Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: March, 2015

Poor Stephen Strasburg. First this All Star pitcher of the Washington Nationals couldn't start against the Mets in early March because he had an ingrown toenail. Then adding insult to injury he sprained his ankle a couple of weeks later during warm-ups which prevented him from pitching against the Tigers. Although playing baseball doesn't cause the kind of injuries seen in football, it's still important to ensure that you and your child have the necessary information to help prevent foot and ankle problems in this all American sport.

Although I have no idea how Stephen Strasburg developed an ingrown toenail, there are a few factors that make this condition preventable.

  • Cut toenails straight across - many people tend to cut their toenails on the edges to round them out. This can be a big problem as it is one of the main reasons why people develop ingrown toenails.

  • Get your feet measured - we always measure our kids feet when it's time for new shoes, but did you know that our feet get bigger as we age. Shoes that are too tight or too short can also be a culprit in developing ingrown toenails.

  • Check the field for bumps or divots ahead of time - any uneven surface can lead to trauma and injury including ingrown toenails and twisted ankles.

If you do develop an ingrown toenail you'll likely be in a lot of pain and want it taken care of as soon as possible. As a Seattle podiatrist I'm here to tell you that putting you out of pain from this condition can be done in my office during one visit.

Don't wait to feel better. Call us at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online. Same day appointments are often available.

Now that the Zags beat Iowa and are in the Sweet Sixteen we can all collective breathe a sigh of relief. Not that we ever doubted they would make it, but you just never know. March Madness can remind us that basketball players get injured all the time. As a Seattle podiatrist I'd like to discuss some of the most common foot and ankle injuries that basketball players suffer. You're even more at risk if you're older and occasionally participate in a pick-up game.

Common foot injuries are ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, sesamoiditis, and blisters, Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of injury.


  • Test your shoes for stability (video)

  • Purchase shoes after every 500 miles of use - worn out shoes cannot provide the same level of stability.

  • Get your feet measured-as adults our feet often get bigger as we age, so in addition to having your kids foot measured you should get your feet measured as well.

  • Buy the right shoe for the activity - high tops have been the shoe of choice for many years in pro leagues, but more recently basketball trainers are advocating a lower cut shoe that strengthens the ankle, forcing the muscle to stabilize the joint. Taping your ankles can also help with stability.

Warm up

  • Weekend warriors are much more likely to get injured because they don't keep their bodies strong and flexible.

  • Be sure to warm up before you start hitting the court. Jogging in place and doing some calf stretches will help.

Strengthen and support your ankles

  • Stand on one foot and rotate your ankle 10 times in one direction and 10 in the other. Switch.

  • Standing toes raises - keep heels on the floor and lift toes 10 times.

  • Improve ankle strength by standing on one foot and then the other for a period of time.

So what if you've followed my recommendations and you still have pain? Call my front office at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

By Dr. Rion Berg
March 25, 2015
Tags: heel pain   flat feet   soccer   basketball  

Every parent knows that kids are resilient.  They jump off bunk beds, fall from their bikes, and scrape and bruise their bodies playing soccer, basketball, and other sports.  So it's not surprising that foot conditions go unnoticed, since the kids themselves may not notice a problem with their feet.

A good friend of mine has a teen that has extremely flat feet.  No matter how many times I've recommended that they bring their teen to see me, my suggestions fall on deaf ears.  They are a busy family, and between work, school and activities, they have put off treating a foot condition.  They don't even believe one exists.  I bet when their kid's performance in sports falls behind, or when he starts complaining of foot and leg pain, they'll make a beeline for my office.

Parents often assume their child will outgrow a foot problem.  And while this is occasionally true, such as a toddler with in-toeing, many conditions are unlikely to spontaneously improve:

  • Ankles turning in or out

  • Arch flattening on the ground

  • Foot cramps

  • Change in physical activity level, or aversion from playing

  • Heel pain

What can you do?

Be observant of your child's feet, and definitely don't ignore any pain.  As a Seattle podiatrist, I've seen plenty of cases of kids with the conditions mentioned above, and many are easily treated with noninvasive techniques.  If you suspect your kid has a foot problem, don't wait to contact us at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City. We can be reached at 206-368-7000 or by requesting an appointment online.

