Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: March, 2013


You wake up in the morning and you feel pretty good. But as you slide out of bed, put your feet on the floor, and stand up that pain you've been experiencing for the past month is still there.  You might be asking yourself, what did I do to cause this pain?

Heel pain has to be one of the most common complaints I get on a daily basis. Here are my answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about heel pain or plantar fasciitis.

What causes plantar fasciitis? After all, you are going about your work and play and one day it just starts.

Answer: Most frequently it doesn’t just “start”. It’s the result of accumulated stress on your plantar fascia, often over a long period of time, prior to the onset of your pain.

What things stress your plantar fascia?

Answer: Your weight, amount of time you spend on your feet, your foot type (high or low arches), tightness of your calf muscles, and your shoes.

What should you do when heel pain starts?

Answer: Begin your day by stretching your Achilles/calf muscle by pulling your foot toward your face with your knee straight, using a towel. Wear supportive shoes. If you wear heels, keep them lower than two inches, and avoid flats.  Also, try rest, ice, full length arch supports, and elevation of the affected foot. Finally, don’t go barefoot at home; that will put more stress on the plantar fascia.

Will I do more damage if I keep running or walking when heel pain starts?

Answer: Listen to your body. Your body is equipped with a wonderful mechanism to tell you when to stop. It’s an incredible sensory system with specific nerve fibers designed to sense pain. Pain is not normal. Pain occurs when the fibers of the plantar fascia have pulled too much on the heel bone( calcaneus) and they thicken. The fibers need to stop pulling too much, and the inflammation needs a chance to calm down. 

When do I need professional attention?

Answer: When you’ve googled it and schmoogled it, you’ve tried some of the basic common sense thingsmentioned above, and your heel pain persists have a podiatrist evaluate your feet.


Women's feet can be hard to fit. The challenge for women is to be able to find shoes that maintain style and comfort. I recently visited three shoe stores where the staff was excellent in fitting women with shoes that accommodated their foot problems while keeping them in style. Wearing shoes that fit you well can go a long way in preventing serious foot disorders.  

Mirage Shoes Comfort Shoes For Women: This store in Wallingford is owned by two women who have a very good knowledge of foot function while they focus on selling shoes that incorporate both style and comfort. They carry smart looking dress casuals like Taos, and others with a wider toe box such as Naot; these shoes more easily accommodate over the counter inserts or custom orthotics. They also sell Pedaq and Sole supports and know which shoes accommodate which insoles for various foot complaints. They also carry socks by SmartWool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks (Gray) Large. From sandals to walking shoes to dress shoes, Mirage shoes was truly “all about feet and all about you.” Open 7 days a week.

Shoes N Feet Shoe Store: This is an excellent store in Fremont where the staff has had in depth training about matching a customer’s needs and foot type with shoes and orthotics. In addition to Taos, Naot, Dansko, and Aravon, they carry shoes such as Aetrex and Orthofeet to accommodate wider feet and feet that need a roomier stretchy topped toe box. They sell a large variety of over the counter supports including Superfeet, Lynco, more rigid supports and lower profile devices for dress shoes. In addition, they sell socks with increased cushioning and Wrightsocks with a double layer designed to decrease friction when exercising. Open Mondays-Saturday.

Shoe Advantage Shoe Store: A great store in the Roosevelt district with a great family history. This store carries a good variety of men’s and women’s casual dress shoes and the staff is very helpful in fitting problem feet. They carry several brands of women shoes including Dansko, Aravon, Keen, Naot, Ecco, Rockport and Merrill. They sell primarily New Balance athletic shoes in the store, but their online store, Online Shoes, has an expanded selection of all types of shoes. If you buy online you can return shoes at the store. They have a full selection of Superfeet, and socks by SmartWool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks (Gray) Large and Thorlo. Open seven days a week and until 8pm weekdays.

Don’t Let Your Feet Become the Soul of Your Discontent
When shopping for shoes, try to go toward the end of the day because of the swelling that naturally occurs. In order to get the right Shoe for the right foot for the right activity, be sure to communicate your needs clearly to the staff.  If you wear orthotics bring them with you, and remember to wear the kind of socks you will be wearing with the shoes you will purchase.  Have your feet measured, but be sure to listen to the salespeople who know how each brands sizes tend to run. Don’t be surprised if you’re told you are wearing a shoe that’s too short. As we age, our feet do get longer. Be kind to your feet even if you don’t like the way they look. It’s not their fault, and you may have to expand your ideas along with the shoes you buy to keep your feet happy and healthy. 

By Dr. Rion Berg
March 07, 2013
Category: foot care
Tags: corns   warts   calluses   seed corns  

Corns and calluses are virtually the same thing; a thickening of the skin that forms in response to too much pressure. Commonly the larger areas forming under the ball of the foot are called calluses, and the smaller ones with a hard “core” are referred to as corns. These can form when there is too much pressure typically under one bone in the ball of the foot when it is lower than another. They can also form on the tops or tips of toes when there are hammertoes. The most important thing to understand, is that there are NO roots to a corn or callus.  If there were a root, then removing the center of the corn would prevent it from coming back. The problem stems from pressure from a bone out of alignment , metatarsal or hammertoe, pressure from the top of the shoe, or pressure from wearing heels.

Warts are caused by a virus. They can look similar to a corn, but the wart is frequently more elevated, interrupts the normal skin lines, may increase in size and number grouped in a small area, and will bleed when trimmed superficially. 

Seed Corns: these are very tiny, are sometimes grouped, and can be very painful.  They are often confused with warts, as they can be grouped, but like other corns they really don’t have a root and will not go away easily.

Treatment of Corns and Calluses
Trimming of corns and calluses will bring temporary relief, along with padding or use of pads to offload the corn that have the center cut out. Toe separators may be used to alleviate the pressure causing corns between toes.Do Not use medicated corn pads or liquid corn remover containing salicylic acid. It is the fastest way to developing a severe inflammation or infection.If you have hammertoes, you may need shoes with a deeper toe box.

Seed corns are thought to be caused by very dry skin. They require professional care to restore the skin to a healthier deeper layer, and then begin an aggressive moisturizing program.

Warts are treated with many different methods.  Before treating a wart, you should first see your podiatrist to be sure that this is the correct diagnosis. The treatment method chosen is based upon the degree of pain present, whether the number of warts is increasing, and must be matched to each individual’s work and play schedule. Warts can be very resistant to treatment, and it is not uncommon for more than one approach to be utilized to resolve them completely.

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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