Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: October, 2017

By Dr. Rion Berg
October 27, 2017
Category: Heel pain

Do you have tight calf muscles and experience foot pain? Tight calf muscles are not uncommon in our culture. Because most of us sit all day long our calves tighten up. Women who wear high heels also end up with this condition.

When the calf muscles are too tight you can't move the foot forward properly.  Instead of the force dissipating when you walk or run, the force goes into the foot resulting in Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.

Here are solutions for beating tight calf muscles.

Stretching
As soon as I identify tight calf muscles in a patient I start them on a program of appropriate stretching.  Stretching exercises are easily done at home. The problem is that they need to be done for up to thirty minutes a day.  To help you with that a splint can be worn while you're watching TV or reading a book and easily get that thirty minutes of stretching done to reduce the tightness of your calf muscle.

Heel Lift
A heel lift can also be used under the sole of your shoe to raise the heel up which relaxes the calf muscle.

Control the Foot Mechanics
Controlling your foot mechanics is another part of the puzzle that must be resolved to prevent tight calf muscles. Custom orthotics prevent pronation and stops the need for the calf to tighten.

Other Measures
If the inflammation is too great other measures include:

  • icing

  • heat

  • anti-inflammatory medication

  • referral to physical therapy

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.

Coming soon.


By Dr. Rion Berg
October 26, 2017
Category: Fungus toenails

So your big toenail has turned black and you're wondering what to do about it. To set your mind at ease, black toenails usually come about because of trauma. It could be that you dropped something heavy on your toenail, but more then likely you were skiing, hiking, or running and your shoes were just a bit too tight.

But sometimes a black toenail can be the sign of toenail fungus or even worse, melanoma.

That's why it's so important not to never ignore a black toenail.

Fungal Nails
A black nail can be a sign of onychomycosis or fungal nails. In Seattle, our feet are covered in socks and shoes or boots most of the year. And many of us wear cotton socks that keep our feet slightly damp. This is the perfect environment for toenail fungus to thrive.

Runners and other active people also are at greater risk due to repetitive pressure on the nail bed which causes it to lift slightly allowing the fungus in where it can set up shop.

It's best to get this condition treated as early as possible to ensure the best chance of success.  To learn more about treatment visit our Seattle Fungal Toenail Center.

Melanoma
At worst a black toenail is diagnosed as melanoma, a very dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma tends to grow very slowly so it's important not to dismiss it. In fact, melanoma is the most common cancer of the feet. Unlike our face which we look at every day, many of us ignore our feet.

When found on the feet there is a much higher death rate due to this cancer which can spread throughout the body. That's because we are more likely to find it when it's already too advanced to adequately treat.

Related articles:

Protecting Your Feet From the Sun Can Avoid Skin Cancer Disaster
Guide to Eliminating Ugly Fungal Toenails

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.

Download a copy of our eBook, "No More Foot Pain" .

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

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
October 18, 2017
Category: Heel pain
Tags: bunions  

October is breast cancer awareness month. For many women, a diagnoses of breast cancer can be devastating. Older women, women who got their period very early, late menopause, not exercising, family history, and being overweight after menopause are all risk factors for developing breast cancer.

Although you can’t do anything about your genetics, your age, or when you got and stopped getting your period, you can exercise and help keep your weight down.

For this reason, keeping your feet out of pain and in good working order is essential to keep you exercising.

A study showed that 51% of people who are overweight or obese said that their foot health was good or fair, whereas only 21% of those with normal weight said so.

Why is this so?

For every pound of body weight, you put three pounds of force on your feet when walking and seven pounds when running. Extra body weight can contribute to two of the most common foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis and bunions.

When you’re overweight you’re at greater risk for developing heel pain. The plantar fascia which runs from your toes and inserts into your heel is more likely to get overstretched. This causes microtears at the bottom of your heel leading to the painful inflammation of plantar fasciitis.  

Overweight can also lead to bunion formation, the bony protuberance that sticks out from your big toe. That’s because people with extra weight tend to roll their foot inward or pronate making bunions more likely. Overweight can also accelerate the formation of bunions for those who have flat feet and are already at greater risk.

