Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: May, 2013

What an amazing Memorial Day weekend. Several patients told me they managed to pursue camping, hiking, and sailing on Puget Sound, despite glitches in the weather. As a sailor myself, I can tell you that preparation is the key to safety and enjoyment. 

Keeping your feet healthy during your desired summer activities can also be achieved by using good judgment and performing a few preventive measures before you set out. 

Start with the right shoe for the right activity. We get into the habit of using our getaway, slip on shoes. These may be fine for a quick trip to the grocery store, but if you wear them for prolonged walking or hiking you may find your feet complaining.

During the summer we go barefoot in sandals and increase our overall level of exercise, with skincare at the bottom of our priority list. Moisturizing regularly can help maintain the elasticity of the skin and prevent cracking and blister formation.

Also, be sure you’re prepared with the right amount of sail for the weather you encounter. This takes experience and good judgment. For example, when your best friend asks you to go on a pretty hefty hiking trail and it’s been five years since you’ve strapped on your boots, it would be a wise choice to convince your friend to go on a milder hike. You should also try on your boots and walk around in them to ensure they still fit you well.

Why?

Particularly as we get older, leaping into an activity without building up to it and preparing your muscles and tendons for the load you’ll experience can lead to ankle sprains and other foot problems. Ill-fitting shoes and shoes that haven’t been broken in properly will only add to your problems and can result in blisters, corns, aggravation of plantar fasciitis, bunions, and other foot problems you already have.

So do yourself a favor.

Prepare in advance to prevent your feet and ankles from screaming at you.

Safe Sailing! 


I reviewed several shoe stores this year in order to make good recommendations to my patients.

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. From sandals to walking shoes to dress shoes, Mirage shoes was truly “all about feet and all about you.” They also carried the cutest socks by SmartWool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks (Gray) Large. 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.

Walking Shoe Company: If you’re shopping in the Northgate Mall, you might just want to stop in the Walking Shoe Company. They have the large variety of Dansko shoes. Their Abeo athletic shoes promise and air return energy, but are clearly for lightweight use. Dress shoes by Raffini, Abeo, and Ecco add to their variety. 

Come in anytime to check out our own selection of shoes in our shoe store. Call us ahead of time at 206-368-7000.


When you’re young and pregnant with summer approaching, you may not be feeling very royal, even if you are Kate Middleton. Pregnancy can take its toll on your legs and feet by swelling, particularly when it’s hot outside.

What can you do hold down the swelling so you can be happier mother to be?

The answer is very simple. Use support stockings of proper compression. Despite the chore of getting these on, they are necessary to prevent unsightly varicose veins and damage to the valves in your deeper veins. 

Your feet may crave open flip flops, however, with hormonal changes and weight gain comes loosening foot ligaments. If you don’t have proper foot support, you’re putting yourself at greater risk for a flattening arch and plantar fasciitis.

If you can’t tolerate your athletic shoes, it’s important to wear supportive sandals such as Naot, Chacos, or Birkenstocks. Luckily, we’re in Seattle without the dictates of royal attire. Your feet should be able to get through your pregnancy with comfort, keeping with a Northwest style. Maybe Kate should spend her summer in Seattle instead of insisting on wearing high heels, even when she shouldn’t.

P.S. As of this date we don’t know if Kate is still wearing high heels as she was earlier in her pregnancy.

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By Dr. Rion Berg
May 07, 2013
Tags: shoes   athletic shoes   high arches   flat feet  

Are you already starting to increase your exercise, work in your garden, or getting ready to travel? If so, be sure you treat your feet right to enjoy your activities that will place a higher demand on your feet.

Foot Design
The bones and joints in your feet were designed to absorb shock and move you forward.

But supporting these feet properly, may require knowing where your feet are on the spectrum from flexible flatfoot to a rigid high arched foot. The flexible flatter design is a good shock absorber, but lacks leverage to propel you well. Not only can this lead to foot complaints, but knee and low back pain as well. On the other end of the spectrum, the rigid high arched foot lacks shock absorption, but has plenty of leverage for push off.

Once you know your foot type, you can adjust your shoes and foot supports to match the needs of the foot and help prevent a host of chronic lower extremity problems.

Shoes and Suppports
In general, the more flexible and flatter the foot, the firmer the shoe needs to be. If you have a more rigid high arched foot, you'd be better off with a more flexible shock absorbing shoe.


No matter which shoe you purchase, here are some tips when evaluating shoes:

  1. Make sure they bend at the ball, not in the middle
  2. They should have a firm heel counter
  3. Avoid shoes that twist easily from side to side
  4. For athletic activities or working on your feet, the more lacing the better. Simple rule: Laces are better than Velcro, which are better than Slip ons.

Supports
Most shoes out of th box have poor arch support, no matter how much money you paid. How can you tell? When you can remove the insert, roll it up easily and stuff it into your pocket, it isn’t adequate! Invest $40 in Superfeet or Powerstep (in office only), and you will have invested in the health of your feet.

Exercises
If you’ve been inactive during the winter, incorporate a good stretching program in your daily routine. Build up your exercise program gradually, and listen to your body. While minor overuse problems may fade away as you increase your activities, persistent pain is a signal to seek some professional help with your problem.

Favorite Shoes

  • For a very stable all around shoe for the flatter squarer foot, Brooks Addiction, Beast/Ariel have been around for a long time.
  • New Balance comes in widths, and has a range of stability in various models. Keen walking shoes are amazing.
  • Avoid flip flops, and take a look at Naot sandals and Chaco.
  • Few shoes are designed well for the high arched foot, but Dansko does a good job, and the rocker in the front of the shoe can help significantly.

Knowing what you now know about shoes, pick up the right pair for your feet and line up a walk at Greenlake, the Burke Gilman Trail, the new train around the Jackson Park Golf Course  or one of the other walking trails in Seattle. Many communities such as Lake City have urban trails developed and mapped.

 


You surely must understand that the appearance of the Starship in a thirteen year olds’ foot was as much surprise to me as it was to her.  There was no doubt, however, that this look alike was way off course and foreign to the deep space of her foot.  It was trapped in orbit in her left foot for over two weeks until I plotted a new course and removed it.  At only .5 cm in length, finding this cloaked object was truly like finding a needle in a haystack. 

During the course of my 30 years in practice, I have removed staples, toothpicks, splinters, animal hairs, carpet fibers , and even a thread from a foot.  With few exceptions, your body has an early warning system called pain, redness, and swelling that will alert you to the presence of something foreign having entered your space without permission.  Should you have the unfortunate experience of stepping on a foreign object, be sure to have your podiatrist evaluate and treat this problem early. Upon removal you will be clear for more voyages.

For an appointment, contact us here.

Dr. Berg is also available to speak in North Seattle.  You can contact us at [email protected]for more information.