Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: hammertoes

Keeping our feet warm and dry in the winter is a constant problem for many of us in the Northwest. It can be most problematic for older adults with poor circulation and for those who like to run in the winter or hike and ski in our Northwest Mountains. Wet conditions, freezing temperatures, and the wrong socks can lead to cold, damp, and blistered feet.

Winter can also be painful for those of us with bunions and hammertoes when wearing closed toed shoes are necessary.

What can we do to keep our feet warm, dry and pain-free?

  • Avoid tight footwear. It can inhibit circulation of the blood vessels in the lower extremities and cause cold feet.
     
  • Use two pairs of socks if needed. In very cold temperatures, I suggest two pairs of socks. Wear one thin layer next to your skin made of a wicking material like polypropylene and a thicker layer made of a combination of wool and other synthetic materials. If you plan to use two pairs of socks you might need to buy shoes a half size larger.
     
  • Use foot warmers. Bio-World Disposable Foot Warmers(Disposable Foot Warmer Insoles Pads Provide 8 Hours Heating - 10 Pairs) will keep your feet warm for eight hours and are not expensive.
  • Purchase shoes for bunions and hammertoes.  Shoes with a larger and deeper toe box and softer leather are key for preventing or reducing pain. Kirsten Borrink of Barking Dog Shoes recommends these shoes for bunions and these shoes for hammertoes and/or bunions.
  • Check your shoes or boots and purchase for your particular sport. Always wear footwear designed for the sport you love. e.g. day hiking boots vs. backpacking hiking boots.  Also, before you go out hiking, check your boots for wear. If your shoes no longer provide proper support or are the soles have worn out unevenly you're much more likely to sprain an ankle, trip and fall, particularly in snowy or wet weather. Waterproof trail shoes may be your best bet if you know that you plan to run on snowy or wet trails.

Now that you know how to keep your feet warm, dry, and pain-free enjoy all the winter sports you can. If you're experiencing foot or ankle 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.

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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By Dr. Rion Berg
November 07, 2017
Category: Bunions
Tags: hammertoes   high heels   neuromas  

What do Audrey Hepburn, Princess Diana, and Susan Sarandon have in common? They all wore kitten heels, instead of the sky high heels we see so often on models, actresses, and singers such as Beyonce and Lady Gaga.  

According to the press, kitten heels are making a comeback. And it's about time from this Seattle podiatrist's point of view.

Kitten heels are typically only one to two inches tall, a great height to prevent a lot of foot problems. High heels are problematic due to the steep pitch of the shoe which places almost all the weight on the ball of the foot.  In addition, high heels with a narrow toe box squeeze the toes together.

Which foot problems they can prevent?

Neuromas
When a woman wears a sky high heels she puts herself a greater risk for developing Morton's neuroma. High heels can cause the nerve bundle between the 3rd and 4th toes to enlarge causing burning and shooting pain.

Bunions
Bunions are not caused by high heels but wearing them can make bunions worse. If you have bunions and flat feet and you notice your daughter does too, you can help her prevent their progression by helping her make better shoe choices. When she clamours for high heels, direct her toward the kitten heel.

Hammertoes
Hammertoes are caused by an abnormal muscle/tendon balance in the toes most often brought on by wearing  high heels with a cramped toe box.

When buying kitten heels make sure that your toes have enough wiggle room.

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+

By Dr. Rion Berg
September 14, 2017
Category: Bunions
Tags: hammertoes   neuroma  

After hanging out all summer in sandals, some women cringe at the thought of going back to close-toed shoes. While most women look forward to shopping for new shoes, for women with foot problems new kicks are the last thing on their mind.

Here are the three most common foot problems that make particular closed-toed shoes a problem.

Bunions
While you can have bunions when you're young, most women develop bunions as they age. Faulty foot mechanics (e.g. flat feet) and bad habits such as wearing high heels, pointy-toed shoes, or shoes that are too tight take their toll over time. Bunions don't form overnight, but after many years of putting more weight on the ball of the foot will cause them to progress.

The important thing is to catch them early so that they don't get worse. Choose shoes with heels once inch or lower that provide wiggle room in the toe box.

Hammertoes
Hammertoes affect the joints of the baby toes by bending abnormally. Toes look like an upside down "V" and cause pain when rubbing up against the top of shoes, ball of foot pain at the base of the hammertoe, and corns and calluses between the toes.

My shoe advice is the same as for bunions. In addition, look for shoes with more depth in the toe box so toes don't rub against the top of the shoe.

Morton's Neuroma
Women experiencing burning, numbness, or tingling in the ball of the foot and most often between the 3rd and 4th toes most likely have Morton's neuroma. Again, wearing shoes with a wider toe box and avoiding high heels are essential to prevent aggravating this condition.

