Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Photo by Immortal shots - See latest from PexelsAs Seattleites we're experts when it comes to getting around in the rain, but once the rain turns to snow we tend to throw our hands up in the air and just shake our heads. Many of us stay home because we dread slipping and falling.

As your podiatrist I can't blame you. The last thing I want is for my patients to twist or break an ankle or sustain any other bodily harm. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics your fear of falling is well founded. In 2014, ice, snow, and sleet caused more than 42,000 injuries and illnesses.

But what if you have to leave your home to go to work, do some shopping, take your kid to the doctor, or any number of errands that won't wait until the snowy, icy weather passes.

Here are 7 strategies to help you get around more safely should you need to head out of your cozy abode.

Choose Your Shoes Wisely
Your shoes can greatly affect your stability, so it's important to select the right pair.

  • Wear shoes that cover as much ground as possible (avoid heels or choose a chunky, wider heel).
  • Choose footwear made of non-slip rubber or neoprene composite with grooved soles.
  • Avoid leather soles
  • Purchase boots that can pass a slip resistance test. The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute has tested hundreds of boots in their WinterLab and now the results can be found on the website Rate My Treads.
  • Use treads or cleats such as Yaktrax to improve your grip.

Adjust Your Stride

  • Go slow and easy
  • Take shorter steps or shuffle
  • Bend slightly forward with your center of gravity directly over your feet and walk flat footed.
  • Extend your arms out to your sides for better balance

Plan Out Your Route

As much as possible plan out where you're going to walk. Although it may not be as easy to walk in fresh snow it can be safer than snow that's been around for awhile since it probably won't be as slippery.

  • Assume all wet, dark areas are icy - some ice is obvious, while other ice can be just underneath packed down snow. Black ice can be the most treacherous since it can be very tough to see.
  • Use handrails when walking down steps since they are often icy.
  • Avoid slopes and hills when you can.
  • Avoid walking in the street. If you can't avoid it, walk facing traffic and stay as far from cars as possible. Don't assume they can stop.
  • Look ahead when you walk. If you see the sidewalk is covered in ice, see if the grass next to it is a better bet.
  • Give yourself extra time; that way you won't be in a hurry and take unnecessary risks.

Keep Yourself Visible

Too many of us wear black coats in the winter. It's nearly impossible for cars to see a person in the dark who's wearing black. If you do a lot of walking the following items can help you stay visible.

  • Wear a coat that is bright and neon colored.
  • A reflective vest, belt, lights or snap bands will make you highly visible to drivers; these items can be purchased at REI.

What To Do If You Slip
Sometimes slipping is inevitable. Here's what to do according to Julia Henderson-Kalb, M.S., OTR/L:

  • Keep your hands out of your pockets so you can break your fall with your hands.
  • If you start to fall backwards tuck your head forward with chin to chest. Extend your arms away from your body and hit the ground with your palms and forearms to prevent your head, wrists, and elbows from hitting the ground.
  • If you fall to the side, try to allow your forearm to make contact with the ground first, not your hand. Lift your head to the opposite shoulder and continue to roll
  • If you fall forward, try to roll to one side and follow the last instructions.

Keep Your Driveway and Sidewalks Clear

Help yourself and your neighbors prevent slips and falls by clearing your driveway and sidewalks as soon as the snow hits. Once snow warms up, melts, and then turns to ice you'll need salt or gravel to melt it and make it more walkable.

What To Do If You Sprain Your Ankle

If you slip and fall and injury your ankle deploy the RICE protocol.

  • Rest- keep weight off of the ankle until your physician or surgeon tells you otherwise.
  • Ice & Compression - as soon as you are able, an ice pack should be applied to the area (with a layer of cloth between your skin and the ice) and held in place with an ace wrap or elastic bandage to provide compression.
  • Elevation- Elevate your feet higher than your heart to promote drainage from the swollen area.

Be sure to make an appointment with our office so we can ensure your ankle isn't broken or there isn't extensive soft tissue damage.

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 foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain".

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 Pinterest.

 

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
January 10, 2020
Category: Bunions
Tags: Untagged

photo of drama masksSalma Hayek claims that the bunions of her co-star Tiffany Haddish have brought her good luck. But if you're like most people with bunions yours are probably more like a bad actor--painful!

