Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: Morton's Neuroma

Ball of foot pain is one of the most common types of pain I see in athletes. Whether you're a runner, soccer player, or dancer ball of foot pain can stop you from doing what you love. Your feet are a wondrous, complex system of bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments designed to work together perfectly. And they must. They have a big job to do. Your feet are small relative to the amount of weight they need to hold up and keep in alignment.

Considering the amount of pounding and abuse they take, it's amazing our feet continue to deliver for us. It's not until we feel pain that we start to examine what we might need to do differently to protect them.

When you do experience pain in the ball of your foot or in other parts of your feet, you might wonder why your running partner seems to glide through it all without a twinge. The truth is your athletic pursuits are only part of the puzzle when it comes to assessing why you have pain in the ball of your foot. In fact people who aren't athletes also get ball of foot pain.

What Do I Mean By Ball of Foot Pain?
Ball of foot pain occurs where the toe bones join the metatarsal bones. It can occur in one spot or all across the ball of the foot. Symptoms can range from sharp or shooting pain when the toes are flexed to tingling or numbness in the toes or it can even feel like you're walking on pebbles.

There are many causes of ball of foot pain. To properly diagnose and treat it, I'll ask you questions about your recent physical activity, watch you walk, determine your foot type, and check the types of shoes you're wearing.

The Role of Foot Structure in Ball of Foot Pain
A big factor in developing foot pain lies in the structure of your feet. Some of us have high arches, some have low arches, and some have no arches. High arched feet and feet with no arches can both cause instability in the foot that leads to ball of foot pain by putting extra pressure on the metatarsal bones. Also, a Morton's toe (the second or third toe longer than the big toe) can lead to this condition when weight shifts to the second or third toes.

How Tight Calf Muscles Affect Foot Position
Tight calf muscles can make faulty foot structure worse by increasing the pressure on the metatarsal bones at the front part of your foot.

How Physical Activity Affects the Foot
Our feet can take a lot of pressure, however, the high jumps during a basketball game and the constant pounding from running can be a primary cause of ball of foot pain. It's important to rest when you first feel the pain and not try to play or run through it since you can do further damage to your feet.

How Being Overweight Can Play a Role in Ball of Foot Pain
Being overweight can increase your risk for ball of foot pain. Every extra pound of body weight creates three extra pounds of force when walking and seven pounds when running. For example, a person weighing 200 pounds would place 600 pounds of force on their feet when walking and 1400 pounds of force when running.

The Role of Shoes in Ball of Foot Pain
One of the easiest things to do to decrease ball of foot pain is to change your shoes. Every sport has shoes designed specifically to prevent foot and ankle injuries most common to it. Basketball shoes worn for running will not protect you from running injuries. Likewise, old worn out shoes will not provide the support needed to prevent pain in the ball of your foot. Even when you're not taking part in your favorite sport it's important to keep in mind that high heels and shoes that are pointy and squeeze the front of your foot can also be a factor in your foot pain.

Common Ball of Foot Pain Conditions
Some of the most common ball of foot pain conditions are:

Metatarsalgia - the pain is typically felt on one or more of the five bones (metatarsals) in the mid-portion of the foot.

Neuroma - A neuroma is an enlarged, benign growth of nerves, which can occur in various parts of the body. The most common neuroma of the foot is called Morton's neuroma, It develops between the third and fourth toes of either foot. The incidence of Morton's neuroma is eight to ten times greater in women than in men.

Sesamoiditis - occurs when the tendons surrounding the sesamoids can become irritated or inflamed. Sesamoiditis is a common condition among ballet dancers, runners, and baseball catchers because of the pressures placed on their feet. A form of sesamoiditis called turf toe is also found among soccer players and kickers in football.

Treatment
Acute pain and injury should be treated with ice to decrease swelling. Additional treatment will depend primarily on your diagnosis and foot structure. Orthotics might be dispensed to improve your foot alignment or to relieve pressure on a nerve if implicated in the diagnosis. A program of stretching, often with an Achilles splint, is warranted if you have tight calf muscles. Weight loss may be suggested to relieve pressure on your feet.

