Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for category: foot conditions

You want to get out and enjoy our wonderful weather, but it feels like your walking on hot coals or pebbles. Ouch!

As a Seattle podiatrist, I don’t think you’re from a weird cult or strange. The pain and pebble-like feeling means you probably have a condition called metatarsalgia (pronounced (met-uh-tahr-SAL-juh). I know it sounds bad, but don’t worry it’s a common foot problem.

Metatarsalgia is an inflammation of the ball of the foot and many things can cause it. In addition to the pain and the pebble in your shoe feeling you may also experience tingling or numbness in your toes and a sharp, shooting pain particularly when your feet are flexed.

You’ll likely notice it more when you’re active and less so when you lay off your feet.

What Causes it?

  • Having a high-arched foot or a very long bone in your toe.

  • Running or another high impact sport particularly if you haven’t done it in a long time.

  • Foot conditions such as bunions, hammertoes, stress fractures, and Morton’s Neuroma can make it more likely to happen.

  • Women - shoes that are too pointy, too high, or with a tight toe box.

  • Men – rigid-soled work boots

  • Wearing flip flops too often (no shock absorption)

  • Working on hard surfaces – cashiers, construction workers, road workers

What Can Be Done To Treat It?

Depending on the cause there are a variety of ways to treat it.

  1. Make sure your shoes are supportive and not worn out. Check out my video “How to Test Any Shoe for Stability” before you shop.

  2. Wear the right shoe for the activity you engage in. eg. Court shoes for tennis, running shoes for running

  3. Rest – as hard as this may be to stop your favorite activity, you’re going to need to sit out the next family hike to heal

  4. Apply ice several times a day

  5. At the podiatrist’s office – depending on what I find when I examine you I may recommend a metatarsal pad to take the stress off the ball of your foot. In addition, if you have poor biomechanics I’ll likely recommend either an over-the-counter shoe insert or I’ll make you a pair of custom orthotics.

If you have ball of 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.

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.

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By Dr. Rion Berg
April 25, 2018
Category: foot conditions
Tags: Untagged

You may have recently discovered a lump or bump on your foot that wasn't there before. It may be painful or not. But you're still concerned.

Bumps and lumps on your feet can result from a variety of conditions. Some of them are fairly benign and can be dealt with in my office, but others can be quite serious and require surgery.

Because feet are often the last part of our bodies we pay attention to, certain cancers can progress more rapidly than if they were found on another part of the body.

Here are 5 lumps or bumps you may find on your feet and what to do about them.

Bunions
Bunions are extremely common particularly among women who wear high heels and also have flat feet. Flat feet are inherited. For that reason it's very likely if your mother had bunions and flat feet, you will too.

Part of bunion treatment is preventing them from getting worse. Anyone with flat feet should avoid wearing heels higher than one inch. Heels along with pointy toes can cause bunions to get worse when worn frequently.

Although bunions can be removed surgically, orthotics can help with foot alignment relieving the pain of bunions and preventing them from getting worse. Even children as young as four or five can benefit from orthotic treatment.

Ganglion Cyst
Ganglion cysts are soft, fluid-filled, benign (non-cancerous) lumps connected to tendons and joints. Often they are found near an ankle joint, top, and side of the foot. Most cysts cause mild pain as a result of the pressure created by wearing shoes. But when they enclose or press on a nerve, the pain can be sharp.

The best way to prevent cysts from forming is to wear well-fitted, comfortable shoes and avoid repeated foot injuries. Ganglion cysts can be drained or injected with steroids but often come back. Surgical removal is an option to prevent reoccurence.

Cancer
Sometimes a bump or lump is cancerous. In our office if we suspect cancer, a biopsy will be done and sent for testing. Although most tests will come back as benign or non-cancerous, certain types of cancer found on the feet progress more rapidly than cancer found elsewhere on the body.

Malignant melanoma is one of those cancers. It is estimated that approximately 30 percent of melanomas occur in the lower extremities, and that 3 percent occur in the feet. Although it makes up only one percent of skin cancers, malignant melanoma accounts for over 60 percent of skin cancer deaths. Rapid discovery and treatment of this cancer is essential.

Exposure to sun increases risk for skin cancer and so using sunscreen on your feet is essential for prevention.

Pump Bump (Haglund's deformity)
Haglund's deformity or "pump bump" most commonly affects women who wear rigid pump style shoes. In addition to wearing this specific shoe type, high arched feet, tight Achilles tendon, and faulty foot mechanics also puts people at greater risk for this condition.

