Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for category: preventative foot care

As summer approaches we'd all like to make sure our feet will take us where we want to go and allow us to fully participate in the sports activities we love. Unfortunately some of us are more prone to developing certain types of foot problems, such as Achilles tendonitis.

What is Achilles tendonitis?

The Achilles tendon located in the back of your ankle is the largest and strongest tendons in the body; it can withstand up to 1,000 pounds of force. When this structure, also known as the heel cord, becomes inflamed Achilles tendonitis develops. If you ignore this pain, it can rupture which will require surgical intervention.

What Are the Risk Factors?

Many factors can lead to Achilles tendonitis:

  • Faulty foot structure such as flat feet

  • Equinus or tight calf muscles

  • Overuse mainly through physical activity

What You Can Do To Prevent Achilles Tendonitis

Fortunately there's a lot you can do to prevent Achilles tendonitis. Some of these fixes are mechanical in nature. For example, if you have flat feet getting fit with custom orthotics will prevent your feet from pronating, which can cause undo pulling on your Achilles. In addition, if you have tight calf muscles you can use special stretching techniques to alleviate this problem.

All the other prevention techniques are related to how you exercise.

Purchase Shoes Made for Your Sport
Buying supportive shoes is essential and wearing shoes that are designed specifically for your sport is a must. Be sure to go to a store where employees are trained to fit shoes to different types of feet. Shoes should also be replaced every 500 miles.

Vary Your Terrain
In Seattle you have lots of opportunity to get a great workout on hills. But don't overdo it or you'll increase you Achilles tendonitis risk. Vary the type of terrain you run or hike on from day to day or even on the same day. Do hills one day and run Greenlake another day. Mix it up.

Don't Forget to Warm-up
Both new and veteran athletes should warm up before working out. Dynamic warm-ups for runners are a great way to go.

Gradually Increase Your Training Time
You might want to get ready to run that race with your friends and end up overdoing it. Unfortunately your Achilles can't adapt that quickly to a huge increase in your training regimen. Do your Achilles a favor--increase training time by no more than 10% a week to avoid injury.

Change Up Your Exercise Routine
You might love to run but it's great to take a break by swimming or cycling to reduce strain on your Achilles.

How to Treat Achilles Tendonitis

At home

  • Pay attention to your body. If you're feeling pain in the back of your heel, back off from your exercise

  • Icing the back of your heel will help reduce inflammation

  • Toss your worn out shoes

  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication for a period of time. Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medication.
     

At the podiatrist's office

  • Immobilizing the foot can reduce imflammation and pain; this is most commonly done with a walking boot
  • Getting fit with custom orthotics - see above.
  • Receiving MLS laser therapy for pain relief and reduction of inflammation
  • Getting referred to physical therapy for strengthening exercises, soft-tissue massage/mobilization, and gait and running education.

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".

For chronic heel pain, download our eBook, "Stop Living With Stubborn Heel 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.

Even though most of us know that a problem in one part of our body can cause pain in another part often those connections go unrecognized, even by physicians. This is particularly true when it comes to the link between our feet and the rest of our body. While some of my patients who complain of foot pain don't experience it elsewhere in their body, many do identify pain in their back, hips, ankles, and knees. Some people even experience migraines as a result of foot problems! Experts say that 25% of all migraine headaches are caused by issues with posture.

The importance of taking care of our feet can't be overstated when they can have such a great impact on the rest of our bodies and our wellbeing.

You might wonder why our feet can cause so many other body problems.

The biggest reason is faulty foot mechanics. When your foot mechanics aren't correct it throws off your gait and your posture. Our bodies are like a chain, with one link—or bone—connecting at the joint to another link. Think about what would happen if the first link in the chain was out of position. The point at which it meets the next link would eventually overstress that link and adversely affect the entire chain.

Flat feet are the most frequent type of faulty foot mechanics I see when it comes to pain in other parts of the body. People with flat feet pronate, or roll their feet in, with every step they take.

Assessing Your Feet and Treatment

If you're wondering whether your feet could be causing your low back pain or headaches, you can start by learning whether you have flat feet. To determine your foot type, wet the sole of your foot. Step onto a blank piece of paper or a shopping bag. Step off the paper or shopping bag to examine the shape of your footprint and compare it to the photo on the right.

When you visit my office, I'll also assess your gait by watching you walk to determine your level of pronation.

Fortunately custom orthotics can make a huge difference for people with flat feet and body pain. At our office we'll take a 3D image of your foot with a computerized scanner. These images will be used to make orthotics with the highest level of support for your feet. The orthotics will correct the position of your foot so you can walk normally, correcting your posture and eliminating your body pain.