Maybe you've wondered why you've been so unlucky to get them in the first place. Or possibly you've figured out that they must be inherited since your sister and your mother have them. If it's the second you'd be right, but its bit more nuanced then simple inheritance.

You probably noticed that your feet looked pretty good in your teens, but as you've gotten older your bunions have bulged out more and more. So while you didn't t inherit your bunions you likely did inherit flat feet and the propensity to develop bunions over time.

Why?

People with flat feet or very low arches pronate or roll their feet when they walk. This walking and/or running pattern is what causes bunions over time.

And there's more..

Men and women who wear tight, pointed shoes and high heels are more likely to have their bunions progress.

What Causes the Pain

If you lived on a desert island and you walked barefoot all day long you may not ever experience bunion pain. That's because it's mostly the shoes you wear that are the problem, not the bunions themselves. They're only painful because they rub up against your shoes. That being said, some people do develop arthritis or bursitis as their bunions get larger. That's why it's so important to do everything possible to limit bunion progression.

How We Treat Bunions

At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City we treat the underlying cause of your bunions in order to prevent them from getting worse. In fact we treat children with flat feet to help prevent bunions from forming in the first place.

For adolescents whose feet are still growing I recommend a splint for nighttime wear to keep the toes aligned properly. For adults as well as adolescents custom orthotics are recommended. Orthotics keep the foot properly aligned when walking to prevent pronation and the first toe from becoming more hypermobile.

Wearing shoes that can properly accommodate your bunion can help prevent bunion pain. A local shoe store I recommend is Sole Perfection. In addition, Kirsten Borrink's website, www.barkingdogshoes.com is a great resource. She is always finding new shoes that work for a variety of foot problems including bunions.

What About Surgery

We perform surgery as a last resort after trying more conservative methods. If your bunions have progressed and they're interfering with your daily activities it's probably time to have that conversation. Check out the questions to ask yourself to see if you're ready.

For more information about how we treat bunions, visit our "Bunions" page on our website.

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 foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain".

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 Pinterest.

 

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
December 31, 2019
Category: Heel pain

womanPsoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic condition that affects 30% of people who have psoriasis (a condition that shows up as red patches on the skin). Most people develop skin problems first but sometimes symptoms of arthritis can precede it or can develop without it.

PsA is an inflammatory disease which affects the joints and the places where tendons and ligaments connect to the bone.

Risk Factors

  • Psoriasis
  • Genetics - parent or sibling with the condition
  • Occurs most often in people between 30-50

Foot Symptoms

Because the feet have 26 bones and 33 joints, and over hundred tendons, muscles, and ligaments they are a prime target for this condition.

Foot and ankle symptoms and conditions can include:

  • Swollen toes that resemble sausages

  • Pain and difficulty walking with first steps upon waking or after periods of inactivity

  • Stiffness pain, throbbing, swelling and tenderness in one or more joints

  • Toenails that are pitted, discolored, crumbly, thickened, or lift off the nail bed.

  • Limited range of motion in the ankles

  • Painful calluses over joints

  • Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis are two of the more common foot conditions experienced by patients with psoriatic arthritis.

Treatment

  • Follow your medication regimen; rheumatologists are physicians that specialize in treating psoriatic arthritis.

  • Apply ice - ice can help reduce the inflammation and pain; apply ten minutes on, ten minutes off. In addition, if you have heel pain, roll frozen water bottle on the bottom of your foot.

  • Participate in a low-impact exercise to reduce inflammation such as swimming, biking, or using an elliptical; check with your physician before starting any new exercise regimen.

  • Treat toenail fungus - one third of patients with this condition will develop a fungal nail infection. If you already have a fungal toenail infection get it treated through our comprehensive treatment program.

  • Prevent toenail fungus - the following actions will help prevent toenail fungus.

    • wear shower shoes in public facilities

    • buy shoes that fit well that are made out of materials that breathe

    • wear synthetic socks that wick away moisture

    • alternate shoes on a daily basis to let them dry out

    • only use non-toxic nail polish with anti-fungal properties or none at all

    • keep toenails short and cut them straight across to prevent them from becoming ingrown

    • keep cuticles intact

  • Buy proper footwear

    • Wear shoes with good support and a wider toe box to reduce pressure on inflamed areas and swollen toes

    • Purchase shoes with extra cushioning

    • Avoid high heels as these will add pressure to the ball of your foot and your toes

    • Wear over-the-counter inserts for more support; in addition your podiatrist may recommend custom orthotics to prevent heel pain and Achilles tendonitis

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 foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain".

