Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: January, 2014

winter runningIt looks the Seahawks may have dodged a bullet weather wise on Superbowl Sunday. Although the East Coast has been experiencing arctic weather, the weather prediction for Sunday is no or low precipitation and temperatures in the 40s. We’ve been lucky in Seattle in comparison to the majority of the country when it comes to cold weather. However, those who like to run in the winter or hike and ski in our Northwest mountains are very likely to encounter wet conditions, freezing temperatures, and cold feet.

What can you do to keep your feet warm?

  • Avoid tight footwear. It can inhibit circulation of the blood vessels in the lower extremities and cause cold feet.
  • Wear the right socks. Socks that contain wool and wick away moisture from your feet are best. I recommend SmartWool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks (Gray) Large to my patients who are sports minded or have circulatory problems. For runners , try SmartWool PhD Running Socks.
  • Use two pairs of socks if needed. In very cold temperatures, I suggest two pairs of socks. Wear one thin layer next to your skin made of a wicking material like polypropylene and a thicker layer made of a combination of wool and other synthetic materials. If you plan to use two pairs of socks it’s important that your shoes still fit. If they don’t, buy shoes a half size larger.
  • Use foot warmers. There are a variety of foot warmers on the market that get the job done. They’re inexpensive and last as long as 8 hours.
  • Wear appropriate shoes. Match your footwear to the sport. Although this may go without saying, wearing the wrong shoes for a particular activity can also lead to cold feet. For example, if you plan to hike in the snow make sure your old hiking boots don’t leak. It may be time to buy a new pair if this is happening to you. Same goes for running in cold and/or wet weather. Shoes should have as little mesh as possible to avoid water from entering your shoes. Waterproof trail shoes may be your best bet if you know that you plan to run on snowy or wet trails.

Now that you have the information you need to keep your feet warm, you may be all set to be a weekend warrior. However, If you’re experiencing foot pain we encourage you to make an appointment with one of our Seattle foot doctors and have it checked out. You can reach us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

By Dr. Rion Berg
January 27, 2014
Category: Heel pain
Tags: heel pain   bunions   Madonna   Macklemore   sprained ankle  

Madonna strutted her stuff with Seattle’s Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the Grammy’s last night even though she’s still healing from an injury caused by wearing high heels. She instagrammed her friends before her performance telling them “"It's official! I'm off my crutches and I'm looking for the perfect pair of heels to wear to the Grammys”.Apparently she bruised the bone of her foot a little over a week ago and was seen not long after working out at the gym with her crutches. Now that’s crazy dedication to looking good.

It seems like our celebrity blog log of foot injuries just keeps rolling along. And most of these injuries are the result of wearing high heels. Of course last week we heard about a diving injury sustained by Uma Foden of Splash! fame but that’s more unusual. Swimming is one of the safest things you can do to stay active throughout your life. Diving--not so much.

I know no matter how much I tell my patients to lay off the high heels, it’s just not going to happen. Some of my patients work at jobs where they have to be on their feet all day and they wear heels as a standard of fashion.

Unfortunately the results of high heel wear are foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, and an increased likelihood of falling and twisting an ankle.

Even for my heel loving patients I can offer some preventive advice:

  • If you wear high heels regularly, be sure to alternate the height of your heels which can help prevent tightening of your Achilles tendon. If this tendon gets too tight you place yourself at greater risk of heel pain.
  • Stretching your achilles/calf muscle daily particularly before exercise will also prevent tightening of this muscle.
  • When wearing heels, protect the ball of your foot with a pad in the shoe or gel pad applied to your foot.

If you do start to experience pain as a result of high heel wear, don’t ignor it. It will only make things worse over time. Call us 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online and we’ll do whatever we can to get you back to the dance floor.

One of patients came in to see me after she dropped her laptop on her big toe. Ouch!


Injuries to our feet are so painful because, like our hands, they have the highest concentration of sensory nerves in the human body. Luckily, she did not damage her toenail or the nail bed, however, she did sustain a fracture to the bone right under her nail. 


I used x-rays to make the diagnosis, in addition to the clinical appearance of discoloration, swelling and pain. And while her fracture was not seen to be displaced nor affecting the joint, she still required immobilization for 4-6 weeks -- the amount of time needed for adult bone to heal.   


Given my patient’s busy lifestyle, she agreed to wear a flat, stiff, surgical sandal, use crutches and avoid sports and exercise for a few weeks.  Yet within 24 hours my patient returned, requesting treatment option number two: a full cast to the knee.  Why was this necessary? Unless you stop moving your body weight over the foot, you virtually can’t avoid stress to the tip of the toe.


