Dr. Berg's Foot Facts
By Dr. Rion Berg
November 23, 2020
Category: diabetes
Tags: diabetes   gout   Thanksgiving  

food being deliveredFor most of us Thanksgiving is all about food. Each year we look forward to eating our favorites  including turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. But for many of us Thanksgiving is filled with many pitfalls, particularly if we have diabetes or gout.  Eating the wrong thing or too much of our favorites can elevate our blood sugar or cause foot pain.

This year we have the added problem of a pandemic.  While we might normally be able to ask our families to cook special treats to meet our dietary needs, this year there is already a lot of stress and strain on everyone. We may not want to bother those who are already going out of their way by making special home deliveries during Covid.

If you are doing the preparation and you have people with these health conditions in your family it doesn't need to take more effort, just more forethought.  If you're the one with diabetes or gout, there are some steps you can take to avoid pushing your health into the red zone this holiday season.

Making Healthier Turkey

While turkey is usually a healthy food for anyone, there are ways to make it healthier. Try this turkey recipe by Eating Well to benefit those who want to reduce their fat and salt intake.

Limit Foods that Contain Purines

Foods with purines can cause those prone to gout to experience pain, particularly in their big toes. It's not the purines themselves that are the problem but the uric acid they turn into to.  Foods high in purine are: mussels, scallops and tuna, red meat, and liver. Drinks with high levels of purines are red wine and beer and drinks containing fructose.  Drinking lots of water can help flush the uric acid from your system.

Cut Back on Sugar

Most of us eat way more sugar then we need to make our food taste good. Many of our Thanksgiving foods are full of them. Consider the classic yam dish with marshmallows on top. Yams already contain sugar which is what makes them super delicious. If you want to make them special without the added sugar, add spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. You may also consider substituting white sugar with Splenda or Stevia, both better options for people with diabetes.

Choose Your Carbs Wisely

Besides turkey, most of us relish eating mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, dressing, and gravy. Carbs can be a minefield for someone with diabetes. Eating too much of them can lead to a sharp increase in blood sugar.

You have a couple of choices this Thanksgiving. Either you can eat small amounts of each of your favorite foods or decide upfront which foods are a must have.  Then ask your host to only deliver those foods. Another idea is to apportion these favorites out over several days.

Eat Ahead of Time

One way to moderate how much you eat on Thanksgiving is to eat ahead of time. Don't skip breakfast. Instead make your morning meal one with protein like eggs instead of having your usual coffee and toast. Protein is more satisfying and lasts longer in the body.

If you're a diabetic or experiencing foot pain due to gout, 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.

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!

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

 

woman runningWith gyms barely open, many of my women patients have taken up running outdoors. And that's great news since the health benefits of running are well known. However, many of those patients are ending up with painful foot conditions as a result. Women tend to have more painful foot problems when they run than men do. 

Check out the reasons for the most common painful foot conditions in women and how we treat them.

Neuromas
Women runners with flat feet are more at risk for developing a neuroma. High heel wearers are even more apt to develop this painful condition which worsens over time. A neuroma most commonly develops between the third and fourth toes. Symptoms can include tingling, pain, burning, and numbness. As your Seattle podiatrist I use variety of treatments for this condition including orthotics, alcohol injections, MLS laser, and education about proper footwear.

Plantar Fasciitis
Women runners get a double whammy when it comes to developing heel pain or plantar fasciitis. Anyone involved in high impact sports is more at risk and women are more prone to develop it than men. If you’re a woman runner who happens to love high heels you have the trifecta of risk for heel pain. Women who wear high heels often develop a shortened achilles or calf muscle. Shortend calf muscles are often a big factor in causing heel pain. Treatment includes avoiding high heels, low-dye taping, PRP, stretching exercises before running, OTC supportsorthotics.

Stress Fracture
While stress fractures are common in both men and women runners, certain conditions put women at greater risk for developing one. Estogren plays a significant role in bone strength. Once women begin menopause their estogen decreases and they lose bone. Sometimes that bone loss can progress to osteoporosis. Bones can be more fragile in women who are very thin, don’t get proper nutrition to keep bones healthy, or develop amenorrhea from an eating disorder. Immediate treatment requires rest and immobilization with a walking boot. Patients with osteoporosis will require treatment to improve their bone health and patients with an eating disorder will require mental health counseling.

