Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: ulcers

By Dr. Rion Berg
August 27, 2015
Category: diabetes
Tags: diabetes   ulcers  

Project Runway Supermodel Heidi Klum and fashion designer Zac Posen wandered off to a beach this past week and stepped on the same rusty nail. They were hospitalized and given tetanus shots. She posted a photo of them both on instagram and warned others "DONT STEP ON A RUSTY NAIL ..... Well we both did 😨😨".

As a Seattle foot doctor, I believe they were fortunate for three reasons.

Received tetanus shots right away
Although most of us are supposed to get a tetanus booster every 10 years, many of us don't. It's important to do so to prevent tetanus, a potentially deadly disease.

Had bare feet
Stepping on a nail when barefoot means they only had exposure to the nail. It turns out that stepping on anything sharp that goes straight into your foot when wearing shoes is much worse. Any bacteria, fungus, or funky material from the shoe that gets imbedded in your foot can create a nasty wound and infection.

Probably don't have diabetes
Also, if either of them had been diabetic, a wound from a rusty nail could have much more serious consequences as they often turn into ulcers that don't easily heal.

Of course the best thing to do is to avoid those rusty nails or sharp glass to begin with. If you find yourself in a similar predicament as Heidi or Zac, call us immediately at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.

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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
February 13, 2015
Category: diabetes
Tags: ulcers   diabetic neuropathy  

You have diabetes and your Valentine keeps hounding you to go your endocrinologist and your podiatrist. But you’re too busy hanging out with your buddies and you don’t want anyone telling you that your feet will fall off if you don't take care of them. You figure if you just ignor the pain, burning and numbness it will go away.

Well I'm here to tell you that the symptoms you're experiencing aren't likely to go away. They've probably been developing for a long time and may have preceded your diagnosis of diabetes. These symptoms are a hallmark of diabetic neuropathy and can lead to ulcers and loss of a foot if not treated properly.

As a Seattle podiatrist here are some ways to decrease the chance of your health taking a big step backward because of your condition.

  • Get an annual check-up with your endocrinologist and podiatrist (your podiatrist will conduct a Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam or CDFE to see if your condition is stable or progressing)

  • Follow the recommendations for your endocrinologist and dietician to ensure you are keeping your blood sugars stable

  • Wear well-fitting shoes with a wider toe box. Many people with diabetes are also eligible to receive special shoes that prevents blisters and other problems which can lead to ulcers.

  • Do a visual inspection of your feet on a daily basis. Since you can't feel problems as they occur, eyeballing your feet will let you know if you have a cut, blister, or swelling and need to see your podiatrist.

  • Buy Dr. Comfort Diabetic Socks at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City; these socks promote blood circulation while reducing the moisture and microbial growth that can cause infections.

Your Valentine will likely love you no matter what, but wouldn't it be great to be able to do the things you love together because you can still walk. If you have neuropathy, give a call today at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online. I've been treating people with diabetes for over 30 years in my clinic and at the Northwest Hospital Wound Care Center.

By Rion A. Berg, DPM
November 02, 2012
Category: foot care

Why our feet swell

While most of us over 50 have occasional swelling in our feet and ankles, when the swelling becomes chronic it's a problem. Chronic swelling has two primary causes: fluid build-up and inflammation. Today let's talk about fluid build-up and why it happens.

As we age blood tends to pool around our feet.  That's because the bridges that prevent blood from leaking back toward our feet no longer work as well.  When blood pools in our legs we feel tired. We can also get skin changes including bread dough swelling (swelling that looks like bread dough when you poke it), color changes, scaly and shiny skin, and rashes.  If you're diabetic poor blood flow can lead to ulcers.

What are compression stockings?

Compression stockings are specially designed to improve the circulation in your legs and feet. They are made of a lightweight material that creates more pressure from the bottom of the foot and less as it goes up the leg.

How do they work?

The most important effect of these stockings is to improve the flow of blood returning from your feet to your heart. In doing so, this will prevent swelling, or even worse, the development of sores in the legs or ankles known as venous stasis ulcers. In addition for those of you who stand all day, they will decrease the fatigue in your legs.

When are they worn?

They are best worn from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night.

What is the difference between over-the-counter (OTC) and prescriptive stockings?
The difference between OTC and prescriptive stockings is that prescriptive stockings are of greater strength. Your physician is the only one who can decide what strength you will need to control swelling and prevent ulcerations. 

When are prescriptive stockings required?
The truth is that all of us who stand, walk, work even a moderate amount of hours on our feet would benefit from wearing these stockings. It is an absolute necessity if you’re already experiencing chronic swelling of the legs due to venous insufficiency, or have had a history of developing venous stasis ulcerations of the ankle or leg.

OTC compression stockings we recommend
If you're experiencing the bread dough swelling and other symptoms above, talk to Dr. Berg about getting a prescription for support stockings. However, if you're experiencing fatigue and are on your feet a lot we recommend purchasing Sockwell compression socks

You may think compression stockings are only for aging adults, when in fact, OTC stockings can bring significant relief to anyone who is experiencing fatigue in their legs after standing for a period of time.

If you have questions or concerns about pain or discomfort in your legs, please feel free to call our office at 206.368.7000 or request an appointment on-line.

