After a terrible defeat to the Washington Redskins the Seahawks were victorious this week against the Arizona Cardinals. But at a terrible cost. With Richard Sherman out with a ruptured Achilles tendon it will be a tough go for the Seahawks for the rest of the season. Sherman had already injured his Achilles in Game 5 against the Los Angeles Rams. So he was well aware that rupturing it later on was likely.

You may be wondering. What is a ruptured Achilles and who's at risk?

An Achilles tendon rupture is a complete or partial tear of the Achilles tendon which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. It's common in football players and other athletes where jumping, pivoting, tripping, and falling are frequent actions.

It's also frequent in weekend warriors and baby boomers who aren't in the best shape and decide to play a pick-up game of basketball, for example.

How do you know if you've ruptured your Achilles?

Like Richard Sherman, you're likely to hear a distinct popping sound. The pain will feel like you've been kicked in the back of the ankle or calf.  Swelling as the result of inflammation will occur and walking uphill or upstairs will be quite difficult.

Will I need surgery if I've ruptured my Achilles?

You've probably read that Richard Sherman will need to have surgery for his Achilles rupture. But will you need it? It depends on how badly injured you are, how active, and whether you have other medical issues such as diabetes. Poor health will preclude you from having surgery.

If you're more active, surgery is the way to go since re-rupture after more conservative treatment is more likely. Other benefits to surgery include increasing your strength when pushing off your foot, improved muscle function and movement of the ankle.

How do I prevent myself from getting a ruptured Achilles?

Make sure to wear the right shoes for the activity you're engaged in. If you're playing basketball, wear basketball shoes, not running shoes or other shoes. Keep yourself in shape if you plan to take up infrequent games of basketball or other sports. Work with a trainer to find out what exercises will help you maintain your strength and flexibility for the sport you want to play.

Photo credit: Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

By Dr. Rion Berg
November 07, 2017
Category: Bunions
Tags: hammertoes   high heels   neuromas  

What do Audrey Hepburn, Princess Diana, and Susan Sarandon have in common? They all wore kitten heels, instead of the sky high heels we see so often on models, actresses, and singers such as Beyonce and Lady Gaga.  

According to the press, kitten heels are making a comeback. And it's about time from this Seattle podiatrist's point of view.

Kitten heels are typically only one to two inches tall, a great height to prevent a lot of foot problems. High heels are problematic due to the steep pitch of the shoe which places almost all the weight on the ball of the foot.  In addition, high heels with a narrow toe box squeeze the toes together.

Which foot problems they can prevent?

Neuromas
When a woman wears a sky high heels she puts herself a greater risk for developing Morton's neuroma. High heels can cause the nerve bundle between the 3rd and 4th toes to enlarge causing burning and shooting pain.

Bunions
Bunions are not caused by high heels but wearing them can make bunions worse. If you have bunions and flat feet and you notice your daughter does too, you can help her prevent their progression by helping her make better shoe choices. When she clamours for high heels, direct her toward the kitten heel.

Hammertoes
Hammertoes are caused by an abnormal muscle/tendon balance in the toes most often brought on by wearing  high heels with a cramped toe box.

When buying kitten heels make sure that your toes have enough wiggle room.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Your free foot book "No More Foot Pain" is waiting to be sent to your home.

Our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe. You can print out the newsletter for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

In November we start thinking about Thanksgiving. But did you know that November is also National Diabetes Month? As a Seattle podiatrist who treats hundreds of people with Type 2 diabetes, it's extremely important to me to get out the word about how to prevent and manage it.

How many people have it?

As of 2015, 30.3 million Americans or 9.4% of our population had diabetes.  The vast majority of those people had Type II diabetes. About 7.2 million Americans have it but go undiagnosed. Americans over 65, bear the largest burden of diabetes with over 25% or 12 million diagnosed and undiagnosed.

The number of cases of diabetes continues to rise, most alarmingly in young adults ages 10-19. A study done by the Centers for Disease Control looked at youth from 2002-2012. Newly diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes had increased by 4.8 percent.

