Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City

By Rion A. Berg, DPM
September 29, 2011

Some of you may have noticed that more often than not, a treatment option in podiatry involves the physical therapy modality of stretching. The reason for this is simple: when a muscle is allowed to tighten up, it changes the function of that muscle and alters how the body deals with the motions and forces of everyday life. The reasons that muscles tighten up are many, including overuse, underuse, and abnormal use (such as when you walk a certain way to avoid pain). A tight muscle acts as a shortened muscle, and in the case of the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles) in the lower leg, a tight muscle can cause major deforming forces on the both the structure and function of the foot.

The calf muscles (made up of 3 parts: 2 heads of the gastrocnemius muscle and 1 soleus muscle; see picture) originate on the back of your thigh, with the gastrocnemius just above the back of your knee and the soleus just below the back of the knee. They then travel down the back of your lower leg, where all three parts join together as your Achilles tendon to insert into the back of your heel.  If the calf muscles are tight (and therefore shortened), they pull on your heel bone and cause your foot to function in abnormal ways with each step you take. This is why stretching your leg muscles is important as both a prevention and treatment of many types of lower extremity injuries.  

You should try to stretch your leg muscles every day, including calf muscles (both gastrocnemius and soleus), hamstrings (back of thigh), and quadriceps (front of thigh).

Today we will discuss one easy calf muscle stretch you can do at home with just a few free minutes. This set of stretches is called a “Wall Stretch.” Start by putting your hands flat on a wall and step one foot back about one large step (this will be the leg you are stretching). Keep this back leg straight, your toes pointed forward and try to keep your heels and toes flat on the floor. You can then lean forward and bend the front leg as you feel the back leg’s gastrocnemius muscle stretch.

Make sure you are not stretching to the point of pain! Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then relax. Switch legs until each leg is stretched 3 times for 30 seconds each time. The stretch for the soleus muscle is very similar, except this time you will keep the front leg bent AND the back leg bent, while then leaning forward and feeling a slightly deeper stretch.  Switch legs back and forth until each leg again is stretched 3 times for 30 seconds each time.

Make sure you that you never cause pain by stretching and that you maintain your balance at all times. Daily stretching, as well as daily exercise, will go a long way in promoting a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, as well as one good pair of happy feet.  

Rion A. Berg, DPM
Podiatrist and Board Certified Foot Surgeon

Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City
2611 NE 125th St., Ste. 130
Seattle, WA 98125
206.368.7000




Our office is located in Lake City within 10 minutes of Shoreline, Kenmore, Juanita, Sandpoint, Meadowbrook, Wedgewood, Maple Leaf, Broadview, Greenwood, Northgate, and Pinehurst. Parking is free.

By Rion A. Berg, DPM
June 30, 2011
Category: foot care

As you may remember reading a couple of weeks ago, ("Why Do My Feet Itch So Bad?"), our feet can be very susceptible to a variety of problems, one of which is fungal infections. When a fungal infection reaches your toenails, it can manifest itself as thickened, yellow-colored, brittle nails. While fungal infections on your skin are easily treatable with good hygiene along with sprays, creams, lotions, or powders, a fungal infection under the nails is a bit more of a challenge. The reason we get fungal toenails is because our feet are covered up and in shoes most of the time. A dark, moist environment is what fungus loves to grow in.

Treating fungal nails is challenging because it's hard to access the infection under the toenail. Although it might seem like the only thing you can do if you're a woman and your embarassed about showing off your toes is to wear nail polish, this is not a good idea. Nail polish can weaken the nails and make them even more prone to get fungus or adding to the fungus you already have. Although some people can go a long time with no changes to their nail appearance oftentimes nails just get thicker and uglier which makes them even more difficult to treat.

Instead of covering up your nails, come in today to see what the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City offers people like you who are struggling with what to do about their nail fungus. We offer a complimentary evaluation to help you determine the best course of care for your nails. We use a combination of topicals to treat the nails and skin, laser, products to keep your shoes free of fungus (stopping re-infection is key, and a flexible nail product to restore the appearance of your nail.

So there is no nee to avoid the beach this summer. Call the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City so that we can evaluate your nails and provide the most Comprehensive Fungal Nail Treatment in Seattle, You can reach us by caling 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.  



 


 

By By Rion A. Bertg, DPM
March 29, 2011
Category: foot care

 

Up to 10% of the population suffers from heel pain, plantar fasciitis. Millions of dollars are spent per year in health care to resolve this problem. Many common treatments including cortisone injections, physical therapy, orthotics, and surgery are available, but the advantages of one over the other are not necessarily proven in randomized studies.

I’ve been in practice for thirty years, and I continue to utilize the latest techniques in resolving heel pain. My heel pain patients in Seattle are happily running, walking, skiing and enjoying the active lifestyle the Northwest offers. I continue to hope that some of these techniques will resolve your heel pain faster, with less down time, and provide more lasting relief.

Speaking of lifestyles, with the passing of the infamous, Elizabeth Taylor, passes a time when high heels are required as part of the work "uniform" for women. Save the stillettos for evening. To keep your feet happy and healthy in the long term, wear lower heels with work attire and consider a dress flat to wear with slacks.
 



1.   So what is plantar fasciitis?

  • It is the inflammation of the attachment of a long flat ligament, the plantar fascia, at it’s attachment to the heel or along its course to the base of your toes.
  • It becomes inflamed when it is over pulled from the heel to the toes. If the process continues it pulls on the bone and a spur can develop.

2.  What are the most important factors contributing to heel pain?

Self Assessment

Your Weight             Overweight?  Yes     No
Your Work                Prolonged Standing?  Yes     No
Your Play                  Runner?  Mileage/wk  _____ Court Sports______ Other___________
Your Foot Type        Flatfoot?  Yes    No    Very High Arches   Yes      No
Your Shoes              Slip On?  Yes    No     Stable?    Yes    No   

                                    Stable = Bends at ball, not in the middle
                                                  and doesn't twist easily from side to side

Barefoot/stocking feet/house slippers at home?   Yes     No

3.  Where do you start when it comes to treatment?

Begin by being honest with yourself and deciding how long you have been having your heel pain.  1-4 weeks, 1-3 months, 3-6 months, 1 year or longer

What is your pain level on a scale of 0-10?

Divide this up_______AM pain level

_______During the day

_______Pain only at end of day

_______Pain during athletic activities

_______Pain when you are off your feet

4. First Steps to Self Help
 

Don’t go barefoot/slippers at home

If you have a house rule of no shoes, buy Crocs for in house only

 

For acute pain >6/10, short duration

(1-4weeks) with no Hx of injury

Begin icing ten minutes/day, if tolerant and no GI issues/or other contraindications, oral anti-inflammatory per your physician’s recommendation

 

Check your shoes for stability

Generally an athletic shoe with slight heel is preferred. Remove insole of the shoe and replace with a good OTC support such as Powerstep or Superfeet

 

Before rising

Stretch your calf, flexing your ankle 20 reps, stretching against the wall.

 

Runners

Stop running until symptoms are subsiding.

 

Heel pain can prevent you from enjoying your dailing life as well as leisure time at the parks and urban trails we have right here in Lake City, Shoreline, Ravenna and Kenmore. Take care of your feet and get outside to enjoy the beginning of Spring!

If you have signs of heel pain, call us today for an appointment at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.