Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: May, 2014

Each day I ask my patients to walk and do other activities to stay strong, balanced, and flexible. It’s great to know that these recommendations have been confirmed by a new, landmark study conducted through the University of Florida’s Institute on Aging. It showed that moderate physical activity improves the independence and mobility of older adults. The study included 1635 sedentary men and women aged 70-89. Half the group walked 150 hours per week and performed strength, balance, and flexibility exercises. The other half received health education and did stretching. Moderate physical activity helped older adults maintain their ability to walk at a rate 18 percent higher than older adults who did not exercise. It also decreased disability with the largest gains for those who were most sedentary.

Our “In Balance Fall Prevention Program” was started to improve the mobility and balance of our older patients as 1 out of 3 are at risk for falling each year. Although there are multiple reasons for fall risk, one of the best ways to reduce that risk is through exercise. The study had older adults walking 21 minutes a day. Although that would certainly be ideal, if you’ve been sedentary for a long time or have other physical problems, I’d recommend going to your physician before setting out on any new course of exercise.

Forming a New Habit

  • It takes 21 days to form a new habit. It’s important to start off slowing but consistently. It’s better to walk for 5 minutes every day for the first 21 days than to walk more than you can physically handle; you’re much more likely to maintain the habit at a slow pace.
     
  • Find a walking buddy. Walking with a friend is good company and will keep you accountable
     
  • Purchase good walking shoes. If your feet are uncomfortable you are less likely to keep up the habit.
     
  • Join a class that also increases you strength, balance, and flexibility. Yoga is ideal for this purpose. In Seattle there are many choices. Choose a class that goes at your pace. Call your local senior center or the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department. Two Dog Yoga is a yoga studio in Lake City that provides many Gentle Yoga options.

If you are having trouble walking I’d love to see you in my office so we can figure out how to keep you on your toes. Call us at 206-368-7000.

 


By Dr. Rion Berg
May 22, 2014
Category: foot conditions

Fall prevention for seniorsProblems with balance and falls are one of the biggest issues for my older patients. One out of 3 adults over 65 falls each year and every 15 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall. Because I've heard so many devastating stories about seniors who have fallen, assessing all my patients over 65 for potential fall risk has become an essential part of my podiatry practice.

With the advent of autumn and Seattle rain, it's important to increase awareness of your own risk or that of a loved one to prevent a potential tragedy.

Take the Quick Assessment for Fall Risk

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) adapted a fall risk checklist developed by the Greater Los Angeles VA Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center. The 12 questions on this list are a good screening tool. If you or a loved one had a score of 4 or greater, as your Seattle podiatrist I strongly recommend coming into my office for a more extensive balance assessment. My goal is to ensure you have all the tools you need to walk safely through the day.

What You'll Receive If You're At Risk for Falling

-A complete balance assessment (this look at 12 different parameters that can affect fall risk such as  gait and balance, vision status, how your chronic health conditions affect you, how well you can sense the ground with your feet, your ankle strength, medications you are on, your get up and go, and others).

-Referral to a physical therapist if needed.

-Casting with a Moore Balance Brace if indicated.

-Information/Education/Referral on or to:

  • Four action steps you can take to prevent falls
  • How to make your home safer
  • Seniors Services Home Repairs Program to install handrails and grab bars
  • Locations in Seattle with exercise classes to improve your strength and balance

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.

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

 

 


Like most women in Seattle, you care about what you eat and how you treat your body. You eat healthy food, mostly organic. You exercise three to four days a week, including yoga or pilates. You get massages when you’re stressed. All in all you think of yourself as a healthy person.

That’s why even when it comes to healing a part of your body, like your feet, you want to make sure that you do it the right way – the most healthy way possible.

You’re not exactly sure how you got toenail fungus, perhaps it was the shower in the gym – but now that you have it you want to get rid of it. You’ve heard that certain oral medicines can do damage to your liver and that worries you. You’ve read about natural treatments and you’ve tried tea tree oil and a few other topicals. You feel good about that, but then you look at your feet. The fungus is still there. Yuck!

No matter how you justify not doing anything about it, the truth is your toenail fungus just makes you feel unhealthy.

