Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: supports

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
January 03, 2012
Category: foot care
Tags: heel pain   supports   plantar faciitis   inserts  


Keeping Your Feet Happy In The New Year

No matter what your New Year’s resolutions are, your feet may have suffered through the holiday shopping, and now it’s time to treat them right. Since you can’t just replace them like a set of tires, you may want to consider having them balanced and realigned.

Looking back on the previous year, there are some balance and alignment problems of the feet that could have been avoided if patients had more education about basic foot function.

#1 Heel pain, which most commonly presents with pain in the bottom of the heel, involves the overpulling of the plantar fascia at it’s attachment to the heel bone. The presence of a bone spur with this does not usually mean surgery is necessary.  At least 75% of the time, I have also found that the calf muscle/Achilles tendon which attaches in the back of the heel, is also tight. This I call the “X” factor, and it must be treated as well.

The first steps to treating plantar fasciitis therefore, are to support the foot better to decrease the pull of the fascia, and to stretch the Achilles/calf muscle. The first step in increasing support, is to replace the insoles that came with the shoe with a good over the counter full length support. Superfeet and Spenco are available in local stores. Powerstep supports are available through our office. You may also want to temporarily use a heel lift under the support, which will immediately decrease the Achilles overpull.  Have your athletic shoes or walking shoes checked for stability. Ice regularly, and avoid going barefoot at home.

When talking about shoes, you have to think about what you’re expecting the shoe to do for you. The foot has to absorb your weight at heel strike, it has to absorb the rotation of your legs as you move over the foot, and it has to convert from a flexible shock absorber (heel strike) into a rigid lever as you propel over the ball of your foot. Clearly, if you sit at work and wear dress shoes, your feet have different demands than when you are exercising in athletic shoes.That said, a shoe needs good stability in the heel, good shock absorption in the midsole, and finally it should bend at the ball, not in the middle, and not twist easily from side to side.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone come in who stands on their feet all day in construction, but chooses to wear an open backed pair of shoes because they are soft and slip on easily. This is not a work shoe or a walking shoe! There is no doubt that laced shoes are more supportive than slip on shoes. And for women, a low heeled dress shoe is often more supportive than flats.

Finally, I ended 2011 with a patient who complained of pain in the end of her great toe. She had a successful surgery to correct an ingrown toenail some time ago. After examination, I had her put on her shoes, and lo and behold the shoes were too short. Our feet get longer as we age. It is better to buy shoes where someone who is trained to fit shoes, actually measures your feet and then checks the fit of the shoe. In our office, that is Leandra Taylor, our shoe fitting specialist, (pictured at right).

In summary, balance out your foot mechanics with good stretching, good shoes, and good support. If your problems persist despite following some of these basic rules, start the new year right and have your feet evaluated by your podiatrist.

                                                                                                                                                 

Rion A Berg, DPM
Podiatrist and Board Certified Foot Surgeon

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

www.bergdpm.com

The Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City is located in Northeast Seattle, serving the neighborhoods of Lake City, Mapleleaf, Wedgewood, Sandpoint, Kenmore, Bothell, Northgate and Shoreline.