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 Pinterest.

 

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
December 09, 2019
Category: foot care
Tags: Untagged

Dr. Rion Berg interviewed Jason Brown owner of Sole Perfection Shoes in Shoreline about the best shoes and boots for fall 2019.

JB: I'm Jason Brown with Sole Perfection in Shoreline. We're here today to talk about new fall items.

DB: It's definitely no longer the weather for open toes and Oofos and flip flops and Birkenstocks. What are you suggesting for all of these people now this time of year?

JB: The biggest thing for fall is boots. What we look for of course is good arch support. For example this cute little boot here (Taos) is very trendy and kind of fun. It's got a zipper on the side to help with access but of course you always have to have good arch support (Jason removes arch from boot to demonstrate).

Boots are often known for being really hard to get into so what they'll often do is open up the back of the heel to have a little bit of slippage. Boots often have a little more play in the heel but as long as it's holding you and you're walking naturally you're OK. So whether it's a boot with a lower heel like this one or a nice tall boot (pulls a Dansko off the shelf) you want to be able to get into it and then stay in it.

DB: One of the issues I find that occurs as people move into the fall and they move into boots is the harder sole. What can you put inside the shoe or is part of the shoe itself to combat the tendency for overuse in the ball of the foot?

JB: It's a great question and it's a real problem. You're absolutely right, because a lot of boots are just leather (on the bottom) and they're very hard with very little cushion. We focus on shoes that have a removable foot bed, so if needed we can add extra cushion. (An example of a boot we carry) is Dansko which is waterproof and comes with.. "feel the cushion on that". It's way better than a lot of other boots.

As you're out there and you're trying to find good boots you do have to keep an eye out for that. They'll (boots will) look super cute and might even feel comfortable but do they have enough cushion? And if they don't can you add cushion? Because you're right I'm sure you see it a lot when the ball of people's feet just gets beat up or tender.

DB: Well this is nice because both of these styles which are two different brands have removable inserts which allow for either more shock absorbing over the counter support or if need be, prescriptive orthotics.

JB: Yes, we really specialize in that because it is important especially if you have orthotics you often feel restricted and all you can wear are tennis shoes. Maybe you want something a little more fashionable it can be hard. That's why we focus on that. Every single fall shoe we carry with the exception of a few has a removable foot bed.

I do want to show one that is kind of unique. The brand has been around for a long time.  Alegria. But this is a new sole, a new boot. It's slip resistant, non-marking and also has some good tread; maybe we'll get some snow. But the other thing that makes it a really, really special brand is the removable foot bed and look how cushioned that is (hands it over to Dr. Berg).

DB: Oh wow! That's amazing.

JB: Lots of cushions and it's replaceable. The first thing to wear out are usually the insoles. It just loses its cushion. Getting the exact same thing to go back into it (into the shoe) can be hard and next to impossible. So with this brand you can get the exact same foot bed.

DB: This also has quite a substantial outer sole and its shock absorbing. It's a rubber sole.

JB: And in order for a sole to say slip resistant on it, they have to get it tested. And so if it says it on the sole then you know it's been tested and you know it's going to be better than one that doesn't say it. There are a lot of boots out there and shoes that are slip resistant it's just that the company didn't want to pay the money to get it tested.

DB: I notice in the same brand (Alegria) we move down to walking shoes it looks like almost the same tread and it's slip resistant. I assume a similar insole.

JB: It's identical, yes. The new collection from them everything under the foot is the same as you'll get in that boot and they also scotch guard all their leather, so it's really great for the Northwest. In fact, talking about the Northwest I call them Northwest dog walking shoes. I want to highlight just a couple. There are shoes like this, a Dansko shoe (Paisley) that's great with blue jeans it's just a nice little kick around. It's slip resistant and look at this foot bed. It's got a great insole in there, a good arch. But the fact that it's completely waterproof, you can walk the dog and wet grass won't bother your feet. You can walk the neighborhood. It's just really great for the Northwest. We have a lot of shoes like that. Whether it's (like) this, or (something) a little more athletic. You want to feel good but you also want to look good.

