Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for category: preventative foot care

At this time of year we often vow to change our habits. Losing weight is at the top of the list. I'm all for my patients losing weight. It can help prevent and manage the chronic illnesses I see frequently see such as diabetes and heart disease. Weight loss can also help prevent plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis since extra weight puts more pressure on the feet.

However, not all weight loss is caused by overeating or not exercising enough. Many physical and mental health problems can contribute to weight gain. It's important to make an appointment with your doctor to discover the underlying cause, particularly when gaining weight for you is unusual.  Here are five reasons why you might be gaining weight.

Hypothyroidism

Each year more than 200,000 people are diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and they're mostly women. Without enough thyroid hormone in your system your metabolism slows and weight gain can occur. Other symptoms of low thyroid are hair loss, fatigue, and dry skin. Most people see an improvement in this condition once they receive thyroid hormones.

Depression

If you're depressed, you're more likely to gain weight. An increase in cortisol is the major physical reason for this process; however, taking certain anti-depressant medications can also be a factor. Lack of motivation to eat well or exercise can also play a role. It's important to see your doctor or a therapist if you're feeling down or depressed.

Insomnia

A regular pattern of sleep loss can trigger weight gain through a change in hormone levels. A change in hormones can also make you crave foods high in fat and sugar. If you suffer from insomnia try some of these tips. If you still feel tired, visit your doctor.

Menopause

Weight gain is common among women who enter menopause particularly around the middle. What's causing these changes? Lack of sleep due to hot flashes; loss of muscle mass due to aging; and decreasing levels of estrogen with an increase appetite come together to contribute to weight gain. Changing how you eat, what you eat, and how you exercise will go a long way in helping keep weight off.

Metabolic Syndrome/Diabetes

Excess weight can certainly increase your risk for diabetes, but does diabetes make it harder to keep off weight? Yes, it does. When you're diabetic or have metabolic syndrome, your body becomes resistant to insulin (it doesn't work as well at getting glucose out of your bloodstream) and so your body makes more insulin. Because insulin works to promote the storage of fat and to block the release of fat from fat storage, you gain weight. Following a diet containing fewer carbohydrates can reduce the insulin in your blood. Working with a diabetes educator or nutritionist to determine the right combination of foods for you is very important.

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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As the summer winds down you're very likely planning one last trip. No matter what kind of vacation you take it will certainly entail more walking or hiking than you normally do. To prevent a whole host of foot problems, use the following guide to help you prepare successfully for your vacation. 

Give Your Shoes Road Time Before Your Trip

Although a lot of shoes and boots these days don't necessarily require break-in time, some do. It's best not to bring your new kicks on vacation no matter how pretty they are. If they're shoes you're planning to wear all day long make sure to give them some road time before you take off for your trip.

Keep in mind that shoes should not fit tightly in the shoe store. You should have at least a thumbs length of wiggle room in the toes. And be sure your heels don't slip or you'll end up with blisters.

Shop for shoes toward the end of the day when feet are most likely to swell.

Choose the Right Shoe for Your Activity

Make sure you have sturdy shoes or sandals that won't easily bend in the middle or twist easily when you try to wring them out like a rag. For a demonstration of how to test your shoes for stability watch my video.

Avoid wearing flip flops except on the beach. Wearing flip flops for long distances can lead to plantar fasciitis and neuromas. Better sandals are those with an arch and with straps that secure your foot.

Ballet flats and other flat shoes should also be avoided except for casual wear.

Be sure to bring appropriate hiking boots for the type of terrain you plan to hike on, tennis shoes for tennis, and so on.

Choose the Right Socks

Equally important as choosing the right shoes are wearing the right socks. Avoid cotton socks and instead choose socks made with synthetic fibers or wool; these materials wick away moisture, decrease friction, prevent blistering, and reduce odor. Good examples are Yingdi Copper Socks made for men and women which contain copper fiber, a synthetic called SUPPLEX, and spandex or Darn Tough Hiking Socks made of merino wool, nylon, and spandex.

In addition, to reduce fatigue you might consider buying a support stocking. Although that might conjure up an image of granny in her rocking chair, today these socks are also used by nurses who spend long hours on their feet and athletes who want to improve their performance.

