Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for category: sports injuries

Ball of foot pain is one of the most common types of pain I see in athletes. Whether you're a runner, soccer player, or dancer ball of foot pain can stop you from doing what you love. Your feet are a wondrous, complex system of bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments designed to work together perfectly. And they must. They have a big job to do. Your feet are small relative to the amount of weight they need to hold up and keep in alignment.

Considering the amount of pounding and abuse they take, it's amazing our feet continue to deliver for us. It's not until we feel pain that we start to examine what we might need to do differently to protect them.

When you do experience pain in the ball of your foot or in other parts of your feet, you might wonder why your running partner seems to glide through it all without a twinge. The truth is your athletic pursuits are only part of the puzzle when it comes to assessing why you have pain in the ball of your foot. In fact people who aren't athletes also get ball of foot pain.

What Do I Mean By Ball of Foot Pain?
Ball of foot pain occurs where the toe bones join the metatarsal bones. It can occur in one spot or all across the ball of the foot. Symptoms can range from sharp or shooting pain when the toes are flexed to tingling or numbness in the toes or it can even feel like you're walking on pebbles.

There are many causes of ball of foot pain. To properly diagnose and treat it, I'll ask you questions about your recent physical activity, watch you walk, determine your foot type, and check the types of shoes you're wearing.

The Role of Foot Structure in Ball of Foot Pain
A big factor in developing foot pain lies in the structure of your feet. Some of us have high arches, some have low arches, and some have no arches. High arched feet and feet with no arches can both cause instability in the foot that leads to ball of foot pain by putting extra pressure on the metatarsal bones. Also, a Morton's toe (the second or third toe longer than the big toe) can lead to this condition when weight shifts to the second or third toes.

How Tight Calf Muscles Affect Foot Position
Tight calf muscles can make faulty foot structure worse by increasing the pressure on the metatarsal bones at the front part of your foot.

How Physical Activity Affects the Foot
Our feet can take a lot of pressure, however, the high jumps during a basketball game and the constant pounding from running can be a primary cause of ball of foot pain. It's important to rest when you first feel the pain and not try to play or run through it since you can do further damage to your feet.

How Being Overweight Can Play a Role in Ball of Foot Pain
Being overweight can increase your risk for ball of foot pain. Every extra pound of body weight creates three extra pounds of force when walking and seven pounds when running. For example, a person weighing 200 pounds would place 600 pounds of force on their feet when walking and 1400 pounds of force when running.

The Role of Shoes in Ball of Foot Pain
One of the easiest things to do to decrease ball of foot pain is to change your shoes. Every sport has shoes designed specifically to prevent foot and ankle injuries most common to it. Basketball shoes worn for running will not protect you from running injuries. Likewise, old worn out shoes will not provide the support needed to prevent pain in the ball of your foot. Even when you're not taking part in your favorite sport it's important to keep in mind that high heels and shoes that are pointy and squeeze the front of your foot can also be a factor in your foot pain.

Common Ball of Foot Pain Conditions
Some of the most common ball of foot pain conditions are:

Metatarsalgia - the pain is typically felt on one or more of the five bones (metatarsals) in the mid-portion of the foot.

Neuroma - A neuroma is an enlarged, benign growth of nerves, which can occur in various parts of the body. The most common neuroma of the foot is called Morton's neuroma, It develops between the third and fourth toes of either foot. The incidence of Morton's neuroma is eight to ten times greater in women than in men.

Sesamoiditis - occurs when the tendons surrounding the sesamoids can become irritated or inflamed. Sesamoiditis is a common condition among ballet dancers, runners, and baseball catchers because of the pressures placed on their feet. A form of sesamoiditis called turf toe is also found among soccer players and kickers in football.

Treatment
Acute pain and injury should be treated with ice to decrease swelling. Additional treatment will depend primarily on your diagnosis and foot structure. Orthotics might be dispensed to improve your foot alignment or to relieve pressure on a nerve if implicated in the diagnosis. A program of stretching, often with an Achilles splint, is warranted if you have tight calf muscles. Weight loss may be suggested to relieve pressure on your feet.