New athletic shoes should be purchased annually to ensure they are providing the support you need. Avoid buying lightweight shoes with squishy soles and no solid shank from the heel to the ball of the foot as these will add to your ball of foot pain. Instead purchase a Hoka One One running shoe if running is your sport. It has great shock absorption with a good shank and a rocker sole to prevent your foot from jamming into the ball of your foot. Everyday shoes should be only one inch in height and have a toe box wide enough to accommodate your forefoot.

Finally, all activity should stop until a diagnosis is confirmed by your podiatrist.

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.

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Photo credit: Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

 

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
June 15, 2018
Category: Neuroma
Tags: Morton's Neuroma  

If you're feeling a sharp pain between your third and fourth toes you may have developed a foot condition called Morton's Neuroma. What's that you wonder? It's a problem caused by any irritation which leads to thickening of tissue surrounding the nerve that travels to the third and fourth toes.

Recent research at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh found that Morton's neuroma has climbed by 115% percent (more than doubled) in women between 40 and 69 in the past 10 years. Women who wore high heels greater than 2 inches were at greater risk.

Although it's true that high heels are often the culprit--neuromas develop four times as often in women than men--avoiding heels aren't the only way to prevent this condition. Men and woman who wear shoes that are too tight or have a narrow toe box or participate in sports activities such as running are also more likely to develop this painful condition.

But no need to worry. At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City we've helped men and women resolve this problem hundreds of times.

Of course as a Seattle podiatrist my first recommendation will be to limit your high heel use. But even if you don't refrain there are several other solutions to this problem.

  • Ice - to initially relieve the pain and swelling

  • Padding - this relieves the pressure on that stubborn nerve that is causing all your pain
     
  • Orthotics - shoe inserts either over the counter or customized for your feet, if padding is not sufficient.

  • Roomier shoes - if your shoes are squeezing your tootsies, purchase shoes with a wider toe box. Be sure you get the proper fit for running shoes as well dress shoes.

  • Injections with alcohol - guided alcohol injections can work well to shrink the neuroma.

Related articles

Alcohol Injections Nip Neuroma Pain in the Bud
Painful Foot Conditions In Women Runners
When Neuromas Get in the Way of Summer Fun

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+

 

 

You want to get out and enjoy our wonderful weather, but it feels like your walking on hot coals or pebbles. Ouch!

As a Seattle podiatrist, I don’t think you’re from a weird cult or strange. The pain and pebble-like feeling means you probably have a condition called metatarsalgia (pronounced (met-uh-tahr-SAL-juh). I know it sounds bad, but don’t worry it’s a common foot problem.

Metatarsalgia is an inflammation of the ball of the foot and many things can cause it. In addition to the pain and the pebble in your shoe feeling you may also experience tingling or numbness in your toes and a sharp, shooting pain particularly when your feet are flexed.

You’ll likely notice it more when you’re active and less so when you lay off your feet.

What Causes it?

  • Having a high-arched foot or a very long bone in your toe.

  • Running or another high impact sport particularly if you haven’t done it in a long time.

  • Foot conditions such as bunions, hammertoes, stress fractures, and Morton’s Neuroma can make it more likely to happen.

  • Women - shoes that are too pointy, too high, or with a tight toe box.

  • Men – rigid-soled work boots

  • Wearing flip flops too often (no shock absorption)

  • Working on hard surfaces – cashiers, construction workers, road workers

What Can Be Done To Treat It?

Depending on the cause there are a variety of ways to treat it.

  1. Make sure your shoes are supportive and not worn out. Check out my video “How to Test Any Shoe for Stability” before you shop.

  2. Wear the right shoe for the activity you engage in. eg. Court shoes for tennis, running shoes for running

  3. Rest – as hard as this may be to stop your favorite activity, you’re going to need to sit out the next family hike to heal

  4. Apply ice several times a day

  5. At the podiatrist’s office – depending on what I find when I examine you I may recommend a metatarsal pad to take the stress off the ball of your foot. In addition, if you have poor biomechanics I’ll likely recommend either an over-the-counter shoe insert or I’ll make you a pair of custom orthotics.