Plantar fibromas
Plantar fibromas are benign tissue tumors or growths found under the arch of the foot. Unlike plantar warts, which grow on the skin, these grow deep inside the plantar fascia ligament. Often these lumps are painless, but when there is pain treatment can include orthotics to remove pressure on the arch, steroid injections, or surgical removal.

If you've discovered a lump or bump on your foot, 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.

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You get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and you accidentally slam your big toe into your dresser. Yikes!

You are not alone. We've all done it. Hundreds of patients a year come in to see me with a stubbed toe. Although seeking medical attention for something as common as a stubbed toe may seem strange, it's best to come in to be sure the toe isn't fractured or infected if swelling or bleeding occurs.

In addition to a stubbed toe there are six other reasons why your big toe is killing you.

Ingrown Toenail
An ingrown toenail is another extremely common cause of big toe pain. Family history, trauma, short shoes, and improperly cut toenails can all lead to an ingrown big toenail. Fortunately surgery can be done right in the podiatry office. Most patients feel little pain and can start their usual activities the next day. Our office sees a lot of kids with ingrown toenails. To help prevent it, make sure your kids aren't outgrowing their shoes. Adults need to make sure to cut their toenails straight across only.

Turf Toe
Turf toe most often occurs in athletes. It's very common in football kickers but can occur in any game where players jam their toe or repeatedly push off during running and jumping. The term was originally coined with sports played on artificial turf; the harder artificial surface makes cleats more likely to stick. However, turf toe can also occur on grass surfaces, particularly when the shoe worn is not supportive.

Tennis toe
Tennis has its own specific toe injury caused by the fast changes in direction and the toe pushing against the toe box. Damage can result in the area underneath the toenail. It often gets worse with time. Preventing this injury is very straightforward. If you play tennis, keep your toenails short and wear tennis shoes that fit.

Sesamoiditis
This is an overuse injury involving chronic inflammation of the sesamoid bones and the tendons involved with those bones. The sesamoids are two pea-shaped bones located in the ball of the foot, beneath the big toe joint. Sesamoiditis is caused by increased pressure to the sesamoids frequently seen in ballet dancers, runners, and baseball catchers. People with high arches who wear high heels are also at risk.

Hallux limitus and rigidus
Hallux stands for big toe. You might guess from the names that limitus means "limited movement" and rigidus means "a rigid, inflexible toe". Both of these conditions can be quite painful since we use our big toes for all of our mobile activities.

Usually a person with this condition starts out with hallux limitus which can progress  to hallux rigidus. Both are forms of degenerative arthritis and can be inherited but can also develop from trauma to the big toe. Early treatment is important to prevent it from getting to the rigid stage. Wearing orthotics, anti-inflammatory treatments, and rocker bottom shoes are all effective treatments.

Gout
Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid (a normal byproduct of the diet) in the joints. The big toe joint is most commonly affected, very likely from the pressure during walking and because uric acid crystals build up in the coolest part of the body. Attacks of gout are extremely painful and can be triggered by diets high in purines such as those found in red meat, organ meats like liver and kidney, shellfish, red wine and beer. Avoiding these foods and certain medications and drinking plenty of water are the best ways to avoid this condition.

If you have pain in your big toe, 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
January 10, 2018
Category: foot conditions
Tags: stress fracture  

You may have heard about stress fractures and thought you weren't at risk because you don't have osteoporosis. Although it's true that osteoporosis can increase your risk of stress fractures there are many other risk factors you should know about.

Why is this important?

Learning about how to prevent a condition is better than having to deal with the pain and recovery time. If you do get a stress fracture, be sure to get it treated early to shorten your time away from the things you love.

Risk factors:

  • Flat feet or high, rigid arches - talk to your podiatrist about getting better support for your feet.

  • Bunions, tendonitis, and blisters - these foot conditions can affect the way your foot hits the ground.

  • Increasing your running time too quickly - you've decided to up your miles when training this year. Instead of doing so gradually (10%-20% is the guideline) you increase it by 30% or more instead.

  • Wearing worn out shoes - shoes that are worn out are not supportive. Learn more about how to buy supportive shoes by viewing this video.

  • Running on pavement vs. running on an indoor track - our bones can be affected by a small change in the type of surface we run on.

  • A job change - you go from a job where you're sitting all day to one where you're on your feet most of the time.

  • Low levels of Vitamin D - a particular problem in the Seattle area and Pacific Northwest due to our lack of sun.

  • Underweight female runners - women who have a BMI of less than 19 are more likely to develop stress fractures.

What to watch out for:

  • Pain that comes on quickly during activity and is relieved by rest

  • Pain on the top of the foot or ankle

  • Swelling

  • Redness

  • Bruising

If you're experiencing pain in the top of your foot or your ankle and you're having the symptoms describe above, 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+

 

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.

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