Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for category: foot conditions

By Dr. Rion Berg
September 12, 2017
Category: foot conditions
Tags: toenail loss  

It's the end of the summer and you're itching to get in some hikes before the weather turns. Perhaps during your last few hikes you've noticed your toenails have been hitting the front of shoes when you hike down. Maybe you've felt pain or your toenails are starting to look sketchy.

Instead of doing something about it, you go on that terrific new hike and your toenail loses its grip.

Now what do you do?

What You'll See and Feel
Perhaps your toenail came off completely. That can happen. But more likely it's only partially detached. Either way you'll experience bleeding (subungual hematoma) which causes pain. That's because the pressure from the build-up of blood needs to be released and instead it's pushing on your toe.

What To Do About It on the Trail
If you're out on the trail, hopefully you've brought some salt with you.  Combining the salt and water and soaking your toe in it can be soothing as it draws out some of the blood. Salt water also has anti-septic properties which can prevent infection.

If you have a topical antibiotic such as Bactroban or Neosporin, apply after the soak and cover with a bandage.

What To Do When You Get Home
Remove as much of the nail with a toenail clipper as soon as possible so that the underlying nail bed can start to heal. Continue soaking using Epsom salts in warm water for ten minutes a day.

If your pain increases, you see red streaks going up your toe or pus, it's time to see a Seattle podiatrist. These are signs of infection.

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.

If you're also a runner and have heel pain, download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".

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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When a new patient comes to my office, it's more likely to be a woman than a man. What could possibly be the reason for this difference? Let's delve into some significant differences than can cause women to have more foot problems than men.

Foot Structure
Differences in the structure of women's feet can put them at greater risk for foot injuries. Some of those differences include a greater tendency to have lax or loose ligaments, a wider forefoot, shorter arch length, shorter metatarsals, greater plantar flexion and range of motion than men.

Jobs That Require Standing
While it's true that more men than women work in construction, highway work, and perform manual labor, more women than men have jobs where they need to stand. According the National Center for Education Statistics, roughly 75% of teachers and 90% of nurses are women. Other jobs dominated by women are those who work in retail, hairdressers, servers, and house cleaners. Standing for long periods of time is very hard on feet due to the amount of pressure the feet have to withstand.

High Heels
Shoes play a role in the type of problems women experience. Women who wear high heels are highly prone to developing bunions, hammertoes, and neuromas. To prevent these problems from occurring or getting worse women should wear shoes with heels one inch or lower with a toe box that doesn't squish their toes together.

Obesity
According to the National Institutes of Health women and men have about the same prevalence of obesity, but women were more likely to be very obese. The more weight the more pressure placed on the feet putting woman at greater risk for plantar fasciitis.  

Pregnancy
Weight gain during pregnancy can put women at greater risk for heel pain, just like women who are already overweight. In addition, pregnancy triggers a release of hormones that loosen ligaments, which can contribute to foot strain and increased foot size.

When pregnant women should wear shoes that will accommodate swelling and increased foot size. Shoes should be supportive and have a wide toe box. Women should never wear high heels when pregnant. Added weight and pressure on the ball of the foot and toes make women more vulnerable than ever to foot problems.

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.

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home or send by email.

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
February 23, 2016
Category: foot conditions

You're ready for a night out on the town. As you put on your favorite heels you remember that the bump on the back of your heel keeps getting larger and more painful. You settle for a pair of flat shoes that won't aggravate it.

What is that weird bump? Known as Haglund's deformity this often painful and strange protrusion is caused by wearing rigid pump-style shoes, as its common name "pump bump" implies.

Causes

While any rigid style shoes can bring on and aggravate the bump, certain foot types will make it more likely for Haglund's deformity to develop.

Symptoms

In addition to the bump other symptoms are:

  • swelling in the heel

  • redness or tenderness near the inflamed area

  • moderate to severe pain

Left untreated Haglund's deformity can lead to bursitis ( a fluid-filled sac between the tendon and the bone).

