Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: plantar fasciitis

At this time of year we often vow to change our habits. Losing weight is at the top of the list. I'm all for my patients losing weight. It can help prevent and manage the chronic illnesses I see frequently see such as diabetes and heart disease. Weight loss can also help prevent plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis since extra weight puts more pressure on the feet.

However, not all weight loss is caused by overeating or not exercising enough. Many physical and mental health problems can contribute to weight gain. It's important to make an appointment with your doctor to discover the underlying cause, particularly when gaining weight for you is unusual.  Here are five reasons why you might be gaining weight.

Hypothyroidism

Each year more than 200,000 people are diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and they're mostly women. Without enough thyroid hormone in your system your metabolism slows and weight gain can occur. Other symptoms of low thyroid are hair loss, fatigue, and dry skin. Most people see an improvement in this condition once they receive thyroid hormones.

Depression

If you're depressed, you're more likely to gain weight. An increase in cortisol is the major physical reason for this process; however, taking certain anti-depressant medications can also be a factor. Lack of motivation to eat well or exercise can also play a role. It's important to see your doctor or a therapist if you're feeling down or depressed.

Insomnia

A regular pattern of sleep loss can trigger weight gain through a change in hormone levels. A change in hormones can also make you crave foods high in fat and sugar. If you suffer from insomnia try some of these tips. If you still feel tired, visit your doctor.

Menopause

Weight gain is common among women who enter menopause particularly around the middle. What's causing these changes? Lack of sleep due to hot flashes; loss of muscle mass due to aging; and decreasing levels of estrogen with an increase appetite come together to contribute to weight gain. Changing how you eat, what you eat, and how you exercise will go a long way in helping keep weight off.

Metabolic Syndrome/Diabetes

Excess weight can certainly increase your risk for diabetes, but does diabetes make it harder to keep off weight? Yes, it does. When you're diabetic or have metabolic syndrome, your body becomes resistant to insulin (it doesn't work as well at getting glucose out of your bloodstream) and so your body makes more insulin. Because insulin works to promote the storage of fat and to block the release of fat from fat storage, you gain weight. Following a diet containing fewer carbohydrates can reduce the insulin in your blood. Working with a diabetes educator or nutritionist to determine the right combination of foods for you is very important.

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.

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By Dr. Rion Berg
November 27, 2018
Category: Heel pain

You're several months pregnant and the thought of adding a new addition to your family brings you great joy. To make sure things go smoothly with your pregnancy and the health of your baby you've made sure to take your prenatal vitamins, eat right, and go to your doctor on a regular basis.

Even with all that you know you're going to gain weight and experience other body changes due to changing hormones. And unfortunately along with weight gain comes the potential for developing several foot conditions.

It's important to be aware of these foot conditions so you know how to deal with them if they arise.

Flat Feet and Plantar Fasciitis

One of the most common foot problems for pregnant women are collapsing arches and flat feet. These are a direct result of weight gain and looser ligaments. For every pound of body weight you gain an additional three pounds of force are added to your feet when you walk. That extra force can cause your feet to flatten out and with it a condition called plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the fascia on the underside of the foot stretches beyond its capacity, causing micro-tears, inflammation, and pain in your heel.

If you're experiencing heel pain, make sure you're wearing a supportive shoe. You can test your current shoes or any new shoes you plan to purchase. In addition, replace your insoles with an over-the-counter insert like Powersteps. These inserts can help support your foot and prevent it from collapsing further. If you have more severe pain, you'll need to come in for a foot evaluation so the doctor can determine the best ways to treat it. Very likely you'll need custom foot orthotics, a stretching program, and something to reduce the inflammation that will not affect the baby such as icing or Biofreeze, which is a topical medication.

Swelling

Swelling of the feet and ankles is another common problem for pregnant women. Your body produces 50% more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the baby. In addition to retaining extra fluid, weight from the growing uterus compresses lower extremity veins, inhibiting the return of blood back to the heart. Other factors that can play a role in swelling are: spending a long time on your feet, a diet high in sodium and too low in potassium, high caffeine consumption, and hot environments.

To reduce swollen feet and ankles ask for an accommodation at work if you usually spend a lot of time on your feet. Make sure to drink plenty of water, cut your coffee and tea consumption, talk to your doctor about appropriate intake of salt and potassium rich foods in your diet, and incorporate low impact exercise into your routine. Wider shoes with a roomier toe box can help accommodate the swelling. Compression stockings can help reduce swelling.

