Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: August, 2014

By Dr. Rion Berg
August 29, 2014

You’ve had heel pain. You know how painful it can be particularly first thing in the morning. Kids can also develop heel pain. Sometimes it's plantar fasciitis caused by the same biomechanical issues as adult heel pain, but more commonly it's Sever's Disease which is a growth plate issue.

Unlike plantar fasciitis where the pain subsides as the day goes on, the pain in Sever's Disease gets worse as the day goes on. This condition typically affects children between the ages of 8 and 14, a time when they’re having their biggest growth spurt. At that time new bone is still forming at the growth plate of the heel bone. When kids are very active (youth athletes) during these growth years, too much repetitive stress on the growth plate causes inflammation and pain.

Youth athletes involved in soccer, track, basketball, and gymnastics are most susceptible to this condition.

So what do you look for?

Keep in mind kids won’t always tell you when they’re in pain, particularly if they think you’re going to make them stop playing their favorite sport. Be on the lookout for limping and toe walking. These are hints that they may be suffering from the pain of Sever’s Disease.

Fortunately if you bring your kid in to see me, your Seattle podiatrist, early on this condition won’t turn into a long term problem. If I find out your child does have Sever’s disease through examination and imaging, I’ll assess your child’s foot mechanics and then make the necessary recommendations to heal this condition.

Some things to help prevent this condition from occurring are:

  • A healthy diet to keep kids from becoming overweight
  • Supportive shoes that are appropriate to their chosen sport
  • Limit their wear of cleated athletic shoes
  • Avoid activity beyond their ability

To find out if your child is suffering from Sever’s Disease, contact the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request and appointment online.


If you’re like most of my female patients who wear high heels, you absolutely love them. No matter how much I might cajole, argue, and prod you to wear something more sensible you just aren’t going to listen to me.

I understand. I have a daughter who works at Nordstrom and even she doesn’t listen to me when it comes to tossing out her 3 inch heels for something more reasonable.

As your Seattle podiatrist, you've forced my hand. Here are some high heel hints I’m only giving out under duress.

The Height or Pitch

The higher the heel the more pressure your foot will apply to the ball of your foot and your toes. So if you buy heels keep this in mind, particularly if you already have problems with bunions or ingrown toenails. The higher the heel the more likely you will worsen these conditions.

Assess Your Feet

Take an honest appraisal of your feet. If you have wider feet or toes that don’t conform to a pointy shoe, look for a high heel that is not that pointy. If you do have a foot condition, high heels probably aren't worth it.

Buy and Try at Home

Those terrific looking shoes may feel OK in the store but once you get outside and walk around for an hour you may find out that they aren’t so comfortable after all. Find out the store’s return policy. Some will let you return shoes if you wear them outside but many don’t.

Correct Size

Make sure the salesperson measures your feet. Although this is true for any shoe purchase having the correct size is even more important if you’re going to be walking around in high heels.

Don’t Buy Cheap

If you’re going to buy a heel, buy a quality shoe. There are lots of inexpensive high heels out there that will kill your feet. Try a well-established company like Munro if you’re going to go higher.

Cushion Your Shoes

Purchase yourself a pair of high heel insoles made just for high heel wearers. These insoles relieve pressure under the forefoot by redistributing your weight in the shoe. According to Superfeet the makers of this insole, it can also help reduce blisters, fatigue, and pump bump--also known as Haglund’s deformity.  

All this being said I still suggest a heel no higher than one inch. In addition, going totally flat is not a good option for most people either, unless you have perfect feet. Stick to a slight heel from a great shoe company with room in the toebox and your feet will wear much better in the long run.

For more information about feet or if you are experiencing foot pain, call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.


As fall approaches I can’t help but turn my attention to fall prevention for my patients. September is Fall Prevention Awareness Month and National Fall Prevention Awareness Day is celebrated on the first day of fall, September 23rd, 2014. Did you know that age we age our likelihood of falling goes up and that 1 of 3 adults over 65 falls each year? Many of those who fall are seriously injured and become disabled.

Although it’s great that there is a month and day devoted to increasing awareness about falls in seniors, I’ve made it part of daily care for my senior patients. Particularly because I’m a Seattle podiatrist I make it my business to tell my patients to be cautious when the rains start to come down. However, even though we Seattleites often have to tiptoe around to avoid slipping outside, the truth is our indoor environment can be much more hazardous to our health. Homes can be like an obstacle course.

Here are some fall prevention tips for the home recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to help you or a loved one reduce their fall risk. We provide this list to all our patients who participate in our “In Balance” Fall Prevention Program. Use this checklist like a detective as you walk through your house or through the house of a loved one.

