Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: wound

By Rion A. Berg, DPM
August 16, 2012
Category: home foot care
Tags: diabetes   foot pain   wound   ulcer   foreign body   flip flops   ice   temperature  

The sudden onset of foot pain that persists throughout the day is not normal. It generally means something is inflamed, and if simple ice, rest, and elevation don’t resolve it, you should have your foot checked by your podiatrist.

The most wonderful thing in the human body is our highly sophisticated early warning system. We’re equipped with the most amazing network of sensory nerve fibers that rivals all of your computers and cell phones put together. 

The moment that something isn’t right in your foot, this system instantly communicates to your brain…”PAIN !!!  Stop whatever you’re doing to me, system will be shutting down in ’X’ minutes.”  I know this sounds silly, but assuming you have the ability to feel your feet, your feet are supplied with an incredible density of sensory nerve fibers that can sense touch, pain, temperature, vibration, and position.

.When you get something foreign in your foot like glass, splinter, hair, a piece of wire, or thorn, your body will react to this, first with setting of pain fibers to tell you something isn’t right, and then it will inflame around the object developing fluid and redness within
24 hours. This can lead to infection, or it may just wall itself off and be sore. Either way, the foreign matter must  be removed. If it’s really superficial and you can remove it without digging in with bathroom surgery, you may not need further attention. Clean it with soap and water, hydrogen peroxide, and apply an over the counter like triple antibiotic or Neosporin. Soaking in Epsom salts can also be helpful.

When you overuse your foot because of wearing flip flops too much, suddenly increasing your athletic activities like going on a long hike while on vacation, or too many hours crouched in the garden, your nerve endings around your joints will sense that you have pushed them too far.  Somehow we’re often able to do a lot of a certain activity without pain, until the next day; that’s when our foot starts talking to us. 

What happens here, is that you are exercising and having a lot of blood flow to the area. But once you overuse your tissues and then try to resume activity the next day, they are sending  you a delayed signal that they simply weren’t prepared for this much work. You may simply need to take a day off and ice, rest, and use an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication. You may need to begin a stretching program regularly, and gradually increase your exercise regimen or distance you walk or hike.

Finally, a word to those of you who don’t feel normally because you have Diabetes or have loss of sensation because of a back injury:

You must inspect your feet daily. Studies have shown that redness and temperature will increase over a very localized area, like the ball of the foot, when it is overused.  This will precede the development of an open wound called an ulcer. 

So, for those of you with this problem, you will not get the early warning sign of pain, and must inspect your feet visually; use a mirror on the floor daily or have someone else look at your feet.  If you get off your feet immediately upon noticing the redness, it will gradually fade and you will avoid developing a wound.

In summary, we are blessed with the ability to feel pain. Our sensory nervous system is highly specialized to tell us when we’ve developed an injury or overuse syndrome.  Listen to your body, apply good common sense measures when you do develop a problem, and then if you have increasing pain, redness, or swelling lasting more than 24 hours, get medical attention. 

Be safe and enjoy the rest of your summer.

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

2611 NE 125th St., #130
Seattle, WA 98125


The Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City now offers foot care products on-line. Click here to visit our new, on-line store!



In 1998, I was asked by a friend to see their diabetic grandfather, who recently had arrived from Russia and had developed a wound in the end of his foot.  At that time, I did not have specialized training in the management of diabetic wounds and there was no wound center in the area. 

I asked a general surgeon to assist me in surgery because I had every intention of saving the leg.  My plan was to treat the infection and heel the wound. The surgeon's advice was to amputate below the knee. I insisted on doing everything we could to save that foot and leg, and I did. The man lived for several more years and did not die from diabetic foot complications.

Following this experience, I became a member of the wound team at Northwest Hospital Wound Center. Since then evaluation and treatment programs have progressed a long way. I have worked at the wound center every Monday for over 13 years and I continue to battle to save the foot and leg and save a life.

We are now a part of the global effort that has contributed to the first decline in lower leg amputations. Some of the most important factors that have contributed to this decline are earlier detection of the wounds which leads to healing prior to amputation. While new wound care treatment programs have become more technologically advanced including such things as use of hyperbaric chamber, newer techniques of revascularization, and human tissue equivalents the most important development and has been the global emphasis on implementation of programs in patient education and prevention of foot ulcerations.

By establishing a program of ongoing education and preventive foot health examinations, our goal is to have the patient assume a regular regimen of self inspection and monitoring for the early signs of foot problems before they develop. While computerized pressure analysis, and digital examination of nerve function can be performed in the office, the patient's tools required at home are primarily focused on visual inspection, testing skin temperatures, and offloading through the use of diabetic therapeutic shoes and inserts.

We hope you will take advantage of the information we can provide through the Internet, and take advantage of our services to develop a healthier program of living with diabetes. Our goal is to save your limbs and to do everything we can to allow you to live the healthiest lives possible. 

Rion A. Berg, DPM

Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City

Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Health Center of Seattle

2811 NE 125th St.
Seattle, WA 98125