Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for category: Heel pain

Do you have persistent heel pain or plantar fasciitis? Does it seem to take months or even years for your pain to resolve?

If this sounds like you, read on!

About 10% of my patients are like you. After trying a combination of my standard treatments such as cortisone shots, taping, orthotics, and physical therapy these patients experienced only some improvement.

Up until now I didn't have a solution for patients with persistent and reoccurring heel pain.

Now I have a revolutionary treatment to heal the unremitting pain caused by this condition, even in patients who have not responded well to other treatments. With MLS laser therapy, many of my patients feel less pain after only one visit. And that is remarkable.

What is it and how does it work?

The MLS therapy laser uses concentrated light energy to stimulate the body's own healing process to minimize pain and inflammation and reduce the time for you to return to a pain-free life. It works by using 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 modality for stubborn heel pain.

Will it work for me?

Yes, 85%-90% of patients with persistent heel pain or plantar fasciitis will get relief when they receive treatment with the MLS therapy laser.

Will my heel pain come back after treatment?

Most people with heel pain or plantar fasciitis will receive long lasting pain relief after treatment with MLS laser therapy. Use of orthotics, proper shoes, and appropriate training if you're an athlete will help prevent the condition from coming back.

Learn More About MLS Laser Therapy through our webpage and video!

To learn more about how MLS laser therapy can work for you, 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.

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By Dr. Rion Berg
November 27, 2018
Category: Heel pain

You're several months pregnant and the thought of adding a new addition to your family brings you great joy. To make sure things go smoothly with your pregnancy and the health of your baby you've made sure to take your prenatal vitamins, eat right, and go to your doctor on a regular basis.

Even with all that you know you're going to gain weight and experience other body changes due to changing hormones. And unfortunately along with weight gain comes the potential for developing several foot conditions.

It's important to be aware of these foot conditions so you know how to deal with them if they arise.

Flat Feet and Plantar Fasciitis

One of the most common foot problems for pregnant women are collapsing arches and flat feet. These are a direct result of weight gain and looser ligaments. For every pound of body weight you gain an additional three pounds of force are added to your feet when you walk. That extra force can cause your feet to flatten out and with it a condition called plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the fascia on the underside of the foot stretches beyond its capacity, causing micro-tears, inflammation, and pain in your heel.

If you're experiencing heel pain, make sure you're wearing a supportive shoe. You can test your current shoes or any new shoes you plan to purchase. In addition, replace your insoles with an over-the-counter insert like Powersteps. These inserts can help support your foot and prevent it from collapsing further. If you have more severe pain, you'll need to come in for a foot evaluation so the doctor can determine the best ways to treat it. Very likely you'll need custom foot orthotics, a stretching program, and something to reduce the inflammation that will not affect the baby such as icing or Biofreeze, which is a topical medication.

Swelling

Swelling of the feet and ankles is another common problem for pregnant women. Your body produces 50% more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the baby. In addition to retaining extra fluid, weight from the growing uterus compresses lower extremity veins, inhibiting the return of blood back to the heart. Other factors that can play a role in swelling are: spending a long time on your feet, a diet high in sodium and too low in potassium, high caffeine consumption, and hot environments.

To reduce swollen feet and ankles ask for an accommodation at work if you usually spend a lot of time on your feet. Make sure to drink plenty of water, cut your coffee and tea consumption, talk to your doctor about appropriate intake of salt and potassium rich foods in your diet, and incorporate low impact exercise into your routine. Wider shoes with a roomier toe box can help accommodate the swelling. Compression stockings can help reduce swelling.

Ingrown Toenails

In addition to collapsing arches, you may experience an increase in the length and width of your feet due to hormonal changes. Tight fitting shoes and socks and difficulty with trimming toenails can increase your risk for ingrown toenails.

Purchasing shoes with a wide toe box that fit can help reduce your risk.

Falls and Sprained Ankles

Your center of gravity changes when your pregnant making it harder to maintain stability when you walk. Looser ligaments can add to that instability. More foot support is necessary to prevent trips and falls and possible sprained ankles. Avoid wearing high heeled shoes during this time since they'll only add to your unsteadiness

Cracked Heels

Cracked heels occur more frequently during pregnancy due to increase in weight and changes in posture. The heels tend to expand which leads to cracks if the skin becomes too dry. Using an intensive moisturizer made for feet or gel socks can prevent heels from cracking.

