Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for: March, 2020

By Dr. Rion Berg
March 24, 2020
Category: Heel pain
Tags: Untagged

woman walkingAh, spring is in the air. With the great weather and no gym to go to, many people are starting to walk. Walking is great for many reasons. But now it’s particularly important in helping reduce the stress we all feel as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, people who walk at a moderate pace regularly have a lower risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

Perhaps you walk all the time and it’s no big deal to dive into your kicks and walk a 3-5 miles. But for people who’ve taken it easy all winter or participated in other forms of exercise, increased walking can cause problems with the feet, ankles, and back.

Conditions like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis can flare up and low back pain can occur due to imbalances in the feet. Bunions and neuromas which have been silent all winter can become aggravated.

So how can you counter these problems?

Increase Distance Gradually

Your best friend might want to walk a 5K, but if you’ve been swimming or riding a bike as your main form of exercise, walking that far could be problematic. You’re best off increasing your distance gradually – experts suggest no more than 10% a week. Not sure where to start? Think about the farthest you walked last summer and then back off by 25% before increasing by 10%. Always ask your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Check Your Shoes for Wear and Buy New If Necessary

Your shoes are your best protection when it comes to cushioning your feet and preventing foot and ankle problems.

First, take your tennis shoes and flip them over. Is any part of your sole more worn down more than the others? If so, you need a new pair of shoes.

When you look for new shoes comfort and support are the two most important factors. How will you know? You can only tell by trying and testing. Since the pandemic is going full force you’ll likely only be able to order online. Zappos is an excellent choice because returns are so easy. Once you get your shoes, test them for support. Here’s my video for how to do that.

Add a Pair of Over-the-Counter Inserts

Many of us need more support than any built-in shoe insert will provide. That’s because a large percentage of us are either pronators (roll our feet inwards) or supinators (roll our feet outwards). An over-the-counter insert can help provide a little bit of support in this area. So go ahead and buy some. They’re relatively inexpensive and will last about 6 months with regular wear. I recommend Powersteps.

Get Your Orthotics Checked

You may already have a pair of orthotics if you have flat feet, pronate, or you’ve had plantar fasciitis. But when was the last time you had them checked? Although they should last 5-7 years that doesn’t mean they still work for you. It’s a good idea to have them checked annually, but particularly if your weight has changed, they feel a bit uncomfortable, or you notice uneven wear on your shoes.

Do Dynamic Warm-ups

A special kind of warm-up called "dynamic warm-ups" are great for getting your body ready to walk and prevent foot and ankle problems.  Make these warm-ups part of your daily walking ritual.

Try Yoga to Improve Foot and Ankle Strength and Flexibility

Want to help your feet and ankles even more? Check out these yoga exercises for your lower extremities. Yoga can also build awareness of how you’re walking. Currently our local Lake City yoga studio, Two Dog Yoga is offering classes on Zoom.

Having pain in your feet? If you're reading this during the coronavirus outbreak, leave a message at 206-368-7000 and we'll return your call and set up a telemedicine appoinment. 

Otherwise Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an in person 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 foot and ankle problems, download 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.

Follow Dr. Berg on FacebookTwitterand Pinterest.


man wearing snorkelAs we hunker down during this time to avoid getting exposed to COVID-19 it's time to figure out how to stay engaged and entertained at home. Yes, you can always stream videos on Amazon, Netflix, or Hulu or rent videos from your local video store in Seattle's northend (Reckless Video and Scarecrow Video). But after awhile, it sure would be nice to do something other than watch the boob tube.

After culling the internet and recalling from my childhood some of the things I used to do with my family and friends to have fun, I've come up with the following top 10 ideas.

Idea One - Board Games

Board games, board games, and did I mention board games! One of my old time favorites is Monopoly. "Do not pass go, do not collect $200." But I also love a great game of Scrabble and now there's Bananagrams for a fast paced word game, Boggle, and many others.

Some other great options are Pictionary, Cranium (invented by a Seattleite), Sequence, Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza.

Idea Two - Plays

Much to the chagrin of some of my family members I love to act goofy. Note the photo of me in this blog. And what better way to display my goofiness then to put on a play with my family members. Of course I would play the wackiest role and let the others play the straight men. Using a flip chart or just a big piece of paper tacked to the wall, brainstorm ideas about possible characters and situations. Gather up props from around the house. Get your phone ready to record for a hilarious play back and then let the creative juices fly!

