Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: April, 2015

By Dr. Rion Berg
April 28, 2015
Category: Bunions

Victoria Beckham is a proud mama. Her son Romeo, age 12 finished the London Mini-Marathon on April 26th to raise money for UNAIDS. However it's doubtful that Victoria could have run that marathon without being in terrible pain.

When I first blogged about Victoria's bunions in 2013, they were so bad she was forced to put her feet on ice and do daily exercise to avoid having a bunionectomy, a procedure strongly advised by her doctors. She was told by her podiatrists that if she didn't do something soon she’d never be able to don her heels again. We haven't been able to find an update on poor Victoria so we don't know if she's gone under the knife.

If you have bunions, you can empathize with poor Victoria but you don’t need to suffer needlessly. You may wonder, “What caused my bunion”?

The number one cause of bunions is wearing shoes that are too tight and squishing your feet into pointy high heels. Bunions can also run in families due to faulty foot structure. Continuing to wear pointy heels can cause them to get worse as you age.  

Hopefully you're not a slave to fashion like Victoria Beckham, but if you have bunions you may be wondering, “At what point do I need surgery”?

As a Seattle podiatrist I ask patients to ask themselves a few questions.

-how painful is my bunion?
-how much is it impacting my quality of life? (If you have activities you love and can no longer do them, than that might tilt the scales to yes, rather than wait.)
-can I still wear my shoes?
-do I have pain under the ball of my foot?

Not all bunions surgery is a must. As Seattle podiatrist I’ll try every conservative treatment beforehand at my Seattle podiatry office. But if you’re in agony like Victoria Beckham, the one way to find out is by making an appointment today by calling us at 206-368-7000 or requesting an appointment online.

You may be the occasional golfer that goes out with your buddies or work colleagues on a monthly basis. But if you're a more avid golfer there are serious foot complications that can arise from playing the game.

You might be thinking, "how can golf be a problem for my feet, after all I'm just walking and swinging my club?" Well according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons foot problems arise from excessive walking and the golf swing can place stress on the feet and ankles.  These repetitive movements can add up to some pretty nasty problems such as pain in the big toe joint (a condition called Hallux rigiditis), stress on the ball of the foot which can cause capsulitis, metatarsalgia, Morton's neuroma, and plantar fasciitis. You're more likely to have problems with your feet when golfing if an underlying structural problem already exists.

What Can Be Done?

  • Check your golf swing - it could be the culprit. Talk to a golf expert to be sure your feet are properly aligned when you take your swing.

  • Buy proper shoes

  • Orthotics can correct faulty foot structure, improve gait, and reduce fatigue

Pain while golfing is not normal. If your game is causing you to bogey more often due to foot pain, call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

By Dr. Rion Berg
April 22, 2015
Category: Heel pain
Tags: Untagged

As you woke up today, you were fortunate to be able to breathe clean air and drink clean water. As a Seattle podiatrist I feel lucky to live in such a green city. In comparison to a lot of cities we do pretty well when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint, although to be fair we do have hydroelectric power which helps us reduce our fuel based need for electricity.

So in celebration of the 45th anniversary of Earth Day here are some reminders to help you reduce you and your families' carbon footprint.

1. Reduce your car use and decide to bus it, car share, or bike to work once a week. If you can afford it buy an electric car or a hybrid.

2. Eat less meat. If you eat meat on a daily basis, prepare a vegetarian or vegan meal once a week for you and your family. (Lifestock are responsible for 14.5% of the world's carbon emissions according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization).

3. Buy food in season and grown locally. Seattle has fabulous Farmer's Markets. When you purchase from a local vendor you can be sure you're reducing your carbon footprint.

4. Increase your recycling. Seattle passed a trash ordinance last year allowing garbage collectors to inspect your cans and fine you if your garbage contains more than 10% of food and compostable material.

5. Reduce your home energy use. Keep your thermostat low at night and at other times you plan to be away.

6. Reduce your water consumption. Water your plants judiciously by watering early in the morning or after the sun goes down. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Take showers instead of baths.

7. Read your newspaper online. Although you are using energy when using your laptop or tablet it uses far less energy than printing and delivering a physical newspaper.

If you do plan to walk to work but you think twice because your feet hurt due to heel pain or some other foot problem, come in to see us at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City.

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


Photo attribution: Alan Grinberg on Flickr

Stunning Seattle weather this past weekend sent many people outdoors including weekend warriors. You know who you are. You're most likely a 45 year old guy who hides out all winter attached at the hip to your computer. Then when the weather hits the 60s you're out there with everyone else working off those pounds you gained while hibernating. Unfortunately you're in the exact population most at risk for Achilles tendon injuries including Achilles tendon rupture.

Sitting all day and getting little exercise can shorten the Achilles tendon, making it more vulnerable to rupture. This is one part of our body not designed to go from 0-70 without any warm-up or stretching.

One study written up in the journal Foot Ankle International in 2013, found that the most common sports associated with Achilles tendon rupture (the most extreme injury of the Achilles) were basketball, tennis, football, volleyball, and soccer. This was more likely found in those playing at the community level instead of those involved in professional sports. Men topped the charts with this injury at 83% and in women it occurred 17% of the time.

Stretching is the top recommendation for those anxious to hit the court. But just like working out your muscles over the winter to keep them in shape, it's equally important to keep stretching on a daily basis to keep your tendons from getting tight.

One excellent way to accomplish this is by participating in yoga which benefits the whole body. Be sure to include a runner's stretch as part of your yoga routine. It's also important to do the runner's stretch if you've been diagnosed with Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.

If you think you've ruptured your Achilles tendon our doctors will evaluate the severity and then present you with the best treatment options. For more information or to make an appointment, call 206-368-7000 or request one online.

You love your high heels. You've been wearing them most of your adult life, however, recently you've started noticing pain in your knees. In addition, you may have gained weight or be carrying a heavier than average bag.

As a Seattle podiatrist, I've noticed over the years that my patients who wear high heels also complain about knee pain. A study out of Stanford published at the end of 2014, validates that observation by suggesting that high heel use in combination with additional weight may contribute to osteoarthritis of the knees.

The study observed the biomechanics of how 14 women walked when wearing flat shoes, 3.8 centimeter heels, and 8.3 centimeter heels. They also observed the same women while wearing weighted vests.

Changes in the knee mechanics due to the angle of the heels and added weight in the study were similar to those seen in aging and the progression of osteoarthritis. They found that as heel height increased more force was placed on the knee, which could lead to greater risk for knee problems.


What are the Solutions?

-Wear shoes that have a heel that is one inch or less in height; this doesn't mean giving up fashion. There are plenty of brands out there that are both fashionable and lower in height.

-Minimize high heel wear - avoid wearing heels every day and save them for special occasions.

-Reduce the amount of weight you carry OR wear tennis shoes on the way to work if you have to carry  a heavy briefcase or purse.

If you're having foot problems as the result of wearing high heels such as bunions and hammertoes, contact us at 206-368-7000 or by requesting an appointment online.