New athletic shoes should be purchased annually to ensure they are providing the support you need. Avoid buying lightweight shoes with squishy soles and no solid shank from the heel to the ball of the foot as these will add to your ball of foot pain. Instead purchase a Hoka One One running shoe if running is your sport. It has great shock absorption with a good shank and a rocker sole to prevent your foot from jamming into the ball of your foot. Everyday shoes should be only one inch in height and have a toe box wide enough to accommodate your forefoot.

Finally, all activity should stop until a diagnosis is confirmed by your podiatrist.

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+

Photo credit: Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

 

 

Whether you're a weekend warrior or the parent of a kid just getting back to into sports at school, you should be aware of the most common sports related foot and ankle injuries. Sever's disease, ingrown toenails, and turf toe are common in young athletes who play soccer. Stress fractures and Morton's neuroma are frequently found in women athletes. Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis can occur with a rapid increase in sports participation particularly in athletes who have flat feet and tight calf muscles. Sprained ankles and an Achilles tendon rupture can affect athletes involved in soccer, football, volleyball and other sports with rapid direction changes.

To prevent these foot and anle problems from occuring, be sure to use these 7 hacks.

Keep your body in shape throughout the year
Prevention of foot and ankle injuries starts by participating in a variety of sports throughout the year. Weightlifting at the gym, yoga, and an aerobic activity such as swimming, cycling or light jogging will keep your body strong and flexible.

Proper footwear
Proper shoes are your best defense against foot and ankle injuries. These days there are specific shoes made for every type of sport. For example basketball shoes are designed to protect ankles that need to twist, running shoes protect feet that repetitively hit the ground, and soccer cleats prevent athletes from slipping.

Although it may be more cost effective to pass shoes down from older to younger children, it's a bad idea for sports shoes in particular. One of the main purposes of athletic shoes is to provide the best support possible for the type of sport you play. Shoes that are worn out or worn down differently from a previous owner can be detrimental to the next person who uses them.

It's also important to pay attention to your foot type when picking out a pair of sports shoes. A good sporting goods store, such as Super Jock N Jill for runners, will take this into account when suggesting a shoe. You should also test the shoes before you purchasing them by watching my video "How to Test Any Shoe for Stability".

Proper warm-up and cool down exercises
Warm up your legs by jogging in place for at least 10 minutes before you stretch. Engage in a variety of stretches. Try using Dynamic Warm-up and Cool Down exercises to get yourself ready to play sports.

Increase training gradually to prevent overuse injuries
Weekend warriors are often at risk for overuse injuries caused by occasional play, however, anyone can develop an overuse injury if they increase their sports activities by more than 10% per week. Our bodies aren't able to adapt to rapid increases in running and other sports activities and this is particularly true as we age.

While proper warm-up and cool down exercises are important for all athletes, they are essential for athletes over 50 and for those who may participate in the occasional pick-up basketball or softball game.

Check for unsafe field surfaces/wet slippery fields
Most sports-related ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. Check playing fields for dips, holes, stray objects, and too much water. Non-professional fields in public parks can be the worst offenders since you have no control over what takes place there. Alert coaching officials to any irregularities.

Get a pre-season physical exam
Kids and adults alike should go to their podiatrist or primary care physician for a pre-season physical. Have any previous injuries checked out and given the OK by your provider before engaging in sports.

Listen to your body
Our bodies are designed to feel pain so that we avoid more severe injuries. Keep this in mind and teach your kids to recognize when pain is not normal. Some muscle pain is common with new activity but pain that lasts over many days is a warning to stop and rest. It's also time to make an appointment with your Seattle podiatrist.

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+

 

 

 

An 85 mph pitch to the top of the right foot was all it took to take Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz out of the game in the fourth inning on Tuesday against the Rangers. Unable to bear any weight on his foot, doctors ruled it a contusion.

Although not as serious as a fracture or sprained ankle, contusions can be extremely painful and can take a while to heal.  

Fortunately in Cruz's case he won't be out for long. But poor Cruz has not been having an easy year when it comes to lower leg injuries. Just this past March he twisted his right ankle after slipping on the dugout steps.

What is it?

A contusion is sustained in sports by a direct hit or repeated hits from a blunt object such as a baseball to any part of the body. The muscle fibers under the skin are damaged but there is no break in the skin.

What are the symptoms?

Contusions cause swelling, pain, and torn blood vessels (blue/purple bruise occurs). As in Cruz's case, walking can be initially difficult due to weakness and stiffness of the muscle.

