Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: December, 2017

By Dr. Rion Berg
December 27, 2017
Tags: heel pain   weight loss  

As a Seattle podiatrist I'm all for losing weight. Many of my patients have diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Losing weight would be extremely helpful in managing their chronic illness and reducing their risk for foot problems such as heel pain and bunion progression.

Every year lots of us sign up for gym memberships to lose weight. And many of us will stop going to the gym after the first couple of months.

What's happening here?

According to some experts the "21 day" rule to form a habit is not true. Forming a new habit depends on so many factors including complexity, frequency, consistency, and individual variation. For example, it will likely take much longer to make running on a treadmill and using gym equipment a habit than walking since most people already walk and it takes no special equipment or gym to do it.

In addition to doing exercise that is more easily habit forming, it's important to look at the reasons why your gaining weight. In a previous blog I wrote last year called "Why Weight Loss is Great for Our Feet But Can Be Difficult to Do" the reasons people are overweight are quite complex. Weight gain involves not just what we eat but genetic factors, medications, and specific diseases that make it more likely to put on extra pounds.

Weight loss using exercise is also not one size fits all. Besides the difficulty in forming a new habit, you should work closely with your doctor, a physical therapist and/or exercise physiologist to ensure that your exercise is appropriate to your current fitness level. Also, these providers will make sure limitations such as foot, back, or knee pain are taken into account.

One article suggests that physicians go for a walk with their patients to do a "talk test". When doing moderate-intensity activity you should be able to talk, but not sing, during the activity. Moderate aerobic activity will help with weight loss by burning fat, while too much activity will not.

Of course combining healthy eating with exercise is extremely important for losing weight. Working with a nutritionist, dietician, or expert in the area of obesity and overweight are important in helping determine the best plan for you.

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".

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!


When we think about preventing Type II diabetes we typically consider diet and exercise to lose weight. While these things are important, a new study shines the light on the importance of maintaining a strong social network in order to reduce our odds as well.

In this study, social isolation was associated with increased odds of developing Type II diabetes for both men and women. Social isolation was defined as size of a person's social network, total contacts over 6 months, percentage of daily/weekly contacts, proximity to social contacts, social participation, living with others vs living alone, and informational, emotional, and practical support.

Living Alone

Living alone did not increase the odds for women developing the disease, but for men there was a 59% higher odds of developing prediabetes and an 84% higher odds of developing Type II diabetes. For men who already had Type II diabetes the association was 94% higher.

Lack of Social Participation

Both men and women were at greater odds for developing Type II diabetes, but for women it was far more significant. Lack of social participation for women conferred a whopping 112% higher odds of already having the disease and for men it showed a 42% higher odds.

What to Do About It?

Although this study does not show causation, the strong association between those who did develop the disease vs those who did not makes us pay greater attention to the need for increasing our social networks and contacts and those we care about.

Joining clubs or a book group, joining a church or synagogue, participating in team sports, and attending classes or having lunch at a senior center are all ways to increase our social network.

For more information, read the study.

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.

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.

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


By Dr. Rion Berg
December 14, 2017
Category: Fungus toenails
Tags: pedicure  

After many days of shopping for the holidays you may be thinking, "what about me--don't I deserve some pampering?" A pedicure may be just the thing to help you relax and feel good.

Whether you decide to give yourself a pedicure, go to a salon, or buy a gift certificate for someone else there are some important things you should know to ensure you or a loved one gets a safe pedicure.

Before making the appointment ask:

  • What kind of whirlpool do they use?  It should be the pipe-less kind such as Sanijet to ensure there is no tubing that can't be cleaned.

  • Are nail implements cleaned in an autoclave? Autoclaves are the gold standard for eliminating germs from metal instruments. Liquid disinfectants only work if tools are left to soak for at least 20 minutes. Bring your own tools such as clippers and cuticle stick to be on the safe side.

Before heading to the salon:

  • Refrain from shaving your legs. A small nick or cut can put you at risk for infection. Wait until after your pedicure to shave your legs

  • Purchase nail polish that does not contain toxic chemicals. Regular nail polish contains formaldehyde, toluene, and phthalates. They can also weaken nails and put you at greater risk for a fungal nail infection. Try Dr.'s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish which contains tea tree oil, biotin, and wheat protein and none of the harmful chemicals mentioned above. It can be used safely when pregnant.

During your pedicure:

  • Ask them to trim your nails straight across. Nails that aren't trimmed properly can lead to an ingrown toenail infection.

  • Tell them not to cut your cuticles. Your cuticles are there for a reason. They help prevent germs from entering your system. Instead of getting them cut, tell them to gently push them back.

  • Ask them to moisturize your nails after removing the old polish. Nail polish remover contains chemicals that can dry out your nails and make them brittle.

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.

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.

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


The Seahawks pulled out a stunner last night against the Philadelphia Eagles and Earl Thomas was no small part of that. Even though Thomas looked like he might be out with heel pain he was declared good to go by Pete Carroll and he didn't disappoint us. He successfully assisted in tackling quarterback Carson Wentz to stop a potential touchdown which may have been the turning point in the whole game.

As a Seattle podiatrist I'm wondering how Earl is doing now with his heel pain since it's a condition very unlikely to resolve in a couple of days.  Earl probably received a cortisone shot to relieve the pain so he would be ready to play. If he does have heel pain or plantar fasciitis it's probably not any better and very likely worse after playing last night's game.

I would never have give he go ahead to a patient to play, but Earl Thomas is a different story. He gets paids millions to play for the Seahawks even with an injury.

Here's what I would do with my patients in a similar situation in addition to keeping them out of the game.

  • Have them apply ice over the first 48 hours, take anti-flammatory medication, and possibly a cortisone injection to reduce the inflammation.

  • Tape the foot so that no pressure is put on the plantar fascia, the tendon that's sustained the injury.

  • Give them an Aircast Airheel, a device used to take the pressure off the heel.

It's always tempting to keep going after an injury particularly for athletes, but in the long run it's better to stay on the sidelines to shorten the time it takes to heal.

Photo credit: Mike Morris, Flickr

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".

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.

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