Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: walking

By Rion A. Berg, DPM
June 21, 2011
Category: home foot care
Tags: walking   ankle sprains   hiking  

When I think about a beautiful summer weekend, I think about the great outdoors, particularly about a moderately vigorous hike, (with our hills in downtown Seattle, that could be in the city or out) that provides both a gorgeous date with mother nature and a fun, challenging way to get my daily exercise. The next thing I think about is how much energy is used and how much work is done by my legs and feet, especially going up hills, down hills, and hiking on natural, unpaved paths. While these are some of the enjoyable parts of exercising outdoors, they also warrant some precautionary thoughts and “what if” questions to be considered.

Since I know my feet and legs are going to work hard, it is certainly necessary to invest in soft comfortable socks and sturdy supportive shoes for this type of exercise. Since I know how tired and sore feet can become after a nice long hike on potentially uneven surfaces, a common musculoskeletal injury comes to mind--ankle sprains.

Ankle sprains, or twisting/rolling your ankle, are very common injuries encountered on hiking trails due to a wrong step on uneven surfaces such as tree roots, rocks, or just a hole in the ground. Since this is an acute injury that will likely lead to swelling and inflammation around your ankle area.

I recommend a common protocol that needs to be applied immediately called "RICE" which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Apply an ice pack to the affected area (with a layer of cloth between your skin and the ice) and held in place with an Ace wrap or elastic bandage to provide compression.

These steps help decrease the swelling and internal damage occurring as part of the body’s natural response to the injury. The ankle should be elevated slightly higher than your heart to help promote drainage from the swollen area. The ice should be applied for 20 min on/20 min off as much as you can for the first 48 hours after the injury. The “rest” part of this treatment means keeping weight-bearing activity to a minimum for a couple of days, and slowly getting back to normal daily activities as tolerated. It is very important to make sure your ankle strength and stability have returned before attempting physical activities, as these sprained ankles are common to reoccur.

If you are still experiencing pain, weakness, or instability after about a week, it may be necessary to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to further evaluate the ankle and provide more treatment options.

*The RICE method of treatment may also be used as first-line treatment for any type of muscle, tendon, or ligament injury where there is pain and swelling.

If you've sustained an injury, it's important to see a Seattle podiatrist to evaluate the injury and determine whether further treatment is needed. Call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.



By Rion A. Berg, DPM
March 22, 2011
Category: Uncategorized

Spring often brings hope and sometimes the motivation towards improved health through exercise. For those who enjoy exercising in a group, (and who enjoy dancing), aerobic dancing can be a great choice to help you get in shape. Aerobic classes have been around for over 30 years and are offered in many locations in and around Seattle.

Aerobic dancing is a workout set to music, usually for about an hour, following a specific routine to warm up, peak heart rate and cool down. The benefits of aerobics are multiple – strengthening heart and lungs, lowering cholesterol levels and decreasing stress. Unless they are designed as “low impact,” most aerobic programs are quite strenuous.

If you have never taken an aerobics class or have been away a long time, it's a good idea to have an exam to assess the risk of injury to your feet.

Take Care Of Your Feet!

Impact forces from aerobics can reach up to six times the force of gravity, which is transmitted to each of the 26 bones in the foot. 

Proper shoes are crucial to successful, injury-free aerobics. Shoes should provide sufficient cushioning and shock absorption to compensate for pressure on the foot many times greater than found in walking. They must also have good medial-lateral (side-to-side) stability.

If your ankles turn inward or outward too much (e.g., excess pronation or supination) you may want to call the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City about custom orthotics, custom because they will be designed for your feet and correct problems that could contribute to an injury.

Don’t be tempted to wear your running shoes for aerobic exercise. Running shoes lack the necessary lateral stability and lift the heel too high to be considered acceptable for aerobics.

Prevention of Injuries

Injuries from aerobics usually result from improper shoes, surfaces, or routines, and overuse of muscles through too vigorous a regimen. Take classes from a certified instructor and give yourself time to learn the program correctly. If you can, start at a low-impact level and work your way up as you become fit and more confident of the routine.

If you exercise at home with a video, be very careful. Read the label to determine whether the video is produced by certified aerobics instructors and whether you can handle the degree of impact. While it's safe to do low-to-moderate impact aerobics on the living room carpet, that's not a proper surface for high-impact routines.

Don't under estimate the importance of the cool-off period. It burns off lactic acid (which makes muscles feel tired) and adrenalin, while keeping blood from pooling in the extremities.

The Pain Factor

If you feel pain in your feet, stop. Don't attempt to exercise through pain, or you may aggravate an acute injury into a chronic or even permanent one. If you continue to be bothered by pain in your feet or ankles for more than 24 hours after exercising, contact our office for an appointment.

Common Aerobics Injuries

Plantar fasciitis (arch pain) -- Arch pain is often caused by frequent stress on the plantar aspect, or bottom of the foot, in an aerobics routine.

Heel spurs -- Heel spur syndrome, related to plantar fasciitis, occurs after calcium deposits build up on the underside of the heel bone.   


Sesamoiditis --. Incredible forces are exerted on the sesamoid bones during aerobics, and inflammation and fractures can occur. Proper shoe selection and custom orthotic devices can help avoid sesamoiditis.

Stress fractures -- Probably the most common injuries to aerobics instructors, stress fractures are caused by poor shoe selection, hard surfaces, and overuse. When swelling and pain surface, call for an appointment. X-ray evaluation and early treatment can prevent a disabling injury.

The Bottom Line

Remember, foot pain is not normal, so don't ignore it. Chances are, a successful aerobics regimen will bring out the body you've always dreamed of, and a better feeling about yourself both physically and mentally!

By Rion Berg, DPM

Please visit our on-line library for more information on keeping your feet happy and healthy!