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+

 

 

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
July 26, 2018
Category: Heel pain
Tags: plantar fasciitis  

As a Seattle hiker every year you look forward to summer. You know there's nothing like putting on your backpack, leaving the city behind, and taking in the wonders of the forest and the mountains.

That's why when you're having heel pain the idea of not being able to hike is so distressing. I've put together this definite guide for hikers prone to heel pain to empower you to prevent this condition from reoccurring.

What Causes Heel Pain?

Most heel pain is diagnosed as plantar fasciitis so for the remainder of this guide I'll use the term heel pain and plantar fasciitis interchangeably. Any discussion of preventing plantar fasciitis must begin by understanding its cause. Let's start with a description of your foot and calf anatomy.

The foot has a long band of tissue that originates at the heel, travels across the arch, and connects at the base of the toes called the plantar fascia. This structure helps support the arch and your body weight as you hike. The Achilles tendon is connected to the bottom of your heel and to your calf muscle. Tightness in the calf muscle can strain your Achilles tendon and your plantar fascia.

Heel pain is caused by an inflammation of the plantar fascia. The inflammation develops as the result of stress on this tissue causing micro-tears at the bottom of the heel where it inserts. It's brought on by a combination of repetitive strain on the tissue, faulty biomechanics of the foot, and tight calf muscles.

Hiking is an activity that can cause the plantar fascia to become inflamed due to its repetitive nature and the added weight of carrying a backpack.

If you're a hiker with faulty foot mechanics (i.e. flat feet) you're more at risk for developing plantar fasciitis. Why? People with flat feet tend to over pronate or roll their feet inward which pulls on the plantar fascia.

In addition, if you also have tight calf muscles this will put even more strain on the plantar fascia.

What Hikers Can Do to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

As a Seattle podiatrist there's a lot I can do in my office to help alleviate your heel pain and prevent it from reoccurring. However, there's also a lot you can do to keep it at bay.

Shoes and Boots
One of the most important things you can do to prevent heel pain is to ensure you have hiking shoes or boots that provide the support and stability you need for the type of trails you hike on.

1. Assess the type of hiking you'll be doing before purchasing your shoes or boots. A lightweight hiking shoe may be perfect for an easy hike like Lake 22 in the Cascades but a heavy duty hiking boot will be needed for hikes with more elevation gain and rougher terrain.

2. Your shoes or boots should fit snugly but not too tightly and provide enough room in your toes so that you have wiggle room. Make sure to have your feet measured when purchasing your footwear.

3. Take your foot type into account when purchasing shoes or boots. For example, if you have flat feet shoes and boots with good arch support are a must.

4. Shop for shoes toward the late afternoon when feet tend to swell.

5. Purchase socks at the same time you purchase boots to ensure a good fit. Here's information about the best socks for hikers.

6. Try different lacing techniques to ensure a proper fit.

7. Make sure you break in new boots before you go hiking. While hiking shoes won't need break-in time, leather boots will.

8. Don't attempt to buy boots online unless you've had experience with a particular brand and size. Go to a reputable store like REI and work with their boot experts.

Replace Your Insoles
Most shoes and boots have insoles that aren't supportive enough to prevent you from pronating and developing plantar fasciitis. Buy a high volume insole for a boot and a medium volume insole for a lightweight hiking shoe. Superfeet makes insoles specifically for hiking boots called Trailblazers. Regular Superfeet or another insole called Powersteps can be used in hiking shoes.

Increase Your Hiking Distance and Level of Difficulty Gradually
Since plantar fasciitis is a repetitive strain injury, it's important to build up to longer and more difficult hikes slowly. Your body needs time to adjust and will serve you much better if you take it easy at the start of hiking season.

Warm-ups and Stretching
While doing warm-ups and stretching is important for all hikers it's particularly important if you're prone to developing plantar fasciitis. Calf muscles can tighten up after sitting in a car for longer than an hour. At the very least perform the traditional standing calf stretch against a tree or even your car by putting one foot forward and then stepping back with the other foot. Place most of your weight on your back foot and slowly lean into the tree or car until you feel a stretch at the back of your calf. Hold for 30 secs to one minute.

Another type of stretch that will give you more benefit is a dynamic stretch. Here are some dynamic stretches for hikers.

Avoid Going Barefoot
If you have a tendency toward getting heel pain, it's important that you avoid going barefoot even when you're at home. We recommend sandals by Vionic or another pair of sandals that provide arch support.

