Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: March, 2014

By Dr. Robyn W. Paloian
March 28, 2014
Tags: pregnant women  

Its spring, and baby bumps are everywhere.  Five of my friends are pregnant, and I’m glowing just thinking of them.  My pregnant friend recently reminded me of some of the not-so-joyful aspects of having a bun in the oven when she emailed me for advice. She was experiencing plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the ligament that supports the arch of the foot.  She couldn’t exercise without discomfort, and she longed for her daily walks with her beloved dog.  

In pregnancy, rapid weight gain can incite plantar fasciitis. Fortunately, there are many non-invasive treatments for plantar fasciitis that are safe for mom and baby.

Wearing a supportive shoe is paramount, and including an arch support may offer more biomechanical control and cushioning. Stretching exercises for the calf muscles will reduce the stress and strain on the plantar fascia. Patients find massage soothing and ice is helpful in reducing inflammation. Topical analgesics, such as Biofreeze, can relieve pain while avoiding pharmaceuticals.  

Another common foot and ankle issue in pregnancy is swelling. In addition to retaining extra fluid, weight from the growing uterus compresses lower extremity veins, impeding their function of returning blood to the heart.  While this usually goes away when baby arrives, it can be incredibly uncomfortable.   Elevating the feet and wearing compression stockings help to control edema. Physical activity, including walking, reduces swelling by activating the leg muscles, which act as pumps on the deep veins.  

Women often notice their feet changing size or shape after a pregnancy. The rapid increase in weight combined with ligamentous laxity (loose ligaments) can cause widening or elongation of the foot. Postpartum mamas might find that their favorite shoes no longer fit, or are no longer comfortable because their arches may have collapsed a little.  Getting measured by a knowledgeable salesperson is the best place to start.

As a mom, I know how important it is to keep the feet in tip-top shape.  Keeping up with little ones is a job in itself.  If you’re experiencing discomfort, or want to learn more about your foot condition, visit one of our friendly Seattle podiatrists for a consult.  

You can reach us at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000.

Justin Bieber is in the news again. He claims that a hairline fraction in his ankle was to blame for his shaky behavior during a sobriety test at his previous DUI arrest. He’s been seen wearing a walking boot that I prescribe to my patients who have a broken foot and many other conditions. It seems like lately celebrities have been seen pushing through pain and discomfort and occasionally blaming bad behavior on a foot problem. I frequently put my patients in a walking boot for an ankle fracture, similar to the one worn by Justin Bieber. My usual recommendation is to take it easy even with a walking boot. You don’t want to be seen dancing around a stage with one.  

Although some of my patients are older and have fractured their ankle due to a fall caused by balance problems, most frequently I see ankle fractures in my patients that are active in sports. Like Justin I’ve treated patients for ankle fractures as a result of skateboarding. Although skateboarding has a lot of young aficionados, I more commonly see ankle fractures in patients who run and play team sports.

3 Tips for Preventing Ankle Sprains and Fractures

Luckily there are several things you can do to avoid common sports injuries.

  • Avoid irregular surfaces – it’s easy to twist an ankle and fall when you are unfamiliar terrain; stick to flatter surfaces.
  • Buy new running shoes – see previous post about buying new shoes
  • Stretching – extremely important particularly for those with tight calf muscles-- stretching can help prevent you from turning your foot into a position that could throw off your balance.

If you do incur a foot injury after following these tips, come in to see us at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City so we can evaluate what’s going on and help you on your way to healing. We can be reached for an appointment at 206-368-7000 or online.

By Dr. Rion Berg
March 24, 2014

Wow what a weekend it was to get out in the yard and catch up. Are your shoes ready for your feet? We all have the tendency to cycle the oldest shoes to do the dirtiest job. Somehow we just don’t want to let go of a good old pair of shoes. Happy feet can be the upshot of using the following principles when purchasing and wearing shoes.

  • The average life of an athletic shoe is 400-600 miles. While the shoe may not look worn, the midsole of the shoe that provides the shock absorption will no longer give you the protection you need. After this point, it is time to replace your shoes.
  • The older the shoe the more likely you’ll have worn out the heels and sole beneath the ball of your foot. Plus, the upper portion of the shoe may become distorted. Once this happens, you may develop pain in the ball of the foot or pain in the middle to rearfoot or ankle.
  • A shoe should bend in the ball and not in the middle, and have a very stable heel counter where the back of the shoe covers the heel. As the shoe ages, it will flex too much in the ball and further toward the arch.  The heel counter may also become floppy.  You may develop inflammation at the base of your toes or pain in the arch or below the ankle.
  • Have your feet measured before you purchase new shoes. It’s not uncommon for people to buy the same size shoes they have always worn. As we age, our feet do get longer and may get wider. Keep in mind, there should be at least an index finger of width between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
  • You probably know that removable inserts usually come with your shoes. Often they have little arch support and inadequate shock absorption. Adding inserts like Powerstep, Spenco, or Superfeet can remedy this problem and prevent injuries to the arch and the ball of the foot.

So, enjoy the beautiful days upon us in Seattle. Follow these easy steps and you may avoid landing in my Seattle podiatry office on a Monday morning with a new foot complaint!

By Dr. Rion Berg
March 20, 2014
Category: family foot care
Tags: heel pain   bunions  

As the news broke this morning about the potential discovery of the remains of the Malaysian plane that disappeared this last week, it made me think about going the extra mile. Just as the authorities had to widen the search, and rethink their initial assumptions, they also enlisted the help of additional resources.  


To be effective in helping our patients, we too have to go the extra mile.  This often includes going beyond the initial examination and utilizing both diagnostic and treatment resources outside the office.  Following protocols established for various diagnoses is greatly helpful, but we must be prepared to change our assumptions based upon additional information received from our patients, diagnostic laboratory and radiology tests, other healthcare professionals treating the patient, and the patient’s response to any initial treatment provided.  Our team is dedicated to going the extra mile for our patients.


The Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City treats patients with:

and other conditions. To make an appointment, call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.



Two time professional champion of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” Julianna Hough is hitting her stride after tearing a ligament in her foot several months ago. She’s now back to her regular exercise regime. For someone who is on their feet a lot and puts them through rigorous workouts, it’s important to be fully healed before more stress and strain on their most valuable asset.

Most likely Ms. Hough had a severe ankle sprain along with her torn ligament. There are three ligaments in your ankle; they act like rubber bands connecting one bone to another and binding the joints together. In the ankle joint they provide stability by limiting side-to-side movement. Ligaments are usually torn as a result of a severe injury such as a sudden twist or a blow to the foot and ankle that puts in out of alignment.

Regardless, as your Seattle podiatrist need to let you know that if you’ve sustained an ankle sprain it’s essential to have it checked out and treated as soon as possible. I recommend applying the RICE protocol, to reduce swelling. Once I examine the sprain and you’ve had an X-ray, I’ll make further recommendations so that you can begin the healing process. Usually treatment can be accomplished using more conservative methods. However serious ankle sprains, particularly among competitive athletes, may require surgery to repair and tighten the damaged ligaments.

Call us at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City right away at 206-368-7000 if you’ve sustained an ankle injury and we’ll try to get you in same day.