Ingrown Toenails

In addition to collapsing arches, you may experience an increase in the length and width of your feet due to hormonal changes. Tight fitting shoes and socks and difficulty with trimming toenails can increase your risk for ingrown toenails.

Purchasing shoes with a wide toe box that fit can help reduce your risk.

Falls and Sprained Ankles

Your center of gravity changes when your pregnant making it harder to maintain stability when you walk. Looser ligaments can add to that instability. More foot support is necessary to prevent trips and falls and possible sprained ankles. Avoid wearing high heeled shoes during this time since they'll only add to your unsteadiness

Cracked Heels

Cracked heels occur more frequently during pregnancy due to increase in weight and changes in posture. The heels tend to expand which leads to cracks if the skin becomes too dry. Using an intensive moisturizer made for feet or gel socks can prevent heels from cracking.

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+

 

 

Whether you're a weekend warrior or the parent of a kid just getting back to into sports at school, you should be aware of the most common sports related foot and ankle injuries. Sever's disease, ingrown toenails, and turf toe are common in young athletes who play soccer. Stress fractures and Morton's neuroma are frequently found in women athletes. Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis can occur with a rapid increase in sports participation particularly in athletes who have flat feet and tight calf muscles. Sprained ankles and an Achilles tendon rupture can affect athletes involved in soccer, football, volleyball and other sports with rapid direction changes.

To prevent these foot and anle problems from occuring, be sure to use these 7 hacks.

Keep your body in shape throughout the year
Prevention of foot and ankle injuries starts by participating in a variety of sports throughout the year. Weightlifting at the gym, yoga, and an aerobic activity such as swimming, cycling or light jogging will keep your body strong and flexible.

Proper footwear
Proper shoes are your best defense against foot and ankle injuries. These days there are specific shoes made for every type of sport. For example basketball shoes are designed to protect ankles that need to twist, running shoes protect feet that repetitively hit the ground, and soccer cleats prevent athletes from slipping.

Although it may be more cost effective to pass shoes down from older to younger children, it's a bad idea for sports shoes in particular. One of the main purposes of athletic shoes is to provide the best support possible for the type of sport you play. Shoes that are worn out or worn down differently from a previous owner can be detrimental to the next person who uses them.

It's also important to pay attention to your foot type when picking out a pair of sports shoes. A good sporting goods store, such as Super Jock N Jill for runners, will take this into account when suggesting a shoe. You should also test the shoes before you purchasing them by watching my video "How to Test Any Shoe for Stability".

Proper warm-up and cool down exercises
Warm up your legs by jogging in place for at least 10 minutes before you stretch. Engage in a variety of stretches. Try using Dynamic Warm-up and Cool Down exercises to get yourself ready to play sports.

Increase training gradually to prevent overuse injuries
Weekend warriors are often at risk for overuse injuries caused by occasional play, however, anyone can develop an overuse injury if they increase their sports activities by more than 10% per week. Our bodies aren't able to adapt to rapid increases in running and other sports activities and this is particularly true as we age.

While proper warm-up and cool down exercises are important for all athletes, they are essential for athletes over 50 and for those who may participate in the occasional pick-up basketball or softball game.

Check for unsafe field surfaces/wet slippery fields
Most sports-related ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. Check playing fields for dips, holes, stray objects, and too much water. Non-professional fields in public parks can be the worst offenders since you have no control over what takes place there. Alert coaching officials to any irregularities.

Get a pre-season physical exam
Kids and adults alike should go to their podiatrist or primary care physician for a pre-season physical. Have any previous injuries checked out and given the OK by your provider before engaging in sports.

Listen to your body
Our bodies are designed to feel pain so that we avoid more severe injuries. Keep this in mind and teach your kids to recognize when pain is not normal. Some muscle pain is common with new activity but pain that lasts over many days is a warning to stop and rest. It's also time to make an appointment with your Seattle podiatrist.

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
July 26, 2018
Category: Heel pain
Tags: plantar fasciitis  

As a Seattle hiker every year you look forward to summer. You know there's nothing like putting on your backpack, leaving the city behind, and taking in the wonders of the forest and the mountains.

That's why when you're having heel pain the idea of not being able to hike is so distressing. I've put together this definite guide for hikers prone to heel pain to empower you to prevent this condition from reoccurring.

What Causes Heel Pain?