Custom orthotics can also be adjusted for the highest level of comfort for 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 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
May 07, 2019
Tags: Untagged

To keep your feet safe from injury when working in the garden this Spring, watch my latest video!

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
April 02, 2019
Tags: women's shoes  

Have you ever purchased a shoe that caused foot pain? You're not alone. While problems with high heels and stilettos have been all over the internet, there are many other women's shoes that can put your feet in jeopardy. Different shoes can cause different kinds of foot pain. Learn about the culprits and the solutions you can use to prevent painful foot problems.

Tight Shoes, Short Shoes, and Narrow Toed Shoes
Tight or short shoes can cause your feet to hurt. But they can also increase your risk for ingrown toenails and fungal toenails. When the toenail is pushed against the front of the shoe, hiking boot, or ski boot it can become ingrown. Shoes that are too tight or too short can cause damage to the nail plate, making it easier for fungus to set up shop. Narrow toed shoes can lead to Morton's neuroma, bunions, and hammertoes.

Solution:

  • Get your feet measured every time you shop for shoes. It's very common for adults to experience an increase in shoe size.

  • Buy shoes that give you enough wiggle room in the toe box.

Flat Shoes
In the last several years, ballet flats and other flat shoes have been all the rage. Many people have gotten the message that heels are bad, so they've flocked to shoes at the opposite end of the spectrum. But very flat shoes can be almost as bad as heels, particular for people with flat feet. They can increase your risk for plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. When walking or engaging in other activities such as dancing or running the arch flattens out causing the plantar fascia to stretch beyond its limits causing micro tears, inflammation, and pain.

Solution:

  • Avoid flat shoes if you have flat feet, low arches, or any other foot problems.

  • Buy flat shoes that have some arch support such as the Rockport Cobb Hill Mary Jane Flat.

Flip Flops
Flat flip flops with no arch support can lead to a myriad of foot problems for women. Flip flops were only meant to be worn at the beach, swimming pool, and locker and shower room. Unfortunately flip flops have become extremely popular and women wear them for long walks and for other activities that require a much more supportive shoe. The constant gripping at the toes to keep the shoe on, the flatness and lack of support, and absence of protection make flip flops problematic for women to wear off the beach. They can cause blisters, hammertoes, Achilles tendonitis, neuromas, heel pain, and worsen bunions. Their dearth of support can also lead to sprained ankles.

Solution:

  • Choose a flip flop with great support such as a Vionic sandal.

  • Even better, buy a water sandal which has foot support and straps.

Flexible Shoes
Flexible tennis shoes and other shoes like them certainly look comfortable. But looks can be deceiving. Flexible shoes are fine if you're walking no further than your mailbox or going food shopping. But a walk or run around Green Lake is a non-starter as flexible shoes offer no support; they can easily bend in half and be twisted from side to side. Women who've had problems with their feet in the past or have flat feet or high arches should not wear these types of shoes. I've had many patients come in with heel pain who were wearing them.

Solution:

Pumps or Rigid Back Shoes
Pumps can be problematic for women who develop a bony enlargement called Haglund's deformity or so called "pump bump", due the location of the deformity and the rigidness of pumps. Any shoe with a rigid back can cause problems for anyone with this type of foot problem.

Solution:

  • Avoid stiff backed shoes; instead look for shoes with a soft back such as a Munro Traveler.

  • Use heel lifts and heel pads can help with the irritation.

  • Get custom orthotics from a podiatrist to control the foot motion and change how the foot sits in the shoe.

Flatform Shoes
Flatform shoes are half platform shoes, half flats--supposedly the look of high heels with the comfort of flats. They sound good, in theory. However, flatforms are inflexible so your foot can’t do what it was intended to do which is flex when you walk. This makes them very unstable. When you can’t walk properly you’re more likely to fall and end up with an ankle sprain or fracture.

Solution:

You can still buy a shoe with a platform as long as your foot rolls forward properly. Fortunately there are now rocker shoes beyond the Hoka sports shoe that can meet that need. A good example is the Jafa's Women Sandal.

High Heels and Stilettos
You might still wonder, what's so bad about high heels and stilettos? While some women can get away with wearing these types of shoes infrequently, daily wear can increase your risk for ball of foot pain including bunions, neuromas, and hammertoes. When wearing high heels your weight is placed primarily on the ball of the foot which places a lot of stress on the metatarsals, the toes, and the nerves. Constant high heel wear can also shorten your calf muscles putting you at greater risk for plantar fasciitis.

Solution:

  • Limit your high heel wear by walking to work in lower heeled shoes.

  • Carry lower heels shoes with you so you can switch if you need to.

  • Wear heels that are one inch or lower

  • Wear heels with a rounded toe box to prevent added pressure on your toes

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.

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.

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