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









By Rion A. Berg DPM
August 23, 2011
Category: foot care
Tags: diabetes   foot care   ulcers  

I saw a popular show on cable TV called, “Pawn Stars”. This show is about a three-generation family business in Las Vegas, NV, a pawn shop that sees some very interesting and bizarre items. As you may know, none of these gentlemen, (grandfather, son and grandson) seem to be starving, as evidenced by the bigger sized black work shirts they wear on the show. One of the sons, Corey Harrison, recently took his weight problem seriously and decided to do something about it. Corey was diagnosed by his doctor as “pre-diabetic” and he weighed 365 pounds.

Corey opted for the increasingly popular lap-band surgery to aid in his weight reduction. Lap-band surgery has proven successful for Corey, who embraced a new diet and exercise program as well. It’s the exercise and dietary changes -made for the rest of his life after the procedure- that will improve Corey’s long term health. 

Now, of course you don’t need any procedure done by a doctor in order to start your own lifestyle changes, but these small, daily adjustments are just as likely to save your life in the long run as any procedure ever could.

Let’s talk today about diabetes mellitus: what it is, what causes it, what life-changing damage it can cause to your feet and other body parts, and the one simple way to treat it and possibly prevent it altogether.

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is split into Type 1 and Type 2, but both are characterized by high levels of glucose (“sugar”) in the blood. In Type 1 DM (usually onset at a younger age), genetics and other factors cause your body to make antibodies to certain cells in the pancreas that normally make insulin. These antibodies start to destroy the pancreatic cells, and therefore less insulin is able to be made. One of insulin’s normal functions is to push glucose from your blood into your muscle and other tissue to be used as a source of energy. Therefore without insulin from the pancreas, the glucose just stays in the blood, causing high blood sugar.

Type 2 DM (adult onset) is typically related to obesity, lack of exercise, and a diet high in fats and sugars. The increased body fat causes the muscles and other tissue to be resistant to insulin, therefore keeping the glucose in your blood and causing high blood sugar. Increased body weight also leads to pancreatic dysfunction, therefore decreasing the amount of insulin secreted and also leading to high blood sugar. Type 2 DM is also associated with other factors such hypertension, (high blood pressure), high cholesterol/triglycerides and increased abdominal fat.

When the blood sugar reaches high enough levels, glucose starts spilling over into the urine (most glucose is usually reabsorbed by your body and not excreted), which causes more water to be pulled out of the body and into the urine, leading to an increase in the frequency of urination and increased thirst. Pre-diabetes is when your fasting blood sugar (as measured by blood from a finger stick) is above normal (normal is <100 mg/dl and pre-diabetes is 100-125 mg/dl) but not high enough to be technically diagnosed as diabetes. Without a significant weight loss with diet and exercise, someone diagnosed as pre-diabetic is very likely to progress to Type 2 DM within 10 years, with the early beginning of damage caused by Diabetes Mellitus.

Tune in next week to find out exactly what parts of your body (hint: you’ve been walking on one of the most at-risk body parts since you were about 1 year old) are at risk to be damaged and the best thing you can do to ensure your own health!

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

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

Centrally Located in Northeast Seattle
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.

Click here to request an appointment or call 206.368.7000.


By Dr. Rion Berg
February 08, 2011
Category: foot care
Tags: sores   ulcers   cracked feet  

1. See your primary care physician/diabetic specialist regularly. Control your blood sugars by taking your diabetic medication as prescribed, and eating properly

2. Check your blood sugars daily in the morning before eating, and record them.

3. Inspect your feet daily. Use a mirror to see the bottom of your feet. If there are any areas that are red or cracked, open sores, drainage in your socks, or pain, contact your podiatrist immediately.

4. If our doctors identify “hot spots” on the pressure stat or temp stat system, they’ll recommend that you stay off your feet as much as possible to cool them down. If you notice a breakdown of your skin or an opening of the skin that won’t heal, call our office immediately as these are signs of a serious wound, ulcer, or infection.

5. Check the inside of your shoes daily to be sure no small object has fallen into them.

6. Skin Care: Diabetes also causes the skin to dry excessively. It’s essential that you begin a regular program of moisturizing your feet. Our doctors will recommend creams specifically designed to help the diabetic foot.

7. Socks: It has been shown, that cotton socks can cause too much friction, retain moisture, do not insulate your feet, and constrict your legs. Diabetic socks can save limbs. Ask our staff for recommendations.

8. Your shoes and inserts will be inspected by our podiatrists. Diabetes causes clawing of the toes, and increased pressure on the tips of the toes and ball of the feet. Diabetic therapeutic shoes with deeper toe boxes along with special inserts can go a long way to preventing ulcers of your feet. You may qualify for coverage of these under your medicare policy.

9. Balance: Diabetic patients are more likely to have poor balance due to loss of sensation in the feet. A new lightweight device has been designed that can greatly help improve balance and prevent devastating falls. Let your doctor know if you are experiencing balance problems or falls.

10. Keep your regular appointments for foot care and your complete diabetic foot evaluations. These appointments give us the opportunity to ensure that no new problems are developing, and should they occur, to treat and resolve them as quickly as possible.

Click here to download and print the tips!

Dr.Rion Berg, a Seattle podiatrist, is a specialist in diabetic foot care and is the Chief Podiatrist at the Wound Care Center at Northwest Hospital and Medical Center.

To make an appointment call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.