Wearing supportive shoes and orthotics can help change the way you walk, which can relieve heel pain and slow down the formation of bunions. Even if you’re not overweight wearing high heels, very flat shoes, and flip flops can cause pain in your feet. It’s best to wear supportive shoes with heels that are one inch in height or slightly lower.

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.

Your free foot book "No More Foot Pain" is waiting to be sent to your home.

Our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe. You can print out the newsletter for easier reading!

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+


By Dr. Rion Berg
October 12, 2017
Category: Heel pain
Tags: Untagged

As Seahawk defensive end Michael Bennett was chasing after Los Angeles Ram's quarterback Jared Goff this past Sunday, he sustained a plantar fasciitis injury. Plantar fasciitis or heel pain is common among runners and other athletes.

For most of us heel pain typically doesn't occur suddenly but has a slow onset as a result of improper foot mechanics, tight calf muscles, unsupportive shoes, and being overweight. Most often it develops from a combination of these factors.

It's called plantar fasciitis because the fascia which starts at the heel and inserts into the base of the toes becomes inflamed. If you have it you'll feel a lot of pain at the bottom of your heel with first steps in the morning. That's because your calf muscle tightens up when you sleep.  As the day goes on the pain can lessen as your calf muscle becomes warmed up and more stretched out.

Fortunately plantar fasciitis is very treatable.  I can't be certain what the Seahawk trainers did to decrease Michael Bennett's pain, but he probably get a shot of steroids to his heel to decrease the inflammation quickly.  That's so he can go back out there as soon as possible to keep playing.

As a patient with plantar fasciitis you could get a steroid shot, but more likely we'll try other approaches.

First, we'll tape your foot so that when you walk out the door it's the tape that's pulling on your foot, not your plantar fascia. We'll also recommend several other techniques to reduce inflammation so your plantar fascia can start the healing process.

When you return to our office we'll put you on a program to reduce your calf tightness if this is an issue for you. If you have flat feet or other improper foot mechanics, you'll likely need orthotics to properly align your feet and prevent the heel pain from returning.

If you experiencing heel pain, 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+

Players seen in the photo are not Seahawks nor Michael Bennett.


By Dr. Rion Berg
October 03, 2017
Category: Fungus toenails
Tags: laser treatment  

At this time of year, many of us start to think about costumes for our kids and possibly even ourselves if we really get into Halloween. People come up with all sorts of crazy ideas for costumes including painting their toenails black, green, or some other color combination that will make them look as freaky as possible. Very likely some kids are still wanting to go as football players like Marshawn Lynch.

But perhaps for you ugly toenails are not a one day event but a constant reminder that you might be headed for beast mode by having toenail fungus. As a Seattle podiatrist, I'm here to tell you that you don't have to worry about transforming into beast mode permanently just because your nails look bad.

At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City we've been treating fungal toenails for over 30 years and we've been using laser treatment since 2012. We'd love to help you get rid of this problem so you can stop worrying.

What Is Fungus?
Fungi are microscopic organisms called dermatophytes. They live everywhere in our environment, but in particular they love to live in dark, damp places. In Seattle, as we move our toenails out of sandal mode and into sock and boot mode we are setting our toenails up for beast mode by having have more exposure to the critters we call fungus.

Who Is More At Risk?
Just because you don't live in Hawaii and wear sandals all year long doesn't mean you're at great risk for getting a fungal toenail infection. But here are some ways you could be:

  • wearing cotton socks that don't wick away moisture if you sweat a lot

  • running in tight shoes can cause repetitive micro trauma to the nail allowing fungus in to set up shop

  • exposure to fungus in locker and shower rooms (always wear flip flops in these situations)

  • getting older and having a weak immune system

  • genetic predisposition - there is a chance you are genetically more likely to get fungal nails. If your parents have toenail fungus, be sure to be scrupulous about preventing it.

What You Can Do About It

Once you have toenail fungus, you may decide to head for the pharmacy or online to purchase a topical that claims to get rid of fungal nails forever. Unfortunately, things aren't that simple. Fungal nails are difficult to treat because the fungus lives under your nail as well as on your skin and on top of the nail.

If you have very little fungus you might get lucky with one of these treatments but more often than not you'll need much more. At our office, we will test your nails to be sure they do have fungus and then treat you with a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to meet your needs. You can visit our Seattle Fungal Toenail Center for more information.

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.

Are you a runner? You can 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+