Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for category: foot conditions

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.

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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+

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.

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

 

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+