Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: July, 2016

Dillon Brooks who plays basketball for the Oregon Ducks and led his team in scoring last year is sporting a big black boot instead of working out this summer. He's been sidelined to prevent a minor injury from turning into a stress fracture.

You might wonder how these tiny cracks in the bone can turn out to be a game changer for a college or pro-athlete or even for an active person like yourself. Stress fractures may not sound like such a big deal, but that's not the case.

Stress fractures aren't like other fractures. They don't come on suddenly like an ankle fracture, but come on slowly. Symptoms can include pain, swelling, and redness. Some of these symptoms may seem to be better on some days than others; but don't let that fool you. Stress fractures need to be taken care of, pronto.

The following risk factors can increase your chance for getting a stress fracture.

Rapid Increase in Physical Activity
Stress fractures most commonly occur from a rapid increase in physical activity and the repetitive strain on bones. It's not only pro-athletes that tend to overdo it, but beginners who are enthusiastic to start a new sport. Bones need time to heal in between activities and when they don't get that opportunity, stress fractures are likely to occur.

Decreased Bone Density
Osteoporosis is most commonly associated with older adults, but female athletes in particular are at increased risk of decreased bone density if they train too hard and too often. Training intensity can create hormonal changes such as decreased or no menstrual period leading to premature osteoporosis.

Wonky Foot Mechanics
Men and women with flat feet or other foot problems can end up placing more pressure on one area of their foot which prevents the bone from healing adequately. Fortunately poor foot mechanics can be treated through use of inserts and orthotics.

Worn Out or Unsupportive Shoes
Shoes should be replaced every year or every 500 miles. When you turn over an old pair of shoes you'll notice wear patterns that are unique to you. Those wear patterns show exactly where you place your foot pressure. New supportive shoes will help keep your feet and body in alignment and decrease the chance of stress fractures occurring.

Changes in Playing or Running Surface
Going from trail running to running around Greenlake or moving from playing tennis on an indoor surface to an outdoor surface can put you at risk for stress fractures.

Follow these recommendations to lower your risk for stress fractures:

  • Getting enough Vitamin D and eating a diet rich in calcium will give your body what it needs to keep your bones strong. Vitamin D levels that are too low will prevent your bones from absorbing calcium an essential ingredient for bone development.

  • Start training slowly particularly if you are more sedentary during the winter months.

  • Add strength training to your workout regimen to build strong bones.

  • Change up your activities by alternating between ones that are high impact like running to low impact like swimming.Stop when it hurts. Foot or ankle pain are never normal. Get yourself to a Seattle podiatrist

Are you a runner with heel pain? Learn about stopping heel pain by downloading a copy of our eBook "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".

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

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
July 26, 2016
Category: Bunions
Tags: Untagged

You may have heard the phrase an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Well that is certainly the case when it comes to bunions. If you're in your 20s or 30s and you're already noticed a bunion forming off the side of your big toe, you won't have to look very far to see what it could look like years down the road. Just check out your mother's or grandmother's bunions. If their feet have become totally misshapen or they can barely walk or wear shoes, it's more likely that your feet will look like that too unless you take some simple actions.

Action Number 1
Ladies I hate to give you the bad news, but women are ten times more likely to develop bunions than men. Part of the problem is high heels. They accelerate bunion development because they tip your weight forward, forcing the toes into the front of the shoe. If you're toes are already in bunion mode, than you'll need to lay off the heels to prevent them from getting worse.

Action Number 2
So what shoes should you wear? Shoes that are supportive, allow your toes to move, and have a wider and higher toe box are best for preventing bunions from hurting and progressing. For my younger patients where style is often an issue, the good news is that you don't have to sacrifice style for less painful feet. Stable running shoes and shoes by Dansko, Naot, Keen, and Alegria work well and look good. For more specific recommendations, check out Kirsten Borrink's blog, called Barking Dog Shoes.

Action Number 3
Certain foot types will put you at greater risk for bunions--namely flat feet and feet that pronate or roll in. Orthotics can prevent your bunions from progressing by neutralizing the forces that cause your big toe to move toward your smaller toes. These types of orthotics cannot be purchased over-the-counter and must be made by a podiatrist who specializes in treating bunions.

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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It's summer. We sweat a lot and play hard. And perhaps that's one of the reasons our kids are more likely to get an ingrown toenail at this time of year. Sweat can make skin softer making it easier for the toenails to dig into the skin. Add that to tight shoes and more outdoor play and your kids may soon start complaining that their big toe hurts.

Please don't ignor their complaints. Instead check it out!

Look at the skin around the nail. Is it red, swollen and and painful to the touch? Don't even attempt to perform what I call "bathroom surgery" on their nail. This can lead to a bad infection.