Most heel pain is diagnosed as plantar fasciitis so for the remainder of this guide I'll use the term heel pain and plantar fasciitis interchangeably. Any discussion of preventing plantar fasciitis must begin by understanding its cause. Let's start with a description of your foot and calf anatomy.

The foot has a long band of tissue that originates at the heel, travels across the arch, and connects at the base of the toes called the plantar fascia. This structure helps support the arch and your body weight as you hike. The Achilles tendon is connected to the bottom of your heel and to your calf muscle. Tightness in the calf muscle can strain your Achilles tendon and your plantar fascia.

Heel pain is caused by an inflammation of the plantar fascia. The inflammation develops as the result of stress on this tissue causing micro-tears at the bottom of the heel where it inserts. It's brought on by a combination of repetitive strain on the tissue, faulty biomechanics of the foot, and tight calf muscles.

Hiking is an activity that can cause the plantar fascia to become inflamed due to its repetitive nature and the added weight of carrying a backpack.

If you're a hiker with faulty foot mechanics (i.e. flat feet) you're more at risk for developing plantar fasciitis. Why? People with flat feet tend to over pronate or roll their feet inward which pulls on the plantar fascia.

In addition, if you also have tight calf muscles this will put even more strain on the plantar fascia.

What Hikers Can Do to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

As a Seattle podiatrist there's a lot I can do in my office to help alleviate your heel pain and prevent it from reoccurring. However, there's also a lot you can do to keep it at bay.

Shoes and Boots
One of the most important things you can do to prevent heel pain is to ensure you have hiking shoes or boots that provide the support and stability you need for the type of trails you hike on.

1. Assess the type of hiking you'll be doing before purchasing your shoes or boots. A lightweight hiking shoe may be perfect for an easy hike like Lake 22 in the Cascades but a heavy duty hiking boot will be needed for hikes with more elevation gain and rougher terrain.

2. Your shoes or boots should fit snugly but not too tightly and provide enough room in your toes so that you have wiggle room. Make sure to have your feet measured when purchasing your footwear.

3. Take your foot type into account when purchasing shoes or boots. For example, if you have flat feet shoes and boots with good arch support are a must.

4. Shop for shoes toward the late afternoon when feet tend to swell.

5. Purchase socks at the same time you purchase boots to ensure a good fit. Here's information about the best socks for hikers.

6. Try different lacing techniques to ensure a proper fit.

7. Make sure you break in new boots before you go hiking. While hiking shoes won't need break-in time, leather boots will.

8. Don't attempt to buy boots online unless you've had experience with a particular brand and size. Go to a reputable store like REI and work with their boot experts.

Replace Your Insoles
Most shoes and boots have insoles that aren't supportive enough to prevent you from pronating and developing plantar fasciitis. Buy a high volume insole for a boot and a medium volume insole for a lightweight hiking shoe. Superfeet makes insoles specifically for hiking boots called Trailblazers. Regular Superfeet or another insole called Powersteps can be used in hiking shoes.

Increase Your Hiking Distance and Level of Difficulty Gradually
Since plantar fasciitis is a repetitive strain injury, it's important to build up to longer and more difficult hikes slowly. Your body needs time to adjust and will serve you much better if you take it easy at the start of hiking season.

Warm-ups and Stretching
While doing warm-ups and stretching is important for all hikers it's particularly important if you're prone to developing plantar fasciitis. Calf muscles can tighten up after sitting in a car for longer than an hour. At the very least perform the traditional standing calf stretch against a tree or even your car by putting one foot forward and then stepping back with the other foot. Place most of your weight on your back foot and slowly lean into the tree or car until you feel a stretch at the back of your calf. Hold for 30 secs to one minute.

Another type of stretch that will give you more benefit is a dynamic stretch. Here are some dynamic stretches for hikers.

Avoid Going Barefoot
If you have a tendency toward getting heel pain, it's important that you avoid going barefoot even when you're at home. We recommend sandals by Vionic or another pair of sandals that provide arch support.

Weight Loss
Overweight hikers are also more at risk for developing plantar fasciitis. Even losing five pounds can make a big different in the amount of pressure you put on your feet and may help prevent plantar fasciitis.

Self-Treatment for Hikers with Mild Plantar Fasciitis

For mild heel pain you'll very likely need to stop hiking until the pain goes away. Unfortunately with every step you take your re-injurying your plantar fascia. To prevent it from getting worse it's important to stop the inflammation from occurring.

However, there are some specific things you can do to help reduce your inflammation and help your feet heal more rapidly.

