Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: June, 2014

If the Puget Sound area was a state it would rank 4thin the nation in skin cancer rates. For many of us this may sound counterintuitive. After all aren't we the rainy city and the cloud capital of the country?

Athough this is probably true, I think it's also the reason many of us don’t take proper precautions. We don't cover up or use sunscreen because we believe that we aren't really getting that much sun or that we need the Vitamin D. Also, when it's cloudy we forget that we’re still exposing ourselves to harmful UV rays.

Even though we may think these are all good reasons for exposing our toes, we still need to be careful when it comes to excessive exposure to the sun. When it comes to feet, melanoma is the most common skin cancer found there with a survival rate of just 52% in contrast to 85% for melanoma on other parts of the body. Melanoma also strikes people of any age, unlike other skin cancers.

Foot Cancer Can Be Harder to Detect

The higher death rate from foot melanoma is very likely due to later identification when skin cancer is more advanced. Cancer on the feet can be difficult to detect when it appears in between toes, under toenails, and on the bottom of the feet. That’s why it’s important to check all areas of your feet and let your Seattle podiatrist know if you notice any new or changing moles, freckles, or warts.

Who’s At Greater Risk?

People with fair skin, those who got blistering sunburns before 18, and those with many moles, particularly at a young age.

Skin Changes to To Look For

  • Asymmetrical in shape
  • Irregular borders
  • A mix of colors instead of just one color
  • Greater than 5mm in diameter

Protecting Piggies from the Sun

Here are some tips to lower your risk for skin cancer.

  • Apply sunscreen on the top and soles of your feet. Safer sunscreen products can be found by checking out the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreens. This group is particularly conscious about sunscreens that provide the best protection but without harmful chemicals.
  • Wear water shoes or shoes and socks.
  • Become curious about your feet on a regular basis; when drying your feet be sure to check between your toes, underneath your nails, and use a mirror to look under your soles if you can’t reach that far.
  • Don’t forget to use sunscreen on your kids and check their feet as well; sun can do more damage to children.

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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As a web-footed Seattleite you probably look forward to unleashing your toes as you sit back and soak up some rays. But did you know that wearing sandals can be beneficial if you have an ingrown toenail? Not only can open-toed shoes relieve the pain and prevent infection but they can also help you heal if you need toenail surgery.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

Although some people will never have an ingrown toenail in their lifetime, many adults, teens, and even kids have to deal with this painful condition. Family history, wearing shoes that are too tight, involvement in sports, toenail fungus, and poor nail trimming can all increase the chances that you will get an ingrown nail.

Can I Treat My Ingrown Toenail At Home?

It depends. If you are young, healthy, and your toenail is not infected you can try the following home remedies:

  • Soak your toe in a footbath – use warm water with Espom salts and soak for 5-10 minutes. Do this 3-4 times a day.
  • Purchase some Neosporin ointment and massage near the ingrown nail to help prevent infection.
  • Wear sandals or open-toed shoes to give your toe room to breathe and prevent infection from setting in.

When Do I Need to Be Seen By A Podiatrist?

Although a foot soak may work for some people, if you’re in the following situation it’s important you contact your Seattle podiatrist to assess your toe situation.

  • You’ve tried the foot soak and you’re still experiencing pain or the skin around your nail is red and swollen.
  • You’ve had toenail surgery before on your ingrown nails.
  • You have a chronic illness – if you have diabetes or a circulatory problem or another problem with your immune system your body has decreased ability to ward off infections.  

Although sandals can go a long way it helping out with an ingrown toenail, it’s only way part of treating this common condition. Toenail surgery can be performed right in our office, results in little pain, and you’re usually back to normal activities quickly.

To make an appointment at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

Since she arrived at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City in September of 2013, Dr. Robyn W. Paloian has been busy. Her practice has increased and the type of patients she sees varies from new moms, kids, athletes, and seniors. It’s not unusual for her to perform laser treatment on a new mom with fungal nails, recommend orthotics for a runner or dancer, and perform surgery on a teenager with an ingrown toenail all in the same day.

Although she loves treating her contemporaries, she also finds seniors delightful to work with. “I learn so much from them and enjoy their stories”, said Dr.Paloian.

If you’re a new mom and want someone who can relate well to you and your children, you may schedule an appointment with Dr. Paloian at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

Watch video of Dr. Paloian.

Although we all love to be wrapped up in the special effects of another sequel to Star Wars, no amount of magic will instantly heal the broken ankle Harrison Ford sustained on last week’s set of Episode VII. Unlike many hazards that surround high impact sports, who knew that the door of the spaceship Millenium Falcon would also become a statistic for an ankle break.

Now everyone knows that Harrison Ford will be out of commission for 8 weeks in his reprising role as Hans Solo. Fortunately shooting will continue in his absence and the December release date is still intact. Some of our favorite actors from the original such as Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill will be shooting their roles while Harrison is busy recovering.

Ford is very likely using a boot and crutches during his recovery time which will help the healing process through offloading and immobilization. Immobilization is one of the key ways I would use as your Seattle podiatrist to help in your recovery process should you happen to incur a broken ankle or ankle sprain.

If you or your young athlete sustains an injury during a sports activity, it’s often impossible to tell whether the issue is a sprain or a break because both can be very painful and impede walking. Swelling and bruising are also common in both instances. The only way to know for sure if your young Jedi warrior has a break is to get it examined by a foot and ankle surgeon and have it X-rayed. Also, multiple ankle sprains over time could mean that you or a loved one has developed chronic ankle instability; physical therapy, bracing, and in some cases surgery is needed.

No matter what the outcome of the injury, applying the R.I.C.E. technique is always the best plan of action until you can get to a podiatrist. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation will all help in reducing pain and swelling.

The main message is don’t wait to be seen. Call us at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000. We can usually get patients in for a same day appointment, particularly for emergencies.

Photo Source: Hollywood Reporter

By Dr. Rion Berg
June 16, 2014
Category: Heel pain

You may not be the leader of the free world but you may be just like Obama when it comes to having painful feet. Obama’s most recent physical exam was stellar except for recurrent plantar fasciitis in his right foot. The President doesn’t just sit behind his desk. He spends a lot of time on his feet giving speeches, walking the length of the White House, and working out daily in his gym. His health report mentions use of Ibuprofen for his heel pain but we don’t know if he’s tried other treatments.

You’ve likely tried ibuprofen as well. Although ibuprofen is a great anti-inflammatory it’s only one small tool in an entire armory of methods that are usually needed to reduce the pain and eliminate plantar fasciitis. You may play basketball like Obama, are a runner, or play other sports. If so you’re at greater risk for developing heel pain and heel spurs--both conditions that can flare up when the body can’t tolerate the pounding and repetitive movement from physical activities.

So what else can be done to get rid of the pain?

After all like Obama you work out because of the tremendous health benefits and also because you feel so great as a result. You don’t want to stop your workout because of the stubborn foot pain.

Fortunately, there are many more avenues to ending foot pain than using ibuprofen that can greatly reduce the amount of time you need to spend off your feet. A comprehensive approach to treating plantar fasciitis usually includes several of the following: reduction of inflammation, resolution of calf tightness, improving foot mechanics, wearing the right shoes, and referral to physical therapy.

Home treatments to try include: icing (to reduce inflammation), taping (reduces pull on the plantar fascia), and stretching the calf muscle.

For more information about our comprehensive heel pain program at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City, visit our website or call us at 206-368-7000. You can request an appointment online.