Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: pain

By Dr. Rion Berg
September 02, 2015
Category: foot conditions
Tags: pain   itchiness   numbness   burning  

Our feet are miraculous. With 26 bones and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments our feet have to work in sync with each other to allow humans to walk, run, dance, skate, and do whatever we think of that involves locomotion.

Not only that, our feet have an early warning system that tells us when something is wrong.

As a Seattle podiatrist I let my patients know that they should never ignor the following warnings their feet give them when there's trouble.

Pain is the number one symptom that our feet experience as we go through life. And it totally makes sense. With all that running around we're more than likely to bump into something, jamming our toes and breaking or twisting our ankles as a result.

We go from teetering in high heels to sneakers and we get everything from painful bunions and hammertoes to plantar fasciitis and neuromas.

Even if we do nothing at all, we can experience pain as a result of diabetic neuropathy.

We get itchy athlete's foot from keeping our feet shod in socks and shoes where critters love to grow in the dark and damp.

Itching can also be a sign of psoriasis, eczema, and allergies.

Burning and Lack of Sensation

It may seem strange to put burning and lack of sensation together in the same sentence, but that's just what diabetic's experience. Diabetic neuropathy causes nerve damage in more than 50% of people with this condition. In this case the nerves, which are part of our early warning system, are no longer able to work properly. To prevent other problems in the feet, diabetics need to work with a podiatrist who knows how to educate and treat patients with diabetes.

For more information about diabetes check out these articles:

Diabetes and Your Feet
Diabetic Foot Care Guidelines
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

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 "Happy Feet for the Rest of Your Life" , 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.

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National Foot Health Month has been designated by the American Podiatric Medical Association as a month to increase the public awareness of foot health.  This is a time where your podiatrist is looking to highlight some of the achievement s of this wonderful profession and the benefits you receive through regular foot health evaluations.

When I think of what I might communicate to you regarding foot health, the first thing that comes to mind is that the majority of foot health problems are preventable.  The second thing is that the greatest majority of non-injury related problems may have a mechanical / structural cause. While we can’t change the structure of your foot without surgery, we can often provide a mechanical solution.

What would a mechanical problem look like? Answer: A mechanical problem may simply present as slow or sudden onset of pain anywhere from the ball of the foot to the heel or Achilles tendon without any history of true injury.  When these problems are not treated, the pain becomes chronic and people may simply learn to live with it. Don’t stand for foot pain! It is not normal to have your feet ache all day or for foot pain to prevent you from assuming an active life style.

Through our training as podiatric physicians, we are schooled in the evaluation and treatment of mechanical, medical, and surgical problems of the foot and ankle. In most cases, after an initial evaluation we are able to diagnose your foot problem, and determine whether your problem may be resolved non-surgically. Temporary relief may be gained by use of a splint, brace, taping, or an over the counter arch support and a change in your shoes.  During the second visit, and depending upon your response to initial treatment a longer term solution is sought that might include prescriptive foot supports, called orthotics, and physical therapy. 

Our goal is to keep you on your feet and able to pursue your daily activities including your work, your hobbies and your exercise.  During this month, take note of whether you’ve been putting up with foot problems that are dragging you down.  Foot problems tend to run in families.  Have your family’s feet evaluated before problems develop. Remember, your feet are your foundation and you get only one pair per lifetime.

If you're having trouble with your feet, call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

By Rion A. Berg, DPM
September 29, 2011

Some of you may have noticed that more often than not, a treatment option in podiatry involves the physical therapy modality of stretching. The reason for this is simple: when a muscle is allowed to tighten up, it changes the function of that muscle and alters how the body deals with the motions and forces of everyday life. The reasons that muscles tighten up are many, including overuse, underuse, and abnormal use (such as when you walk a certain way to avoid pain). A tight muscle acts as a shortened muscle, and in the case of the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles) in the lower leg, a tight muscle can cause major deforming forces on the both the structure and function of the foot.

The calf muscles (made up of 3 parts: 2 heads of the gastrocnemius muscle and 1 soleus muscle; see picture) originate on the back of your thigh, with the gastrocnemius just above the back of your knee and the soleus just below the back of the knee. They then travel down the back of your lower leg, where all three parts join together as your Achilles tendon to insert into the back of your heel.  If the calf muscles are tight (and therefore shortened), they pull on your heel bone and cause your foot to function in abnormal ways with each step you take. This is why stretching your leg muscles is important as both a prevention and treatment of many types of lower extremity injuries.  

You should try to stretch your leg muscles every day, including calf muscles (both gastrocnemius and soleus), hamstrings (back of thigh), and quadriceps (front of thigh).

Today we will discuss one easy calf muscle stretch you can do at home with just a few free minutes. This set of stretches is called a “Wall Stretch.” Start by putting your hands flat on a wall and step one foot back about one large step (this will be the leg you are stretching). Keep this back leg straight, your toes pointed forward and try to keep your heels and toes flat on the floor. You can then lean forward and bend the front leg as you feel the back leg’s gastrocnemius muscle stretch.

Make sure you are not stretching to the point of pain! Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then relax. Switch legs until each leg is stretched 3 times for 30 seconds each time. The stretch for the soleus muscle is very similar, except this time you will keep the front leg bent AND the back leg bent, while then leaning forward and feeling a slightly deeper stretch.  Switch legs back and forth until each leg again is stretched 3 times for 30 seconds each time.

Make sure you that you never cause pain by stretching and that you maintain your balance at all times. Daily stretching, as well as daily exercise, will go a long way in promoting a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, as well as one good pair of happy feet.  

Rion A. Berg, DPM
Podiatrist and Board Certified Foot Surgeon

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

Our office is located in Lake City within 10 minutes of Shoreline, Kenmore, Juanita, Sandpoint, Meadowbrook, Wedgewood, Maple Leaf, Broadview, Greenwood, Northgate, and Pinehurst. Parking is free.