Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: bunions

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
March 28, 2018
Category: Bunions
Tags: bunions  

Like most people, you probably know what a bunion looks like. Maybe you have a bunion and you've been dealing with it for a long time. Perhaps as you've gotten older your bunion has progressed and it's become painful to wear closed-toed shoes.

You may have wondered, why you have bunions. Is it just bad luck or is something else going on.

Are Bunions Genetic?

Bunions are not genetic but the underlying foot mechanics that cause bunions are inherited. Each of us is born with a particular foot type. Although babies are all born with flat feet most will outgrow this flat foot pattern at around age four. Those who do not outgrow them will have flat feet for the rest of their lives.

People with flat feet are at much greater risk for developing bunions.

Why?

Men and women with flat feet you are much more likely to pronate or roll their feet inward when they walk. This walking pattern is what causes bunions to form over time.

What Is Going On With My Bones?

The first thing you notice if you have a bunion is the characteristic bump at the base of your big toe. You might wonder if you're growing extra bone, but you are not. In a foot without a bunion, the toe is relatively straight ahead. 

With a bunion you can see on X-ray that the big toe is moving towards the second toe. In addition, you'll notice the first metatarsal separates from the second metatarsal. Without any bone formation, a bump begins to form on the side of the joint.

In addition, the first segment of the great toe and the metatarsal behind it often become hypermobile. As this happens greater and greater separation occurs between the first and second metatarsal causing the toe to drift over.

Let's compare this to your hand. Unlike the great toe, mobility is necessary or you wouldn't be able to touch your thumb to your little finger. If you make a fist with your right hand you'll notice a bump where your thumb knuckle protrudes out. Unless you plan to write with your feet, you don't need that hypermobility.

The hypermobility comes from the tendency of the foot to pronate as mentioned earlier. It's this hypermobility that causes the great toe to drift over toward the smaller toes.

What Causes the Pain?

The pain is not a result having a hypermobile big toe with a bump. It results from your bunion rubbing against your shoes every time you walk. If you lived in a place where the weather is always warm bunions would not be much of an issue since you could accommodate them with a pair of sandals. In a place like Seattle this is a much bigger problem as we need shoes almost all year long. Most shoes are not designed to accommodate bunions.

How Is It Treated?

The earlier you get the underlying cause of the bunion treated, the better chance you have of preventing bunions from forming. For example, children who have not outgrown their flat feet from babyhood can receive treatment to prevent bunions. At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City we treat young children with pediatric flatfoot with a special pre-fabricated orthotic designed just for kids called Little Steps. To learn how to identify children foot problems early review Kid's Feet First.

For adolescents whose feet are still growing I'll recommend a splint for nighttime wear to keep the toes aligned properly. For adults as well as adolescents custom orthotics are recommended. Orthotics keep the foot properly aligned when walking to prevent pronation and the first toe from becoming more hypermobile.

Wearing shoes that can properly accommodate your bunion can help prevent bunion pain. A local shoe store I recommend is Sole Perfection. In addition, Kirsten Borrink's website, www.barkingdogshoes.com is a great resource. She is always finding new shoes that work for a variety of foot problems including bunions.

What About Surgery?

After all conservative treatment approaches are tried; surgery may be the most reasonable option. Most people who have surgery have had bunions for many years, but young people can also have an advanced case and prefer a surgical solution. Either way it's important to ask yourself the following questions before talking to a Seattle podiatrist like me about surgery.

Are my bunions more painful?
As bunions progress they often become more painful. If this is a problem for you and you've tried other solutions.

Has it become extremely difficult to wear shoes?
At some point the difficulty of finding any shoes to wear (even bunion-friendly shoes) may have become problematic.

Has my bunion discomfort forced me to limit the activities I wish to pursue?
For many people, giving up athletics or fitness activities is not acceptable. If this is true for you then surgery may be the best option

If you or a loved one are suffering from bunions, 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+

 

 

 

When a new patient comes to my office, it's more likely to be a woman than a man. What could possibly be the reason for this difference? Let's delve into some significant differences than can cause women to have more foot problems than men.

Foot Structure
Differences in the structure of women's feet can put them at greater risk for foot injuries. Some of those differences include a greater tendency to have lax or loose ligaments, a wider forefoot, shorter arch length, shorter metatarsals, greater plantar flexion and range of motion than men.

Jobs That Require Standing
While it's true that more men than women work in construction, highway work, and perform manual labor, more women than men have jobs where they need to stand. According the National Center for Education Statistics, roughly 75% of teachers and 90% of nurses are women. Other jobs dominated by women are those who work in retail, hairdressers, servers, and house cleaners. Standing for long periods of time is very hard on feet due to the amount of pressure the feet have to withstand.

High Heels
Shoes play a role in the type of problems women experience. Women who wear high heels are highly prone to developing bunions, hammertoes, and neuromas. To prevent these problems from occurring or getting worse women should wear shoes with heels one inch or lower with a toe box that doesn't squish their toes together.