They are also very helpful if you're going to spend many hours on a plane. Support socks work by providing a mild squeezing action to support enhanced blood flow and reduce swelling. Some examples of this type of sock are Copper Compression Socks made by FuelMeFoot or the more colorful compression socks by L-lweik.

Purchase an Over-The-Counter Orthotic

To reduce the stress on your feet while travelling, it's a really good idea to purchase an over-the-counter orthotic. Many people wear sneakers for the majority of their vacation time. Supportive sneakers are great; however, the inserts that comes with them do not provide any additional support. You can purchase either Powerstep orthotics or Superfeet. These inserts are also a good prevention tool if you tend to develop mild plantar fasciitis.

Don't Forget Your Custom Orthotics

For travelers with flat feet who tend to develop moderate to severe plantar fasciitis, don't leave home without taking your orthotics with you. You'll need them more than ever as you put in the extra miles. If your orthotics are giving you pain, don't feel quite right, or are over seven years old it's time to see your podiatrist for an evaluation. Orthotics that are worn down and painful won't provide proper support. If your orthotics look shabby but still feel fine, your podiatrist can refurbish them for you.

Bring a First Aid Kit for Your Feet

No matter how hard you prepare to have a safe trip and prevent your feet from hurting, it's always a good idea to pack a first aid kit for your feet. Be sure to include bandages, blister pads or surgical tape, a topical antibiotic, tweezers and toenail clippers.

Tips for Air Travel
Airports and airplanes have their own hazards when it comes to your feet. Be sure to wear socks with your shoes or sandals so when you go through security. That way you aren't walking barefoot where other people with fungus and bacteria might have tread.

In addition to wearing compression socks on the plane--drink plenty of water, flex your feet and toes, take several walks, and avoid crossing your legs to reduce swelling and soreness.

Tips for Sight Seeing

Having good supportive shoes are essential but so is watching where you're going. No shoe will prevent you from twisting an ankle if you slide off a curb or trip over a stone. If you're headed to the beach be sure to pack your sunscreen and lather up your feet as well as your face and arms to avoid painful burns.

Don't Ignore Foot Pain

If you're experiencing foot pain for the first time, don't leave for vacation without seeing a podiatrist. Very likely walking longer distances will just make things worse.

For some painful conditions you can initially try self-care. For example you might find relief for mild heel pain by using a frozen water bottle or Theraband Foot Roller to simultaneously ice and massage the bottom of your feet. Sometimes a heel lift will also provide relief since it effectively reduces the pull on the plantar fascial tissue that is injured. You can also try an over-the-counter orthotic as mentioned above.

Still experiencing foot pain even after trying the pain relieving tools 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.

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
August 01, 2018
Tags: melanoma  

While it's extremely rare for someone who is young to develop nail cancer, it did happen to Miss Illinois Karolina Jasko. She was only in high school when she found a vertical line under her fingernail. She didn't go to the doctor until it became infected. Then she was diagnosed with melanoma.

She was fortunate. She only lost her nail. Melanoma can spread to the entire body and can be deadly. Survival of melanoma is even more uncertain if it's found on your feet and toenails. That's because it's usually detected at an advanced stage when treatment might be too late.

While melanoma of the toenail is rare no matter what your age, it's important to be seen by a podiatrist if you have bruise under your toenail that doesn't go away.

Other Symptoms

  • A new brown or black band in the nail

  • Dark color is spilling over the skin next to the nail

  • Signs of infection such as drainage, pus, and pain

  • A bruise, splitting, or bleeding of the nail without any trauma

  • A bruise under the nail that doesn't go away with time even with trauma

Although some dark bands can be non-cancerous and caused by a bacterial or fungal infection it's important to get it checked out as soon as possible.

Sixty percent of these types of melanoma are found in the fingernails and 40% are found in the toenails. Most commonly it's found in the hallux nail or big toenail.

Risk Factors

  • Over 50

  • Personal or family history

  • Personal or family history of atypical moles

  • People of color

Unlike melanoma of the skin, melanoma of the nail is not cause by sun exposure.