How do I know if I'm at risk?

You can check your risk by taking this test. If you score greater than five on the test, talk to your doctor so you can find out if you have diabetes.

What to do if I'm diagnosed?

To manage and prevent the condition from causing other health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, and foot ulcers (which can lead to amputation if not treated) your doctor will very likely send you to an endocrinologist that specializes in diabetes. In the meantime you can check out the information provided by the American Diabetes Association for newly diagnosed patients.

Foot health

As mentioned above diabetes can cause dangerous foot ulcers. Staying on top of your foot health will require you to check your feet on a daily basis to ensure that you have no cracked or open sores. In addition, you can check out my 10 Ten Tips for Diabetic Feet.

If you have diabetes and need to be seen, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment.  You can also request an appointment online.

Your free foot book "No More Foot Pain" is waiting to be sent to your home.

Our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe. You can print out the newsletter for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

By Dr. Rion Berg
October 27, 2017
Category: Heel pain

Do you have tight calf muscles and experience foot pain? Tight calf muscles are not uncommon in our culture. Because most of us sit all day long our calves tighten up. Women who wear high heels also end up with this condition.

When the calf muscles are too tight you can't move the foot forward properly.  Instead of the force dissipating when you walk or run, the force goes into the foot resulting in Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.

Here are solutions for beating tight calf muscles.

Stretching
As soon as I identify tight calf muscles in a patient I start them on a program of appropriate stretching.  Stretching exercises are easily done at home. The problem is that they need to be done for up to thirty minutes a day.  To help you with that a splint can be worn while you're watching TV or reading a book and easily get that thirty minutes of stretching done to reduce the tightness of your calf muscle.

Heel Lift
A heel lift can also be used under the sole of your shoe to raise the heel up which relaxes the calf muscle.

Control the Foot Mechanics
Controlling your foot mechanics is another part of the puzzle that must be resolved to prevent tight calf muscles. Custom orthotics prevent pronation and stops the need for the calf to tighten.

Other Measures
If the inflammation is too great other measures include:

  • icing

  • heat

  • anti-inflammatory medication

  • referral to physical therapy

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Coming soon.

By Dr. Rion Berg
October 26, 2017
Category: Fungus toenails

Many times throughout my career as a podiatrist I've had patients come to me with big toenails that have turned black. Most often a black toenail is simply the result of nail trauma. The nail turned black because they're a runner or a skier and they wore shoes or boots that were just too tight. Or they loved to tinker with their car and they dropped a tire iron on their toe. Sometimes kicking a solid object too hard can also cause a blackened nail to arise.

But sometimes a black toenail can be the sign of toenail fungus or even worse, melanoma.

That's why it's so important to make sure to see a podiatrist if you notice your toenail is black or turning black.

Fungal Nails
Onychomycosis or fungal nails are a very common occurrence. In Seattle, our feet are covered in socks and shoes or boots most of the year. And many of us wear cotton socks that keep our feet slightly damp. This is the perfect environment for toenail fungus to thrive.

Some of us are more prone to nail fungus due to our genetics.

Runners and other active people also are at greater risk due to repetitive pressure on the nail bed which causes it to lift slightly allowing the fungus in where it can set up shop.

Fungal nails can be difficult to treat particularly if it's been a longstanding problem and the nail has thickened or the patient is immunocompromised.

It's best to get this condition treated as early as possible to ensure the best chance of success. Even so fungal nails can return just like a chronic case of gingivitis. Prevention is key for those who've had it by limiting their exposure--using socks that wick away moisture, alternating shoes on a daily basis, or using a UV light shoe sanitizer.

Melanoma
At worst a black toenail is diagnosed as melanoma, a very dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma tends to grow very slowly so it's important not to dismiss it. In fact, melanoma is the most common cancer of the feet. Unlike our face which we look at every day, many of us ignore our feet.

When found on the feet there is a much higher death rate due to this cancer which can spread throughout the body. That's because we are more likely to find it when it's already too advanced to adequately treat.

If you have a black toenail, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online. Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home by going to our website and clicking on the link.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

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