While it may seem like overkill, the cast was the only thing that diminished my patient’s pain. Fortunately, we have removable walking cast boots, so she could bathe and sleep without it.  And aside from total non-weightbearing, this provided the best option for her.  Crutches, hopping or walking on her hands would be a lot more challenging!  


What’s the moral of the story? Number one, don’t drop your laptop. Number two, if you do, keep your feet out of the way. You may have a laptop to repair, but the injury to the foot will impact your life a lot more!


More About Fractures



Stress Fractures


You may not be accident prone but you may still have foot problems.


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.

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Fortunately for the Seahawks and Seahawk fans, K.J. Wright has a chance to play on Sunday against the 49ers according to head coach Pete Carroll. Wright missed the last four games after breaking his right foot against our current rivals. As you watch the game this Sunday with your family you may be thinking about how to prevent sports injuries in your own kids.

Soccer is one of the most popular youth sports in Seattle. Some of the more common injuries in soccer are sprains and broken ankles. Soccer involves a lot of turning, twisting, and sudden movements. These can put a player off balance and set them up for injury.

Preventing Sprains and Ankle Injuries in Sports

  • Check your kid’s shoes to make sure they aren’t wearing down in ways that could set them up for an injury.
  • Encourage stretching and warm ups before play. Calf stretches and light jogging will get blood circulating and warm up ligaments.
  • Make sure that the surface they are playing on is even. Dips and holes in the field are a set up for injuries.
  • Taping and use of ankle braces can be very helpful in preventing injuries.

What Do To When An Injury Occurs

  • Ankle injuries should be treated immediately using immobilization and therapy. The purpose is to restore strength and balance for the most complete recovery.
  • Ankle sprains are often more than just a sprain and can include cartilage injuries or broken bones without your child knowing it. Early assessment and treatment of a sprain will help get your kid back into the action.
  • Ankle fractures are more serious and require immediate attention.
  • Turf toe is another common soccer injury. It occurs when the big toe is overextended during play which creates a jamming of the joint and severe chronic pain. Oral anti-inflammatory medications and taping are the first line in treating this injury. Depending on other factors more aggressive treatment may be needed.

Don’t hesitate to contact the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City to see one of our Seattle podiatrists if your child sustains a sports injury. To make an appointment, call us at 206-368-7000.

By Dr. Rion Berg
January 14, 2014
Category: Heel pain
Tags: foot pain   hammertoes   high heels   high arches  

Watching Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams hit the red carpet at the Golden Globes with their high heel shoes, I started to wonder if they had high arches. You’d think only a podiatrist would wonder such things. But it seems lately that this issue has been a big concern for people seeking out information on our website.

If you are a woman with high arches and you have pain in your feet, there are some things to consider.

High arched feet primarily contact the ground in the heel and the ball of the foot. If you’re having pain you could have a condition called metatarsalgia. This condition can develop in the ball of the foot, particularly if you have a job that requires a lot of standing.

You may notice yourself gravitating toward your pretty high heels because they feel better then lower heeled shoes at first. That’s because the shoe matches the arch of your foot. Unfortunately when your heel is higher than one inch, more pressure is added to the ball of your foot.

If you wear heeled shoes frequently throughout the day, your Achilles tendon will tighten and you’ll increase the chance of developing unsightly hammertoes.

Recommendations for women with high arches:

  • Protect the ball of the foot with additional support either in the form of a metatarsal pad, or a slim over the counter ¾ length arch support that includes a metatarsal pad, if you wear heels regularly. Dr. Jill’s gel metatarsal pad’s are reusable and are applied directly to your skin.
  • Stretch your calves before working out at the gym or running outside. Wearing heels all day shortens the calf muscle and without proper stretching, you are more likely to have problems with your feet such as heel pain. If you don’t have prescriptive orthotics, replace the inserts that came with your athletic shoes with a good full length arch support. You can find Superfeet at local pharmacies or Powerstep at our office or online.
  • Wear a lower heel during the day. More supportive dress shoes with squarer heels no higher than 1.5 inches would be best. When fashion dictates, alternate between wearing dress heels and lower heels or flats.

You may have been born with pretty high arched feet, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with pain. If you’ve tried over the counter arch supports  and your pain is not better, seek consultation with a foot specialist.

The Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City in Seattle has been treating patients for over 30 years. Make an appointment by calling us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online at www.bergdpm.com/appointment.html.