Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for category: Heel pain

By Dr. Rion Berg
March 24, 2020
Category: Heel pain
Tags: Untagged

woman walkingAh, spring is in the air. With the great weather and no gym to go to, many people are starting to walk. Walking is great for many reasons. But now it’s particularly important in helping reduce the stress we all feel as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, people who walk at a moderate pace regularly have a lower risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

Perhaps you walk all the time and it’s no big deal to dive into your kicks and walk a 3-5 miles. But for people who’ve taken it easy all winter or participated in other forms of exercise, increased walking can cause problems with the feet, ankles, and back.

Conditions like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis can flare up and low back pain can occur due to imbalances in the feet. Bunions and neuromas which have been silent all winter can become aggravated.

So how can you counter these problems?

Increase Distance Gradually

Your best friend might want to walk a 5K, but if you’ve been swimming or riding a bike as your main form of exercise, walking that far could be problematic. You’re best off increasing your distance gradually – experts suggest no more than 10% a week. Not sure where to start? Think about the farthest you walked last summer and then back off by 25% before increasing by 10%. Always ask your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Check Your Shoes for Wear and Buy New If Necessary

Your shoes are your best protection when it comes to cushioning your feet and preventing foot and ankle problems.

First, take your tennis shoes and flip them over. Is any part of your sole more worn down more than the others? If so, you need a new pair of shoes.

When you look for new shoes comfort and support are the two most important factors. How will you know? You can only tell by trying and testing. Since the pandemic is going full force you’ll likely only be able to order online. Zappos is an excellent choice because returns are so easy. Once you get your shoes, test them for support. Here’s my video for how to do that.

Add a Pair of Over-the-Counter Inserts

Many of us need more support than any built-in shoe insert will provide. That’s because a large percentage of us are either pronators (roll our feet inwards) or supinators (roll our feet outwards). An over-the-counter insert can help provide a little bit of support in this area. So go ahead and buy some. They’re relatively inexpensive and will last about 6 months with regular wear. I recommend Powersteps.

Get Your Orthotics Checked

You may already have a pair of orthotics if you have flat feet, pronate, or you’ve had plantar fasciitis. But when was the last time you had them checked? Although they should last 5-7 years that doesn’t mean they still work for you. It’s a good idea to have them checked annually, but particularly if your weight has changed, they feel a bit uncomfortable, or you notice uneven wear on your shoes.

Do Dynamic Warm-ups

A special kind of warm-up called "dynamic warm-ups" are great for getting your body ready to walk and prevent foot and ankle problems.  Make these warm-ups part of your daily walking ritual.

Try Yoga to Improve Foot and Ankle Strength and Flexibility

Want to help your feet and ankles even more? Check out these yoga exercises for your lower extremities. Yoga can also build awareness of how you’re walking. Currently our local Lake City yoga studio, Two Dog Yoga is offering classes on Zoom.

Having pain in your feet? If you're reading this during the coronavirus outbreak, leave a message at 206-368-7000 and we'll return your call and set up a telemedicine appoinment. 

Otherwise Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an in person 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.

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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
May 30, 2019
Category: Heel pain
Tags: MLS laser  

Growing up you probably heard your doctor or dentist tell you, "now don't worry this isn't going to hurt." As a kid you were very trusting. But as an adult you know that needles and pain often go together.

As a podiatrist I've taken an oath, "do no harm." My goal is to eliminate your pain. heal your feet, and get you back to doing what you love. The last thing I want to do is cause you more pain in the process.

Does this mean I've stopped using needles?

No. It means I avoid using needles when I have an equal or better alternative. For a long time I couldn't say that. But now the latest technology allows me to treat many conditions without use of painful needles.

Enter MLS laser therapy.

MLS laser therapy works to eliminate pain and reduce inflammation using dual wavelengths of infrared light to penetrate deep into the tissue and stimulate regeneration at the cellular level.

Say Goodbye to Standard Treatments

In the past I've used cortisone to treat conditions such as plantar fasciitis, heel pain, and Achilles tendonitis. While cortisone can help reduce pain, it does not heal at the cellular level.

I also use alcohol injections to reduce the size of neuromas. Now I offer MLS laser to my neuroma patients who want to avoid needles.

Success in Treating New and Old Injuries

MLS laser therapy has also been very successful in treating sports injuries. It doesn't matter if you've had a new or old injury. For new injuries the MLS laser works to reduce inflammation and pain and fast track the healing process.

Many people with old injuries still experience pain even though the initial inflammatory process is over. Residual pain can be the result of insufficient healing at the cellular level. Fortunately the MLS laser also works at the deepest level to deliver the healing needed to those tissues.

How Long Does It Take?

Although many people experience pain reduction in one or two treatments, it takes at least 6 treatments to heal at the cellular level. Depending on the severity of the injury and your own biology it can take up to 12 treatments.

