Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: Rion A. Berg

By Rion A. Berg, DPM
June 19, 2012

As I approach the summer, the number of patients coming in who go barefoot at home, and wear minimal foot gear during the day increases.  It’s totally understandable given the fact that we at least want to pretend summer’s here, dress down, and give our feet some air.

Here are some tips on how to keep foot loose and worry free.

First, remember that no matter how much you love shedding those shoes, being barefoot all day for most of us, is too much.  There are a select number of people who with the right training and the right foot, can be coached in barefoot running. For the rest of us however, who are carrying on a full load of household and play activities, a limited amount of time without closed shoes will not hurt you. That means, however, for the rest of our day, our feet need support to carry our load.

With that said and done, the question is, how much support is enough? Can we get by wearing thongs/flip flops? Are Tevas and other “supportive” sandals supportive enough?

To answer this question, you may need to be honest with yourself regarding how much support usually feels good with in each activity. Thus, if you’re lucky enough to have a good arch, you may be fine around the house barefoot or in sandals, but you are probably better off wearing more supportive shoes for extended standing or walking activities.

Second, open backed shoes, such as Crocs and Merrills are likely more supportive than thongs/flip flops, they still should be used a limited amount of time.  The reason for this is very simple. The closed back of a shoe and the full lacing adds a tremendous amount of support to your foot. So, yes, if you’re going to be on your feet all day, travelling, or hiking, you should be wearing a supportive athletic shoe or light weight hiking shoe.

Third, remember that even the best athletic shoes come with a very flimsy arch support. That means spending more and adding at least an over the counter full length support such as Powerstep. It truly will make a world of difference in helping you avoid developing chronic foot strain or plantar fasciitis.

Lastly, beware of stepping on foreign objects while you’re foot loose. A recent traveler came in and after performing bathroom surgery elected to have me take a look. Multiple spines had to be removed and the foot can become infected easily once an object penetrates the skin. If you suspect you’ve stepped on something foreign, have a foot specialist evaluate you as soon as possible. We really do want to keep you foot loose and worry free!

If you're experiencing foot pain, call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

 

 

By Rion A. Berg DPM
September 02, 2011
Tags: seattle   diabetes   Rion A. Berg   Tingling   Infection  

Last week we learned a little about  Diabetes Mellitus (DM) Type 1 and 2 and Pre-diabetes, as well as what can cause them. This week we are going to discuss some of things DM does to your body.

Most of the damaging effects of DM are due to the high levels of glucose streaming in the blood (aka – high blood sugar). That is why it is so important to control your blood sugar, first and foremost by diet and exercise, and lastly by medicine prescribed by your doctor. The effects of DM can be divided into two categories: “macrovascular” (effects are seen in larger blood vessels) and “microvascular” (effects are seen in smaller sized blood vessels). “Macrovascular” damage from DM can lead to heart disease, stroke, or a buildup of fatty plaques in the walls of the blood vessels which starts to clog up the vessels, like dirt and hair in a shower drain, which makes it hard for blood to flow normally (this is call “atherosclerosis”). Consult your primary care physician for more information regarding these topics.

Today we are going to focus on some of the “microvascular” effects of DM. There are three main areas where symptoms are seen with uncontrolled high blood sugar. The first two areas are “retinopathy” and “nephropathy”. Retinopathy refers to damage to the retina of the eye that involves blurring of vision or possibly seeing “floaters” or dark spots floating around in your normal vision. Nephropathy refers to damage to various parts of the kidneys. The exact causes of damage and areas that become dysfunctional may vary, but the end result is a decline in the normal function of the kidney, which can progress to a very serious life-threatening problem over time if not addressed.

The third area of microvascular damage caused by DM, and the area we will talk most about today, is called neuropathy”, which is  damage to nerves in arms, legs, and torso. Nerves actually have a cell body and a long tail, so to speak, that connects body parts to the brain for both muscle function and sensations such as pain, temperature, and touch. When blood sugar is high and uncontrolled, early symptoms are usually related to nerve damage. This is seen as tingling, burning, pins-and-needles sensations or total loss of feeling that usually starts at the ends of the toes and progresses towards your foot and eventually up your legs. Since feeling is impaired at this point, a person would not be able to tell if something was wrong with his or her feet unless he looked at them closely every single day.

Diabetes also causes a person to be more prone to infections which, combined with the loss of feeling in the feet, can lead to serious ulcerations and infections that, in the worst case scenario, could lead to amputation of a foot or entire leg. There are many other possibilities that this loss of feeling could lead to, including fungal infections, joint dysfunction or collapse, skin and bone infections, decreased blood supply leading to poor health of your skin and toenails, and overall unawareness of traumatic injuries such as cuts or blisters.

If you are experiencing any tingling, burning, numbness or other abnormal feeling in your toes, feet, legs, or anywhere in your body, you should contact Dr. Berg immediately. Call our office at 206.368.7000 or request an appointment through our website.

It is best to catch these symptoms early to find out the cause and start a treatment plan to slow down or stop the progression of nerve damage (and other damages previously discussed, as well as those not discussed in this blog).

Persons diagnosed with diabetes mellitus should inspect their feet daily to check for open wounds or other changes, as well as have regular visits to a podiatrist, who is specialized in detection and treatment of effects of diabetes in the feet. Whether you have been diagnosed with diabetes or think you are in perfect health, the number one way to take care of your body, prevent or treat diabetes, and ensure the long-term health of your feet is simple: exercise regularly and develop a healthy well-balanced diet.

It starts with small changes and a daily choice to make yourself better. Consult Dr. Berg today if you are concerned in any way about the health of your legs or feet. 

Rion A. Berg DPM
Podiatrist and Board Certified Foot Surgeon

Located In Northeast Seattle

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

www.bergdpm.com