Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: January, 2015

Last week you learned all about how well Steven Haushcka takes care of his nails. But did you know that football players, especially kickers that wear their shoes super tight are more at risk for developing toenail fungus? Who else is at risk? Any 12th man participating in sports such as soccer or running, swims or works out and doesn’t wear flip flops in the pool, shower or locker room, or goes to nails salons where equipment isn’t cleaned properly.

Some of you may never know exactly what caused your toenails to look thick and ugly, but luckily there is something you can do about it.

1. First, find out if you really do have fungal nails. Podiatrists with experience in treating toenail fungus can do this through visual inspection or have your nails tested to ensure they are fungal. Not all thick, ugly nails are fungal nails but can be the result of trauma.

2. Avoid using all the gimmicky topicals you read about online. Vicks Vaporub and Listerine will not cure your fungus.

3. Make sure your Seattle podiatrist is giving you alternatives to treating your fungal nails. Many diabetics in our practice have very thick, fungal nails that don’t respond well to typical treatments such as laser. Medical based urea gels can be used to soften and debride nails to look better. Oral medications may also be indicated for your particular situation.

4. Find out if the podiatrist you choose is providing an aftercare program if he or she does laser treatment on your nails.

Final words to our beloved 12th man about fungal nails.

  • Don’t wait to get treated. Mild cases are much easier to treat than fungal nails that are years in the making.

  • Wear socks that wick away moisture from your feet. Cotton socks are usually the best. Fungus loves to grow in warm, damp, dark places.

  • Do you tend to sweat a lot? We recommend the SteriShoe+ Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer designed to kill 99% of all fungus and bacteria in your shoes. This will help prevent fungal nails as well and also treat shoes if you do have fungus.

After we win the Super Bowl on Sunday, don’t wait to get your ugly nails checked out. Call the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

By Dr. Rion Berg
January 28, 2015
Category: diabetes
Tags: neuropathy   Tom Hanks   Kera 42   cracked heels  

In 2013 the Oscar winning Tom Hanks was told by his doctor, “You know those high blood sugar numbers you’ve been dealing with since you were 36. Well now you’ve graduated. You’ve got Type 2 diabetes young man.” No longer the slim man he was as a young actor, it’s likely that overweight contributed to the development of Hank’s disease. Some other famous people who have Type II diabetes are former American Idol judge Randy Jackson, singer Patti LaBelle, former tennis star Billy Jean King and, talk show host Larry King. Salma Hayek had gestational diabetes which comes with pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can place people at greater risk for developing Type II diabetes in the future.

Diabetes is manageable through diet, exercise, and medications, but most people don’t think about how diabetes can affect the feet. As a Seattle podiatrist practicing for over 30 years, I’ve helped thousands of diabetic patients by healing ulcers and wounds that form due to neuropathy (damage to the nervous system which causes lack of feeling in the feet), poor circulation, and infection. As a surgeon I’ve had to perform hundreds of limb saving surgeries.

When it comes to your feet the best way to prevent me from seeing you in surgery, is to come to our office and start paying critical attention to your toes and feet. At our Diabetic Center of Excellence we’ll assess your current situation by performing a Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam, the gold standard for patients with diabetes.

In addition to the loss of sensation, people with diabetes often suffer from extremely dry, cracked heels and toenail fungus.

Dry, cracked heels can be very painful and can lead to ulcerations and infections. Moisturizing is essential to help remedy this condition. After washing and drying your feet our office is recommending Kera-42 cream be applied in the morning and evening. Not an ordinary moisturizer, Kera-42 contains 42% urea and other ingredients to exfoliate, moisturize, and restore the skin on your feet.

For other things you can do to care for your feet and avoid serious problems read Top Ten Tips for Diabetic Feet.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes or you aren’t currently seeing a podiatrist, call our office at 206-368-7000 or ask for an appointment online.

By Dr. Rion Berg
January 23, 2015
Category: Heel pain
Tags: Untagged

Seahawk kicker Steven Hauschka takes really good care of his toes so that he can do what he does so well—score extra points and field goals for Seattle. His toe regimen will be extra important as the Hawks go up against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl next weekend.

So what is Hauschka’s secret to keeping his digits in shape? Here is his toe regimen.