What to do?

If someone in your family sustains a contusion from a sport's injury it's important to bring them in to a Seattle podiatrist as soon as possible to ensure there is no extensive damage and to rule out any breaks. If you happen to be at the location when the contusion occurs then it's important to initiate the RICE protocol. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This should continue for the first 24-48 hours to keep down swelling and 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.

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+

While most baseball managers worry about their baseball players getting injured on the field, lately Mariners Manager Scott Servais must be wondering how he can help his players be more careful off the field.

Two important players Nelson Cruz (designated hitter) and Ryon Healy (first baseman) sprained their ankles while doing some pretty, mundane stuff.

After hitting a homer, Nelson Cruz slipped off the last step from the dugout into the locker room incurring a high ankle sprain. Ryon Healy ended up in a walking boot with crutches after rolling his ankle in the workout room.

So often we assume that injuries come from sports activities when the truth is that most of us injure ourselves at home, twisting an ankle coming off of a step, or by tripping on an uneven sidewalk.

Here are some guidelines to keep yourself injury free.

Keep Your Home Free of Clutter, In Good Repair, and Slip Resistant
Many accidents happen at home due to clutter on the floor and disrepair. Ensure there is a clear path for walking throughout the house and particularly on the stairs. Repair broken outdoor steps and install automatic lights. In addition, keep kitchen floors dry by cleaning up spills right away and add a non-slip rubber mat to the shower or bath.

Wear the Right Shoes for the Activity
Would you ever dream about wearing flip flops while running? Of course not. Unfortunately, many of us wear shoes best left at home instead of choosing the proper shoe for the activity we’re doing. For example, instead of wearing a supportive pair of walking shoes for a three mile walk, we leave the house in shoes that can be easily folded in half.

Wear running shoes for running, walking shoes for walking, basketball shoes for basketball and so on. Wearing shoes not intended for our sport or activity puts us at risk for ankle sprains and other foot injuries.

A general guideline when shopping for a supportive shoe is to find one that does not easily twist, folds only at the ball of the foot, and has a strong heel counter. Follow these guidelines on our video How To Test Any Shoe for Stability.

Keep Your Eyes on The Road

And that goes for sidewalks too. Too many of us are engaged with our phones when we’re walking and this limits how much attention we can pay to what we’re walking on.

Many sidewalks in Seattle have tree roots pushing through them, are in disrepair, or have other obstacles in the way. These hazards are a sprained ankle waiting to hazard.

Check Your Kid’s Playfields

Your kid may be wearing proper shoes for their sport but their playfield may be littered with divots and other obstacles. Do a clean sweep of their field ahead of game time to prevent it from becoming a problem.

Keep Your Ankles Strong

Strong ankles are less likely to roll and get sprained. If you know you have weak ankles, ask your physician to refer you to a physical therapist or seek out a trainer you trust.

If you do sprain an ankle apply the RICE technique as soon as possible to reduce swelling (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate). Visit your Seattle podiatrist to get your ankle evaluated.

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+

 

March Madness is upon us! If your children are dreaming about playing college basketball and they're either on a middle school or high school team you should know that competitive basketball is very hard on the feet and ankles. Although you can't prevent all their foot and ankle problems, here are five tips to give them a fighting chance of leaving the court injury-free.

  • Suggest they play on an indoor court whenever possible. Wood floors provide the most shock absorption while concrete provides the least.

  • Purchase new basketball specific shoes before the bottom of the shoe becomes smooth. For kids who play on a team (5 days a week of practice), replace their basketball shoes every two to three months.

  • If your child has flat feet or another biomechanical foot problem, custom orthotics will help prevent heel pain, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendonitis.

  • Proper warm-ups are essential for injury prevention. Both stretching exercises and gradual warm-ups such as dynamic warm-ups are recommended. In addition, doing calf stretches are important to prevent the foot problems mentioned above.

  • Purchase socks made of materials that do not absorb sweat. Avoid cotton and purchase synthetic materials that wick away moisture to prevent blisters.

Of course if your child does sustain an injury, first aid should include rest, ice, compression, and elevation of the injured foot or ankle. Bring them in to see your podiatrist as soon as possible so they can be properly evaluated and treated.

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+