Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: April, 2016

By Dr. Rion Berg
April 29, 2016
Category: Heel pain
Tags: heel spurs  

As a runner you are very likely acquainted with heel pain, even if you've never been diagnosed with it yourself. You may have heard the term "heel spur" used simultaneously with heel pain and you've wondered if heel spurs in runners are the same as heel pain or plantar fasciitis. I'm here to tell you they are not the same, but heel spurs can result from plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. Let's take a look at the difference.

Heel pain is one of the most common problems I see in my office. And it's a very frequent problem for runners. Heel pain occurs because the fascia that runs from the bottom of the heel to the front of the foot gets overstretched. When this overstretching happens time after time from running or other activities the point at which the fascia inserts into the heel becomes inflamed and painful.

A heel spur or bone growth can occur in response to the micro-tears that occur with persistent plantar fasciitis. As calcium deposits build up at the location where the tears are trying to repairs themselves the spur forms. Heel spurs do not cause pain but will show up as a result of all that reconstruction going on in your heel. They are more common in runners and other athletes due to the repetitive pounding on pavement and other surfaces.

What Can Be Done?

The solution is to get treated for the plantar fasciitis. Treatments include the following:

Reduce the inflammation

To start the healing process it's essential to reduce the inflammation causing the heel pain. More traditional treatments include icing, taking an anti-inflammatory medication, getting a cortisone injection, and taking a break from running. While these treatments work, they often take a long time and they don't heal the problem. Our newest treatment, the MLS laser therapy, starts to reduce pain after the first visit and penetrates deep into the tissue stimulating regeneration and healing at the cellular level.

Reduce tight calf muscles and the Achilles tendon

Often, part of the problem for runners with heel pain is tight calf muscles or Achilles tendon. Stretching using a splint for 30 minutes each day is one of the best ways I've found for reducing the problem. Once the plantar fasciitis has healed, runners should use a dynamic warm-up to keep injuries at bay.

Find a runner's shoe store

Shoes can make all the difference when it comes to keeping plantar fasciitis and resulting heel spurs at bay. Finding a runner's shoe store where the employees are well trained in fitting running shoes is ideal. Here are more tips for "Buying Running Shoes".

Inserts or orthotics

Before going to see a Seattle podiatrist try the most recommended shoe insert by podiatrists, Powersteps. If these reduce your pain significantly, great. But the truth is if you have a bone spur you most likely have a more severe case of plantar fasciitis; you're going to need prescriptive or custom orthotics.

If you want to end heel pain fast, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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By Dr. Rion Berg
April 26, 2016
Category: diabetes
Tags: diabetes  

Phillip the Duck was pretty unlucky when his feet got frostbitten and he wasn't able to function very well. Fortunately, Phillip became a lucky duck when his owner turned to a middle school teacher who happened to have a 3D printer. Phillip received his new feet and now he's doing just fine.

Although we have entered an age where prosthetics for feet and legs are becoming more common, no one would want to lose a foot or foot function if they could avoid it.

As a Seattle foot doctor I work with diabetic patients to encourage them to check their feet on a daily basis to avoid developing foot ulcers which can lead to amputation. In diabetes, foot ulcers form due to reduced blood flow to the feet and nerve damage due to peripheral neuropathy. Nerve damage results in reduced sensation in the feet and the inability to sense minor cuts and blisters that can easily turn into ulcers.

Our focus at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City is to help our diabetic patients early in the process by helping them prevent ulcers from forming. If ulcers do form we work with our patients to heal the ulcers to prevent limb loss.

If you have diabetes in addition to checking your feet on a daily basis for cuts, sores, or bruises, I recommend the following:

  • Wear thick sock without seams

  • Obtain shoes that fit properly; specific diabetic shoes are the best

  • Avoid going barefoot, period

  • Exercise daily to improve your circulation

  • Come in for an annual Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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By Dr. Rion Berg
April 21, 2016
Tags: blisters  

Are you sick and tired of having to deal with pesky blisters every time you pound the pavement? We've just learned about one low cost hack that can make a whole heap of difference when it comes to preventing blisters in runners and hikers alike. I also have four other hacks that will help keep blisters from forming.

An emergency medicine physician at Stanford Health Care conducted research that showed a simple piece of low cost surgical tape can make all the difference. One Hundred and twenty eight (128) ultra-marathoners who participated in RacingThePlanet--a 155 mile race held in four deserts--were the study subjects.