By Dr. Rion Berg
March 19, 2015
Category: Heel pain
Tags: high heels  

Gwyneth Paltrow has a new website called Goop which provides advice on everything from self-discovery to health and fitness. Recently she posted a 5 step solution for high heel wearer. I have to provide a disclaimer. I don't normally take advice from an actress nor do I advocate wearing high heels, however, I'm passing along this information to you because I know I can't stop you from wearing them or other bad shoes.

The advice actually comes from a former ballerina and physical therapist. These are billed as prevention strategies for many different kinds of foot problems including problems that come from wearing high heels. I can't validate how well they work, but they probably won't hurt you. Just let your doctor know if you plan to do them.

1. Intrinsic muscle stretch

Slip the fingers of the opposite hand in between your toes, as if you were to “shake hands” with your foot. Use fingers 2-5 to do this and leave your thumb out. By just holding your toes in this position, you will be stretching the muscles in between the long bones (metatarsals) of your foot. Hold for 30 seconds.

Claim: Helps prevent hammertoes, bunions, neuromas and stretch fractures

2. Foot and ankle extensors stretch

Kneel down on both knees. Place a rolled up hand towel on the floor under your feet. Position the towel just under where your toes meet the top of your foot. Gently sit your hips back onto your heels until you feel a pull across the top of your feet and ankles. You may also feel the stretch up along the front of your shins. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat twice.

Claim: Helps prevent stress fractures

3. Peroneals stretch

Lie on your back and place a strap around the ball of your foot. Lift your leg up while keeping the other leg down and extended along the floor. Pull your toes back towards you and then turn your foot inwards. Hold the strap with the opposite hand of the leg you are stretching. Try to bring your leg up and over, as if your foot is pointing up toward your opposite shoulder. In this position you should feel a stretch along the outside of your shin, your peroneal muscles. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Claim: Prevents poor foot alignment and foot and ankle joint dysfunction

4. Calf stretch

Stand in a lunge position with your hands against the wall, the front leg bent and the back leg fully extended. Position your back leg with a slight toeing-in posture. Make sure your heel stays connected to the ground. It should feel like you’re reaching your heel into the ground while maintaining your hips square to the wall and your back knee straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Claim: Prevents plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, (I can validate that patients with both of these conditions will benefit from doing this exercise and it's important to do this stretch regularly to prevent these problems in the future.)

5. FHL stretch

Position your big toe up against a door frame or small ledge of the wall and slide it down so that the big toe is pointing upwards and the ball of the foot is trying to touch the floor. The other toes should be free and stretched out flat along the floor. Bend your knee and keep your heel on the ground. Make sure that as much of your big toe as possible is making contact with the wall and not just the very tip of it.

Claim: Prevents tendonitis or big toe problems

As a Seattle podiatrist I want to let you know that regardless of the type of shoes you wear if you're experiencing foot pain don't wait to get it checked out. Contact the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.


Spring has come to Seattle early this year, and women everywhere are starting to bare their toes. As boots and other rain repellant foot gear are being stored in the closet, out comes the sandals, flip flops, flat flats, and lighter running shoes.

Even though Spring puts us in a celebratory mood and we get out more to walk with our friends, partners, and dogs, that upswing in temperament may not last long if our feet can't tolerate a less supportive shoe. Heel pain, bone spurs, and Achilles tendonitis are commonly seen when supportive shoes are eschewed by certain people.

Who's at Risk

  • Women

  • Older adults

  • Runners

  • People with wonky foot mechanics

  • Women who move from a high heel to a flat shoe quickly

Stop the Pain Before it Begins

  • Minimize the amount of time spent in less supportive shoes

  • Use flip flops only around the pool or beach; they were never intended for long walks around Greenlake

  • Stretch your calf muscles if you've been wearing high heels and want to go to a flatter shoe. Be sure to maintain the stretch for a good 5 minutes on each leg.

Of course if you're reading this, you likely already have pain. Here at the Foot and Ankle Center we treat plantar fasciitis to get you back to doing what you love faster. After all who wants to miss this incredible spring because walking is painful.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.