Obesity
According to the National Institutes of Health women and men have about the same prevalence of obesity, but women were more likely to be very obese. The more someone weighs the more pressure on the feet placing people with obesity at greater risk for plantar fasciitis.  

Pregnancy
Weight gain during pregnancy can put women at greater risk for heel pain, just like women who are already overweight. In addition, pregnancy triggers a release of hormones that loosens ligaments, which can contribute to foot strain and increased foot size.

Pregnant women should wear shoes that accommodate swelling and increased foot size. Shoes should be supportive and have a wide toe box. Women should never wear high heels when pregnant. Added weight and pressure on the ball of the foot and toes make women more vulnerable than ever to foot problems. In addition, pregnancy alters the center of gravity for women. Adding high heels increases the chance for falls.

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.

 

Did you know that if you have bunions there's a very good chance your daughter will too? Although bunions aren't inherited your foot type is. One of the most common foot types that put people at risk for bunions are flat feet.

Flat feet can cause all kinds of problems for people including heel pain, bunions, and hammertoes. If you've experienced any of these issues the last thing you'd want is for your daughter to have these problems.

So how can you help your daughter avoid all the pain that you've experienced?

Talk to your teenage daughter about high heels

As you may know high heels can make your bunions worse. If you notice your teenage daughter is starting to get bunions then it will be especially important to have this conversation. There are plenty of fashionable shoes that don't include sky high heels. If she wants to occasionally wear them for a special event, that's probably fine. But wearing them on a regular basis will likely worsen her bunions causing problems later in life.

Pay attention to your toddler's feet

Babies are born with flat feet. But as they get older they're feet will start to form an arch. If you notice that your child has not formed an arch by age four or five, it could mean she has Pediatric Flat Foot and her feet will remain flat for the rest of her life. This will put her at risk for all the problems that you've had with your feet.

Fortunately there are orthotics made specifically for young children called Little Steps. Learn more about children's foot problems at our Seattle Center for Children's Foot Health.

Bring your daughter to a podiatrist

Bring your daughter to a podiatrist if they have flat feet, even if they aren't experiencing foot pain. To avoid future problems, a podiatrist can evaluate whether your daughter would benefit from over-the-counter inserts or is at the point that a custom orthotic would be most helpful. Orthotics will correct faulty foot mechanics to slow down development of bunions and prevent other types of foot problems such as plantar fasciitis.

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.

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.

By Dr. Rion Berg
October 21, 2016
Category: Bunions

As a runner and someone who relishes living a heathy life you always do your research before making a health product purchase. When you purchased your last pair of running shoes, you learned about the importance of bringing in your old pair to show your wear patterns and informing the sales person about your usual running distance, where your foot strikes the ground, your foot type, and any injuries you may have sustained.

If you have plantar fasciitis or bunions, you may have also had orthotics made by your Seattle podiatrist. But there's one hack that can improve comfort even more.

The lacing hack!

Recently the Washington Post wrote an article on this topic focusing on how you can lace your shoes so that you can get better performance when you run and feel better too.

We found the website Katie Runs This to get the lowdown on the exact techniques you'll need for your foot type or foot problem.

Bunions and Wide Forefeet
Orthotics can help tremendously with correcting the biomechanics of your foot to offload your bunions but proper lacing can help even more. This specific lacing technique can widen your forefoot to accommodate the bunion. From the bottom of the eye row, lace up the sides of the shoe. You won't start cross-lacing until you reach your midfoot and then tying the top as usual.

High Instep
The runner with a high instep does the best in a neutral, cushioned shoe. In addition this lacing tip will help with your comfort and performance. This technique starts at the toe of the shoe with a cross-lacing pattern and then doesn't lace again until the top of the shoe. It provides the room you need at the middle of the foot and keeps the shoe from feeling too tight across the arch.

Narrow Feet
The runner with narrow feet in many ways has the opposite problem of the high arched runner. If you can't find a shoe that will fit snugly enough at the midfoot here is a lacing technique that adds a loop right where you need it. Crosslace the shoe starting at the toe and then create a loop that you will thread through it to make it more snug. Continue lacing as usual.

Black Toenail
If you have a tendency to get black toenails, you'll need to allow the material above your big toe to be pulled up and off of the nail when the outside lace is tugged and tied tightly. The special threading technique will accomplish this goal mentioned in Katie's website.

If you're experiencing pain when you run, you can try a new lacing technique but it's also important to see a podiatrist to ensure you get a full evaluation. Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. 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".

More tips about running and your feet:
5 Tips to Keep Runner's Feet Healthy and Strong
6 Hacks To Prevent Running Moms From Foot Injuries
7 Ways Runners Can Safely Manage Type II Diabetes

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+

Photo credit: Katie Runs This blog