Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: heel pain

young woman runnerAs a runner, you know already know the benefits of your favorite sport. Better sleep, weight control, more energy, chronic disease prevention--just to name a few.

You've probably had some injuries and want to do everything you can to prevent another one. As a runner with flat feet, keeping your feet in tip top shape can be a bit challenging--but it can be done.

How Flat Feet Affect Runners

Runners with flat feet are over-pronators--meaning their feet roll excessively inward toward the arch when they walk or run. When this happens pain and discomfort can occur in the feet, lower legs, low back, and hips. In the feet this usually means plantar fasciitis (pain in the bottom of the heel or arch) or Achilles tendonitis (pain in the back of the heel).

neutral, flat, and high arched foot printsIf you've experienced problems in any of these areas of your body as a result of running, there's a good chance you have flat feet and are over-pronating. Not sure if you have flat feet? Find out by doing this test. Wet the sole of your foot. Step onto a blank piece of paper or a shopping bag. Step off the paper or shopping bag to examine the shape of your footprint and compare it to the photo on the right.

While over-pronation is a key reason runners with flat feet are more prone to foot pain, another factor--equinus or tight calf muscles--also plays a major role in the development of heel pain and plantar fasciitis.

That's why prevention of the two most common foot problems for runners with flat feet requires both correction of foot mechanics and treatment of tight calf muscles.

Correcting Your Foot Mechanics

While some runners can get away with correcting their flat feet with over-the-counter inserts such as Powersteps or Superfeet, the vast majority will need custom orthotics. Custom orthotics are designed for your feet only and provide the best correction for flat feet.

Stretching Out Tight Calf Muscles

Most runners stretch right before they run. While wall or tree stretches (if you run outside) may seem adequate, stretching for a few minutes will have little impact on very tight calf muscles. Instead, Dr.Rion Berg of the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City recommends using an splint while reading or watching TV for 20-30 minutes for his patients with tight calf muscles.

Keeping Your Feet in Top Shape

It's also important to keep your plantar fascia or heel cord stretched and your feet strong.

Tennis ball massage
Tennis balls are great for keeping the bottom of your feet stretched out. While seated, use a tennis ball to massage all areas of your feet with special emphasis on your plantar fascia. Massage each foot for 2-3 minutes.

Towel curls
Towel curls can help strengthen your feet. While seated and with your feet on a towel, scrunch up the towel with your foot while your heel stays planted. Repeat 15-20 times with each foot for 2-3 sets.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

Running with a few extra pounds translates to more stress on your feet; seven extra pounds of pressure for every extra pound of weight. So maintaining a healthy weight will reduce the pressure on your feet and reduce your chance for foot pain.

Built Up Your Running Slowly

Just starting a running program with flat feet? Increase your training schedule by no more than 10-20% per week to prevent injury.

Best Training Terrain

Stick to training on flat ground. Running hills can increase your over-pronation putting more stress on your feet and plantar fascia. In addition, hill running and stair climbing put a lot of strain on the Achilles leading to Achilles tendonitis. Finally, softer surfaces are better than hard ones. A running track is a good option.

Buy Running Shoes for Flat Feet

Your shoes are your best defense against foot pain. Old, worn-out shoes will not adequately support your feet. Likewise running shoes that aren't designed for your foot type and the kind of running you do won't either. Be sure to go to a shoe store that specializes in running like Super Jock N Jill, Brooks, or REI in the Seattle area. Their employees are trained to help you find the shoe that will best meet your needs. In addition, check out my blog, "How to Buy the Best Running Shoes".

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".

For chronic heel pain, download our eBook, "Stop Living With Stubborn Heel 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.

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As the summer ramps up you're looking forward to getting out of town. No matter what kind of vacation you take it will certainly entail more walking or hiking than you normally do. To prevent a whole host of foot problems, use the following guide to help you prepare successfully for your vacation. 

Give Your Shoes Road Time Before Your Trip

Although a lot of shoes and boots these days don't necessarily require break-in time, some do. It's best not to bring your new kicks on vacation no matter how pretty they are. If they're shoes you're planning to wear all day long make sure to give them some road time before you take off for your trip.

Keep in mind that shoes should not fit tightly in the shoe store. You should have at least a thumbs length of wiggle room in the toes. And be sure your heels don't slip or you'll end up with blisters.

Shop for shoes toward the end of the day when feet are most likely to swell.

Choose the Right Shoe for Your Activity

Make sure you have sturdy shoes or sandals that won't easily bend in the middle or twist easily when you try to wring them out like a rag. For a demonstration of how to test your shoes for stability watch my video.

Avoid wearing flip flops except on the beach. Wearing flip flops for long distances can lead to plantar fasciitis and neuromas. Better sandals are those with an arch and with straps that secure your foot.

Ballet flats and other flat shoes should also be avoided except for casual wear.

Be sure to bring appropriate hiking boots for the type of terrain you plan to hike on, tennis shoes for tennis, and so on.

Choose the Right Socks

Equally important as choosing the right shoes are wearing the right socks. Avoid cotton socks and instead choose socks made with synthetic fibers or wool; these materials wick away moisture, decrease friction, prevent blistering, and reduce odor. Good examples are Yingdi Copper Socks made for men and women which contain copper fiber, a synthetic called SUPPLEX, and spandex or Darn Tough Hiking Socks made of merino wool, nylon, and spandex.