Weight Loss
Overweight hikers are also more at risk for developing plantar fasciitis. Even losing five pounds can make a big different in the amount of pressure you put on your feet and may help prevent plantar fasciitis.

Self-Treatment for Hikers with Mild Plantar Fasciitis

For mild heel pain you'll very likely need to stop hiking until the pain goes away. Unfortunately with every step you take your re-injurying your plantar fascia. To prevent it from getting worse it's important to stop the inflammation from occurring.

However, there are some specific things you can do to help reduce your inflammation and help your feet heal more rapidly.

1. Icing
Icing is one of the most important things you can do to reduce inflammation (swelling) and pain. You can begin doing this before you come in to see a podiatrist. It's extremely important to ice your heels after hiking if you plan to continue doing so.

There are two methods you can use to ice your heel.

  • Ice cup massage- fill a Dixie cup ¾ full of water and freeze. Peel the top down so that about .5 inches is showing so you can easily massage the affected area while holding onto the cup. Ice for about 7-10 minutes three times a day.

  • Use frozen peas as a cold pack- frozen peas are inexpensive and conform to your foot.

2. Heel lifts
Heel lifts may be a good initial solution. Heel lifts raise the heel in the shoe decreasing the Achilles tightness by effectively shortening it.

3. Biofreeze
Biofreeze can provide temporary relief of heel pain.

4. Anti-inflammatory medication
Anti-inflammatory medication acts to reduce pain and swelling.

In addition, it's important to follow all the recommendations for preventing heel pain to help reduce your current heel pain.

Treatment for Hikers with Moderate to Severe Pain Plantar Fasciitis
For pain that's more than mild, you should make an appointment with a podiatrist to get properly evaluated. In addition to the inflammation reducing methods described above, at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City we provide the following services to treat mild to severe plantar fasciitis.

1. Custom Orthotics
Even though over-the-counter insoles can work well for mild heel pain, you'll likely need custom orthotics for moderate to severe heel pain. Custom orthotics provide the highest degree of support, controlling abnormal motion in the foot and helping with postural alignment. Depending on how much you hike, prescriptive orthotics can last from 3-7 years. Your foot is scanned in our office and then orthotics are made by a professional orthotics lab. When you return to our office the orthotics are adjusted to fit your feet.

2. Low Dye Taping
Low dye taping is typically used during your first visit to our office. People often feel immediate pain relief because the tape prevents your plantar fascia from pulling when stepping on the ground. The tape usually lasts about three days if covered when showering. To continue to tape your feet until you receive orthotics our office has tape that can be easily applied at home.

3. Use of a walking boot or AirHeel device
Both of these products will reduce direct pressure on the affected area and allow healing to begin.

4. Cortisone injections for acute pain
For patients in extreme pain or who are taking a trip and don't have time to have other treatments, cortisone shots in the heel can reduce inflammation quickly. This is only a short term solution.

5. Using a splint
As mentioned earlier, tight calf muscles are often part of the reason people who hike develop plantar fasciitis. Although the methods for stretching described earlier work well to prevent plantar fasciitis, once you have the condition using a splint provides the additional time needed to more fully stretch the calf muscle. The splint is used during the day for 20-30 minutes on each side while watching TV or reading. This video explains how the splint is used.

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 now you've probably heard that the Mariners newly installed second basement Dee Gordon has been sidelined due to a broken toe. Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais said Gordon was trying to play through it. Gordon fractured his own toe when he fouled a ball off of it.

Now it may be acceptable and even preferable for a major league player to keep on playing with a broken appendage. But keep in mind they're making millions of dollars a year to keep on keeping on.

As we enter the Memorial Day weekend if you've run too many miles and are feeling the sting of plantar fasciitis or you've run into your dresser in the middle of the night and now your toe is killing you, it's time to rest up and call me on Tuesday.

If you can't give up your plans, here are a couple of temporary fixes that could help. For a broken toe or a toe you think may be broken you can try to buddy tape it to the toe next to it. If you can get your hands on a walking boot that would be even better to ensure your toe is stabilized until you can make an appointment.

For plantar fasciitis you can try to tape your heel or have someone help you with it. Here is a demonstration of how to do it. Taping can help take the sting out of heel pain when you step down because the tape prevents your plantar fascia from stretching and re-injuring your heel.

Whether you decide to sit this one out or try my suggestions, 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+