Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for category: Bunions

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.

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
November 30, 2018
Category: Bunions
Tags: tailor's bunion   bunionette  

You've noticed a bump has formed on the outside of your little toe and you have no idea why it's there. Very likely you have a tailor's bunion.

Causes

Like its cousin the "bunion", a tailor's bunion arises due to faulty foot structure. In this case this structure causes a misalignment of the small bones in the toe. The toe joint sticks out away from your foot while your little toe turns inward towards your other small toes. Fortunately this type of bunion is much less common than a regular bunion. A tailor's bunion is also called a bunionette because it's much smaller than the bunion that forms off the side of the big toe.

The tailor's bunion got its name from tailors who would sit cross-legged all day with the outside of edge of their feet rubbing on the ground. This led to a painful bump at the base of the little toe.

Like a regular bunion, a tailor's bunion can get worse over time and is often aggravated by wearing tight, pointy shoes with high heels.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a tailor's bunion include redness, swelling, numbness, and pain. Symptoms arise when the bunion rubs against your shoes causing inflammation and enlargement. These bunions can occur on both feet. Activities may be a limited as a result of the pain.

Treatment

Dr. Berg will first use non-surgical treatments to bring pain relief and to prevent the tailor's bunion from getting worse. These treatments can include use of orthotics to correct the faulty foot mechanics and padding to prevent the bunion from rubbing against your shoes. Icing, steroid injections, and anti-inflammatory medications can reduce the swelling, inflammation, and pain.

In addition, it's crucial that you find shoes that have a wider toe box to prevent the bunion from rubbing. It's also important to avoid high heeled and pointy shoes. Some shoes recommended by Jason Brown of Sole Perfection in Shoreline, WA are the Alegria Paloma and also the Taos Ta Dah Mary Jane both available at his store or online when you click the links above.

Surgery made be necessary if more conservative treatments don't work. Most often this will be the case if the tailor's bunion has progressed. Fortunately, most often this surgery can be done as an outpatient procedure. Some surgeries will only require removal of the painful soft tissue of the fifth toe. Others may involve cutting into the bone to straighten it.

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+

 

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+

 

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
June 01, 2018
Category: Bunions

Summertime is walking and hiking time. But for people with bunions the thought of stepping out to do anything active can be fraught with worry. If you're one of those people you already know how painful it can be to do any activity that means putting pressure on your bunions.

How can you keep your bunions from ruining your summer?

Wear Sturdy, Supportive Sandals

While they won't solve your bunion problems, wearing a sturdy, supportive sandal with adjustable straps can help make your summer more enjoyable.

Why sturdy and supportive? If you're like many people with bunions, you probably have a flatter arch or no arch. Supporting the arch is important to prevent your bunions from getting worse. A sturdy sandal is one that can't easily be bent in half or twist. Sandals like these can be used to walk and sometimes hike longer distances while preventing ankle sprains and foot pain.

Sandals that fit this description are the Ecco Yucatan sandal, Atika Maya, or Chaco Z2 Classic. There are many other sandals that can work just as well. Learn to test any sandal before you buy it, by watching my video "How to Test Any Shoe for Stability".

Wear Sandals That Can Take An Orthotic

Many of my patients get pain relief once their foot mechanics are corrected with a custom orthotic. While orthotics fit into most tennis shoes not that many can fit into sandals. Here are some sturdy, supportive sandals with removable foot beds.

Avoid High Heels

Wearing high heels no matter how sturdy will cause more bunion pain and cause your bunions to get worse. If you can't avoid a high heel, wear one with a roomier toe box.

If you're experiencing bunion pain and want to enjoy your summer 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!