Instead, make sure you bring them to a Seattle podiatrist who can best take care of the job. Ingrown toenails require same day minor surgery and often one more visit. Doing even minor surgery on kids takes a special touch. Dr. Rion Berg has been treating kids with ingrown toenails for over 30 years. He has a special ability to connect with them and put them at ease.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online. Then your kids can get back to playing pain free.

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
July 18, 2016
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: running moms  

It's been a few months since you had your last child and now you're ready to lose a few pounds. Running has always be your "go to" method for staying in shape and now your chomping at the bit to get going. You've got the sitter lined up and you're ready to join your best buddy "Barkley" for a 3 miler around Green Lake. But for some reason your toes are hitting the top of your running shoes and you're feeling pain in your feet after the first mile. What's up?

Blame your hormones and increased weight.

Hormones
The hormone relaxin not only loosens the ligaments in your pelvic area, but it loosens other ligaments including those in your feet.

Loose foot ligaments do two things to your feet: 1) can cause instability, increasing the likelihood that they will "give out" causing arch pain and 2) an increase in foot size. Wearing shoes that are too tight can cause ingrown toenails and painful neuromas.  

Weight Gain
Weight gain at any point in your life can cause your arches to fall and can also contribute to painful conditions such as plantar fasciitis.

So what can you do to prevent or stop these foot problems?

1. Get Your Feet Measured
If your toes are hitting the top of your shoes you've foot size has more than likely increased. To be sure, get them measured the next time you hit the shoe store.

2. Buy New Shoes
If your feet have grown, you're going to need a new pair. And because you're a runner with post-partum foot problems, buying the right running shoes will be particularly important. Go to a store that specializes in running. Tell them that you need a more supportive running shoe to keep your arches from collapsing.

3. Make Sure the Shoes Are Stable
Even though you may be putting your trust in a professional, it's important to learn how to test your shoes before you buy to ensure they are stable. Holding each end of the shoe, try to bend it in half; the shoe should only bend at the ball of the foot. If it bends in half, it's not stable. Next, twist the shoe as if you're wringing out a rag. It should be difficult to twist if it's stable. Watch our video about how to test your shoes for stability.

4. Replace the Inserts
For more support it's important to replace the Inserts that come with your new shoe purchase. Buy an over-the-counter insert such as Superfeet or Powerstep.

5. Go shopping later in the day
Your feet swell later in the day, so it's important to go at a time when your feet are at their maximum size.

6. Stretching
Although your feet may be loose, you'll still need to stretch to make sure you don't injure yourself when you run. Warm up your legs by jogging in place for at least 10 minutes before you stretch. Use a variety of stretches to your routine and hold the stretches for at least 30 secs.

Are you still experiencing pain after trying these methods? If you so, it's important to see a Seattle podiatrist like Dr. Berg to get the proper treatment.

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

ownload 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+


If you've had heel pain you're not alone. Around two million people a year are treated for plantar fasciitis, the most common cause of heel pain. Although you can't change your foot structure, there are four risk factors that are under your control.

Overweight and obesity
Extra weight puts more force on the arch when walking causing it to flatten out to a greater degree than normal. The flattening pulls on the plantar fascia causing micro-tears that cause heel pain. Weight loss can play a large role in lowering your risk for developing plantar fasciitis.

Tight calf muscles
Tight calf muscles are commonly found in people with plantar fasciitis and are frequently part of the problem. If your calf muscles are tight you can reduce your risk for plantar fasciitis by stretching them on a daily basis. Although many people use the runner's stretch and think that's enough, for many people it isn't. For my patients who already have the condition I recommend using an Achilles splint for 30 minutes at least once a day while watching TV or reading. Using this method will help prevent the condition as well.

Lack of supportive shoes
For those prone to plantar fasciitis wearing the right shoes will make a huge difference in preventing a reoccurrence. Start in the morning when you first get out of bed. Never go barefoot. Instead slip your feet into a supportive pair of sandals such as the Vionic Unisex Wave Toe Post Sandal. For everyday wear make sure you buy shoes that provide good support and stability. To learn more about how to test shoes before buying, watch our video "How To Test Any Shoe for Stability".

Increasing training time too quickly
Runners and other athletes are at higher risk for plantar fasciitis due to the repetitive motion and greater pressure on the feet. To minimize your risk, build up your training time and distance slowly. Runners World recommends increasing your training time no more than 10-20% each week.

Risk factors that are out of your control are aging and faulty foot mechanics such as flat feet, a tendency to pronate, and high arches. Podiatrists such as Dr. Rion Berg at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City are best suited to help you resolve problems with foot mechanics. Learn more by visiting our "Heel Pain Center of the Northwest" site.

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

Download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners" for more information about preventing heel pain.

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+