Prevention

Although it's not possible to prevent the condition, early identification and treatment provides the best chance for effective treatment and survival.

Treatment

Treatment options depend on how early the melanoma is detected. They include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

If you have a unexplained bruise or streak in your nail that won't go away, 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
February 05, 2018

Now I've heard of everything. I just learned that someone had produced raincoats for your shoes!

You might be laughing, but this may be just the thing for us water soaked Seattleites who have ruined more shoes than we can count.

Made under the name "Premium Reusable Boot & Shoe Waterproof Covers", they may not be the height of fashion but they could save you a heap of money. And they're slip resistant. That's certainly a bonus particularly for older adults who may not feel so steady on their feet.

For the rest of us who walk to work, cycle, run, and garden they could be a great solution to a constant Pacific Northwest winter problem.

Another way to keep leather shoes in dry and great shape is to polish them regularly and/or use a waterproof spray. You can also save money and also prevent an injury by re-heeling your shoes when they need it. If shoes get worn down they won't be as effective at keeping you from tripping over your toes.

Finally, to stay dry, be fashionable, and have a comfortable boot with a wide toebox you can also choose a waterproof boot such as one made by La Canadienne.

If you do run in the rain, there are some tips on how to so more carefully in "The Art of Running Safely in the Rain". Unlike leather shoes, tennis shoes cannot be re-soled and should be re-purchased after 500 miles of wear. That's about once a year for an average user, but can be much more frequent for an athlete. To be sure they aren't worn down, check the soles of your tennis shoes every couple months.

If you're experiencing any pain in your feet 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
January 24, 2018
Tags: blood circulation  

As a Seattle podiatrist I see the consequences of poor blood circulation every day in my practice. Poor blood circulation makes it more difficult for us to get the oxygen and nutrients we need to the organs of our body including our legs and feet.  When blood can't regularly reach our feet, it puts us at greater risk for ulcers.

While its true advanced age and illness can reduce blood circulation, it's essential to keep your blood moving regardless of your age or health. When you keep your blood moving you improve your mood, memory, prevent and manage heart disease and diabetes, and reduce your blood pressure.

Here are 8 hacks to keep your blood flowing:

Hack #1
Start out your day by stretching
Stretching gets your blood flowing throughout your body. It doesn't have to be complicated. Bob and Jean Anderson wrote the book, "Stretching" 30 years ago and it's still relevant today.

Hack #2
Take frequent breaks if you sit at a desk all day
Sitting for hours on end can be bad for our circulation and our backs. Get up every 30 mins to one hour and go for a short walk outside to keep your blood flowing. Can't leave the office? Stand up, march in place, and do some stretches. Set up your computer or cell phone to remind you.

Hack #3
Alternate between a standing and sitting desk
Set yourself up with a standing as well as a sitting desk. Changing positions regularly can greatly assist with your circulation. Some offices also provide walking stations for employees. These are great for keeping your weight down as well.

Hack #4
Take the stairs
Don't use the elevator if you work in an office building. Instead take the stairs. You'll get your blood pumping and build muscle strength too. Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise.

Hack #5
Use compression socks
Compression socks aren't just for older adults. Even athletes use them. Compression socks help return blood to your heart and reduce fatigue particularly if you stand on your feet all day.

Hack #6
Massage your feet and ankles
You can pay to get a foot massage or do can it yourself using foot massage lotions or oils. Massage relaxes the muscles in your feet and ankles and helps to dilate your blood vessels improving your circulation.

Hack #7
Guided relaxation
Biofeedback assisted relaxation has been shown to improve foot circulation. Other relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, guided imagery, and specific breathing techniques can all be helpful in reducing stress which increases blood blow to the feet.

Hack #8
Eat foods that simulation blood flow
Chocolate, green tea, and garlic all have been show to increase blood flow. It's also important to follow a healthy diet which includes eating lots of green, leafy vegetables, fish, nuts, and heart healthy recipes by the American Heart Association. Check with your doctor before starting any new diet.

If you have poor blood circulation or diabetes it's critical that you check your feet regularly and see a podiatrist when your doctor recommends 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.

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+