Maintaining Your Health

Once you've received MLS therapy and you've recovered from your injury or foot problem, it's important to maintain your foot health by following these guidelines:

Be Sure to Stretch
Many injuries occur when exercising from a cold start. Stretching before working out and in particular using Dynamic Warm-Ups developed for runners can help prevent injuries from reoccurring.

Don't Wear Worn Out Shoes
Be sure to purchase new shoes every 500 miles. Worn out shoes will not support your feet during athletic activity and will put you at risk for re-injury.

Wear Your Orthotics
If your podiatrist has determined you need orthotics to prevent future injury, be sure to wear them.

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 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.

As we watch college basketball this month, we may decide to hit the court to relive our glory days. While getting exercise is a great idea for your health, if you haven't played basketball in awhile or even if you have and you're over 40 you may be putting yourself at risk for plantar fasciitis or worse. Take Gonzaga forward Killian Tillie for example; he ended up the season with a torn plantar fascia.

March Madness is a good reminder about the risks for plantar fasciitis. These are:

  • playing high impact sports and running

  • a BMI or body mass index over 30 kg/m2

  • pronated foot posture

  • tight calf muscles

  • older athletes (over 40)

Keep in mind that any combination of these risks can lead to plantar fasciitis. The more risk you have the greater your chance for developing this condition.

Let's take a look at each one of these risks and how they add up.

Playing High Impact Sports and Running

Plantar fasciitis is common in basketball players and runners due to the force generated on the foot and plantar fascia when participating in these sports. If you play basketball or run, add +1 to your risk for plantar fasciitis.

BMI Over 30 kg/m2

For every extra pound of weight, seven pounds of force is placed on the foot when playing sports. College basketball and professional players tend to be very big people with a lot of excess weight even if that weight is muscle. For weekend warriors who are carrying excess weight over 30 kg/m2 the risks can be even greater since many are older and not in great physical shape. However, keep in mind a BMI in excess of 25 kg/m2 can also place you at greater risk for heel pain. If you have a BMI over 30 kg/m2, Add +1 to your risk for plantar fasciitis.

Pronated Foot Structure

You may have been born with flat feet or have developed a low arch as you've gotten older. Either way you're very likely to have a foot that pronates or falls inward when you walk, run, or play basketball. People with a low or flat foot that pronates are more likely to put strain on their plantar fascia and develop plantar fasciitis. If you have flat feet or a lower arch, add +1 to your risk for plantar fasciitis.

Tight Calf Muscles

You may be blessed with a flexible body and loose calf muscles. But for many people who play sports tight calf muscles can result from participating in that sport. And unfortunately tight calf muscles also play a role in the development of plantar fasciitis. If you have tight calf muscles, add +1 to your risk for plantar fasciitis.

Age

If you're over 40, your body is not going to bounce back like it used to in your 20s and 30s. People over 40 are more likely to get plantar fasciitis. If you're over 40, add +1 to your risk for plantar fasciitis.

While not all of these risks are equivalent, the more of them you have the greater the chance for developing plantar fasciitis.

To reduce your risk for developing this common foot problem do the following:

Test Your Shoes for Stability

Wearing stable shoes that are designed for the sport you play is essential to preventing plantar fasciitis.

  • Test your shoes for stability (video)

  • Purchase shoes after every 500 miles of use - worn out shoes cannot provide the same level of stability.

  • Get your feet measured-as adults our feet often get bigger as we age, so in addition to having your kids foot measured you should get your feet measured as well.

  • Buy the right shoe for the activity - high tops have been the shoe of choice for many years in pro leagues, but more recently basketball trainers are advocating a lower cut shoe that strengthens the ankle, forcing the muscle to stabilize the joint. Taping your ankles can also help with stability. Purchase running shoes if you're a runner, tennis shoes for tennis, and so forth.

  • Check out my blog, "How to Buy the Best Running Shoes".

Warm up

  • Weekend warriors are much more likely to get injured because they don't keep their bodies strong and flexible.

  • Be sure to warm up before you start hitting the court or running. Jogging in place and doing some calf stretches will help.If you're a runner, it's best to use dynamic warm-ups.

  • If you have very tight calf muscles you'll need to use a device to stretch for a sustained period of time. The Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City recommends this type of device for all of our patients who already have plantar fasciitis. To learn more about this, click on calf stretches in the last bullet.

Wear Orthotics or Inserts

  • If you have flat feet or low arches and pronate it's important to wear an insert or orthotic.

  • For some people wearing an OTC insert will be enough to keep plantar fasciitis at bay, however, if OTC inserts aren't working for you you'll probably need a custom orthotic.

If you've followed my recommendations and you still have pain, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. We'll often appoint you the 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 Pinterest.

 

 

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.

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