If you have ball of foot 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.

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
April 26, 2018
Category: foot care

Spring is here and it's probably high time that you bought yourself a new pair of shoes. Many patients come to see me struggling with foot pain. I can't tell you how many times a big part of the problem is their shoes.

How can you tell if you need new shoes? Here are five sure fire ways to know.

You Can Fold Your Shoes In Half

If you have heel pain one of the first things I'm going to ask about are the type of shoes you're wearing. Although heel pain has many causes, one of them is wearing shoes with no support. And it's one of the easiest things to fix. So many people come in wearing shoes that I can literally fold in half. If your shoes are like that and you're wearing them to go on long walks around Greenlake, Hamlin Park in Shoreline, or St. Edwards State Park in Kenmore, you need to go out and buy yourself a new pair of shoes.

The best guidelines for buying walking shoes are to make sure they only bend at the toe, can't easily be wrung out like a rag, and have a stiff heel counter. Watch this video demonstration of how to test any shoe for stability.

The Treads Are Worn Down

You'll also want to avoid wearing shoes with worn down treads. How can you tell if they're worn down? Turn over your shoes and check them. If they look worn out or they are wearing unevenly in comparison to a new pair of shoes, then it's time to replace them. Worn out shoes will not provide the support you need even if they did initially.

Your Shoes Are The Wrong Size

You might think this is strange, but it's quite common to have an increase in shoe size as we age . It's particularly frequent in women after pregnancy due to weight gain. Arches drop slightly spreading the feet out. I recently saw a patient with foot pain and the only problem was her shoes were too short.

Your Shoes Are Squeezing Your Toes

Although it's very fashionable to wear pointy shoes they can cause several foot problems. If you have already have bunions pointy, tight shoes will only make them worse. In addition, you can develop a painful condition called Morton's Neuroma as a result of wearing shoes that are too tight and narrow.

Your Toenails Are Hurting You

Along with wearing shoes that are too small and narrow, another sign that you need a new pair of shoes are painful toenails. Your toenails should never hurt in a pair of shoes. Wearing shoes that are too short can cause two big problems for your toes: ingrown toenails and toenail fungus. Wearing shoes that fit are important to avoid both of these painful and unsightly problems.

If your feet or toes are painful, 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+

 

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
June 28, 2016
Category: Neuroma
Tags: Morton's Neuroma  

Now that summer is officially here, you're pretty bummed out. You've tried everything you can think of to stop the pain, burning and tingling sensation under the ball of your foot. You want to be out there walking and running but the pain just seems to be getting worse.

Does it also feel like you're walking on pebbles? If so, you more than likely have a neuroma. Neuromas occur more commonly in women than men. Morton's neuromas are the most frequent kind of neuroma and are caused by an enlargement of a bundle of nerves that run between the 3rd and 4th toes. You more than likely feel more pain between these toes than other locations of your foot.

Causes

  • high heels shoes or other shoes that cause constriction of the toes and nerves in the forefoot

  • repetitive stress to the ball of the foot from running or other sports activities

  • wonky foot mechanics e.g. people with flat feet are more likely to get a neuroma

So What Can Be Done?

If you come to see me (Dr. Rion Berg) at my office here are some of the things I'll recommend after I do a complete evaluation and determine the cause.

  • Reduce the swelling and inflammation by treating with ice, anti-inflammatory medications, and by changing out your shoes to provide more room for your toes to move around. If you wear heels, I'll ask you to stop wearing them.

  • Use padding to reduce pressure on the nerves. However, if you have a condition such as flat feet, heel pain, or bunions you likely have faulty foot mechanics. The neuroma will best be treated through prescriptive orthotics to correct the foot structure causing the pressure on the nerve.

  • Another great way to get rid of the problem at its core is through alcohol injections. Ultrasound guided injections of alcohol done over a specified period of time have been extremely successful in shrinking the nerve that causes the pain.

Don't let summer go by without pain relief. 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.

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