Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: stretching

By Dr. Rion Berg
August 01, 2017
Category: Heel pain

Are you a woman who wears high heels during the day and runs after work to relieve stress and keep in shape? There are some specific things to be aware of to avoid injuries to your feet.

It's important to understand that when you wear high heels frequently, your calf muscles will tighten. Tight calf muscles can put you at greater risk for developing Achilles tendonitis or heel pain, a condition we call plantar fasciitis.

To prevent these injuries it's very important to do proper stretching after getting out of those heels. There are calf stretches you can do either before running or at home but these are often very short. The best thing to do is to incorporate the following combination of stretching programs to prevent injuries.

Dynamic warm-ups - spend at least five minutes walking briskly.  Then you can start doing dynamic warm-up stretches.

Longer stretching program - you'll also want to incorporate a 30-minute stretching program at home by wearing a splint (most often called a night splint) or using another device to maintain the stretch. I recommend wearing the splint during the day while watching TV or reading.

More information on running:
6 Ways for Running Moms to Prevent Foot Injuries
Painful Foot Conditions In Women Runners
Are Bunions Cramping Your Running Style?

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.

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By Dr. Rion Berg
August 24, 2015
Tags: stretching   orthotics  

You're a runner. You love running Green Lake, through Discovery Park, and the Arboretum. It helps reduce your stress and keeps you strong.

What you can't stand is the way your feet and legs react to this otherwise very healthy sport. In particular you'd love to know how to prevent shin splints.

Unfortunately some runners are more prone to getting shin splints than others, particularly those people who have wonky foot mechanics or tight calf muscles. For more information read "Are You Getting Shin Splints Every Time You Run".

Here are some sure fire ways to prevent this condition from starting in the first place.

Build up to It
If you're new to running or you want to compete in a race, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to build up to it. We recommend no more than a 10% increase in your program per week.

Buy new shoes
Purchase new shoes every 500 miles and make sure they provide the necessary support by watching this video.

Use proper stretching techniques
A tight calf muscle is the biggest problem when it comes to runners getting shin splints. Even though wall stretches to lengthen tight calf muscles are most often recommended, these usually don't work for runners who have very tight calf muscles. At the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City we recommend wearing Achilles splints for 30 minutes each day, dispensed by your podiatrist.

Prescriptive orthotics may be necessary
If you have shin splints due to faulty foot mechanics, your Seattle podiatrist will likely recommend an insert or prescriptive orthotics.

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.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

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
206.368.7000




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.