For more information about shoes with a wider toe box, check out Barking Dog Shoes. Check out each of the links above for treatment information.

For more information about treatment for these conditions, visit each of the links above.

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", sent 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+

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
February 17, 2016
Category: sports injuries
Tags: hammertoes  

When is a hammertoe not just a hammertoe? When it's a serious injury to the ligament in the second toe of the foot. These findings were shared this past weekend at the 74th Annual Scientific Conference of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons in Austin, Texas.

That's why it's important not to make assumptions about our foot health. So many of us turn to friends or the internet for answers and we can end up putting off an important trip to the podiatrist.

But They Look Alike

Although it's true that both a true hammertoe and an injury to the plantar plate (the area just beneath the second toe) can look alike, that's where any comparison stops. Both will typically appear as an abnormal upward bend in the joint.

True Hammertoes

Hammertoes typically start out mild and get worse over time. Also, most people have them in several toes, not just the second toe. Most often hammertoes are caused by a genetic predisposition, arthritis, or from wearing tight or high heeled shoes.

Common symptoms:

  • pain or irritation at the top of the toe where it rubs against shoes

  • pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the hammertoe

  • signs of inflammation like redness, swelling, or burning where the toe contracts

  • ulcers on the bottom of ball of the foot, tips of the toes, and at the top of the first toe joint as they progress.

Treatment consisting of padding, new shoes, orthotics, and other non-invasive procedures are usually effective for hammertoes in the beginning stages, but latter stages often require surgery.

Hammertoe Look-Alike

On the other hand as mentioned earlier, the hammertoe look-alike is caused by an acute injury to the second toe or plantar plate ligament and the pain is moderate to severe. It has nothing to do with heredity or shoe type since it occurs suddenly.

Immediate treatment is similar to other acute injuries, such as using RICE; rest, ice, compression, elevation. Anti-inflammatory medications can also be used to keep down the swelling. However, surgery is most often required, with a six week healing process.

So don't delay a trip to your Seattle podiatrist just because you think you know what's wrong with you. Be sure to avoid further injuries.

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+

By Dr. Rion Berg
February 03, 2016
Category: Ingrown toenails
Tags: fungus   hammertoes   ingrown toenails  

We hardly ever think about our toes or toenails. And why would we? Besides washing them, cutting them, and perhaps painting them we stuff them into shoes where they're almost always out of sight. Although, we occasionally run into a wall or dresser in the middle of the night, we don't think of our toes as usual culprits of pain unless we're diehard athletes.  

However, you're lucky if you manage to get through life with just a stubbed toe. Here are some painful toe conditions to be on the lookout for so that you know what to do about them.

Ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when the nail grows into the skin causing pain, redness, and swelling. Most common in the hallux or big toe, ingrown nails can occur on your other digits as well. For minor pain, you can soak your foot in Epsom's salt using room-temperature water and gently massage the side of the nail fold to help reduce inflammation. If the pain continues or you suspect infection (yellow pus), get yourself to your podiatrist's office pronto for a simple surgery for immediate relief.

Who's at risk/causes

  • Family members- it's genetic

  • Athletes and others who experience trauma to the nail

  • Those who trim their nails along the sides, instead of straight across

Warning: Never try to perform bathroom surgery on your own nails.

Hammertoes

Hammertoes may not be bothersome when they first form, but typically they become painful as they progress. The pain is most noticeable on the top of the toes when they rub against shoes and where the toe contracts. Padding, better shoes, and orthotics can help this condition, but sometimes surgery is warranted.

Who's at risk/causes?

  • Family members- it's genetic

  • Trauma

  • Arthritis

  • Wearing high heels or other tight fitting shoes

Warning: Don't continue to wear high heels or pointy-toed shoes if you have hammertoes.

Toenail fungus

Although toenail fungus is most often talked about because it's unsightly, it can also cause pain. Many people avoid getting it treated because it can be expensive.  They simply paint over it or ignore it. Unfortunately, most toenail fungus doesn't just sit there and stop multiplying. In most cases it progresses, gets thicker, painful, and much harder to treat. Options for treatment include topicals, oral medications, and laser.

Who's at risk/causes

  • People you live with - it spreads

  • Trauma to the nail

  • Some nail salons

  • Going barefoot in public shower rooms

Warning: Fungus can spread through shoes, socks, toenail clippers, and other implements. Don't share any of these items with family members or friends if you have fungus. To sterilize your shoes you might want to purchase the SteriShoe+ Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer. If you have teenagers it can also stop stinky shoes in their tracks.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.

More information for treating your toes:

9 Tips for Treating Painful Piggies (Ingrown Toenails)
8 Ways To Pamper Your Pregnant Feet
Guide to Eliminating Ugly Fungal Toenails

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+