Dr. Berg's Foot Facts
By Dr. Rion Berg
November 13, 2018
Category: Fungus toenails

Have you wondered if you need treatment for your fungal toenails? A recent article in Health Day News, a health information news site by US News and World Report, gives some great information for people with fungal toenails but misses the mark because it doesn't discuss the importance of treatment.

The article includes the following recommendations from the American Academy of Physicians (AAP). I've added my comments in parentheses. These recommendations will help reduce the chance of spreading the infection to your other toenails and other people and is best practice when you get your toenail fungus treated.

  • Cut nails short and file down thick areas.

  • Don't use the same nail trimmer or file on healthy nails and infected ones (be sure to keep your nail implements for your own use to prevent spread to other family members).

  • If you go to a nail salon, bring your own nail file and trimmer (you should always let the nail salon know you have fungal nails when you make your appointment; some salons won't allow people with fungal nails to be seen).

  • Wear socks made of wicking material to draw moisture from the skin (an excellent sock is the Copper Anti-bacterial Antifungal Low Cut Socks; these are wicking and anti-microbial. If you're a hiker a sock liner from Fox River will keep the moisture away from your feet.

  • Change your socks when they are damp from sweat or your feet get wet.

  • Wear clean, dry socks every day and apply over-the-counter antifungal powder inside socks to keep feet dry.

  • Wear shoes with good support and a wide toe area (in addition shoes should fit well and leave about a thumbs length from your toes to the tip of your shoes. Tight shoes can cause your unaffected toenails to lift making it easier for the fungal infection to develop in them).

  • Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, such as locker rooms (always wear flip flops to prevent spread of the infection to others).

  • (Wear a different pair of shoes every day to let them dry out between wearings).

  • (Use a UV shoe sanitizer like Sterishoe Essential to kill the fungus in your shoes and keep down your fungal load).

It's important to get your fungal toenails treated for these reasons:

  • Toenail fungus can cause nails to thicken and distort making them difficult to cut.

  • Toenail fungus can be painful. This won't occur when your fungal nail infection first starts, but can happen over time.

  • Toenail fungus and diabetes are a dangerous combination. If you have both of these conditions your chance of developing an ulcer is 3X greater than if you didn't have diabetes.

  • Toenail fungus can spread in families. While many of the recommendations above will help prevent you from spreading the condition to others, however, getting it treated will help ensure it.

Don't wait to get your toenail fungus treated. 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.

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.

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We're pleased to announce that we're the first podiatry office in Seattle to offer the benefits of MLS Laser Therapy to our patients with foot and ankle pain. The MLS (Multiwave Locked System) laser uses specific wavelengths of light to treat painful and debilitating conditions.

We are very excited to offer this new and dramatic treatment option for our patients suffering with both acute and chronic pain of the foot and ankle. The MLS laser will treat conditions such as heel pain, plantar fasciitis, neuromas, Achilles tendonitis, arthritis, and sprains and strains without the use of painful injections or potentially habit forming drugs. Best of all, it works much faster than most of the treatments we currently use to relieve pain and reduce inflammation associated with these conditions.

How Does It Work?

The MLS laser uses dual wavelengths of infrared light to penetrate deep into the tissue and stimulate regeneration at the cellular level. One laser is pulsed and treats pain. The other laser is continuous and treats inflammation. Combined, these lasers offer a powerful treatment solution for stubborn foot and ankle problems.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

Laser therapy is painless and takes just 15 minutes. Many patients will experience pain relief within 1-3 treatments. Dr. Berg will evaluate your medical condition and determine how many treatments are needed for pain relief, healing, and a return to regular activities.

Are the Results Long Lasting?

MLS Laser Therapy is about healing. With MLS Laser Therapy, we are not masking or covering up a condition, but rather, treating the root of your pain and inflammation. Because of this, many patients have seen long-term results.

Can it be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment?

Yes, MLS Laser Therapy can be used in conjunction with other treatment modalities used in our podiatry office. For example, a patient with plantar fasciitis may receive laser therapy for pain reduction and inflammation. Additional modalities may include low dye taping, an air heel, Achilles splints, orthotics, and physical therapy.

To learn more about whether MLS Laser Therapy can help your foot or ankle condition, please call our office today at 206-368-7000 to set up 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.

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.

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

 

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
November 06, 2018
Category: Bunions
Tags: Meghan Markle  

Meghan Markle is really getting around these days. Last week she was at a traditional Maori welcoming ceremony in Rotorua, New Zealand. It was there we found out that Meghan had undergone bunion surgery when the telltale signs of scars on the inside of her big toe were revealed when she went barefoot.

