Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for category: foot conditions

By Dr. Rion Berg
July 13, 2020
Category: foot conditions
Tags: top of foot pain  

women with top of foot pain on top of toesWhen we experience top of foot pain or pain in other parts of our feet, instead of pushing through it we need to stop and pay attention since pain is a clue something's not right.

Pain on the top of our feet can come from our bones, tendons, or joints. It can be a sign of injury or an underlying condition.

Here are the seven most common conditions causing top of foot pain.

Stress fractures

Stress fractures are tiny, hairline cracks in the bone caused by repetitive force on the feet and ankles or rapid increase in activity. They are more likely to develop in people with faulty foot mechanics such as flat feet or in women athletes who are low weight or post-menopausal.

Ignoring this top of foot pain can lead to a complete break in the foot. In addition to pain, people can experience swelling, redness, and bruising on the top of their feet. Treatment includes rest and immobilizing the foot. In addition, the MLS laser can accelerate healing.

Patients with faulty foot mechanics can help prevent a reoccurence of stress fractures by wearing custom orthotics.

Hammertoe, Claw, or Mallet Toes

Pain on top of the toes can be a sign of hammertoe, claw toe, or mallet toe. While slightly different, all three of these conditions are a result of a muscle and ligament imbalance around the middle or end toe joints. This imbalance causes the toe to have a clawed or hammer-like look about it. The top of the joint sticks up causing it to rub against shoes causing pain.

People with these conditions often inherit them, but they can also be caused by trauma, arthritis, and can worsen as a result of wearing tight shoes such as heels with a tight toe box. These conditions are progressive.

In addition to pain where the toe joint meet the shoe, patients can also experience pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the hammertoe, corns and calluses as a result of friction, inflammation, redness, burning sensations, swelling, and on some occasions open sores.

Conservative treatment can include orthotics, toe separators and splinting to realign toes, injections, padding to prevent rubbing, injections, and oral medication.

Surgery is usually required once the condition has progressed from flexible to rigid.

Bone Spurs

A bone spur growing out of a joint at the top of your foot is called a dorsal or tarsal boss. While most bone spurs are painless, when they occur in a location that causes friction or irritation with shoes they can be problematic. They're caused by excessive pressure on the bone during sports, by wearing poor fitting shoes, or through trauma and form as a result of the body trying to repair itself.

Treatment for top of foot pain caused by bone spurs primary involves reducing the irritation by wearing shoes to accommodate it and by trying alternative lacing methods to reduce the pressure. Anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections, and MLS laser treatments may also be helpful in pain reduction.

Lisfranc Injury

The Lisfranc ligament is a tough band of tissue that connects the metatarsal bones that lead to the toes to the tarsal bones in the middle of the top of the foot. A Lisfranc injury can occur through direct and indirect force to that area of the foot, such as a heavy object hitting the foot or a fall where the foot gets twisted. This type of injury occurs most frequently in runners, horseback riders, and football players.

Symptoms can include swelling, pain throughout the midfoot when standing or with pressure, bruising or blistering on the arch, and an inability to bear weight when this injury is severe.

To determine the extent of a Lisfranc injury, imaging will need to be done. Tearing of the tissues and ligaments are of most concern. Depending on the injury, treatment can involve immobilization of the foot, ice and elevation, and physical therapy.

Ganglion cyst

Ganglion cysts are soft, fluid-filled, benign (non-cancerous) lumps connected to tendons and joints and are often found on the top of the foot. Most cysts cause mild pain as a result of the pressure created by wearing shoes. However, when they enclose or press on a nerve, the pain can be intense.

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.

Hallux rigidus

Have you developed pain on the top of your big toe joint? You most likely have a form of degenerative arthritis called Hallux rigidus. As stated in the name, the toe becomes increasingly rigid as the condition worsens. An earlier stage of this condition is called Hallus limitus, as the movement of the toe is somewhat limited but not completely frozen as it can with its cousin. Hallux rigidus has several causes. It can develop as a result of overuse or injury from athletics or stubbing of the toe, an inherited foot type such as overpronation, or from an inflammatory disease condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.

Besides experiencing pain upon walking, symptoms can include a bump on the top of the foot and swelling around the joint. In the early stages of Hallux rigidus, custom orthotics and rocker style shoes are used to control the motion and pain associated with this condition. It later stages when damage is more severe surgery is necessary.

Extensor tendonitis

Extensor tendonitis is a form of tendonitis that develops on the top of the foot where your tendons attach to your toes. It results from overuse or wearing shoes that are too tight during physical activity. Running uphill and downhill can be particularly problematic in the development of this condition. It is also commonly found in dancers, skiiers, and figure skaters.

Rest, applying ice, and anti-inflammatory medication can all help in reducing the inflammation from tendonitis. If foot imbalances are part of the reason for the tendonitis, orthotics can also help prevent 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.

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.

 

 

You've done your best to follow social distancing recommendations. You stick to the six feet rule between you and other people outside of your household. But now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending we all wear face masks when out in public, it's been a bit of a scramble to get on board.

Maybe you're lucky and you have someone in your family who's made you a mask. Or perhaps you got one from your neighbor down the street. Regardless there are some important things to know about the right way to make a mask to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

While everyone and their mother out there are touting the best ways to make a mask, I always go to the best source to get my information. And that source is the CDC. Fortunately they've provided guidelines for how to do it yourself in case no one in your immediate vicinity has that capability or the mask you received doesn't meet the following specifications.