1. Icing
Icing is one of the most important things you can do to reduce inflammation (swelling) and pain. You can begin doing this before you come in to see a podiatrist. It's extremely important to ice your heels after hiking if you plan to continue doing so.

There are two methods you can use to ice your heel.

  • Ice cup massage- fill a Dixie cup ¾ full of water and freeze. Peel the top down so that about .5 inches is showing so you can easily massage the affected area while holding onto the cup. Ice for about 7-10 minutes three times a day.

  • Use frozen peas as a cold pack- frozen peas are inexpensive and conform to your foot.

2. Heel lifts
Heel lifts may be a good initial solution. Heel lifts raise the heel in the shoe decreasing the Achilles tightness by effectively shortening it.

3. Biofreeze
Biofreeze can provide temporary relief of heel pain.

4. Anti-inflammatory medication
Anti-inflammatory medication acts to reduce pain and swelling.

In addition, it's important to follow all the recommendations for preventing heel pain to help reduce your current heel pain.

Treatment for Hikers with Moderate to Severe Pain Plantar Fasciitis
For pain that's more than mild, you should make an appointment with a podiatrist to get properly evaluated. In addition to the inflammation reducing methods described above, at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City we provide the following services to treat mild to severe plantar fasciitis.

1. Custom Orthotics
Even though over-the-counter insoles can work well for mild heel pain, you'll likely need custom orthotics for moderate to severe heel pain. Custom orthotics provide the highest degree of support, controlling abnormal motion in the foot and helping with postural alignment. Depending on how much you hike, prescriptive orthotics can last from 3-7 years. Your foot is scanned in our office and then orthotics are made by a professional orthotics lab. When you return to our office the orthotics are adjusted to fit your feet.

2. Low Dye Taping
Low dye taping is typically used during your first visit to our office. People often feel immediate pain relief because the tape prevents your plantar fascia from pulling when stepping on the ground. The tape usually lasts about three days if covered when showering. To continue to tape your feet until you receive orthotics our office has tape that can be easily applied at home.

3. Use of a walking boot or AirHeel device
Both of these products will reduce direct pressure on the affected area and allow healing to begin.

4. Cortisone injections for acute pain
For patients in extreme pain or who are taking a trip and don't have time to have other treatments, cortisone shots in the heel can reduce inflammation quickly. This is only a short term solution.

5. Using a splint
As mentioned earlier, tight calf muscles are often part of the reason people who hike develop plantar fasciitis. Although the methods for stretching described earlier work well to prevent plantar fasciitis, once you have the condition using a splint provides the additional time needed to more fully stretch the calf muscle. The splint is used during the day for 20-30 minutes on each side while watching TV or reading. This video explains how the splint is used.

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+

 

 

 

 

You're a runner and you've had to deal with foot and knee injuries. A new study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine provides more evidence running lightly can reduce injuries.

The effects of running lightly have been studied before. In 2016, I wrote a blog about a study of light footed women runners done at Harvard. In this study women who ran more lightly never got injured.

The new study measured the landing impact of 320 novice runners.Half the runners were told to run softer while the other half were not. After 12 months, those who learned to run softer had a 62 percent decrease in injuries than the runners who made no change.

What Does It Take to Run Softer

  • Think about running more softly and quietly when you're running; another study showed that runners who were told to run softly and quietly could reduce their foot impact.
  • Land on your mid or forefoot instead of the heel (Video on low impact running).
  • Use quick foot strikes and a shorter stride.
  • Try Chi Running which takes some of its principles from Tai Chi. You can also purchase the app of the same name.

In addition to running softer there are many other things you can do to reduce your chances of developing foot injuries such as Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.

  • Increase your mileage slowly. Most experts recommend only a 10% increase each week.

  • Always stretch before you run. We recommend Dynamic Warm-ups for the best results. Tight calf muscles often play a huge role in developing heel pain and Achilles tendonitis. Here is what we recommend for patients who already have these conditions with tight calf muscles.

  • Make sure your shoes fit properly and aren't worn out.

  • Running can affect your hips, back, knees, and feet. Don't ignore pain. It's a signal that something is amiss.

More information on pain free running:
8 Hacks To Prevent Running Injuries this Summer
4 Lacing Hacks To Reduce Painful Running Problems
5 Tips to Keep Runner's Feet Healthy and Strong

If you're a runner experiencing hip, back, knee or 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.

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+