Runners were asked to point out the areas of one foot that were most blister-prone. These areas were taped. If that foot was not blister-prone a randomly selected area was taped.

The results were very clear.  The study showed that 98 of the 128 runners had no blisters where they were taped. Where they were not taped, 81 of the 128 runners got blisters.

Other Hacks to Prevent Blister Formation

  • Buy running shoes or hiking boots that fit. As adults our feet tend to get larger as we age. Get your feet measured the next time you spring for a new pair. Also there should be at least one thumb's width between the tip of the big toe and the end of the shoe. For more tips about buying running shoes, check out my recent blog.

  • Use foot powder or creams to reduce the friction between your feet and your shoes.

  • Purchase socks that wick away moisture and reduce friction.

  • Let your shoes dry out. When running or exercising our shoes absorb sweat. Don't wear the same pair of shoes everyday.

Have foot pain? Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online. Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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By Dr. Rion Berg
April 12, 2016
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: running shoes  

Shoes are your biggest asset when it comes to preventing foot pain and injury while running. Here are some guidelines for buying running shoes that are right for you.

Go to a reputable running store

Stores that specialize in running will know a lot more about fitting your feet properly than stores that do not. In Seattle we recommend Super Jock ‘N Jill, Fleet Feet Sports, REI, or Brooks. According to Runner's World magazine here are some of the questions a store should be asking you to ensure you are buying the proper shoes.

  • your level of running experience
  • how much you run in a typical week
  • the height of your arches
  • your motion mechanics (e.g. over pronation)
  • where your foot strikes the ground (e.g. forefoot)

Although you might initially rely on experts to fit you with the best shoe, it’s always best to get to know your own feet when buying shoes.

Replace the insert that comes with your shoes
Even new running shoes don’t come with an insert that will totally support you. Replace it with an over-the-counter insert such as Superfeet or Powerstep. If you have orthotics bring them with you to the store.

Go shopping at the end of the day
Feet are most likely to swell at the end of the day. Shop later in the day so you don’t buy shoes that are too small.

Check for proper size
Get your feet measured to make sure your size hasn’t changed. When you try them there should be at least one thumb’s width between the tip of the big toe and the end of the shoe. If one foot is larger than the other, buy to fit the larger size.

Test your shoes
Shoes should bend at the toe not in the center, be difficult to twist when you try to wring them out like a rag, and have a stiff heel counter that you can’t move easily. A true running shoe should pass this test easily. If not, keep shopping.

Replace worn out shoes
Shoes should be replaced after every 400-500 miles. Most runners will need to replace their shoes every 6 months.

If you still have pain after even after following these guidelines, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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By Dr. Rion Berg
April 11, 2016
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: running   plantar fasciitis   heel pian  

Did you feel like you stepped on a razor blade when you got out of bed in the morning? You wonder if this could be that nasty heel pain you've heard your running buddies talk about. Concerned that this could sideline you from your summer race schedule?

Stop worrying.

It's very likely that you do have heel pain or plantar fasciitis. As a Seattle foot doctor with over 30 years of experience I want to put your mind at ease. This condition is common in people who run. I see athletes like you all the time and I'm able to get them out of pain, fast.

At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City, we can help you by using a combination of the five steps below.

Reduce your inflammation

Every patient we see with plantar fasciitis has inflammation. It's a natural response to the injury of the tissue in your heel and it's what's causing the pain. To reduce the pain  temporarily reduce your activity, apply ice daily, and use anti-inflammatory medications. In my office I can give you a steroid injection or tape your feet for immediate relief.

Reduce your calf tightness

Your calf is connected to the plantar fascia which is the tissue that is causing you all the pain. If you have tight calves this is always a big player in the cause of your heel pain. When calves are tight they pull on the fascia every time you pound the ground. If this is the case for you, we'll provide you with all the necessary tools to reduce it.

Address your wonky foot mechanics

Most feet aren't perfect -- yours probably aren't either. If you're a pronator (your feet rotate in) or a supinator (your feet rotate out) we can improve your foot mechanics and help heal and prevent further bouts of plantar fasciitis.

Teach you about proper shoe gear
Wearing the right shoes is often half the battle. Check out our video.

Send you to physical therapy to get you better, fast.

Don't miss out on that upcoming race.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+