Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: February, 2015

By Dr. Rion Berg
February 27, 2015
Category: Heel pain

Will the athletic shoe companies please make up their mind? First they were touting the minimalist shoe as the way to go for runners. The latest craze is on the opposite end of the spectrum; maximalist running shoes. Although the biggest minimalist company, Vibram lost a major class action lawsuit for making false claims about their shoes many runners still love these shoes.

Built for runners who want a lot of extra cushioning for marathons and ultra-marathons, maximalist shoes also has its enthusiasts.

While there is some concern about the heaviness, awkwardness, lack of feel for the ground, and shoe height (which could theoretically cause instability) so far there is no evidence that these shoes are harmful to your feet or body. Many runners really like them and many shoe companies are promoting them with loads of benefits including reduction of muscle fatigue.

The smartest thing I've read about these shoes was in an article written by Competitor.com. "Word to the wise: maximalist shoes are not for everyone.......just as with any running shoe, you need to find a shoe that fits your foot and works with your gait and the type of running you'll be doing."

Every foot is different. In addition, to gait and the type of running you'll be doing, you have to consider your foot type and any problems with your feet. Is your foot flat or high arched? Do you tend to pronate (foot falls in) or supinate (foot falls out)? Do you tend to get plantar fasciitis, ingrown toenails or have bunions?

Although we don't claim to be running shoe experts, our Seattle podiatrists are experts at helping you with any foot injury or foot problem that throws you off your run. There's no need to suffer from foot pain. We can help with injuries or any of the foot problems named in the paragraph above.

To make an appointment you can call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

"After having a procedure and antibiotics for an infection and blood clot under my toenail, that same toe became ingrown and became increasingly painful. I had been dealing with severe pain for weeks and it got so bad I could hardly walk," stated one of our recent patients.

Fortunately one of our Seattle podiatrists was able to see her that day and get her back on her feet pain free.

Ingrown toenails can occur for many reasons. Infection, family history, trauma to the nail, shoes that are too tight, fungal toenails, and cutting toenails improperly can all lead to this extremely painful problem.

Although there are home treatments, they may only work if an infection has not set it. Pain, swelling redness, are all indications of inflammation and infection. So if you decide to try soaking your feet in Epsom's salts or another home treatment you've Googled and these don't work, it's important to call a podiatrist and be seen as soon as you can.

Most often a simple surgical procedure done the same day will take care of the problem.

Why wait any longer if you don't need to.

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


By Dr. Rion Berg
February 23, 2015
Category: Fungus toenails
Tags: toenail fungus  

Everywhere you turn it seems like the ad featuring a big toe sporting a purple helmet is telling us to tackle our toenail fungus with Jublia. If you have fungal nails you're probably wondering, does this stuff really work?

It's a great question. Fortunately there are people out there who are looking closely at this new drug to see if it's all it claims to be like Teresa Graedon of the People's Pharmacy. I've also done my own research and have come to the following conclusion.

Jublia is a topical anti-fungal medication that must be applied for 48 weeks to be effective. Cure rates are not mentioned in the commercials. Two studies on their website showed a complete cure in 17.8% and 15.2% of volunteers rate at 48 weeks. That does not seem like a very high cure rate considering the cost of Jublia is in the $539 - $589 range. But you might just get lucky and it might work.

What we've found is that most topicals used alone have a very low cure rate, although they can be helpful in preparing the nail for further treatment and for keeping the fungal load down. While no treatment for toenail fungus is perfect, at least there are options that have a much higher rate of success such as oral medications or laser.

To learn more about toenail fungus, read our Guide to Eliminating Ugly Fungal Toenails. If you're interested in learning about laser and how this Seattle podiatrist uses it to treat toenail fungus,  read about our Comprehensive Laser Treatment Program

To receive a free consultation to find out the best approach for treating your fungal toenails, call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

Viola Davis from the movie "The Help" and recent recipient of the SAG awards for her outstanding portrayal of a defense attorney in the show "How To Get Away With Murder" revealed to Ellen DeGeneres that she uses Crisco to reduce the friction between her bunions and her shoes. She also uses it to help her dry skin. In Style, and Huffington Post did not use the word cure, but unfortunately Essence magazine titled their article "Viola Davis Uses Crisco to Cure Bunions". How misleading!

Although many people try to ignor their bunions, wear shoes that stretch, or sandals that avoid pressure on the bunion, I've never heard of anyone using Crisco.

If only taking care of your bunions was that simple.

If you do nothing at all your bunions will progress, causing more pain and irritation when you walk. That's why it's extremely important to treat your bunions when they start.

As a North Seattle Podiatrist this is what I tell my patients about how to prevent progression of bunions.

  • Limit or avoid high, high heels - very likely you're not an actress or a model and you don't need to show off your feet on the red carpet.

  • Wear shoes with a wider toebox or one that will accommodate your bunion - we know you don't want to look like a grandma by wearing uncool shoes, but we also don't want you to be in pain.

  • Exercises to maintain joint mobility - our office sends patients to physical therapy.

  • Padding or orthotics to stabilize the joint and maintain correct position - keep in mind that it's important to see a podiatrist trained to provide this type of treatment for bunions.

If you're finally ready to do something about your bunions, give us a call at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

By Dr. Rion Berg
February 17, 2015
Category: Heel pain

Diabetics and heel pain sufferers are encouraged to lose weight by this Seattle podiatrist and other podiatrists across the country. In some cases weight loss can reverse some forms of Type II diabetes and it certainly helps overweight and obese patients who have heel pain.

However, a new commentary released on Feb 12, 2015 written by leading experts in Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology says that obesity is a chronic illness caused by basic biology and cannot be cured with diet and exercise alone.

"Few individuals ever truly recover from obesity; rather they suffer from 'obesity in remission'", according to the experts. Apparently bariatric surgery is the only treatment able to alter an obese person's appetite and response to food.

This is very disappointing from a doctor's point of view, especially given the number of patients that fall into the obese category. Fortunately, patients with plantar fasciitis can still be helped regardless of their ability to lose weight by focusing on treatments that help the majority of our patients.

The Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City uses a combination of:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Reducing calf tightness
  • Addressing foot mechanics through use of orthotics
  • Supportive shoes
  • Physical therapy

To get more information about heel pain or diabetes or to make an appointment, we can be reached at 206-368-7000. You can also be an appointment request online.