  • Check the floors in every room – make sure there is a clear path through the house; look for and eliminate loose cords or wires, magazines or books, or other hazards that could easily cause someone to trip.
     
  • Check stairs inside your home and steps outside home – keep steps clear of shoes, books, and other objects; make sure that carpet is not loose but firmly tacked down, ensure that steps are solid and repair those that aren’t; and install hand rails where needed.
     
  • Check your kitchen to make sure objects used frequently are within easy reach. Purchase a step stool for reaching hard to get items.
     
  • Have grab bars installed inside the tub and next to the toilet. Make sure that bathtub floor is non-slip or have non-slip surface applied.
     
  • Use night lights to make trips to the bathroom visible and put lamps within easy reach of the bed.

If you think you or a loved one is at risk for falling, call the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.


By Dr. Rion Berg
August 19, 2014
Category: diabetes
Tags: blogs  

Recently a blog about best diabetes blogs caught my eye. As your Seattle podiatrist I do my utmost to ensure that you receive the best care for your diabetic feet. But in addition to the care and information we provide, it’s great to be able to find information and support from others who are experts in the field of diabetes and are living with the disease on a daily basis. Although I haven’t read all of these blogs, I think it’s well worth the time to read about how others are managing their condition so that you can feel empowered as a person living with diabetes. Just make sure that if you read about something talk to your physician before making any changes to your care.

Diabetes Self-Management – Established in 1983, it’s written by health care providers and those with diabetes. Diabetes Self-Management is a highly awarded publication and website for those who want to know more about controlling and managing their diabetes.

Diabetes Mine - Covers topics as diverse as emotions and motivation, food, love and sex, and how to deal with the diabetes in the workplace; plus information on research and interviews with actors and athletes.

Diabetes Hands Foundation –The mission of this organization is to provide social support information, and a sense of belonging to people with diabetes and their loved ones, demonstrate that small changes can make a difference by asking folks to share their blood sugar levels at the Big Blue Test, and advocacy.

Diabetes Daily – This site has a blog specifically for Type II diabetics with information on food, diabetes management, and studies. Written by physicians and other diabetes writers both professional and those who have the disease.

Diabetes Sisters – Education and support for women of all ages with diabetes.

Also please remember to:

-inspect your feet on a daily basis
-cut your nails straight across and don’t cut too short; this will help you avoid ingrown toenails
-never trim corns or calluses yourself; this is a job for your podiatrist
-don’t walk barefoot; you could cut or scratch yourself and not know it if you have loss of sensation in your feet
-see your podiatrist on annual basis for a Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam (CDFE) to ensure that your diabetes is not negatively impacting your feet.

If you have diabetes are and are not currently seeing a podiatrist, call the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.


By Dr. Rion Berg
August 14, 2014
Category: Ingrown toenails
Tags: bunions   ingrown toenails  

Foot fraud? Really? That’s what beauty contestant Shawna Lynn Palmer who competed in this year’s Miss Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix Beauty Pageant is guilty of. She was arrested on Friday for defrauding an insurance company because she kept receiving workman compensation benefits for a supposed toe fracture she got on the job. She claimed that she could not put any weight on her foot, move it in any direction, or wear shoes for any length of time. Then she was caught red footed in a video showing her competing in high heels.

While you or someone you know may not be defrauding an insurance company, make sure you are not committing foot fraud by avoiding your podiatrist. Here are some common reasons for avoiding foot care.

It’s Going to Hurt
You may have been suffering from foot pain for a long time but for some reason who think that I’m going to inflict more pain than you’re currently dealing with. The truth is you probably don’t have any idea of what’s really going on with your foot. Until a Seattle podiatrist such as me can examine your foot and find out the source of the pain, can any real healing begin. Often the source of the pain can be alleviated using treatments that are painless. But you won’t know that until you overcome your fear and make that appointment.

If I Wait, it Will Go Away
You may have been suffering from a condition that may worsen with time but you think your condition will go away on its own. Most foot conditions I see will not go away on their own. For example, an ingrown toenail is a common condition that is quite painful but treatable condition that requires minor surgery in my office.

Certain Foot Conditions Aren’t Treatable
Another reason you may be avoiding me is that you think you have a condition that’s not treatable. For example, you have bunions just like your mother or sister did so you just assume there is nothing to be done about it short of surgery. Although surgery is certainly an option for some cases, we provide relief for bunions with much more conservative methods such as padding and orthotics.

Don’t keep committing foot fraud! Come and see me and my team at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City. We have 30 years of experiencing diagnosing and treating all types of foot and ankle conditions. You can listen to one of my patients talk about her experience here.You can make an appointment by calling 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.