There're a lot of good shoes out there for fall you just have to take the time to find the right one and get the right fit. And then of course if you have any foot problems or issues talk to the doctor (Dr. Rion Berg) and find the right solution.

Dr. Berg interviewed Dr. Jason Brown at Sole Perfection Shoes in Seattle.

JB: I'm Jason Brown with Sole Perfection in Shoreline. We're here today to talk about new fall items.

DB: It's definitely no longer the weather for open toes and Oofos and flip flops and Birkenstocks. What are you suggesting for all of these people now this time of year?

JB: The biggest thing for fall is boots. What we look for of course is good arch support. For example this cute little boot here (Taos) is very trendy and kind of fun. It's got a zipper on the side to help with access but of course you always have to have good arch support (Jason removes arch from boot to demonstrate).

Boots are often known for being really hard to get into so what they'll often do is open up the back of the heel to have a little bit of slippage. Boots often have a little more play in the heel but as long as it's holding you and you're walking naturally you're OK. So whether it's a boot with a lower heel like this one or a nice tall boot (pulls a Dansko off the shelf) you want to be able to get into it and then stay in it.

DB: One of the issues I find that occurs as people move into the fall and they move into boots is the harder sole. What can you put inside the shoe or is part of the shoe itself to combat the tendency for overuse in the ball of the foot?

JB: It's a great question and it's a real problem. You're absolutely right, because a lot of boots are just leather (on the bottom) and they're very hard with very little cushion. We focus on shoes that have a removable foot bed, so if needed we can add extra cushion. (An example of a boot we carry) is Dansko which is waterproof and comes with.. "feel the cushion on that". It's way better than a lot of other boots.

As you're out there and you're trying to find good boots you do have to keep an eye out for that. They'll (boots will) look super cute and might even feel comfortable but do they have enough cushion? And if they don't can you add cushion? Because you're right I'm sure you see it a lot when the ball of people's feet just gets beat up or tender.

DB: Well this is nice because both of these styles which are two different brands have removable inserts which allow for either more shock absorbing over the counter support or if need be, prescriptive orthotics.

JB: Yes, we really specialize in that because it is important especially if you have orthotics you often feel restricted and all you can wear are tennis shoes. Maybe you want something a little more fashionable it can be hard. That's why we focus on that. Every single fall shoe we carry with the exception of a few has a removable foot bed.

I do want to show one that is kind of unique. The brand has been around for a long time.  Alegria. But this is a new sole, a new boot. It's slip resistant, non-marking and also has some good tread; maybe we'll get some snow. But the other thing that makes it a really, really special brand is the removable foot bed and look how cushioned that is (hands it over to Dr. Berg).

DB: Oh wow! That's amazing.

JB: Lots of cushions and it's replaceable. The first thing to wear out are usually the insoles. It just loses its cushion. Getting the exact same thing to go back into it (into the shoe) can be hard and next to impossible. So with this brand you can get the exact same foot bed.

DB: This also has quite a substantial outer sole and its shock absorbing. It's a rubber sole.

JB: And in order for a sole to say slip resistant on it, they have to get it tested. And so if it says it on the sole then you know it's been tested and you know it's going to be better than one that doesn't say it. There are a lot of boots out there and shoes that are slip resistant it's just that the company didn't want to pay the money to get it tested.

DB: I notice in the same brand (Alegria) we move down to walking shoes it looks like almost the same tread and it's slip resistant. I assume a similar insole.

JB: It's identical, yes. The new collection from them everything under the foot is the same as you'll get in that boot and they also scotch guard all their leather, so it's really great for the Northwest. In fact, talking about the Northwest I call them Northwest dog walking shoes. I want to highlight just a couple. There are shoes like this, a Dansko shoe (Paisley) that's great with blue jeans it's just a nice little kick around. It's slip resistant and look at this foot bed. It's got a great insole in there, a good arch. But the fact that it's completely waterproof, you can walk the dog and wet grass won't bother your feet. You can walk the neighborhood. It's just really great for the Northwest. We have a lot of shoes like that. Whether it's (like) this, or (something) a little more athletic. You want to feel good but you also want to look good.

There're a lot of good shoes out there for fall you just have to take the time to find the right one and get the right fit. And then of course if you have any foot problems or issues talk to the doctor (Dr. Rion Berg) and find the right solution.

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 foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain".

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 Pinterest.

 





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