Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: September, 2014

New runners as well as seasoned runners are more at risk for acquiring certain foot and ankle problems. These include heel pain or plantar fasciitis, neuromas, Achilles tendonitis, and ankle sprains. More detail about these types of problems and what to do about them can be found in my blog Common Foot Problems in New Runners. However, if you want to decrease your chances of visiting me, your Seattle podiatrist, here are some tips for preventing foot and ankle problems if you’re a new runner.

Buy New Running Shoes
Schedule a professional fitting at a store that really knows about running. Super Jock and Jill in the Greenlake area is an excellent choice. Whatever store you choose make sure that they measure your feet, watch you walk, and even watch you run to assess the best shoe for you. Old worn out shoes will not provide the support and stability you need to prevent foot and ankle injuries.

Start Slowly
Even if your best friend is pushing you to run your first race in 3 weeks, it’s much more important for you to train and be really ready before taking on your first challenge. You’re much more apt to injure yourself if you’re body and feet aren’t ready. Keep in mind your current fitness level and talk to your physician before beginning any new training program. Runner’s World suggests running three days per week to give your body time to recover in between runs. In addition they recommend increasing your training time between 10-20% each week. More information for new runners can be found in The Starting Line.

Warm up your legs by jogging in place for at least 10 minutes before you stretch. Engage in a variety of stretches to your routine. Try using Dynamic Warm-up and Cool Down exercises to get yourself ready to run.

Eat Well and Keep Hydrated
Avoid the junk and eat a diet containing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Limit your sugar intake and keep yourself well hydrated.

For more information about starting a new running program or treating an existing foot or ankle condition the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City can be reached at 206-368-7000 or you may request an appointment online

By Dr. Rion Berg
September 26, 2014
Category: Heel pain

New runners are often anxious to just get out there and hit the jogging trail. Weight loss and getting in shape are frequently cited reasons for wanting to start a running program. Like most physicians, I’m thrilled when my patients want to start exercising but I’m also want to make sure my patients are aware of potential foot and ankle problems when they take up a new sport.

Heel Pain

If you notice pain in the morning as soon as your feet touch the ground, you probably have plantar fasciitis, a very common condition among new runners and seasoned runners. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs from the heel and inserts into the base of the toes. Running can cause this band to stretch beyond its capacity causing inflammation and pain. This occurs commonly in runners who have faulty foot mechanics and/or tight calf muscles.


Neuromas are most common in women runners but men can also develop them. They most commonly occur between the 3rdand 4thtoes and are caused by high heel use or narrow shoes. Pain can be alleviated by use of pads and ultrasound guided injections.

Achilles tendonitis

As a new runner you might experience Achilles tendonitis particularly if you are overzealous in your training and don’t do proper warmup and stretching. Improper footwear and overpronation also increase risk of this condition. Rest, icing, and use of anti-inflammatory medications are used initially and then assessment of the situation by a podiatrist will determine how to prevent this condition from reoccurring.

Ankle sprains

Often new runners are trying out a variety of running surfaces to see what works best. They make the mistake of running on uneven ground where turning an ankle is more likely. Don’t ignore a sprained ankle. Sprains can be just as bad as a break and can take longer to heal. Use the RICE protocol until you can get in to be seen by a podiatrist.

For more information about starting a new running program or treating an existing foot or ankle condition the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City can be reached at 206-368-7000 or you may request an appointment online.


It’s 5:30 am and your alarm just went off to remind you to get up for your morning run. As soon as your feet hit the floor you let out a muffled scream so you don’t wake your still sleeping husband. That awful plantar fasciitis is at it again. But now you have hope. As you chugged down a cup of Starbucks you noticed an article in the New York Times called “Can I get relief for plantar fasciitis?”.

As a Seattle podiatrist, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common complaints bringing patients to my door. At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City in Seattle we have a comprehensive approach to treating heel pain. Often we find that patients have equinus or tight calf muscles. The article in the Times cites a recent study published in the August edition of the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports that focuses on reducing tight calf muscles by stretching.

The article talks about stretching in a very specific way; standing barefoot on a stair or box with a towel and elevating the toes of the affected foot with the heel extending over the edge of the stair or box.

The good leg hangs free bending slightly at the knee. It goes on to describe the exercise in detail. The group that received the new exercise was compared to a control group that stretched the calf by pulling their toes toward their shins 10 times, three times a day. The group that did the box or stair stretching had vast improvements in pain relief and disability with little improvement from the control group.

Although we’ve not tried the box stretching with our patients, stretching is well known to help heal plantar fasciitis. Here is what we recommend:

1. Don’t begin stretching until the inflammation has reached a low enough level that you aren’t exacerbating the situation. Stretching on an already inflamed heel can make things worse.