In addition, to reduce fatigue you might consider buying a support stocking. Although that might conjure up an image of granny in her rocking chair, today these socks are also used by nurses who spend long hours on their feet and athletes who want to improve their performance.

They are also very helpful if you're going to spend many hours on a plane. Support socks work by providing a mild squeezing action to support enhanced blood flow and reduce swelling. Some examples of this type of sock are Copper Compression Socks made by FuelMeFoot or the more colorful compression socks by L-lweik.

Purchase an Over-The-Counter Orthotic

To reduce the stress on your feet while travelling, it's a really good idea to purchase an over-the-counter orthotic. Many people wear sneakers for the majority of their vacation time. Supportive sneakers are great; however, the inserts that comes with them do not provide any additional support. You can purchase either Powerstep orthotics or Superfeet. These inserts are also a good prevention tool if you tend to develop mild plantar fasciitis.

Don't Forget Your Custom Orthotics

For travelers with flat feet who tend to develop moderate to severe plantar fasciitis, don't leave home without taking your orthotics with you. You'll need them more than ever as you put in the extra miles. If your orthotics are giving you pain, don't feel quite right, or are over seven years old it's time to see your Seattle podiatrist for an evaluation. Orthotics that are worn down and painful won't provide proper support. If your orthotics look shabby but still feel fine, your podiatrist can refurbish them for you.

Bring a First Aid Kit for Your Feet

No matter how hard you prepare to have a safe trip and prevent your feet from hurting, it's always a good idea to pack a first aid kit for your feet. Be sure to include bandages, blister pads or surgical tape, a topical antibiotic, tweezers and toenail clippers.

Tips for Air Travel
Airports and airplanes have their own hazards when it comes to your feet. Be sure to wear socks with your shoes or sandals so when you go through security you aren't barefoot. That way you'll avoid any fungus and bacteria where other travellers have tread.

In addition to wearing compression socks on the plane--drink plenty of water, flex your feet and toes, take several walks, and avoid crossing your legs to reduce swelling and soreness.

Tips for Sight Seeing

Having good supportive shoes are essential but so is watching where you're going. No shoe will prevent you from twisting an ankle if you slide off a curb or trip over a stone. If you're headed to the beach be sure to pack your sunscreen and lather up your feet as well as your face and arms to avoid painful burns.

Don't Ignore Foot Pain

If you're experiencing foot pain for the first time, don't leave for vacation without seeing a podiatrist. Very likely walking longer distances will just make things worse.

For some painful conditions you can initially try self-care. For example you might find relief for mild heel pain by using a frozen water bottle or Theraband Foot Roller to simultaneously ice and massage the bottom of your feet. Sometimes a heel lift will also provide relief since it effectively reduces the pull on the plantar fascial tissue that is injured. You can also try an over-the-counter orthotic as mentioned above.

Still experiencing foot pain even after trying the pain relieving tools 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.

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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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+

 

 

March Madness is upon us! If your children are dreaming about playing college basketball and they're either on a middle school or high school team you should know that competitive basketball is very hard on the feet and ankles. Although you can't prevent all their foot and ankle problems, here are five tips to give them a fighting chance of leaving the court injury-free.

  • Suggest they play on an indoor court whenever possible. Wood floors provide the most shock absorption while concrete provides the least.

  • Purchase new basketball specific shoes before the bottom of the shoe becomes smooth. For kids who play on a team (5 days a week of practice), replace their basketball shoes every two to three months.

  • If your child has flat feet or another biomechanical foot problem, custom orthotics will help prevent heel pain, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendonitis.

  • Proper warm-ups are essential for injury prevention. Both stretching exercises and gradual warm-ups such as dynamic warm-ups are recommended. In addition, doing calf stretches are important to prevent the foot problems mentioned above.

  • Purchase socks made of materials that do not absorb sweat. Avoid cotton and purchase synthetic materials that wick away moisture to prevent blisters.

Of course if your child does sustain an injury, first aid should include rest, ice, compression, and elevation of the injured foot or ankle. Bring them in to see your podiatrist as soon as possible so they can be properly evaluated and treated.

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
February 19, 2018
Category: Heel pain
Tags: heel pain   foot mileaage  

Did you know that by the time you reach 50 you've already walked 75,000 miles? And that's for the average person. If you're more active, you'll need to add to that number.

In addition to foot mileage, runners need to factor in the amount of force applied from pounding the pavement. While walkers apply 3 pounds of force on their feet for every pound of weight, runners apply 7 pounds of force.

It's no wonder people are more at risk for heel pain the older they get particularly if they've been more active.

Of course age is only one of the factors that can make heel pain and another condition, Achilles tendonitis, more likely.

Genetics matter! We inherit our foot type from our parents. Have a parent with flat feet, than you are more likely to have flat feet. People with flat feet tend to roll in when they walk putting more force and strain on the plantar fascia, making them at higher risk for heel pain.

Have tight calf muscles along with being older and/or having flat feet? Tight calf muscles also add to the  strain on the plantar fascia.  

Remember all the extra force you add to your feet when you run? Yes, unfortunately runners are also at greater risk for heel pain, particularly if the other factors are in play.

To avoid foot pain when you run, download my free eBook "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners. " It will give you a wealth of information on everything from how to buy running shoes to stretching tips.

If you're already experiencing heel pain, you can start by purchasing an over-the-counter called "Powerstep". This can help mild heel pain. If this doesn't help, call us 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.

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+