Diagnosis and Treatment

At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City Dr. Berg will examine your feet and very likely take an X-ray to ensure a proper diagnosis and to review the structure of the heel bone.

Conservative treatment of this condition is focused on getting you out of pain by relieving pressure on the heel bone and reducing the inflammation. The potential treatments most often used are:

  • Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications

  • Ice

  • Shoes that won't further irritate the heel bone such backless shoes or soft backed shoes

  • Heel lifts or heel pads

  • Prescriptive orthotics

  • Ultrasound

These solutions can be a tremendous help in treating this condition, however if none of this options work, surgery can be done that removes excess bone from the heel. Once the source of the pressure is removed the soft tissue surrounding the bone will return to normal.

If your bony protrusion is causing problems, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

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 30, 2015
Category: foot conditions
Tags: foot pain   orthotics  

Snow in the Cascades--finally! You've been chomping at the bit to get out there and ski your heart out. The last thing you want to worry about is foot pain. However, the last time you went skiing your feet were killing you. You want to get out there but you don't want to ruin a perfect ski day with painful feet.  

So what could be the problem?

Your feet have gotten larger

Many adults experience an increase in shoe size due mostly to weight gain. If you wearing boots that are too tight you're going to experience a lot of foot pain and possibly lose a nail. Of course the solution is to purchase a new pair of boots.

Your ski boots are the problem

Ski boots are often the culprit when it comes to foot pain while skiing. It's very important to choose a store like REI or a ski shop you trust that knows how to properly fit ski boots. While they'll have specific techniques for fitting your boots, it's also your responsibility to prepare for the boot fitting. REI suggests you wear thin, synthetic ski socks and try on the boots in the afternoon or evening since feet tend to swell during the latter part of the day.

Your foot mechanics are off

You may already experience foot pain when you walk around in regular shoes, or perhaps it's just when you're skiing. If it's the latter, keep in mind you're exerting a lot more pressure on your feet and ankles when you ski making some foot problems more likely to show up then. e.g. Pain in the ball of your foot.  Either way if you're feet are still giving you trouble after buying a properly fitted boot, make your way down to my office. I'll assess your feet to determine whether you need additional support, such as custom orthotics.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

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
October 30, 2015
Category: foot conditions
Tags: psoriasis  

Today the internet reminded me that it's World Psoriasis Day and so as a Seattle podiatrist I wanted to let people know that while this condition is most often found on the scalp, knees, elbows and torso it's also found on the feet.

Causes and Appearance

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that appears as raised, red, scaly patches on the skin that cause itching, burning, and stinging. When it shows up on the feet it's sometime hard to distinguish from other foot conditions such as Athlete's foot. On the toenails it can have a pitted appearance and can be confused with fungal toenails. Psoriasis can also be found on the soles of the feet.

Triggers

Psoriasis triggers vary by person. Some people are primarily triggered by stress while others are triggered by things external to the body such as injury, vaccinations, and sunburn. Allergies, diet, and weather have also been thought to trigger psoriasis but more research is needed.

Treatment

  • Stress reduction - in the case of psoriasis the body over responds to stress causing the system to increase inflammation and increase the pain and itch. Decreasing stress through meditation and exercise are most often recommended to alleviate these symptoms.

  • Keep skin hydrated - creams and oils that can lock in moisture such as Amerigel or coconut oil will help prevent and ameliorate symptoms. Other ideas can be found in this Psoriasis Skin-Care Product Guide.

  • Remove scales - it's important to reduce excess skin and prevent psoriasis plaques from cracking and flaking through scale removal. Over-the-counter lotions that contain salicylic acid, lactic acid, urea or phenol will help (National Psoriasis Foundation).

  • Medication - there are also prescription drugs that will help reduce the itch.

If you have a skin condition on your feet or some other foot problem, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.

Get our free foot book "Happy Feet for the Rest of Your Life" , mailed directly to your home.

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+