While I can't say for certain that Meghan has flat feet, it's a strong possibility. Unfortunately bunions are often in the future for people with flat feet, particularly women. In addition to having this foot type women who also wear high heels are at the highest risk for accelerated bunion development.

People with flat feet are very likely to pronate or roll their feet inwards as they walk. Over time this motion causes the big toe to migrate towards the other toes and as it migrates a bunion develops next to the inside of the big toe.

The key to preventing bunions from forming is to stop the pronation from occurring. And the earlier the better. It's very possible if Meghan had received the proper treatment for her bunions early enough she could have avoided surgery. In addition, if Meghan had avoided high heels she could also have slowed down the progression of her bunions.

Treatments for Bunions

Surgery is usually the last thing I talk about with my patients who have bunions. Instead I start with less invasive, more conservative treatments such as padding, orthotic devices, and education about the best type of shoes to prevent the progression of bunions.

When Should Treatment Start?

Treatment for bunions should start as soon as a parent suspects their child has pediatric or developmental flatfoot. That's because at this stage, treatment is preventive. Intervening in the way a child walks once this condition is identified will not only help prevent future bunions from developing but also plantar fasciitis and other pain conditions related to having flat feet. Hip and back problems can also be averted by preventive therapy.

All children are born with flat feet. An arch doesn't usually develop until a child is four or five years old. If your child still has flat feet beyond age six they will have them and the problems that come with them for the rest of their life.

Others signs that your child may have future foot problems such as bunions are pain, frequent trips and falls, withdrawal from activities they usually enjoy, and having trouble keeping up with their peers.

At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City we also treat children at risk for bunions using very conservative measures. For very young children we use specially designed orthotics for kids called Little Steps. For older kids we'll use a custom orthotic just like we do for adults.

What Else Can I Do To Prevent Progression of My Bunions?

If you already have bunions but they aren't advanced, there is a lot you can do to prevent them from progressing. In addition to orthotics, changing your shoe type will go a long way in slowing their acceleration. There are multiple brands of shoes that can help greatly in accommodating your bunions so that you won't have much pain.

However, it's extremely important to keep certain shoe features in mind when you go shopping if your ultimate goal is to prevent your bunions from worsening. Look for a shoe with a heel no higher than one inch, a toe box wide enough to accommodate your feet so that there is no pressure on your forefoot or toes, and a shoe that is not too tight.

Although orthotics can be made to fit any shoe, to keep down your costs you should shop for a shoe that will take the orthotics you already have. One shoe I recommend to my patients is the Alegria Kourtney. It easily accommodates an orthotic and has plenty of room in the toes.

If you've already been treated for bunions and they've progressed to the point where you think surgery is in your future, check out the information on our bunion surgery page.

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.

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.

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

 

 

Ball of foot pain is one of the most common types of pain I see in athletes. Whether you're a runner, soccer player, or dancer ball of foot pain can stop you from doing what you love. Your feet are a wondrous, complex system of bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments designed to work together perfectly. And they must. They have a big job to do. Your feet are small relative to the amount of weight they need to hold up and keep in alignment.

Considering the amount of pounding and abuse they take, it's amazing our feet continue to deliver for us. It's not until we feel pain that we start to examine what we might need to do differently to protect them.

When you do experience pain in the ball of your foot or in other parts of your feet, you might wonder why your running partner seems to glide through it all without a twinge. The truth is your athletic pursuits are only part of the puzzle when it comes to assessing why you have pain in the ball of your foot. In fact people who aren't athletes also get ball of foot pain.

What Do I Mean By Ball of Foot Pain?
Ball of foot pain occurs where the toe bones join the metatarsal bones. It can occur in one spot or all across the ball of the foot. Symptoms can range from sharp or shooting pain when the toes are flexed to tingling or numbness in the toes or it can even feel like you're walking on pebbles.

There are many causes of ball of foot pain. To properly diagnose and treat it, I'll ask you questions about your recent physical activity, watch you walk, determine your foot type, and check the types of shoes you're wearing.

The Role of Foot Structure in Ball of Foot Pain
A big factor in developing foot pain lies in the structure of your feet. Some of us have high arches, some have low arches, and some have no arches. High arched feet and feet with no arches can both cause instability in the foot that leads to ball of foot pain by putting extra pressure on the metatarsal bones. Also, a Morton's toe (the second or third toe longer than the big toe) can lead to this condition when weight shifts to the second or third toes.