Your Mask Must:

  • Fit snugly and comfortably against the side of your face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Be made with multiple layers of cotton fabric (tea towels or hand towels you have in your kitchen work well)
  • Allow for unrestricted breathing
  • Be able to be washed in the laundry and dried without damage or change to the shape (a shape change could affect how securely it fits to your face)

Warnings: Face masks should never been put on a child under age 2, anyone who already has problems breathing, is unconscious or would not be able to remove the mask without assistance.

Click here for three different patterns for masks; one is made with a sewing machine and the other two are no sew options using either a T-shirt or a bandana.

Having pain in your feet or ankles? If you're reading this during the coronavirus pandemic, call us at 206-368-7000 and we'll set up a telemedicine appointment. In some cases you may need to be seen in the office. Learn more about what we're doing to protect our patients and other information about Covid-19.

Otherwise call us today at the same number for an in person appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than two 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."

 
By Dr. Rion Berg
February 07, 2019
Category: foot conditions
Tags: itchy feet  

One of the most annoying problems I see in my patients is itchy feet. It's tough to concentrate on other things when all you can think about is stopping the itch. While bug bites and dry skin are quite common causes of itchy skin, other less obvious conditions can also cause be the source of this problem. If you've already tried some treatments on your own but you're still plagued by itchy skin, make an appointment at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City in Seattle to get this problem resolved.

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is caused by a fungus that's usually found between the toes. The reason it's called athlete's foot is because you can easily pick up the fungus in gym locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools. In addition, the inside of athlete's shoes are dark and humid the perfect environment for fungus to grow. Don't put off getting this treated since it can spread to the bottom of your feet and to your toenails. Toenail fungus in particular can be very hard to treat. Although over-the-counter remedies can help for a mild case of athlete's foot, more persistent cases will need a prescription from a podiatrist.

Bugs

Fortunately in the Northwest we aren't plagued by the same bug infestation as our more humid counterparts elsewhere in the country. But that doesn't mean you'll never get a bug bite on your foot. Topical Benadryl can help reduce the itching. Avoid scratching to prevent infection.

If you do develop redness and swelling later on, it's important to been seen by your podiatrist particularly if you are diabetic or have poor circulation.

Dermatitis

Many people have allergic reactions to natural allergens such as poison oak or chemical allergens such as clothing dyes, adhesives found in bandages, soaps, detergents, rubber in shoes, and fragrance. These allergies aren't always apparent since it can take many days for the reaction to occur. In addition to itching, you may also experience redness, heat, and swelling. An over-the-counter steroid can help but if the condition keeps coming back it's important to eliminate the potential culprit.

Diabetes and Dry Skin

Dry feet are very common in people with diabetes and can make your feet itch. When dry skin cracks or breaks down, wounds often develop which can take a long time to heal. To prevent dry skin from developing we recommend using a really good moisturizer and gel socks. To treat very dry skin we recommend a moisturizer with urea.

Eczema

Sometimes itchy skin on the feet can be a sign of a hereditary condition called eczema. People with eczema have an over-reactive immune system. The eczema is triggered by a substance outside or inside the body and this causes the inflammation that leads to pain and itching. To prevent a flare-up of itchy skin daily treatment through bathing, applying moisturizers during the day, taking prescription medications, and avoiding triggers are recommended. Application of cold compresses and OTC corticosteroids can also help with mild itch.

Kidney or Liver Disease/Underactive Thyroid

Sometimes itchy feet can be the result of an underlying disease state such as kidney or liver disease or an underactive thyroid. If you have undiagnosed itching that lasts more than two weeks or is interfering with your sleep, make an appointment to see your primary care physician to get it checked out.

Psoriasis

Itching accompanied by burning, soreness, and red patches is very likely psoriasis. The symptoms are due to rapid turnover of skin cells. Treatment focuses on preventing this rapid turnover of cells. Psoriasis can affect toenails by causing pitting, abnormal nail growth and discoloration. The nails can also loosen and separate from the nail bed. In some severe cases the nails crumble. The true cause is unknown but many experts say it's related to an overactive immune system.

Triggers of psoriasis are infections, injury to the skin, stress, smoking, heavy drinking, Vitamin D deficiency, and certain medications. Psoriasis is also a hereditary condition. To reduce symptoms of psoriasis, patients need to avoid their triggers and follow treatment recommendations which include creams and ointments, light therapy, and in severe cases oral or injected medications.

If you're been suffering from itchy feet for over two weeks, 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 23, 2019
Category: foot conditions

Running in the rain may be a no-brainer for you web-footed runners out there, but when the weather gets into the 30s it may be time to brush up on how to stay toasty.

Dress Appropriately for the Weather
While you'll warm up and get hotter the longer you run, you'll still want to avoid shorts to prevent hypothermia. At the same time you'll need to avoid bundling up too much so you won't get overheated.

It's important to strike the right balance by wearing clothes that will keep you warm enough and wick away moisture from your body at the same time.

Some suggestions:

Choose Your Footgear Wisely

  • Wear trail shoes rather than your usual running shoes to give you more grip particularly if the cold weather turns condition snowy.

  • Socks such as Smartwool Women's Cold Weather Crew or another sock that wicks away moisture are also an essential addition. Even if your feet get wet you'll still stay warm.

Stay Safe

  • Run during the day and/or wear a running vest or strobe light at night.

  • A shorter running stride can prevent you from slipping and falling.

  • Keep hydrated. Your body will require just as much water as if you were running in the summer.

Of course if you need a brush up on what to wear in rainy weather check out my previous blog, "The Art of Running Safely in the Rain"

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+

 

 

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.

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