Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: runners

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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man runningIf you're a runner you're probably already aware of the high rate of injury in your chosen sport. You're pretty sure you've got the right shoes, you're a fanatic when it comes to warming up and stretching your calf muscles, and you get plenty of rest and eat right.

You've had more than one bout of plantar fasciitis so you have a pair of orthotics that you wear religiously.

Even with all that you still find yourself in pain more than you think you deserve given how well you take care of yourself.

Now it's time to try some sure fire techniques to help your body withstand the forces that lead to foot and ankle pain when running.

Ramp Up Your Training Slowly

Foot and ankle injuries are common in runners who rapidly increase their training schedule by more than 10% a week. Your body needs time to recover and build strength. Be sure to ramp up your training slowly to avoid injuring yourself.

Increase Your Step Rate

Research has shown that when runners increase the number of steps they take by just 5% and keep their speed the same they can reduce the impact on their body by 20%. This translates to a shorter, quicker stride and fewer injuries for the runner. Although changing your running style can be difficult, fortunately there are some apps that make it much easier.  Try RunCadence, Cadence Trainer, or BeatRun.

Improve Your Core Strength

In addition to good posture, having a strong core will help prevent injuries to your lower extremities. For that we turn to our neighbors Therapeutic Associates. Check out a full page of videos on how to improve the strength of your core, hips, and glutes.

Change Up Your Exercise

Instead of focusing on putting in more miles, replace them with cross training to give your body a chance to recover. Weightlifting at the gym, yoga, and an aerobic activity such as swimming, cycling or light jogging will keep your body strong and flexible.

Watch Your Posture Even When You're Not Running

Poor posture can put extra stress on the body. One of the best ways to become more aware of your body is through yoga. If you know you have poor posture taking a yoga class can be a tremendous help in increasing your body awareness. But if you can't sign up for a class there are a few easy poses that work well to increase that awareness and improve posture.

In mountain pose, place your feet hip width apart with a slight bend in your knees, ground your feet into the mat, place your hips in a neutral position, and tuck your tailbone under just slightly. Roll your shoulder blades up, back, and down and reach the crown of your head toward the sky. For additional posture enhancing poses, check out this yoga journal article.

More information:

How to Buy the Best Running Shoes
5 Hacks for Preventing Blisters in Runners
The Art of Running Safely in the Rain

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.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
February 24, 2017
Category: Heel pain
Tags: runners  

Normally you're one of those people that likes to bounce out of bed at 5:30am, splash some water in your face, throw on your favorite kicks, and go for nice long morning run. But today you got out of bed and as soon as your feet hit the floor all you felt was an explosion of pain in your heels.

What's going on here?

Plantar fasciitis or heel pain can come on gradually over time or suddenly. You know the old saying "the straw that broke the camel's back". Well it's no different here. Maybe you forgot to stretch after your last run. Or perhaps the inflammation that's been happening inside your heel has finally alerted the pain centers in your brain that "Houston we have a problem".

Whatever the reason, you can't continue to run without being in excruciating pain. What's going on here? The plantar fascia starts at the heel and then runs along the bottom of your foot attaching at the toes. When this band of fascia is overstretched it starts to create tiny tears in your heel. Although it's trying hard to repair itself, every time you run those tears start all over again and eventual lead to terrible pain.

How can you stop the damage?

First it's important to stop running so your feet can start to heal.  Then the treatment of plantar fasciitis depends on many factors including foot type, level of inflammation, calf tightness, and shoes.  Visit our heel pain center to learn more.

With over 25 years of experience treating patients like you, I'll get you back to running before you know it.

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".

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
May 10, 2016
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: runners   toenail fungus  

You're an avid runner. Recently you read somewhere that running can cause toenail fungus. This has you freaked out. So what's the truth?

As a Seattle podiatrist I'm here to let you know that fungus exists everywhere in our environment. But fungus particularly loves living in warm, damp, dark places. And that includes feet that live inside shoes most of the time.

For runners there's an added risk for getting toenail fungus. Running is risky due to the constant pressure placed on toenails which can cause them to lift allowing fungus easy access to the nail plate where it sets up shop.

Here are some 7 hacks for keeping fungus at bay:

  • Check your nails after you run. If you're nails are getting damaged it's time to give up your shoes and buy ones that won't damage your nails.This often happens when your shoes are too short. As we age our feet often increase in size.

  • Next time you buy running shoes, make sure they fit. Tight shoes will cause repetitive micro-trauma to your toenails. To prevent this, your toe needs to be at least a thumbs width from the end of your shoes. A wider toe box will also let your toes spread out and prevent them from getting damaged.

  • Have two pairs of shoes on hand. Alternating between shoes allows them to dry out in between daily runs. Fungus does not survive well in dry environments.

  • Wear socks that wick away moisture. Synthetic socks with anti-microbial capability are the best way to go to wick away moisture and keep fungus at bay. Balega Silver Microbial Compression Running Socks are a great solution. 

  • Use a UV Shoe Sanitizer to kill the fungus in your shoes. We recommend SteriShoe+ Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer  it destroys 99% of all fungus and bacteria in your shoes in just 15 minutes.

  • Use nail polish that won't weaken your toenails. Most nail polish has toxic chemicals that can weaken your nails. A weakened nail will be more apt to become damaged and become a host for fungus. If you want pretty toenails and you run, use a nail polish such as Dr.'s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish. It contains tree oil with anti-fungal properties, vitamins, and none of the bad chemicals that weaken your nails.

  • Don't ever go barefoot in locker rooms. Avoid hotbeds of fungus by wearing flip flops in public locker and shower rooms.

If you think you already have toenail fungus, check out the information at our Seattle Fungal Toenail Center.

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".

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
August 21, 2015
Category: sports injuries
Tags: orthotics   runners   stress fracture  

young woman runningRunning is a huge part of how you stay fit. You love participating in races with your friends. But lately you've been dogged by horrible pain in your shins every time you run.

Can this be shin splints?

Probably. The great majority of pain below the knee--which can affect the front and the side of your leg-- is shin splints.

What Causes Shin Splints in Runners?

  • Beginning or seasoned runners who increase their training too rapidly.

  • Imperfect foot structure - if you have flat feet or your foot excessively pronates when you run you're more likely to get shin splints.

  • Improper stretching

  • Poor footwear

Can I Treat Shin Splints At Home?

  • Once you've developed shin splints, you'll need to stop running so you can heal.

  • Use ice to bring down the inflammation

  • Ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories can also help reduce the pain.

Do I Have to See A Doctor?
Yes. Shin splints can be tricky.

  • If you have shin splints due to your foot mechanics, your podiatrist will likely recommend an insert or prescriptive orthotics.

  • Shin splints may also be a sign of a stress fracture or other condition that needs to be addressed right away.

How Can I Prevent Shin Splints?

  • Build up your training gradually; increase the time you spend running and your distance by only 10% a week.
  • Instead of just doing the typical static calf stretches, incorporate dynamic warm-up exercises. These exercises will do two things:  warm the body’s muscles and soft tissues for optimum performance and reduce the risk of injury from overloading inadequately prepared muscles.

If you're a runner with shin splints, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. 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+