Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: April, 2014

By Dr. Rion Berg
April 24, 2014
Category: Bunions

Would you have run in the Bunion Derby in 1928? Back then the derby was less a race and more of an endurance contest according to Charles Kastner who dramatizes the transcontinental footrace in his book Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America. These runners experienced extreme weather conditions from desert heat to winter winds, huge demands on often untrained bodies, and mostly horrible living conditions. In contrast to the majority of today’s event runners who are female (with the exception of some marathon categories), earning $75,000 or more, and most often run for better health the runners back then were all men, working class or unemployed, and ran for the prize of $25, 000 and free publicity to revive careers.

Although runners may not face the extreme conditions like the men of the Bunion Derby they still face the hardship of racing with pain caused by bunions (the namesake of the 20s race), flat feet, hammertoes, and other foot anomalies. Those who have the desire to excel at this sport do so even if they don’t have ideal feet.

Bunions – although bunionsare often due to faulty foot structure they also arise as a result of how you walk and run through life. For example, if you overpronate when you run you’re more likely to get bunions. Overpronation is often resolved with the right shoe and foot orthotic. You can try an over the counter orthotic if you haven’t already. If this works, great! If not, you’ll need to see a Seattle podiatrist to get custom orthotics made.

Flat Feet – runners with flat feet are particular at risk for developing plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. This can be particularly problematic for women who go from high heels to a lower running shoe. Avoiding high heels and use of custom orthotics are ways to keep doing the sport you love without the pain.

Hammertoes- this condition most commonly results from an imbalance in the muscle/tendon in the 3rd, 4th, or 5thtoes causing the joints to contract. Wearing high heels or tight shoes can also contribute to the progression of this condition. Trimming and/or padding the corns and calluses that form, custom orthotics, and proper footwear are the primary treatments.

We’d love to support you in your running quest no matter what level you’re at; request an appointment at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City. 

As summer approaches we start to see many people who want to get rid of their ugly, toenail fungus. While many people are already aware about the importance of eliminating fungal nails and about its treatments, there are still many myths floating around in social circles and the internet that I’d like to put to rest.

Myth #1 Home Remedies Will Cure It

I thought I’ve heard everything about the types of home remedies that people use to cure toenail fungus; then the other day someone came into my office who said they heard that you can use duct tape to get rid of it. We had a good laugh about that one. However there are people who still think that Vicks VapoRub, Listerine, bleach, and soaking their toes in Pinesol have merit. Even my colleagues who are naturopaths and use alternative medications such as Teatree oil have admitted that this treatment is limited in its value as an anti-fungal. It might mitigate the fungus but it almost always comes back.

Myth #2 Only People Who Don’t Bathe Get Toenail Fungus

Although we’d all like to think that onychomycosis (the technical name for toenail fungus) only affects unclean people, this couldn’t be further from the truth. You can check out my video Guide to Eliminating, Ugly Fungal Toenails to learn more about its causes. One thing to keep in mind is that fungus loves to grow in dark, damp places. One of the reasons we get fungus on our toes and not our fingers is because we have our feet in shoes all day long, a place fungus loves to grow, NOT because we don’t take a bath.

Myth #3 Toenail Fungus Can Be Cured By Removing the Nail

Occasionally fungal toenails becomes infected and ingrown and require surgical removal. However, this is not a procedure I would ever use in my office for a less invasive presentation of this disease. Removal of the toenail is no guarantee that fungal nails will be cured. Other complications can also result from this procedure including pain and distorted nail regrowth. The best option is to have toenails treated early so that surgery is not needed.

Myth #4 It’s Ugly, But It’s OK Not to Treat

Yes fungal nails are indeed ugly but that’s not the only reason to treat them. As mentioned above leaving nails untreated can cause nails to become infected and ingrown. Fungal nails can also be quite painful, become very tough to trim, and are contagious. And most fungal nail conditions are progressive in nature. The longer you have it the worse it gets and the more likely you are to have problems.

Myth #5 It Can Be Cured Quickly

There is no quick path to treating fungal nails. Even with good effective treatment such as using laser treatment with a great aftercare program, nails take up to a year to grow out.

But don't lose hope. Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment or request an appointment online. Dr. Berg will evaluate your situation and provide you with the best treatment options.

For information about other foot condition, get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

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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Learn more about the experience of one of our patients. To make an appointment, call us at 206-368-7000 or request one online.