Once you're done, post the video on Facebook.

Idea Three - Table Topics

I got this idea from Toastmasters, the public speaking organization. Table topics are 1-2 minute speeches given extemporaneously and are often based on a particular theme. One person is the table topics master and everyone else gets the chance to speak when called on. The table topics master comes up with questions geared for the audience. For ideas about questions, check out 365 table topic questions.

Idea Four - Cooking Show

Does your family love to cook? Why not pretend you have your own cooking show and film it. Get everyone involved from kids to adults. You can even challenge another family to do the same, then upload your shows on Facebook and see which one gets the most Likes.

Idea Five- Music Night and Karaoke

Many of you know I love to sing and play my guitar. Michele plays the harp. We had a grand old time on our recent trip to the San Juan's playing together. Even if you don't play an instrument, you can always karaoke using Playstation or your Wii.  Break out your best or worst singing voice.

Idea Six - Read A Great Book Aloud

You may not have stocked up on books before the libraries closed but you can still download them from the Seattle Public Library and off of an app called Libby. Of course you can read alone for your own pleasure or read out loud with your family. So this is geared to the whole family try rereading one of the Harry Potter books or an oldie but goodie, The Hobbit. Pass the book around and get the whole family involved.

Idea Seven - Visit a Museum--Virtually

Now you can tour some of the best museums and artworks in the world virtually using the Google Arts and Culture site. Check out an up close and person view of Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night where you can actually see his brushstrokes. Or experience 360° videos to 3D printed sculpture to amazing historical sites. Visit Arjuna's Penance in Mahabalipuram in New Delhi, India to see the elephants and ancient peoples carved into a stone wall.

Idea Eight - Prepare Your Vegetable Garden Bed

Sugar or snap peas can be planted in your garden right now, but you can also prepare your soil for later spring and early summer planting. Here's how to do it according to Swanson's Nursery. After choosing a proper site that gets plenty of sun, add at least 2-3 inches of compost to your existing garden soil and dig it in down to 6 inches. If you are starting with a brand new raised bed, fill it with a mix of 75% potting soil and 25% compost. Add fertilizer before you start planting to give your vegetables the nutrition they require.

Idea Nine - Make a Collage

Do you have a bunch of old magazines lying around? If you do, you have most of the necessary ingredients for a making a collage. All you need is some poster board or large sheets of paper and some glue and you can go to town. Go through your magazines and pick out photos, words, or other items that you're drawn to. Raid your gift wrap box and pull out scraps of paper you may want to incorporate into your design. Torn scraps of paper can often look fantastic on a black background. Arrange them any way you like and glue down on your board.

Idea Ten - Have A Picnic in Your Living Room

It's too early for an outdoor picnic but it's not too early for an indoor one. Since it's a picnic, choose a menu based on what you would serve if it was a warm, sunny day in Seattle. Think potato salad, 3 bean salad, hamburgers, hotdogs, BBQ chicken, and ice cream. Or if you want go more gourmet, look up some recipes on line at Bon Appetit, Epicurious, or Allrecipes. Be sure to include a beautiful blanket for everyone to sit on. Enjoy!

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 foot and ankle problems, download 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.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 


young woman runnerAs a runner, you know already know the benefits of your favorite sport. Better sleep, weight control, more energy, chronic disease prevention--just to name a few.

You've probably had some injuries and want to do everything you can to prevent another one. As a runner with flat feet, keeping your feet in tip top shape can be a bit challenging--but it can be done.

How Flat Feet Affect Runners

Runners with flat feet are over-pronators--meaning their feet roll excessively inward toward the arch when they walk or run. When this happens pain and discomfort can occur in the feet, lower legs, low back, and hips. In the feet this usually means plantar fasciitis (pain in the bottom of the heel or arch) or Achilles tendonitis (pain in the back of the heel).

neutral, flat, and high arched foot printsIf you've experienced problems in any of these areas of your body as a result of running, there's a good chance you have flat feet and are over-pronating. Not sure if you have flat feet? Find out by doing this test. Wet the sole of your foot. Step onto a blank piece of paper or a shopping bag. Step off the paper or shopping bag to examine the shape of your footprint and compare it to the photo on the right.