Nail Trimming

Although Hauschka doesn’t go into detail about how he trims his nails, he knows if he doesn’t he’ll be in a world of hurt with the tight shoes he wears. At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City we would never recommend tight shoes since doing so can lead to ingrown toenails and exacerbate bunions and other conditions. However, trimming your nails incorrectly can cause ingrown toenails as well, even if you aren’t a Seahawks kicker. The correct way to trim is straight across. You should be able see a few millimeters of skin just beyond the nail margin and make sure nails do not overhang the edge of your toe.

Special Socks

Seahawk Hauschka uses special socks with rubber on the bottom to prevent his feet from sliding around in his shoes. Although you likely won’t need the type of socks he wears, check out our blog on Best Socks for Runners and Hikers. Diabetics can pick up a pair of Shape to Fit diabetic Socks at our office. These socks reduce fatigue and aches, prevent circulation problems, and protect your feet.

Toe Exercises

Keeping your toes nimble, as you age or if you have a condition like plantar fasciitis, can be easily done with some simple exercises. Hauschka picks up a towel with his toes and drops it for 20 reps. You can also sit in a chair with a towel on a linoleum or wood floor and scrunch up the towel with all your toes by dragging more and more of it toward you 10 times. You can also reverse it by pushing the towel away from you for 10 reps.

If you’re having any problems with your toes such as inflamed skin at the border of your nail (likely an ingrown toenail) or ugly, discolored or distorted nails, call us at 206-368-7000.

We know we’re favored to beat the Packers, so it’s nice to have the rain instead of the cold on our side.  As seasoned players with webbed feet, we are much more likely to keep our feet under us and hold onto the ball than our more cold savvy Cheeseheads.  

All football players also have an advantage over the 12th man when it comes to staying steady on their feet. While the Seahawks are out there running, pounding each other, and catching the ball while leaping into the air, most of us 12th man fans spend an inordinate amount of time kicking back on our couches, drinking beer and eating pizza. Although we aren’t getting beaten up on a daily basis we certainly aren’t doing our bodies any good by being slugs.

For those of us getting on in years who would rather sit on the sidelines watching sports rather than playing them we’re opening ourselves up for all kinds of nasty body problems that could be prevented by downing one less beer and pizza. I know you’d rather cover your ears or ignor me but as a Seattle podiatrist I’ve seen too many couch potato casualties including diabetes, neuropathy and loss of toes.

So while you’re busy watching the game today, spend more time standing up and stamping your feet then lying back on the couch slugging back another Rainier beer. After the game, go outside with your buddies and walk through the hood letting everyone know what a great 12th man you are and how much you love our team.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, make sure you come to see me so we can prevent a lot of really nasty stuff from affecting your ability to wave your 12th man flag.  You can reach us at 206-368-7000 or make an appointment online. Go Hawks!

By Dr. Rion Berg
January 12, 2015
Category: diabetes

Seattle’s “biggest fan” Lorin “Big Lo” Sandretzky was very close to predicting the score of the Seahawks first playoff win against the Panthers. He predicted a 38/12 win over the Carolina Panthers and we now know that we won 31/17. Big Lo may not technically be the biggest sports fan but he certainly was the largest, topping the scales 658 pounds back in 2007. Diagnosed with diabetes his doctor ordered that he lose weight. Even after losing 300 pounds, this lovable fan with a big heart is still suffering from multiple illnesses including a recent foot surgery. Very likely Big Lo also has diabetic neuropathy. 

Although being overweight is a huge contributor to developing Type 2 or adult onset diabetes even thinner people can get diabetes or pre-diabetes depending on other risk factors such as high blood pressure or a family history of diabetes.

At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City our Seattle podiatrists specialize in treating foot problems that result from diabetes such as diabetic neuropathy and foot ulcers.

If you have diabetic neuropathy which means you are unable to feel your feet normally, it’s vital that you take the following precautions:

  • Check your feet and toes for any changes on a daily basis
  • Wear thick, soft socks without seams – e.g. Smooth Toe Diabetic Socks
  • Exercise to improve circulation and manage your weight.
  • See a podiatrist at least annually to obtain a CDFE (Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam). This test will help identify any potential foot problems to prevent ulcers and other dangerous foot complications.
  • As a result of the CDFE, your podiatrist will determine if you need to obtain therapeutic shoes provided through a special Medicare Therapeutic Shoe Program.
  • Other foot problems such as bunions, flat feet, or hammertoes may require orthotics to correct for these conditions to prevent further complications.

If you or a loved one has diabetes, it’s time to start seeing a podiatrist. To set up a appointment, contact our office at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.