If you’re a woman who uses running as a way to stay fit or just for the sheer joy of it, I recommend taking the extra time to ensure that your feet and physical health are in tip top shape so you can keep doing what you love.

If you run into any foot problems along your daily path, 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".

For chronic heel pain, download our eBook, "Stop Living With Stubborn Heel 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.

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By Dr. Rion Berg
September 21, 2020
Category: Heel pain
Tags: plantar fasciitis  

Louise was a 45 year old woman who came to see me in April 2019 for heel pain. She'd been suffering from it for many years and had gone to several doctors to help resolve her problem. One of her podiatrists made her a pair of custom orthotics and that seemed to help for a while. But then the pain came back worse than ever. Louise is also a runner who runs at least one marathon a year. Having heel pain not only interfered with her daily life, but it also interfered with her ability to continue engaging in her passion, running.

Assessment

Louise brought in her running shoes and they seemed fine; very supportive and stabile. They also had light, even wear on the bottom. Her orthotics were two years old, were still in good shape and fit her well. Then I asked her what other shoes she wore when she wasn't running. She told me she wore high heels of over two inches at work and would often run around Green Lake as soon as she left her job. She's a shoe salesperson at Nordstrom so she's constantly on her feet. In addition to having flat feet Louise also has very tight calf muscles. When I asked her about her stretching regimen she told me she spends about 5 minutes stretching before her run.

Conclusion

I told her the high heels were the primary cause of her heel pain reoccurence. Regular high heel wear can cause the calf muscle to shorten. Shortened calf muscles are often a big factor in causing plantar fasciitis. In Louise's case, her 5 minute stretching routine was not sufficient to relax her calf muscles before her run. The shortened calf muscle combined with the high impact from running led to the micro-tears, inflammation, and plantar fasciitis.

Recommendations

I recommended Louise cut back her high heel time. While it's fine to wear high heels for special occasions, daily wear was the biggest problem. I suggested she begin wearing a lower heeled (one inch or less) supportive shoe. I told her the lower heeled shoes would reduce her calf tightness. In addition, I recommended she begin a daily stretching routine using an Achilles splint, 1-2 times a day for 30 mins while reading or watching television. Here's a video explaining how to use the splint properly.

Resolution

After a couple of months Louise returned to our office for a follow-up visit. Her heel pain had subsided. Her calf tightness was also much reduced. She had stopped wearing high heels to work and instead she was wearing a Dansko shoe. Dansko shoes can be very effective for helping people with flat arches get the support they need. She was also stretching at least once a day for 30 minutes.

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".

For chronic heel pain, download our eBook, "Stop Living With Stubborn Heel 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
August 27, 2020
Category: Bunions
Tags: Untagged

It's a common problem. A patient comes into my office complaining of bunion pain. More often than not that patient is a woman with a history of flat feet who has worn problematic shoes. While the tendency to develop bunions is inherited, wearing high heels, shoes that are too tight, and shoes with a narrow toe box can all contribute to progression of bunions.

But what if you have bunions and you don't have pain. Does that mean you shouldn't get them treated? When it comes to bunions, the old adage an "ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure" rings true.

Instead of asking yourself, should I get them treated? Instead, ask yourself "If I knew treating my bunions would prevent pain in the future, would I get them?"

While only you can answer that question for yourself, as your podiatrist it's important for me to let you know that bunions are progressive. The likelihood of them becoming worse and causing pain is great. Fortunately there are a lot of conservative measures you can take to help them stay the same and remain pain-free.

Avoid High Heels

The easiest strategy for decreasing the chance of progression is to avoid the things that cause it. Namely, bad shoes. One of the biggest culprits is wearing high heels (any shoes over one inch in height). When your heels are too high, too much pressure is placed on the ball of the foot. Over time that extra pressure will cause the bunion to worsen.

I know this is bad news for those of you who are fashion conscious. But you have to ask yourself whether the glamour is worth the future pain.

Fortunately many other people have thought about how to get around the fashion issue. Check out my blog "Desperately Seeking Stylish Shoes Without Bunion Pain."