While over-pronation is a key reason runners with flat feet are more prone to foot pain, another factor--equinus or tight calf muscles--also plays a major role in the development of heel pain and plantar fasciitis.

That's why prevention of the two most common foot problems for runners with flat feet requires both correction of foot mechanics and treatment of tight calf muscles.

Correcting Your Foot Mechanics

While some runners can get away with correcting their flat feet with over-the-counter inserts such as Powersteps or Superfeet, the vast majority will need custom orthotics. Custom orthotics are designed for your feet only and provide the best correction for flat feet.

Stretching Out Tight Calf Muscles

Most runners stretch right before they run. While wall or tree stretches (if you run outside) may seem adequate, stretching for a few minutes will have little impact on very tight calf muscles. Instead, Dr.Rion Berg of the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City recommends using an splint while reading or watching TV for 20-30 minutes for his patients with tight calf muscles.

Keeping Your Feet in Top Shape

It's also important to keep your plantar fascia or heel cord stretched and your feet strong.

Tennis ball massage
Tennis balls are great for keeping the bottom of your feet stretched out. While seated, use a tennis ball to massage all areas of your feet with special emphasis on your plantar fascia. Massage each foot for 2-3 minutes.

Towel curls
Towel curls can help strengthen your feet. While seated and with your feet on a towel, scrunch up the towel with your foot while your heel stays planted. Repeat 15-20 times with each foot for 2-3 sets.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

Running with a few extra pounds translates to more stress on your feet; seven extra pounds of pressure for every extra pound of weight. So maintaining a healthy weight will reduce the pressure on your feet and reduce your chance for foot pain.

Built Up Your Running Slowly

Just starting a running program with flat feet? Increase your training schedule by no more than 10-20% per week to prevent injury.

Best Training Terrain

Stick to training on flat ground. Running hills can increase your over-pronation putting more stress on your feet and plantar fascia. In addition, hill running and stair climbing put a lot of strain on the Achilles leading to Achilles tendonitis. Finally, softer surfaces are better than hard ones. A running track is a good option.

Buy Running Shoes for Flat Feet

Your shoes are your best defense against foot pain. Old, worn-out shoes will not adequately support your feet. Likewise running shoes that aren't designed for your foot type and the kind of running you do won't either. Be sure to go to a shoe store that specializes in running like Super Jock N Jill, Brooks, or REI in the Seattle area. Their employees are trained to help you find the shoe that will best meet your needs. In addition, check out my blog, "How to Buy the Best Running Shoes".

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".

For chronic heel pain, download our eBook, "Stop Living With Stubborn Heel 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.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

 


By Dr. Rion Berg
March 10, 2020
Category: sports injuries
Tags: Untagged

different types of ahtletic shoesProfessional and amateur athletes spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars each year on shoes. Often shoe purchases are made based on promises from shoe companies that athletes will be able to run faster, jump higher, and have less foot pain because of extra cushioning, more revolutionary materials, or special qualities.

While some of these claims may be accurate they can't possibly be right for all of us. We each have a different foot type, different needs when it comes to our level and type of exercise, and different foot problems that require a range of solutions.

With injuries of the foot and ankle rampant among athletes it's important to buy a shoe that's ideal for the foot, level, and type of activity.

Here are some of the most common signs that the athletic shoes you're wearing are wrong for you:

Toenail loss or bruising
While toenail bruising and loss are common among athletes, wearing shoes that are too short will certainly accelerate the process. If you've lost a toenail or notice that your toenails have become black or purple it's time to get your feet measured.

Blisters
Blisters form when a shoe rubs continuously over a part of the foot. This occurs when shoes are either too tight or too loose. It's important to check the length and the width of the shoe to be sure it's the right size for you.

Plantar fasciitis
Because athletes often apply tremendous force to their feet during sports activities, they are at greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, a related condition. Many factors combine to cause these foot problems, including unsupportive or inappropriate shoes. Athletic shoes are created to support the foot for specific sports. It's important to wear shoes designed for that activity only.

Stress fractures
Stress fractures are tiny, hairline cracks in the bone caused by repetitive force. These can occur in the foot and are common in athletes. If left untreated stress fractures can result in a complete break. Runners and athletes who play basketball, tennis, or are involved in gymnastics are most at risk, but any sport where your feet take a pounding can cause this condition.

Athletes who have flat feet and other faulty foot mechanics should wear shoes appropriate to their sport and should talk to their podiatrist about getting custom orthotics.