2. Stretching has to be significant enough to make a difference – the box stretch is a good example of this. Our patients use a splint for 30 minutes at a time 1-2 times a day while watching TV with their leg up and knee straight.

3. Although you might be excited about trying a new method for healing your plantar fasciitis on your own, it’s best to work with a podiatrist who can also assess what else might be causing your heel pain such as correctly faulty foot mechanics.

So before you grab onto the nearest step, call our Seattle podiatry office at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

By Dr. Robyn W. Paloian
September 10, 2014

You may have picked up the paper or read online about the new paper sneakers designed by Peter Weinreb owner of Civic Duty. Reminiscent of Toms shoes with their minimalist, environmental message these shoes are made out of Tyvek-- technically not paper but very lightweight, water resistant, sturdy and breathable. Perfect, perhaps, for a young vegan who shuns leather and has no foot issues.  But will they work for you?

As your local Seattle podiatrist, the answer is: it depends.  Here are some conditions and situations where you’ll probably want to avoid shoes like these.

You suffer from plantar fasciitis or heel pain.  Although they say they’re sturdy, I’ll bet that they aren’t supportive enough if you suffer from plantar fasciitis. If you have heel pain, take my “shoe test” before buying any shoe. Hold the shoe in your hands with the heel in one hand and the toe in the other. The shoe should not twist easily and it should only bend at the ball of the foot.

You plan on doing a lot of walking.  These shoes might be good for the environment, but if you’re planning to do more than the casual walk it’s better to wear a sturdier shoe, particularly if you tend to pronate or supinate (when your arches fall in or roll out).

You have bunions.  You may be thinking, “These soft shoes seem like heaven to me!”  But keep in mind that they likely won’t have the structure to accommodate an orthotic or other padding that may be helpful to offload your bunions.

You have flat feet. Again, they just won’t provide the type of support you need.   If you also have tight calf muscles, walking with ultra-flat shoes and little to no arch support can incite plantar fasciitis.

You have diabetes or neuropathy.  A shoe with a very thin sole or upper (the fabric up and around the foot) cannot offer the foot protection a diabetic patient requires.  Stepping on a sharp or prominent object will more readily cause damage to the skin and soft tissue, potentially leading to an ulcer or infection.   

Come into the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City and we’ll get all your questions answered about the type of shoes that are best for your feet.  If you have any of the conditions above we’d be happy to treat your feet.  Call  us at 206-368-7000 to let us know you’re coming, or request an appointment online.


Each one of us is born with one pair of feet. These feet must last us a lifetime. As parents you worry about your kids—everytime they get sick you call the doctor just to make sure that cold that’s dragging on isn’t something really bad, you make sure that they are safe by making sure car seats and other safety devices are installed properly and that they wear their bicycle helmets, and you make sure that they have all they need for their intellectual, social, and physical development. But when was the last time you thought about your kid’s feet?

As your Seattle podiatrist, I decided to offer initial free exams to kids 12 and under this year because I know how important it is that kids get off on the right foot in life, literally. How do you know it’s a good idea to bring your kids or grandkids in to see me?

Here are some signs that your kids are having a problem with their feet:

Your Kids Have Trouble Keeping Up With Their Friends
If your kids are getting tired easily it may be because they have flat feet. The muscles in the feet and legs fatigue easily because their feet aren’t functioning as they should if they have this foot type.

Kids Voluntarily Withdraw From Activities They Usually Enjoy
No kid wants to sit on the sidelines. If they do, they might have heel pain. I recently wrote a blog about Sever’s disease, a condition in children due to an inflammation of the growth plate seen most often in kids who are involved in athletics.

They Avoid Showing You Their Feet
No kid wants to go to the doctor, so if they have a problem with their feet they may avoid showing them to you.  Start checking your kids feet for things like swelling around the nails (could indicate ingrown toenails), skin discoloration, calluses, or growths.

Your Kid Trips and Falls Frequently
Your may think their clumsiness is just a phase, but it could be caused by pigeon toes (in-toeing), balance problems, or a neuromuscular condition.

Your Kid Complains of Pain
No foot pain is normal in a kid. Even if you have a very active child that’s constantly falling, be on the look-out for swelling in the feet or ankles. Your child should be seen by a podiatrist for diagnosis and treatment.

(Source: American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons)

Make sure your kids can make the most out of their one pair of feet. If your child or grandchild is experiencing any of the problems above, make an appointment today with the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City. For injuries, we do same day appointments. Call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.