Avoid Narrow Toe Box and Tight Shoes

A narrow toe box will also put pressure on the front of the foot, accelerating the rate of bunion progression. Purchase shoes with a wider toe box. In addition, be sure to have your feet measured each time you buy shoes. As we get older our feet tend to get longer. Wearing shoes that are too tight can also be problematic for those prone to bunions.

Get Casted for Orthotics

The biggest reason people develop bunions in the first place is faulty foot structure. Flat feet are the number one culprit, but a tendency to pronate, neuromuscular problems, and foot injuries can also lead to bunions. The best way to rein in feet that are flat and pronate are by getting cast for orthotics. Custom orthotics will stabilize the toe joint and prevent your bunions from getting worse.

I also recommend orthotics for patients who have flat feet but haven't developed bunions. That's because orthotics keep the feet aligned and prevent the big toe joint from moving out of place and causing the bunion. This is not only true for adults, but also for children. Kids who don't outgrow their flat feet will have them for the rest of their life. And with flat feet comes the tendency for bunions. Instead of using custom orthotics for young children, I treat then with a specially designed product for kids called Little Steps®. These prefabricated orthotics come in incremental sizes and are more affordable than a traditional, custom orthotic.

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.

boy and girls sitting on a couch dangling their feetYou're a parent with school age children. Normally this time of year is filled with days of shopping for school supplies, back packs, and new clothes for your kids. But this isn't a normal time. You hesitate to go shopping at a store for fear of exposing yourself and your children unnecessarily to Covid-19. In addition, you're scrambling to figure out how you're going to work at home and monitor your kids school work all at the same time.

Instead you're likely turning to the internet to make your purchases. And that includes new shoes for your kids. Normally I tell parents it's best to go to a store to buy their kids shoes. But I know many of you are going to feel more comfortable ordering them online.

Here are the best ways to make sure your kids get a good fit.

Getting the Right Size

The most important part of getting the right shoe is finding the correct size. In a shoe store, the salesperson would typically use a Brannock device to get the correct length and width of your child's foot.

At home you'll need to do the measuring yourself. Be sure to do it later in the day when feet tend to swell. The Healthy Feet Store has a video that demonstrates how to do it using paper, pen, and a ruler. They also provide a size guide. Stride Rite also has a guide for measuring your kid's feet.

Once you order the shoes, check fit by making sure there's at least one thumb's width between the tip of the big toe and the end of the shoe. If you find that one foot is larger than the other, you'll need to buy the larger size.

Buy Shoes That Feel Comfortable

Comfort is just as important as fit. Keep in mind that shoes should not require a "break-in" period. If your child says they're uncomfortable, return them.

Select A Good, Sturdy Shoe
Your kids might want shoes that are stylish, but fashion should take a back seat to stability. Shoes should have a stiff heel counter (the part of the shoe that goes around the backside of the heel) and a rigid midsole area. The shoe should only bend at the toes and not under the arch. In addition, shoes should be difficult to twist (wring out like a rag). To get a better idea of what this looks like, you can view our video "How to Test Any Shoe for Stability".

Finally, keep in mind shoe brands create all kinds of styles from the very sturdy to the very sloppy and everything in between. Buying a particular brand that was sturdy in the past will not guarantee another style in that brand will deliver the same stability. Read the descriptions thoroughly to ensure you're getting what you want and test the shoes once they arrive.

Stick With the Tried And True

You found a brand that works well for your kid. Stick with it. Brands tend to remain consistent in how they're built. That will benefit you once you've found one that fits well.

Buy The Right Shoe for Your Child's Activity

Sturdiness is one factor in helping your kid's feet stay healthy. Sports shoes are also designed specifically to prevent foot and ankle injuries for a particular sport. Make sure you purchase soccer shoes for soccer, running shoes for running and so on. This is particularly important as your kids get older and play becomes rougher.

Avoid Hand-Me-Downs or Used Shoes
Buy Nothing Groups are all the rage these days. Particularly now during the pandemic when we're trying to save some money and avoid thrift stores. While you may feel tempted to grab those cute kid's clothes from your neighbors, avoid it with your kids shoes. Shoes wear down and take on the wear pattern of the user. Loss of support and function occur as a result.  Sharing shoes can also spread infections such as warts or fungus from one child to another.

Is your child experiencing foot pain? 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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