Low weight women athletes including those with an eating disorder and male and female athletes with osteoporosis are at particularly high risk for stress fractures.

Shoes That Are Worn Out/Have Uneven Wear
Athletic shoes should be purchased every 500 miles or when shoes wear unevenly on the bottom. Worn out shoes can't provide the proper support required for athletic endeavors resulting in greater likelihood of an injury. Uneven wear on shoes can result in trips, falls and turned ankles.

Am I Wearing the Right Athletic Shoe?
Many factors go into ensuring if an athletic shoe is right for you. In addition to replacing your shoes at the right time, follow these guidelines to help you make that determination.

  • Only wear shoes made for your particular athletic pursuit.

  • Neutral, flat, and high arched foot typesKnow your foot type. For some sports such as running, certain shoe types will work better than others to prevent foot problems. To determine your foot type, wet the sole of your foot. Step onto a blank piece of paper or a shopping bag. Step off the paper or shopping bag to examine the shape of your footprint and compare it to the photo on the right.

  • Know your motion mechanics. (e.g. over pronation, flat feet)

  • Your level of running experience including number of miles/week can also affect the best type of shoe for you.

  • Test your shoes before purchasing them. Although new athletic shoes should be supportive, it's always a good idea to test the shoes yourself as demonstrated in this video.

If you're experiencing foot or ankle pain or an injury, 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".

For chronic heel pain, download our eBook, "Stop Living With Stubborn Heel 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.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

 


feet soaking in tub of waterPumice stones can be a wonderful adjunct to your foot care regimen. When used correctly these stones are an excellent tool for keeping your feet smooth and free of tough, dead skin. They also can keep your corns and calluses in check. However, improper use can cause pain, so be sure to follow these instructions.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

  • Bucket or tub

  • Pumice stone

  • Moisturizer

  • Bristled brush for cleaning the stone

Step 2: Soak Your Feet in Warm Water

It's important to soak your feet in warm water for 5-10 minutes to soften up the skin before using the stone.

  • Fill up a bucket or tub with water and put in your feet.

  • Wait until your skin is soft. If after 10 minutes the skin still feels rough add a few more minutes to your soak.

  • Add a few drops of essential oil and Epsom salt for a spa-like experience. Epsom salts can help relax your muscles.

Step 3: Wet the Stone

Wetting the stone helps it glide more easily over your skin. Never use a dry pumice stone as it can cause abrasions on your skin.

  • Either run the stone under warm water or let it soak along with your feet in the bucket or tub.

Step 4: Pat Your Skin Dry With A Towel

Step 5: Rub Your Skin Over Tough Skin

  • Rub the abrasive side of the pumice stone over your skin in a circular motion using light pressure.

  • If the skin is soft it should come off easily.

  • Do this until you remove the dead skin; about 2-3 minutes.

  • Stop if your skin feels sensitive or sore.

Step 6: Rinse and Repeat

Rinse off the dead skin and examine your feet to see if it needs more sloughing. If you still see dead pieces of skin, go over the area again with the pumice stone.

  • Consider turning the pumice stone over to reveal a fresh surface to improve its exfoliation ability.

  • Rinse the stone frequently to keep its surface clean and effective.

Step 7: Dry and Moisturize Your Skin Afterwards

  • Pat your skin dry

  • Use Amerigel moisturizer to replenish your skin.

Step 8: Cleaning Your Pumice Stone

Clean your stone after each use.

  • Wash it using a scrub brush or nail brush while holding under warm water.

  • Add some soap to clean it thoroughly.

  • Allow the stone to completely dry out to prevent bacteria from growing in the pores. Stones with strings can be hung up.

  • Boil your stone in water for 5 minutes to deep clean it. Use tongs to remove it from the water. If you use it every week, consider boiling every other week or once a month.

Step 9: Replace Your Stone When It's Worn Down

When it gets too small to handle, replace your stone.

Cautions:

  • Like all personal hygiene implements, don't share your pumice stone with other people to reduce the chance of infection.

  • People with diabetes should ask their podiatrist before using a pumice stone as diabetic skin can develop wounds.

  • Consider talking with your podiatrist before using your stone to remove corns or calluses even if you don't have diabetes.

If you have pain or other concerns about your feet, 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 foot and ankle problems, download 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.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.