Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: bunions

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.

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It seems like no matter what life throws her way, Victoria Beckham keeps on going. Instead of problems with her bunions, this time she sustained a stress fracture during a winter ski vacation in Whistler, Canada.

Not longer after, she had a shoe design meeting and took a selfie standing with one foot in a stiletto and her other foot poised precariously in the air with a walking boot. Victoria never seems to avoid risk, especially when it comes to looking her best.

Victoria has suffered for years with bunions most likely made worse by wearing sky high stilettos. To this day I don't know whether she's had surgery for her bunions, but I hope she has for her sake. I don't know whether her pose for a shoe designer was just a one off or whether she truly has given up heels for flats as she proclaimed in 2016.

If you're like Victoria and take risks with your feet and ankles, stress fractures and other foot problems are bound to come your way. If you have flat feet and your wear heels, certainly bunions are much more likely to be a reality in your life.

To decrease your risk for stress fractures here are 5 easy ways to prevent them. If you have bunions, wearing shoes that are one inch or lower in height and have plenty of room in the toe box can help prevent them from getting worse.

No matter what your foot problem, 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
October 18, 2017
Category: Heel pain
Tags: bunions  

October is breast cancer awareness month. For many women, a diagnoses of breast cancer can be devastating. Older women, women who got their period very early, late menopause, not exercising, family history, and being overweight after menopause are all risk factors for developing breast cancer.

Although you can’t do anything about your genetics, your age, or when you got and stopped getting your period, you can exercise and help keep your weight down.

For this reason, keeping your feet out of pain and in good working order is essential to keep you exercising.

A study showed that 51% of people who are overweight or obese said that their foot health was good or fair, whereas only 21% of those with normal weight said so.

Why is this so?

For every pound of body weight, you put three pounds of force on your feet when walking and seven pounds when running. Extra body weight can contribute to two of the most common foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis and bunions.

When you’re overweight you’re at greater risk for developing heel pain. The plantar fascia which runs from your toes and inserts into your heel is more likely to get overstretched. This causes microtears at the bottom of your heel leading to the painful inflammation of plantar fasciitis.  

Overweight can also lead to bunion formation, the bony protuberance that sticks out from your big toe. That’s because people with extra weight tend to roll their foot inward or pronate making bunions more likely. Overweight can also accelerate the formation of bunions for those who have flat feet and are already at greater risk.

Wearing supportive shoes and orthotics can help change the way you walk, which can relieve heel pain and slow down the formation of bunions. Even if you’re not overweight wearing high heels, very flat shoes, and flip flops can cause pain in your feet. It’s best to wear supportive shoes with heels that are one inch in height or slightly lower.

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.

Our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe. You can print out the newsletter 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 weight the more pressure placed on the feet putting woman 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 loosen ligaments, which can contribute to foot strain and increased foot size.

When pregnant women should wear shoes that will 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.

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 or send by email.

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+

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.