Preventing your parents from falling may not be the first thing on your mind this spring. As the weather warms up, they are more likely to venture out where uneven surfaces and balance problems can put them at risk for falling. In a survey done in 2010 in Washington State revealed that one in five older adults reported having fallen in the previous three months. When you consider that falls are the leading cause of death and non-fatal injuries in adults over 65, finding out what to do with a parent unsteady on their feet is critical (U.S. Administration for Community Living).

As the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City gears up for Older Americans Month, we’ll be writing about what you can do to prevent falls inside and outside of the home.

Risks for Falling

Two big areas of risk for falling in older adults are balance/gait problems and chronic illnesses such as diabetes.

  • Balance and gait – as we age we lose balance, coordination, and strength which puts us as risk for falling.
  • Chronic conditions – over 90% of older adults have a chronic condition such as diabetes, arthritis, or stroke. These can result in lost function and increase falling risk due to loss of function, pain, or loss of feeling in the feet (diabetics).  

Exercise to Improve Balance

Regular physical activity has been shown to improve balance and mobility in older adults. Yoga, Thai Chi, Qi Gong, and dance have all been used successfully to improve balance in this population. Here are some locations in the Greater Seattle Area offering exercise classes to help older adults with their balance.

Balance Assessment to Determine Medical Risks for Falling

As your Seattle podiatrist I’m happy to announce that we are now offering an extensive balance assessment for our diabetic patients that may be at risk for falls due to loss of feeling in their feet. We can help patients with this type of risk through education and with specialized foot and ankle devices developed specifically to help this balance problem.

If you have a parent or older friend that is unsteady on their feet, call the Foot and Ankle of Lake City today to set up an appointment today at 206-368-7000 or request one online

Bill Iffrig never intended to become a hero or media star. He’s a humble man from Lake Steven’s who loves to run. He’s been doing it for 40 of his 79 years. Last year at the Boston Marathon, Bill suddenly became famous when his photo was blasted across the world. He’s pictured lying on the ground after the blast with police standing over him. A short film was recently released about his life and his experience during last year’s tragic event.

Bill is an inspiration to any of us who run in our later years. Although I don’t know the state of his feet or ankles I do know that as we age injuries go up as our joints degenerate, particularly if we’ve had damage to cartilage from overuse and previous injuries. Of course, the foot problems of all runners are also common to older runners including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and ankle sprain.

If you’re a boomer and a runner don’t try to run through these painful conditions. Make an appointment at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request one online. We’ll get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.

Photo source: Sports on Earth Films

A few years ago I wrote a blog called “Are Your Shoes Ready for Your Feet” about shopping for shoes. While a person with few foot issues can easily glean what they need to know about shoe shopping from that blog if you’re like many of my patients who have hammertoes, bunions, or heel pain shopping for shoes can be a lot more challenging.  Here are some additional tips that can help with the process.

Avoid high heels
If you already have bunions, hammertoes, or a painful neuroma it makes no sense to cram your foot into a high heel shoe that may have been the culprit of your foot problems to begin with. High heels will only worsen these conditions.

Avoid flat, flat shoes
The latest craze is the ballet flat. If you stand on your feet all day and have the tendency toward developing plantar fasciitis or heel pain, flat, flat shoes will only hasten the development of this condition.

Buy shoes with a low heel
Low heeled shoes (one inch or less) are the antidote to high heels or flat, flat shoes. They will help you avoid development of plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis and at the same time they won’t aggravate your bunions or hammertoes.

Buy shoes with a large toe box
Although you may be thinking how unfashionable, not all shoes with a large toe box need to look like your Grandma’s. Naot’s, Clarks, Dansko, and Keen all make shoes that will look good and give your toes space at the same time.

Buy shoes that will work with your orthotics
Fortunately there are a lot of shoe companies that now make shoes with removable foot beds that will work with orthotics and are fashionable at the same time. Kristin Borrink runs a website called Barking Dog Shoes . She provides shoe suggestions for specific foot problems. A store that I highly recommend is Sole Perfection; the store is located in Fremont, Shoreline, and Everett. The owners are fantastic to work with and can make recommendations for your particular foot situation and orthotics.

If you're experiencing any foot 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 foot and ankle problems, download one of our eBooks, "No More Foot Pain" or "Stop Living With Stubborn Heel 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.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+