Fortunately, there’s a treatment for fungal nails where you won’t have to compromise your health. Laser treatment is fast, takes only 30 minutes, and has no long term side effects.

How does it work? The laser light kills the fungus that lives under your nail without causing damage to the nail or surrounding skin. The Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City offers a Comprehensive Laser Treatment Program.

If you want to learn more about toenail fungus, you can also get “Your Guide to Fungal Toenails” from our website.

We’d be happy to talk to talk to you about your particular nail condition during your first visit. At that time Dr. Berg will be able to advise you about the best plan of action for your particular situation. To reach us call 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.


By Rion Berg
May 16, 2014
Category: sports injuries

It’s time for the 32nd Beat the Bridge running event to raise money for JDRF, the leading global foundation that funds research to eliminate Type 1 diabetes. On Sunday, thousands of Seattle runners will try to beat a path to the Montlake Bridge before it is raised. Because this is often a Seattle runner’s first race of the year, there is a greater risk to feet and ankles particularly if training has been slack. I’m sure to get a few people limping into my office next week because they have a twisted or swollen ankle or come in complaining of heel pain.

Be sure your shoes are good to go – your running shoes wear out after 400 miles, which is one year for most people. I’ve heard that pro athletes change out their shoes every couple of games because they are so hard on them. Those who run are usually somewhere in between but you can figure out your mileage pretty easily if you wear the same shoes all the time. You can test out the supportiveness of any shoe you are looking to purchase. Shoes should not bend in the middle nor be able to twist (hold the shoes at both ends when trying this).

Avoid uneven pavement – you may be running in the streets this weekend, but as you know the streets in Seattle have lots of problems. While you can’t always avoid uneven pavement, try to scope out areas in your training regimen that are relatively smooth. Twisted and swollen ankles often show up at my door due to surface issues, not the way my patients run.

Get your orthotics checked – if you’ve had your orthotics for over a year or longer it’s a good idea to have them checked out, particularly if you’re experiencing any pain in your feet or back. As your Seattle podiatrist I can tell you that runners wear out their orthotics more quickly and simple adjustments can make them work more effectively when racing.

Slowly increase exercise intensity – if your main training has been to run around Greenlake at a slow pace once a month, taking on any race could put you at higher risk for a stress fracture. The guideline is increasing your training by 10% each week, no more. If you’re a beginner get a clearance from your primary care doctor before starting any exercise program. Women are at greater risk then men for getting a stress fracture particularly for those who have reached menopause or have bone loss for other health reasons.

Don’t ignor foot pain – pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Don’t ignor it. It could be an easy fix but it could be the signal of something larger.

You might want to finish first or perhaps your sights are lower and you just want to finish the race. Either way the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City is always there to keep you going. You can reach us at  206-368-7000 or you can request an appointment online.


You wake up one day and your toe is just killing you. You know you should have that ingrown toenail taken care of by your podiatrist, but you’re so busy you just can’t be bothered. Instead you decide to perform what I call “Bathroom Surgery”. What's that you’re probably thinking? It’s literally any procedure you decide to take on yourself where you’re puncturing the skin. I’ve had patients perform this on ingrown nails, warts, and corns. Just recently one of my patients came in after performing bathroom surgery on his ingrown nail and he came into my office with a terrible infection.

Although this doesn’t happen too often, I do see 2-3 cases of bathroom surgery on an ingrown toenail a year; usually by men. OK guys. Listen up. You probably perform all kinds of surgery on your car and other things around your house, but that doesn’t mean you should be monkeying around with your own toes.

So what can you do if you have a painful toe and you know it’s an ingrown nail?

-Treat your toe with kindness, instead of brute force; soak your throbbing toe in a foot bath.

-Stop playing sports so you don’t add insult to injury.

-Avoid tight shoes – if you have tight shoes that are irritating your toenail, wear ones that have a larger toe box.

-Get some new shoes- if you’re favorite tennis shoes are putting pressure on your achy toe, it’s time to buy some new shoes. As we age our feet get bigger, sometimes by a whole size. Don’t suffer needlessly.

Finally as your Seattle podiatrist I highly recommend you make an appointment with my office so you can have professional surgery on your toenail. You'll feel relief after the first visit.

Call us at 206-368-7000. 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.

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