How Tight Calf Muscles Affect Foot Position
Tight calf muscles can make faulty foot structure worse by increasing the pressure on the metatarsal bones at the front part of your foot.

How Physical Activity Affects the Foot
Our feet can take a lot of pressure, however, the high jumps during a basketball game and the constant pounding from running can be a primary cause of ball of foot pain. It's important to rest when you first feel the pain and not try to play or run through it since you can do further damage to your feet.

How Being Overweight Can Play a Role in Ball of Foot Pain
Being overweight can increase your risk for ball of foot pain. Every extra pound of body weight creates three extra pounds of force when walking and seven pounds when running. For example, a person weighing 200 pounds would place 600 pounds of force on their feet when walking and 1400 pounds of force when running.

The Role of Shoes in Ball of Foot Pain
One of the easiest things to do to decrease ball of foot pain is to change your shoes. Every sport has shoes designed specifically to prevent foot and ankle injuries most common to it. Basketball shoes worn for running will not protect you from running injuries. Likewise, old worn out shoes will not provide the support needed to prevent pain in the ball of your foot. Even when you're not taking part in your favorite sport it's important to keep in mind that high heels and shoes that are pointy and squeeze the front of your foot can also be a factor in your foot pain.

Common Ball of Foot Pain Conditions
Some of the most common ball of foot pain conditions are:

Metatarsalgia - the pain is typically felt on one or more of the five bones (metatarsals) in the mid-portion of the foot.

Neuroma - A neuroma is an enlarged, benign growth of nerves, which can occur in various parts of the body. The most common neuroma of the foot is called Morton's neuroma, It develops between the third and fourth toes of either foot. The incidence of Morton's neuroma is eight to ten times greater in women than in men.

Sesamoiditis - occurs when the tendons surrounding the sesamoids can become irritated or inflamed. Sesamoiditis is a common condition among ballet dancers, runners, and baseball catchers because of the pressures placed on their feet. A form of sesamoiditis called turf toe is also found among soccer players and kickers in football.

Treatment
Acute pain and injury should be treated with ice to decrease swelling. Additional treatment will depend primarily on your diagnosis and foot structure. Orthotics might be dispensed to improve your foot alignment or to relieve pressure on a nerve if implicated in the diagnosis. A program of stretching, often with an Achilles splint, is warranted if you have tight calf muscles. Weight loss may be suggested to relieve pressure on your feet.

New athletic shoes should be purchased annually to ensure they are providing the support you need. Avoid buying lightweight shoes with squishy soles and no solid shank from the heel to the ball of the foot as these will add to your ball of foot pain. Instead purchase a Hoka One One running shoe if running is your sport. It has great shock absorption with a good shank and a rocker sole to prevent your foot from jamming into the ball of your foot. Everyday shoes should be only one inch in height and have a toe box wide enough to accommodate your forefoot.

Finally, all activity should stop until a diagnosis is confirmed by your podiatrist.

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.

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

Photo credit: Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

 

 

What's the best approach for treating fungal toenails? First let's look at the history of how fungus of the toenails has been treated. For many years the only available treatment was topical medication. And while somewhat helpful these medications had to be applied daily for up to a year. With all that effort, only 20% of patients saw clearing of their fungal nails.

In the 1960s and 70s the pharmaceutical industry developed an oral medication. Initially these medications were harmful to the liver. Eventually they developed a medication called oral Lamisil which had fewer side effects. The patient took one pill a day for three months and with that the success rate was about 75%. To be safe patients got their liver enzymes tested after one month.

However, even with testing the liver many patients were still hesitant to take the oral medication. Also, fungus would reoccur in some patients (as with any fungal nail treatment). Something that was non-invasive that had the potential to work better was needed. That's why laser treatment was developed. When we first started using laser in 2012 we found a success rate of 60%-70%.

After we added in topical medication for the skin and nails and put in place a program where patients used a UV light sanitizer in their shoes our success rate went up to 75%. Finally this year we added a one month course of oral medication and grouped our laser treatments closer together. Then our success rate went up to 80%-90%.

If you're looking to get rid of your fungal toenails in time for the 2019 sandal season, now is the best time to start. With treatment your clear nails will still need to grow out which can take nine months or longer.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for evaluation. You can also request an appointment online. We'll test your nails to make sure you have fungus before we start treatment.

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

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.

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





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